IRON MOUNTAIN MINES INSTITUTE

  

dhs


SLAVERY AND arding freedom,

FREEMINERS UNIVERSITY
"THE CENTINEL"
CHRIST OF THE FREEMINERS

Cry Me a River

Spring Creek School of Agriculture and Environmental Science Watershed Moment: 

United States Court of Appeals
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CIRCUIT
Argued April 13, 2012 Decided August 21, 2012
No. 11-1302

"We find that the EPA’s action...is inconsistent with the principles of cooperative federalism"

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

attempting to force its own draconian policies, federal law requires EPA to work cooperatively.

“...we cannot conclude under these circumstances that the EPA made a reasoned decision.”

The time is now near at hand which must probably determine, whether Americans are to be, Freemen, or Slaves; whether they are to have any property they can call their own; whether their Houses, and Farms, are to be pillaged and destroyed, and they consigned to a State of Wretchedness from which no human efforts will probably deliver them. The fate of unborn Millions will now depend, under God, on the Courage and Conduct of this army-Our cruel and unrelenting Enemy leaves us no choice but a brave resistance, or the most abject submission; that is all we can expect-We have therefore to resolve to conquer or die." -- George Washington to his troops before the Battle of Long Island.

“We Have A Moral, Sacred Duty” -President Barack Obama

Peace Made Certain

The most important goal is to provide for a safe place to live!

Here is the high emprise

order of the thistle

"Cha togar m' fhearg gun dìoladh"

Strategy for detecting and treating elevated lead

“We all have a stake in the quality of our water,” said EPA Regional Administrator Richard E. Greene. “Ensuring the sustainability of our nation's waters is not just an EPA challenge -- it is everyone's challenge.

John Francis Hutchens claims in court papers that he and the property’s owner are in a joint venture with plans to mine the waste from sludge treated by Environmental Protection Agency cleanup efforts, and he complains the government is blocking them.

"The agency has not rejected the proposal per se, but has required scientifically defensible test data that would confirm that any fertilizer product would not release contamination. That information has not been provided to date," - EPA

Recovered Materials Advisory Notices (RMANs). The RMANs recommend recycled-content ranges for CPG products based on current information on commercially available recycled-content products. RMAN levels are updated as marketplace conditions change.


EPA is required to designate products that are or can be made with recovered materials, and to recommend practices for buying these products.


The Comprehensive Procurement Guideline (CPG) program is part of EPA's continuing effort to promote the use of materials recovered from solid waste.


WasteWise

EPA's partnership to help organizations eliminate costly municipal solid waste, benefiting their bottom line and the environment.


Environmentally Preferable Purchasing


EPA's program to encourage and assist federal agencies in purchasing environmentally preferable products and services.




1. Do the above restraints on the landowners’ right to the use of his property deprive the landowner of the full use of his land without the benefit of due process?



2. What safeguards, if any, does the CERCLA law provide against the erroneous filing of a lien? What exigent circumstances justify the absence of due process?



3. Does the right of the owner to sue for wrongful filing of a lien provide adequate redress for the deprivation of property?



The War on Drugs: Because Prohibition Worked So Well

Forty years ago, the United States locked up fewer than 200 of every 100,000 Americans. Then President Nixon declared war on drugs. Now we lock up more of our people than any other country -- more even than the authoritarian regimes in Russia and China.

A war on drugs -- on people, that is -- is unworthy of a country that claims to be free.

Unfortunately, this outrage probably won't be discussed in Tampa or Charlotte.

The media (including Fox News) run frightening stories about Mexican cocaine cartels and marijuana gangs. Few of my colleagues stop to think that this is a consequence of the war, that decriminalization would end the violence. There are no wine "cartels" or beer "gangs." No one "smuggles" liquor. Liquor dealers are called "businesses," not gangs, and they "ship" products instead of "smuggling" them. They settle disputes with lawyers rather than guns.

Everything can be abused, but that doesn't mean government can stop it.

Government runs amok when it tries to protect us from ourselves.

Drug-related crime occurs because the drugs are available only through the artificially expensive black market. Drug users steal not because drugs drive them to steal. Our government says heroin and nicotine are similarly addictive, but no one robs convenience stores to get Marlboros. (That could change with confiscatory tobacco taxes.)

Are defenders of the drug war aware of the consequences? I don't think so.

John McWhorter, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, indicts the drug war for "destroying black America." McWhorter, by the way, is black.

McWhorter sees prohibition as the saboteur of black families. "Enduring prison time is seen as a badge of strength. It's regarded (with some justification) as an unjust punishment for selling people something they want. The ex-con is a hero rather than someone who went the wrong way."

He enumerates the positive results from ending prohibition. "No more gang wars over turf, no more kids shooting each other. ... Men get jobs, as they did in the old days, even in the worst ghettos, because they have to."

Would cheaper and freely available drugs bring their own catastrophe? "Our discomfort with the idea of heroin available at drugstores is similar to that of a Prohibitionist shuddering at the thought of bourbon at the corner store. We'll get over it."

The media tell us that some drugs are so powerful that one "hit" or "snort" will hook the user forever. But the government's own statistics disprove that. The National Institutes of Health found that 36 million Americans have tried crack. But only 12 percent have used it in the previous year, and fewer than 6 percent have used it in the previous month. If crack is so addictive, how did 88 percent of the users quit?

If drugs were legal, I suppose that at first more people would try them. But most would give them up. Eventually, drug use would diminish, as it has in Portugal, which decriminalized all drugs, and the Netherlands, which allows legal marijuana. More young men would find real jobs; police could focus on real crime.

When the public is this divided about an issue, it's best left to voluntary social pressure instead of legal enforcement. That's how most Americans decide whether to drink alcohol or go to church every week. Private voluntary social networks have their own ways of punishing bad behavior and send more nuanced messages about what's unacceptable. Government's one-size-fits-all rules don't improve on that.

"Once the principle is admitted that it is the duty of the government to protect the individual against his own foolishness," economist Ludwig von Mises wrote, "why not prevent him from reading bad books and bad plays ... ? The mischief done by bad ideologies is more pernicious ... than that done by narcotic drugs."

If we adults own our own bodies, we ought to get to control what we put in them. It's legitimate for government to protect me from reckless drivers and drunken airline pilots -- but not to protect me from myself.

John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "No They Can't: Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed." To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at >johnstossel.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2012 BY JFS PRODUCTIONS, INC.

The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it. --   Albert Einstein:


In our worship of certainty we must distinguish between the sound certainty and the sham, between what is gold and what is tinsel; and then, when certainty is attained, we must remember that it is not the only good; that we can buy it at too high a price; that there is danger in perpetual quiescence as well as in perpetual motion; and that a compromise must be found in a principle of growth. Justice Benjamin Cardozo

Tranquility Ensured Domestically


“You will study the wisdom of the past, for in a wilderness of conflicting counsels, a trail has there been blazed. You will study the life of mankind, for this is the life you must order, and, to order with wisdom, must know. You will study the precepts of justice, for these are the truths that through you shall come to their hour of triumph. Here is the high emprise, the fine endeavor, the splendid possibility of achievement, to which I summon you and bid you welcome.” ~ Cardozo
Magic words and incantations are as fatal to our science as they are to any other. …

We seek to find peace of mind in the word, the formula, the ritual. The hope is illusion.

Give me men to match
my mountains
"tapped out”
Federal Water Mandates Blow
(inadequate capacity in the pipes)

“We have taken no action on renewing the federal financial commitment to waste-water infrastructure this Congress.”

–Representative Timothy Bishop (D)
1st District of New York

"It's very hard to know if they even read the code of Virginia," Russ Baxter, Chesapeake Bay coordinator


"We're a long way from creating a program that is going to treat everybody fairly and actually does something for the bay," said Stoneman. Some states have tried, he said, "but I haven't seen anybody nationwide be able to do this at any high level and make it sustainable." Wilmer Stoneman III, an environmental specialist with the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation.


News From the Field
Nanoparticles Reboot Blood Flow in Brain

August 23, 2012

image of a soldier being carried on a stretcher Nanoparticles show promise in restoring blood flow to the brain when administered soon after a traumatic brain or other injury. Full Story

Source
Rice University

U.S. EPA Releases it's own San Francisco Bay Delta Action Plan

Forty years ago the Clean Water Act was made into a federal law.  Congress charged EPA with the goal of making the nation’s navigable waters “fish-able and swim-able.”  The agency claims it has made "great" progress toward that goal, but the facts, and actual results, such as its complete failure in restoring the "Great Delta Toilet-Bowl", tells another story.

miami

Kelp forestry?


Step Up to the Plate

Official Rules and Strategies of American Politics (Rev. 9.11.01)

Foreword

The game of American Politics is played by skilled politicians (called players), but controlled by an elite ruling class of oligarchs (called owners). The game is comparable in many ways to pro baseball, except there are only two competing teams (called Republicans and Democrats). Like pro baseball, 1) the players work for the owners, not for the people who finance the game, 2) the players are well paid (especially highly skilled players), but the big profits go to the owners, and, 3) like baseball, the big profits in American Politics come from the pockets of the masses of people observing the game (called fans).

Like pro baseball, the owners (not the fans) get to choose the players. But in the game of American Politics, the fans occasionally get to pretend they choose the players through a process called voting. In fact, they only get to vote for an extremely narrow field of players pre-approved by the owners.

Many fans enjoy this voting phase of the game as much as the day-to-day game because voting is always great entertainment and fanfare (sponsored by mainstream media). During the voting phase, television "news" overflows with hilarious, pompous pundits, flashy productions of candidate "debates", and slick, deceptive, endlessly-repeating, 30-second political ads--all completely substance free for our entertainment pleasure.

After voting, the fans go back to simply watching the game being played. But unlike the voting phase, where the fans only pretend to participate, in the day-to-day playing of the game, the fans are true participants. In fact, the fans are the main participants since they are ultimately the source of the owners' big profits.

1.0 Teams

There shall be (only) two competing teams designated Republicans and Democrats. The two teams shall work together to prevent the organization of any independent teams that might work for the benefit of the fans instead of the owners.

2.0 Ostensible Object of the Game

Using honest debate, the two teams shall compete to see which team can pass the most laws that benefit the most fans (the source of the game's big profits).

2.0.1 Actual Object of the Game

Using coercion, cunning deception, and blatant lies, the two teams shall compete to see which team can pass the most laws that benefit the most owners (by fooling the most fans).

3.0 Allegiance

Players must emphatically claim they work for the fans. Players can accuse other players of working for the owners, but must never admit that all players work for their owners. Any player actually attempting to work for the fans shall face a rigged primary challenge next election, and/or be severely penalized using various tactics outlined in Appendix III.

4.0 General Play

Players compete as team members and as individuals to see who can transfer the most dollars from the fans' pockets to the owners' pockets. Obviously some of the fans' dollars must be spent for their benefit (otherwise they'd revolt), but points are scored by the team that can regularly minimize this wasteful loss of owner profits.

5.0 Mischief Mechanisms

To prevent either team from passing laws that might benefit the fans, the well-established policies and procedures described in Appendix IV shall be used. These "mischief mechanisms" include such things as the filibuster, rigged standing committees (that can easily kill any "unfavorable" legislation without a floor vote), and other such mechanisms specifically designed to neutralize any rogue players who attempt legislation that might actually benefit the fans.

10.0 Game Strategies

Foreword

Since all players must claim they work for the fans while actually working for the owners, all game strategies must involve some form of deception. The game is essentially a contest to determine which of the two teams is best at lying to the fans.

Thus the basic game strategy underlying all other strategies is to recruit people highly skilled at lying as team members, and then to judiciously appoint the best-of-the-best liars to fill key team positions. For example, the Speaker of the House should probably be the very best liar on the team since (as head of the "people's chamber") that player must adamantly claim to represent the best interests of the fans (while blatantly doing just the opposite).

10.1 Never answer the actual question

If asked if you take money from big oil, drone on about how you support (or don't support) wind energy subsidies.

10.2 Always point out your shady actions are legal

Don't be tricked into discussing the morality of your actions, simply point out it's legal ("Yes, I hid millions in the Cayman Islands , but it's perfectly legal"). Of course, don't mention your team passed the law that made it legal.

10.4 Always be vague when expressing opinions

It behooves you to keep as many fans as possible so never alienate fans by taking a clear position on anything. Use your vast lying skills to walk the fine line exactly midway between all opposing views.

10.5 Appeal to emotion, not intellect

Make fans feel, not think. Facts aren't important. Tell them you're working with the big coal companies to develop a process where coal combustion releases only water vapor and the smell of lilacs. Fans love the smell of lilacs.

10.6 Always practice your lying skills

Remember, you're a player only because you're a good liar. Practice whenever you get the chance. If someone asks you what you had for dinner last night, lie--just for the practice. If you want to remain a player in American Politics, you must keep your lying skills in tip top shape.
“The Will of the People” Online Field Trip

Colonial Williamsburg is sponsoring a Gift to the Nation in this election year by offering complimentary access to “The Will of the People” electronic field trip September 1-30, 2012. The electronic field trip provides teachers with unique resources to engage students in the study of citizenship and our founding democratic principles. “The Will of the People” examines the presidential election of 1800, one of the most bitter in U.S. history. Thomas Jefferson explains how negative campaigning and partisan politics have been a part of our political system since the earliest days of the republic.

GODSPEED; Taking Action Now for the Future


see change
Improved Nutrition
A healthy, productive life requires adequate nutrition. However, two billion people in the world, including nearly 200 million children under 5 years, suffer from malnourishment and its permanent consequences on health, well being, and economic capacity and growth. malnourishment in the first 1,000 days of a child’s life can cause irreversible stunting and mental impairment. Poor communities in developing countries bear a disproportionate amount of this burden. Through Feed the Future and the Global Health Initiative, the United States supports country-owned programs to address the root causes of malnourishment and improve the future potential of millions of people. This includes helping countries build the technical capacity to manage nutrition programs over the long term. As part of its commitment to Feed the Future, the U.S. also supports the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement, which focuses on collaboration, results, harmonized multi-sector approaches, and the critical 1,000 days from pregnancy to a child’s second birthday. The 1,000 Days partnership supports SUN by increasing advocacy and programming within this window of opportunity. Read the Feed the Future nutrition fact sheet (pdf, 135kb) for more information.

Battered & fried; EPA Takes a Hit

Case involving smoke-belching emissions turning into soot, smog and acid rain.

(1) explain the effects of climate on natural and managed ecosystems; (2) develop the knowledge to help agriculture and forestry; (3) develop the knowledge to help mitigate emissions; and (4) support decisions at local levels with science.



RESURRECTION OF IRON MOUNTAIN MINERS

The Best Day Ever

breaking it down into three broad areas:

RETURN OF THE TRUE CRUSADER

...the bottom line is that title has been clouded not only by MERS but because the trusts purporting to foreclose do not own the properties by the terms of their own documents.  Legally, the latter defect may be even more fatal than filing in the name of MERS in establishing a break in the chain of title to securitized properties.

Like MERS itself, investors must deal with the consequences of an anonymity so remote that they broke from the chain of title. 

On August 15th, the Federal Housing Finance Agency threatened to take action against municipalities condemning federal property.  To establish its claim the FHFA would have to claim that the mortgages were federal property; but under the Bain ruling this would be difficult. 

Emparo: Prevenciónes de Emancipacion

our best shot at escaping debt peonage

Cabacera del Rio Buenaventura ex jure naturæ status quo ante bellum
Dam Tender
Earthquake Hazards Reduction Act. The National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) was established by the U.S. Congress when it passed the Earthquake Hazards Reduction Act of 1977, Public Law (PL) 95?124. [ [ At the time of its creation, Congress' stated purpose for NEHRP was "to reduce the risks of life and property from future earthquakes in the United States through the establishment and maintenance of an effective earthquake hazards reduction program. www.agiweb.org/gap/legis106/nehrp.html ]


URGENT AND IMMEDIATE EXPEDITED RELIEF

as Mike and Chantell Sackett can attest, the status quo is already unacceptable.

The common law is the Will of Mankind issuing from the Life of the People

Sesquicentennial of the Spring Creek College of Law,

A joint celebration with Owl Creek Bridge University and

the Environmental College of American Lawyers.

May 1st, 1862 - 2012, Happiness; catch it if you can.

Be counted in the largest earthquake drill ever!

hold on!


groundswell of revolt

Turf war backdrop to mine killings


"high levels of fatalities, very poor living conditions for workers, community demands for employment opportunities and negative impacts of mining on commercial farming".

NUM General Secretary Frans Baleni repeated his union's accusation that militant unions like AMCU were using violence and intimidation as a tool of recruitment.

"There are trade unions desperate for power who mislead and use workers for cannon fodder," he said, speaking on Sunday on a national television show called "The Justice Factor".

Hands-on environmental learning?  (for only a handful.)bullet

not raw size but another dimension: Saving the Planet Gets Personal:

Organization that promote hands-on environmental education reintroducing the red-cockaded woodpecker

"Did you know that there is lead in 60 percent of women’s red lipstick?"

"The combined environmental impacts of a sustained population growth rate that brought the earth to 7 billion stand to undermine countless hours and billions of dollars that have been dedicated to environmental causes."

"The ability to make important decisions about having and raising a family is one of the most basic human rights for individuals. "

"To truly maintain healthy wildlife populations, recover endangered species, and restore impaired ecosystems, significant partnerships between private landowners and government agencies need to be fostered."

"I fulfill my passion for children and the environment by serving as Board Chair for the Captain Planet Foundation."

"All of our well-intentioned ecological problem-solving magical wands are useless." Laura Turner Seydel

CRS Community Self Assessment: Coming Soon

archaic mining: techniques & mercury exposure fear

The Alaska Department of Natural Resources, which oversees the mining division, has issued numerous notices to gold-seekers, including a sharply worded notice advising that individual miners cannot replicate the "Bering Sea Gold" experience because Discovery Channel is using exploration rights through a state auction.

Health officials will begin voluntary tests next week to see if traces of mercury are in miners' urine. (UA's PP)

The Ticker

Operation HomeFront, Wells Fargo to donate bank-owned properties to military families

American International Group Inc.Fitch has assigned a rating of 'BB+' to American International Group Inc.'s (AIG) $250 million issuance of 2.375 percent subordinated notes, due 2015. Fitch has also affirmed all other AIG ratings, including AIG's 'BBB' Issuer Default Rating (IDR)

Event Information

NameCommunity Unity Day
DescriptionCommunity Block Party on Emergency Preparedness, to foster Community Empowerment and Unity

open the mint
Facilitating Partnerships

The Critical Manufacturing Sector identified the following industries to serve as the core of the sector:

Primary Metal Manufacturing

  • Iron and Steel Mills and Ferro Alloy Manufacturing;
  • Alumina and Aluminum Production and Processing; and
  • Nonferrous Metal (except Aluminum) Production and Processing
dhs
Division Director, Critical Infrastructure Protection & Defense
Battelle Energy Alliance, LLC, is seeking a thought leader and innovator with a proven record in leading research/engineering collaborations with government, academia, and industry to join our team.  This division conducts research, development, demonstration and rapid deployment of technologies related to industrial control systems, electric grid, cyber security, and wireless communication.  The Division Director has responsibility for maximizing national impact, capability development, brand recognition, business volume, and the creation of vibrant programs.  divide et impera
 critical infrastructure partnerships.

The Sector-Specific Plans

The following Sector-Specific Plans are available for download:


small consolation, communities plagued by FED intrusion;

Crime and Corruption in Homeland Security

 

Over the past year, employees of the Department of Homeland Security have committed such crimes as smuggling weed and coke, robbing drug dealers, forging documents and possession of child porn. In 2011, 318 employees and contractors of the DHS were arrested, according to a new DHS inspector general summary of investigations.

 

“Border corruption may take the form of cash bribes, sexual favors, and other gratuities in return for allowing contraband or undocumented aliens through primary inspection lanes or even protecting and escorting border crossings; leaking sensitive law enforcement information to persons under investigation and selling law enforcement intelligence to smugglers; and providing needed documents such as immigration papers,” Charles Edwards said in front of Congress earlier in August. Edwards is the DHS acting inspector general.

2,527 DHS employees, co-conspirators convicted of crimes

Inspector general 'overwhelmed by growing number' of allegations against personnel


Homeland Security Prepares for Civil War



By (about the author)


Its Clear Our Military Is No Longer The Nation's Only Standing Army When It Comes To Killing Power 

Over the past 2 weeks, everyone from the mainstream media to bloggers and conspiracy theorists have questioned the government's mass purchasing of ammunition for federal agencies like the National Weather Service and even the Social Security Administration. Combined, both agencies ordered over 210,000 rounds. This ammunition is mostly made up of "hollow point" bullets, which are designed strictly for maximum damage to the human body and have been outlawed for use in warfare since 1969. 

On the surface, these purchases alone are scary enough and raise questions as to why these unlikely agencies need any amounts of ammo, especially bullets that have been outlawed. The National Weather Service claims they have 63 officers who "enforce the nation's ocean and fishing laws to ensure a level playing field for fishermen and to protect marine species like whales, dolphins and turtles." If you divide 46,000 rounds by the 63 agents they employ, that's 730 bullets per agent, or, in other words, 63 crack shots and a lot of dead fisherman.   

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has given no specific response to questions regarding their purchase of 174,00 rounds. They said their "agents' need them. But, keep this in mind:  the SSA only deals with US Citizens in America. The SSA has never been involved with anything outside of this country for any reason. And what do they need with armed agents?  All SSA offices employ private contracted security for their offices.

One Billion + Hollow Point Bullets

Digging deeper into the government's recent procurements for ammo, you learn just how aggressively they are buying up ridiculous amounts of ammo and riot related equipment. The feds have actually ordered over 1 billion rounds of ammo in 2012 alone. They received 750,000,000 in March and are awaiting another 450,000,000 arriving soon. All in conjunction with large-scale orders for riot gear, bulletproof checkpoint outposts with red and green stoplights, human shaped paper practice targets, and other crowd control and containment equipment. 

There is no conspiracy theory here.  The federal government is expecting either a catastrophic financial collapse that could provoke nationwide food riots and all out civil unrest, another civil war, or even Armageddon. All in the very near future. Some theorize that the mass purchase of ammunition is an attempt to hoard as much as possible from the American public whom the feds believe may be in preparation for civil war right now. 

The Warnings Are There 

Activist, radio talk show and journalist, Madison Ruppert, recently detailed on his "End The Lie Radio Show" how our Department of Homeland Security has an apparent obsession with buying up all the ammunition on earth. He noted that even if this ammo were purchased strictly for training purposes, as the Feds claim, we simply do not have the money in the federal budget to buy hundreds of millions of rounds of high dollar ammunition for domestic agents' target practice.
 
Another recent story by Ruppert entitled, "We Are Preparing For Massive Civil War...Says DHS Informant" outlines investigator Doug Haggman's interview with reportedly, high-level, reliable sources inside Homeland Security, who claim the agency is preparing for a massive civil war in America. The DHS source states that the federal government foresees and prepares for a massive civil revolt. "Every time you hear about troop movements, military equipment, the militarization of the police, and the buying of the ammunition in the US, all of this is orchestrated by the DHS who are reportedly preparing for a massive uprising."

Hagmann goes on to say that his sources tell him the concerns of the DHS stem from their belief in an impending collapse of the U.S. dollar as the the world's primary reserve currency, and their fear that a significant portion of the population is already armed and will rise up over the crash of our monetary system. Hagmann's sources confirmed the ongoing fear of a U.S. dollar collapse at the hands of the Chinese and possibly the Russians in retaliation for aggressive U.S. foreign policy initiatives against Chinese and Russian strategic allies like Iran and Syria.

"The one source that we have, I've known since 1979," says Hagmann. "He started out as a patrol officer and currently he is now working for a federal agency under the umbrella of the Department of Homeland Security. He's in a position to know what policies are being initiated and what policies are being planned at this point."  And, "he's telling us right now that what you're seeing is just the tip of the iceberg." 

"We are preparing, we, meaning the government, we are preparing for a massive civil war in this country."
 
Then there is Trends Research Institutes' Founder Gerald Celente's forecast of last year where he believes and expects a collapse of the U.S. dollar and riots in America some time this year. Since Celente's "Civil War' prediction of last year, President Obama signed executive orders known as the National Defense Resources Preparedness, which are politically damaging actions taken by a sitting president.  Of course, he also signed the National Defense Authorization Act, abolishing habeas corpus and the Bill or Rights, and permitting indefinite detention without charge or trial of American citizens at home and abroad.  He further claims the power to murder American citizens without indictment, trial or conviction upon his finding that they support or substantially assist an enemy of the United States or one of its allies.  Let the firing squads begin. 

And most recently, additional requests made by the DHS for another procurement of 750 million rounds of hollow-point ammunition only fuels speculation of an upcoming tragic event expected on American soil. These major events, as shocking to the American people as they are, will be taking place during an election year.

Governments Strategy To Crush Any Tea Party Insurgency (Warfare)

How seriously does the government consider a Tea Party rebellion? Kevin Benson, a retired U.S. Army colonel, who now teaches modern warfare to soldiers at the University of Foreign Military and Cultural Studies at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, has co-written an article with Civil War expert, Jennifer Weber, detailing how to crush a Tea Party insurgency. That report, by itself, has ignited a firestorm among those increasingly concerned about what they feel is a distinct anti-civilian tone that has infected much of the military and Homeland Security personnel since 2009. 

Benson and Weber co-wrote the article for Small Wars Journal on a 2010 Army report entitled, "U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, The Army Operating Concept 2016 - 2028."

The report describes the Army's response to threats "at home and abroad" in the coming two decades, and, in doing so, made clear that a monumental cultural shift recently occurred in the thinking of those at the top levels of military command. This shift has some governmental watchdogs worried, particularly given that Benson is using the platform provided at Fort Leavenworth to indoctrinate soldiers in his vision of the nature of modern warfare in America.

Benson and Webber actually created a fictitious training scenario, including a military response, as a teaching tool for the future insurrection of tea party activists. As the scenario goes, the tea party stages a takeover of the town of Darlington, S.C.. They profess that the Declaration of Independence has been re-imposed, and the local government declared null and void.  According to the vision articulated by Benson, the enemy will be average citizens whose values resonate with those articulated by the tea party. 

The scenario admits to the public that the government fears that the Tea Party can alter or abolish an existing government and replace it with another. In the words of Benson's report, a takeover by the Tea Party will have an effect on the general population insomuch as it  "shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness." 

Also, there is a 2008 report produced by the U.S. Army War College's Strategic Institute that warns the United States might experience massive civil unrest in the wake of a series of crises, which it termed "strategic shock." It goes on to say, "widespread civil violence inside the United States would force the defense establishment to reprioritize itself to defend basic domestic order and human security." The report, authored by Retired Lt. Col. Nathan Freir, adds that the military may be needed to squash "purposeful domestic resistance." 

Even though Freir's warning does not directly cite the Tea Party as the cause of the mass civil unrest, the inference is there. With the publication of the reports by Frier, Benson and Weber, it is clear that DHS and the U.S. Army considers it a valid proposition to assume that a future civil war will be sparked not by extremist Islamists with dirty bombs or left wing insurrectionists, but by the tea party and the conservatives who participate in it.

Just three years ago the Department of Homeland Security generated the notorious Home Grown Terrorist Assessment Memorandum detailing the the vision the DHS held of the primary threats to U.S. domestic security in the near future. The memo was distributed to local law enforcement across the nation with details about the Tea Party being the object of the government's fears. The fears included combat hardened returning veterans to a nation without jobs for them, weapons and ammunition shortages that could be blamed upon the federal government, citizens who believe there is an effort to build an international government, extremist internet chatters who perceive a loss of U.S. manufacturing and construction jobs to overseas markets and blame governmental policies for that exodus and resultant home foreclosures, libertarians, Ron Paul supporters, people who talk a lot about their constitutional rights, people with copies of the constitution or Bill or Rights, etc., are all suspected domestic terrorists according to the memo. 

Why Hollow Point Bullets?

After being bombarded with questions wanting to know why the feds are procuring stockpiles of ammo, their half-hearted excuses came down to needing this ammo for training and qualification purposes. That answer only raises more questions. Like, why does anyone need to practice or qualify with expensive "hollow point' rounds. Manufacturers make "practice' rounds that are considerably cheaper.

According to an article published by war decorated Army Major General Jerry Curry  (Ret), the feds explanation about the bullets fails to pass the smell test. "Hollow point bullets are so lethal that the Geneva Convention does not allow their use on the battle field in time of war." Hollow point bullets don't just stop or hurt people, they penetrate the body, spread out, fragment and cause maximum damage to the body's organs. Death often follows. "Notice that all of these purchases are for the deadly hollow nose bullets. These bullets are not being purchased and stored for squirrel or coyote hunting. 

"This is serious ammunition manufactured to be used for serious purposes."

He goes on to write that" "In the war in Iraq, our military forces expended approximately 70 million rounds per year. In March DHS ordered 750 million rounds of hollow point ammunition. It then turned around and ordered an additional 750 million rounds of miscellaneous bullets including some that are capable of penetrating walls." 

His final claim is food for thought "This is enough ammunition to empty five rounds into the body of every living American citizen."

General Curry raises 3 additional good points. 

1. We have enough military forces to maintain law and order in the U.S. even during times of civil unrest. We have local police, backed up by each state's National Guard, backed up by the Department of Defense. 

2. In addition to all these forces, why does DHS need its own private army? 

3. Why do the SSA, NOAA and other government agencies need to create their own civilian security forces armed with hollow nose bullets?

In Closing

This is not a "conspiracy theory" or guessing that our government is actively stockpiling enormous amounts of lethal ammunition, riot equipment and other related control devices designed solely for civil unrest. This purchase is a fact, and there is plenty of documentation from the feds themselves on how they are procuring these items. It is readily available on the Internet. It is also evident that within the last few years, several military strategists have produced in depth reports outlining the probability for a massive Civil War in America in the near future. 

The DHS and other federal agencies are aggressively acting on those reports and recommendations by launching their own preparedness plans in order to both conduct a pre-emptive strike first and or combat any uprising by civilians that may occur first.

These ammo purchases by the feds do not include any mention of "non-lethal" tactics such as rubber bullets, water hoses, bean bags (fired from a shotgun to knock a person down) or tear gas, etc., which are used instead of deadly force to control civil unrest. It appears on the surface that they are gearing up for all out warfare on the American public. It also appears that the entity behind this plan is the Department of Homeland Security, not the military or local city, county, state or federal law enforcement.
 
The below analogy will likely anger some of the people reading it. It is only being used to point out how agencies akin to Homeland Security can get out of hand and allow self-appointed power and authority to become grossly abused, thus losing sight of their intent and objective.

In our own fears from 911, our government created Homeland Security, an agency that has become so powerful and relentless in believing they are protecting America that they have evolved into nothing more than what the German Waffen -"SS' officers became over time. Out of control. The "SS' were first formed in 1934 only as a supplementary army alongside the main German army. But, in just a few years, they were able to appoint themselves into the core of Germany's terror apparatus and by about 1936 assumed control of the entire terror machine. 

End Of Story

Jack Swint-Publisher
West Virginia News
Twitter:  @WVNewsOnline
LinkedIn: Jack Swint
Endangered Species Act a federal land grab?

In an Aug. 17 Federal Register notice, EPA announced that it is seeking comments on a proposal jointly developed with USDA, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the US Fish and Wildlife Service (together,“the Services”) to enhance opportunities for stakeholder input during pesticide registration reviews and endangered species consultations.

Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) requires all federal agencies to consult with the Services prior to any federal action if there is any potential impact on a protected species. Pesticide registration is considered a federal action. Prior to 2004, EPA believed the extensive environmental risk assessments required in the registration process also would include impacts on endangered species. However, the judge, in a lawsuit initiated in 2002, ruled that EPA was in violation of the ESA for not consulting with the Services. The Food Quality Protection Act mandates EPA to review all registered pesticides every 15 years. EPA began that process in 2006 and has included ESA consultations in its reviews.

EPA and the Services have not worked effectively at all in the consultation process. One reason for this problem is the difference in legal authorities – EPA registers pesticides under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide & Rodenticide Act, which is a data-dependent, risk-based process and must consider cost/benefit analyses in its decisions. The Services, acting under ESA, is more speculative and precautionary in its approach and has no cost/benefit directive. EPA has lambasted some of the earlier opinions issued by the NMFS, which used outdated pesticide labels, included cancelled uses and assumed 100 percent fields treated at maximum allowable rates.

Highlights of the proposal include:

· Emphasis on coordination across these federal agencies;

· Expanded role for USDA and the pesticide user community in providing current pesticide use information to inform and refine EPA’s ecological risk assessments;

· “Focus” meetings at the start of registration review for each pesticide active ingredient, to clarify current uses and label directions and consider the potential for early risk reduction;

· Formal ESA consultations later in the registration review process, allowing time to engage stakeholders in the development of more refined ecological risk assessments and more focused consultation packages including mitigation for listed species; and

· Outreach to potentially affected pesticide users to discuss the technical and economic feasibility of draft Reasonable and Prudent Alternatives (RPAs) intended to avoid jeopardy to threatened and/or endangered species.

Comments must be submitted by Oct. 16, 2012, to docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2012-0442 at www.regulations.gov.

Western Governors Association Conference

States' leaders say Endangered Species Act 'nonsensical,' hurts business and farming

The Endangered Species Act is a “nonsensical” policy that hurts businesses, property owners and farmers to protect animals and plants that may not be at risk , a panel of Democratic and Republican governors from throughout the West said Wednesday.

The governors complained of having their hands tied by federal policy as animal populations described as thriving but listed as endangered ravage private ranches, state parks and golf courses. Wildlife advocates say species that have thrived under the law's protection might again be threatened if taken off the list.

“The frustration level is reaching the breaking point in many levels because of this act,” said Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert. “It's nonsensical.”

The Republican governor griped about swarms of endangered prairie dogs digging into golf courses. “They have become so domesticated, they are just a pain,” he said.

The discussion about overhauling the Endangered Species Act came on the second day of a two-day conference of the Western Governors Association. State executives from 19 states, plus the U.S. territories of Guam, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands, were invited to attend.

Federal environmental officials acknowledged the law's challenges and slow-paced evolution, but largely aimed to rebut complaints and praise a conservation policy that seeks to protect nearly 2,000 species of birds, insects, fish, mammals, flowers and trees.

“Does the act always work perfectly? No,” said Eileen Sobeck, deputy assistant secretary of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. “Do the successes under the act outnumber the problems? I think they do.”

With its plentiful plains and rich wildlife, endangered species protections remain a testy issue in the West.

Hunters and ranchers, a powerful constituency in the Mountain West, have called for delisting recovering populations of certain species such as gray wolves and grizzlies. They contend that the federal policy affects the value and sovereignty of their land and threatens livestock. Western governors insist states, not federal regulators, should have authority over native species that affect local habitats and create business hurdles.

“We are pretty good at managing our wildlife,” Gov. Brian Schweitzer of Montana said.

Montana, Wyoming and Idaho have been in negotiations with the federal Interior Department to remove gray wolves from the endangered species in recent weeks, but talks have since stalled.

The region's 1,700 wolves lost their endangered status in Montana and Idaho in 2009, but were returned to the endangered list this year after a lawsuit brought by environmentalists.

Schweitzer, a Democrat, said that the gray wolf population in the West has fully recovered and should not be on the list, but federal regulators have been reluctant to reconsider the endangered designation.

“The Endangered Species Act is the Hotel California,” he told The Associated Press. “You can check in, but you can never leave.”

Schweitzer said rural states do not have enough clout in Congress to successfully lobby for the delisting of wolves under the Endangered Species Act, and he blasted federal officials for making the process so bureaucratic.

Idaho Gov. C. L. “Butch” Otter said the law has pitted business owners against government enforcers. The Republican suggested the federal government instead encourage land owners to protect endangered species on private land through financial rewards.

“The Endangered Species Act is broken, it's bankrupt, it's a fraud now,” he said.



GAO: Green groups get millions of taxpayers dollars from 'citizen lawsuits'

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - "Big Green" groups and their "Big Green" lawyers have raked in millions by virtue of the citizen suit provisions of the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts - but that wasn't the original intent of the laws.

Environmental groups being awarded taxpayer money as attorneys' fees has outraged Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) and Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), a committee member.

The senators had asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) for a report that examined environmental litigation for fiscal years 1995 through 2010.

Among the findings in the report released in 2011 was that environmental groups profited more than any other plaintiff in litigation against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

"The GAO report uncovers, for the first time, the millions of taxpayer dollars that are going to attorneys' fees for environmental litigation against the Environmental Protection Agency," says an EPW statement about the report. "Yet, the report is limited because GAO, the government watchdog, was unable to obtain information from several federal agencies during the requested time period from 1995-2010."

The report includes litigation costs for all EPA environmental statutes except the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).


For example, the report's data table indicated that Earthjustice - the legal arm of the Sierra Club - received $4,655,425.60 or 32 percent of all attorneys' fees paid to EPA litigants.


When combined with the attorneys' fees the Sierra Club received outright ($966,687.34), the Sierra Club and its affiliates received $5,622,113 or about 39 percent of all the attorneys' fees awarded to EPA litigants.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) was also a big recipient, raking in $252,004.87. When adding the NRDC amount to the Sierra Club/Earthjustice gains, the three represent a whopping 41 percent of all the attorneys' fees awarded to EPA litigants.


The report also said that from fiscal year 2006-the first year for which EPA specifically tracked the payments by type of claim-through fiscal year 2010, 84 percent of all the payments the EPA made for attorney fees and other costs under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) went to claims filed by local and national environmental groups.


The EAJA authorizes the payment of attorney's fees to a prevailing party in an action against the United States absent a showing by the government that its position in the underlying litigation was substantially justified.

"In addition to attorneys' fees awarded, the GAO found that the Department of Justice (DOJ) spent at least $43 million in taxpayer dollars defending EPA in court from 1998 - 2010," the EPW committee noted. "Further, the report uncovered that most of the attorneys' fees paid to environmental organizations were paid under the Clean Air Act, followed next by the Clean Water Act."


Inhofe issued a statement after receiving the report.


"(This) GAO report is the tip of the iceberg as we work to get to the bottom of just how many taxpayer dollars are going to pay attorneys' fees in environmental suits," he said.


"It is outrageous that these agencies couldn't provide the requested information and it is even more concerning that we have yet to get the full story. Not surprisingly, we have learned from the data provided in the GAO report that several big green groups have benefited financially from citizen suit provisions, which was not the original intent of the law.

"We have also discovered a glaring lack of transparency on the part of EPA, DOJ, and the Department of Treasury as GAO was unable to obtain information for several years of litigation payments."

Vitter also issued a statement about the report, condemning the money trial lawyers were receiving suing the government.


"The GAO report shows that taxpayers have been on the hook for years while 'Big Green' trial lawyers have raked in millions of dollars suing the government," Vitter said. "Even worse, because of sloppy record keeping by the EPA and other agencies and a lack of cooperation by the Justice Department, we're not even sure how bad the problem really is."



According to EPW committee, the GAO discovered "a lack of transparency and accountability about environmental litigation expenses incurred in EPA litigation." Apparently, the EPA could provide data from recent years only, rather than the requested 15 years.


Some of the significant findings of the GAO were that there was "inconsistent formatting of key data elements," the report stated. This "produced significant problems" for the GAO's analysis and required significant manual review.


The GAO also noted that the Department of Justice "does not have a standard approach for maintaining key data on environmental litigation cases." The GAO also said that the EPA does not track its attorneys' time or costs.


The GAO indicated it could not calculate the total number of hours that Justice attorneys worked on environmental litigation.

The GAO said there were no plans to improve transparency and accountability.



The authorities have unanimously recommended this arrangement for those seeking to establish a good government.

From Charles –Louis de Secondat, the Baron de Montesquieu:

When the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person, or in the same body of magistrates, there can be no liberty; because apprehensions may arise, lest the same monarch or senate should enact tyrannical laws, to execute them in a tyrannical manner.

Again, there is no liberty, if the judiciary power be not separated from the legislative and executive. Were it joined with the legislative, the life and liberty of the subject would be exposed to arbitrary control; for the judge would be then the legislator. Were it joined to the executive power, the judge might behave with violence and oppression.

From the Greek historian, Polybius:

Lycurgus…did not make his constitution simple and uniform, but united in it all the good and distinctive features of the best governments, so that none of the principles should grow unduly and be perverted into its allied evil, but that the force of being neutralized by the that of the others, neither of them should prevail and outbalance another, but that the constitution should remain for long in a state of equilibrium like a well-trimmed boat….

And finally, from the father of our own constitution, James Madison:

In order to lay a due foundation for that separate and distinct exercise of the different powers of government, which to a certain extent, is admitted on all hands to be essential to the preservation of liberty, it is evident that each department should have a will of its own; and consequently should be so constituted, hat the members of each should have as little agency as possible in the appointment of the members of the others.

Next, we turn to the heart chord, that is, the essential oil that is added to the head chord as the next step in creating the most pleasing government. That element is  federalism . Again, we turn to the leading lights of political science.

Once again, from Montesquieu:

This form of government is a convention by which several petty states agree to become members of a larger one, which they intend to establish. It is a kind of assemblage of societies, that constitute a new one, capable of increasing by means of further associations, till they arrive at such a degree of power as to be able to provide for the security of the whole body,

and:

A republic of this kind, able to withstand an external force, may support itself without any internal corruption. The form of this society prevents all manner of inconveniencies.

Scottish Enlightenment philosopher David Hume agrees with the notion that a federal system would prevent the public interest from being attacked by factions united by “intrigue, prejudice or passion.” States, the smaller republics, would retain most power while granting to the central authority only those limited and specific powers necessary to protect the whole of society.

In the  Federalist Papers , Alexander Hamilton supports the American expression of this timeless principle:

The proposed Constitution, so far from implying an abolition of the State Governments, makes them constituent parts of the national sovereignty by allowing them a direct representation in the Senate, and leaves in their possession certain exclusive and very important portions of sovereign power. This fully corresponds, in every rational import of the terms, with the idea of a Federal Government.

And his Federalist Papers collaborator, James Madison, cogently crystallized the point this way:

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.

Finally, if the perfume is to be long-lasting and memorable, the base chord must be added to the blend. Without this final ingredient, the scent would quickly dissipate and linger on only in memory.

The foundational additive in the enduring fragrance of American liberty is  popular sovereignty . We, the people, are the ultimate and natural authority in our republic and it is only through our voluntary accession that government has any power whatsoever.

John Locke, whose powerful influence was felt by many of our own Founding Fathers and the documents they crafted to create our government, wrote in his  Two Treatises on Government :

Every Man being, as has been shewed,  naturally free, and nothing being able to put him into subjection to any Earthly Power, but only his own Consent…. (emphasis in the original)

Again, from the illustrious Scot, David Hume:

When we consider how nearly equal all men are in their bodily force, and even in their mental powers and faculties, till cultivated by education, we must necessarily allow that nothing but their own consent could at first associate them together and subject them to any authority. The people, if we trace government to its first origin in the woods and deserts, are the source of all power and jurisdiction, and voluntarily, for the sake of peace and order, abandoned their native liberty and received laws from their equal and companion.

And, appropriately, the last word on the fundamental nature of the principle of popular sovereignty is from James Madison:

We may define a republic to be, or at least may bestow that name on, a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people;

and finally,

As the people are the only legitimate fountain of power, and it is from them that the constitutional charter, under which the several branches of government hold their power, is derived…

EXTORTION: The obtaining of property from another, with his consent, induced by wrongful use of actual or threatened force, violence, or fear, or under color of official right. 18 U.S.C. § 1951(b)(2).

In Dalliba v. Riggs, 7 Ida. 779, 82 Pac. 107, it was laid down that while a court of equity can appoint a receiver to perfect and preserve mining property, it “ has no authority to place its receiver in charge of such property and operate the same, carrying on a general mining business, and while it turns out to be at a loss, as is likely to be the result in such cases, charge the same up as a preferred claim and lien against the property, to the prejudice and loss of the holders of prior recorded liens on the same property” (82 Pac. At pp. 108-109). In that case the receiver appeared to have carried on the mining operations without any order of court directing him to do so and with reckless extravagance, and in addition was shown not only not to have kept accurate accounts but also to have made in the account filed “many charges against the estate where no charge whatever should have been made and none in fact existed.” The court accordingly denied the receiver any allowance for his own time or services and any allowance for attorney's fees. - JUSTICE BRANNON



U.S. Treasury Hid $40 Billion in AIG Bailout Losses

October 27, 2010 in News

Download the October 26, 2010 SIGTARP Quarterly Report.

Treasury Hid A.I.G. Loss, Report Says (New York Times):

The United States Treasury concealed $40 billion in likely taxpayer losses on the bailout of the American International Group earlier this month, when it abandoned its usual method for valuing investments, according to a report by the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

“In our view, this is a significant failure in their transparency,” said Neil M. Barofsky, the inspector general, in an interview on Monday.

In early October, the Treasury issued a report predicting that the taxpayers would ultimately lose just $5 billion on their investment in A.I.G., a remarkable outcome, since the insurance company was extended $182 billion in taxpayer money in the early months of its rescue. The prediction of a modest loss, widely reported as A.I.G., the Federal Reserve and the Treasury rushed to complete an exit plan, contrasted with an earlier prediction by the Treasury that the taxpayers would lose $45 billion.

“The American people have a right for full and complete disclosure about their investment in A.I.G.,” Mr. Barofsky said, “and the U.S. government has an obligation, when they’re describing potential losses, to give complete information.”

U.S. Treasury too rosy on bailout cost – TARP cop (Reuters):

The Obama administration’s latest estimate of taxpayer costs of the Wall Street bailout is too rosy and could ultimately damage public trust in government, the top bailout cop said on Monday.

In its quarterly report to Congress, the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program said the Treasury Department’s bailout cost estimate for American International Group (AIG.N) was an example of using misleading numbers to paint a positive pre-election account of the program.

The administration on Sept. 30 slashed its estimate of the overall cost of the U.S. financial bailout by more than half to less than $50 billion on the back of a new plan to sell the government’s stake in insurer AIG.

The SIGTARP report said the Treasury Department, in coming up with the fresh estimate, had changed its calculation method to estimate a $5 billion cost for AIG. That was a shift from an earlier projection of $45 billion that used a broader measure to calculate the cost.

See also the SIGTARP Quarterly Report from July 21, 2009:

By itself, the Troubled Asset Relief Program (“TARP”) is a huge program at $700 billion. As discussed in SIGTARP’s April Quarterly Report, the total financial exposure of TARP and TARP-related programs may reach approximately $3 trillion.  Although large in its own right, TARP is only a part of the combined efforts of the Federal Government to address the financial crisis. Approximately 50 initiatives or programs have been created by various Federal agencies since 2007 to provide potential support totaling more than $23.7 trillion. The Federal Reserve has been one of the lead agencies responding to the financial crisis — increasing its balance sheet to more than $2 trillion to implement a wide range of programs designed to stimulate liquidity in financial markets, as well as several institution-specific interventions. The Federal Reserve’s $2 trillion balance sheet (which grew from approximately $900 billion prior to the financial crisis to a peak of nearly $2.3 trillion in December 2008),322 however, does not reflect the true potential amount of support the Federal Reserve has provided to those programs, which is estimated to be at least $6.8 trillion. This is because many of the programs involve guarantees that, although not listed on the balance sheet, expose the Federal Reserve to significant losses if the assets they are backing deteriorate in value.



A "modest measure of relief“ from the "hopelessly indeterminate” scope of “waters of the United States”  - Justice Alito

The government has a “heavy burden of justification” - Justice Kennedy

in looking at the substance of the matter, they can see that it "is a clear, unmistakable infringement of rights secured by the fundamental law." Booth v. Illinois , 184 U.S. 425 , 429 .

"It is estimated that the destruction from a single wave of cyberattacks on U.S. critical infrastructures could exceed $700 billion — the equivalent of 50 major hurricanes hitting U.S. soil at once." — U.S. Cyber Consequence Unit”

An attack on a utility — either through a cyberattack or physical entry to the facility — will have serious ramifications to citizens, causing severe economic damages and life-threatening situations.

Good Vibrations

NEHRP Earthquake State Assistance

Department of Homeland Security

 
Synopsis
       


The synopsis for this grant opportunity is detailed below, following this paragraph. This synopsis contains all of the updates to this document that have been posted as of 08/24/2012 . If updates have been made to the opportunity synopsis, update information is provided below the synopsis.

If you would like to receive notifications of changes to the grant opportunity click send me change notification emails . The only thing you need to provide for this service is your email address. No other information is requested.

Any inconsistency between the original printed document and the disk or electronic document shall be resolved by giving precedence to the printed document.

Document Type: Grants Notice
Funding Opportunity Number: DHS-12-MT-082-009-99
Opportunity Category: Discretionary
Posted Date: Aug 24, 2012
Creation Date: Aug 24, 2012
Original Closing Date for Applications: Sep 07, 2012   
Current Closing Date for Applications: Sep 07, 2012   
Archive Date: Oct 07, 2012
Funding Instrument Type: Cooperative Agreement
Category of Funding Activity: Disaster Prevention and Relief
Category Explanation:
Expected Number of Awards:
Estimated Total Program Funding:
Award Ceiling: $0
Award Floor: $0
CFDA Number(s): 97.082  --  Earthquake Consortium
Cost Sharing or Matching Requirement: Yes

Eligible Applicants

Others (see text field entitled "Additional Information on Eligibility" for clarification)
 

Additional Information on Eligibility:

This funding opportunity is restricted to the following States and territories only: New York, Puerto Rico, Alabama, North Carolina, Mississippi, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee, Indiana, Illinois, Arkansas, Missouri, Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, Alaska, Washington, and Oregon.

Agency Name

Region 9

Description

As authorized by the Earthquake Hazards Reduction Act of 1977 (P.L. 95-124) and as required by the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program Reauthorization Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-360), it is the mission of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) "to reduce the risks to life and property from future earthquakes in the United States through the establishment and maintenance of an effective earthquake risk reduction program." In support of this mission, P.L. 108-360 directed FEMA to operate a program of direct assistance to States to accomplish various eligible earthquake safety and mitigation activities. This resulted in the creation of the NEHRP Earthquake State Assistance Program to increase and enhance the effective implementation of earthquake risk reduction at the local level.

Link to Additional Information


If you have difficulty accessing the full announcement electronically, please contact:

Claudette Fernandez
NEHRP/Earthquake State Assistance Program Manager (Lead)
Building Science Branch, Risk Reduction Division
DHS/FEMA Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration
Claudette.fernandez@fema.dhs.gov

In 1936 the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued U. S. Senate Document 264 stating "virtually all soils in the United States are mineral deficient."

"Did you know that most of us today are suffering from certain dangerous diet deficiencies which cannot be remedied until the depleted soils from which our foods come are brought back into proper mineral balance? 99% of the American people are deficient in these minerals, a marked deficiency in any one of the more important minerals actually results in disease. Lacking vitamins, the system can make some use of minerals, but lacking minerals, vitamins are useless."

delivering meaningful medicines

$26 million settlement against the multi-billion pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca for violating the state Unfair Trade Practices Act by willfully misleading consumers on the potentially serious side effects of the anti-psychotic drug Seroquel.

AstraZeneca charged with Unfair Trade Practices Act violations, did not admit any wrongdoing or violation, but agreed to pay the sum to resolve the state action, according to the order signed by Circuit Court Judge Roger Couch.

"You can trace every sickness, every disease, and every ailment to a mineral deficiency." - Dr. Linus Pauling, two-time Nobel Prize winner


"The lack of minerals is the root of all disease." Dr. Gary Price Todd


"In the absence of minerals, vitamins have no function. Lacking vitamins, the system can make use of the minerals, but lacking minerals vitamins are useless." - Dr. Charles Northern


“Soil is the basis of all human life and our only hope for a healthy world….All of life will be either healthy or unhealthy according to the fertility of the soil. Minerals in the soil control the metabolism of cells in plant, animal and man….Diseases are created chiefly by destroying the harmony reigning among mineral substances present in infinitesimal amounts in air, water and food, but most importantly in the soil.” Dr. Alexis Carrel, Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1912

"Our most optimistic expectations are no less than the realization of an old dream. What will fertilizing with rock dust accomplish? It will turn stones into bread...make barren regions (fruitful) (and) feed the hungry." -1894, Julius Hensel

"There is no doubt that malnutrition is the most important problem confronting mankind at the present time." Dr. Melchior Dikkers, Professor of Biochemistry and Organic Chemistry at Loyola University.

"A declining soil fertility, due to a lack of organic material, major elements, and trace minerals, is responsible for poor crops and in turn for pathological conditions in animals fed deficient foods from such soils, and that mankind is no exception.  N P K formulas, as legislated and enforced by State Departments of Agriculture, mean malnutrition, attack by insects, bacteria and fungi, weed takeover, crop loss in dry weather, and general loss of mental acuity in the population, leading to degenerative metabolic disease and early death." Dr. William A. Albrecht, Chairman of the Department of Soils at the University of Missouri

"mineral depletion from soils over the last 100 years equals "74%  Africa, 76%  Asia, 55%  Australia, 72%  Europe, 76%  South America, 85%  North America " Earth Summit Report, 1992

Hunger is not an abstract idea. It is a reality affecting the lives of millions of Americans every single day. And it hits our children particularly hard, with over 16 million kids in our country experiencing food insecurity each year. Internationally, nearly 1 billion people across the globe will go to bed hungry tonight and 200 million of them are children.  We can all play a role within our communities to ensure that no man, woman, or child faces hunger. Read more »

feds feed feds

2012 - Goal: 2,000,000 lb | Current All Agency Total: 0 lb | Petite Agencies - 0 lb | Small Agencies - 0 lb | Medium Agencies - 0 lb | Large Agencies - 0 lb | X-Large Agencies - 0 lb

Select this link to view your specific Agency Total during the 2012 Food Drive.

EPA is not a friend

Posted: Monday, August 27, 2012 11:46 am

HARRISBURG — With drought, high feed and input costs, and a yet-to-be-passed Farm Bill, agriculture producers seem to have little to be optimistic about. But U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns provided some encouraging words to local farmers and ranchers Tuesday. Johanns told local producers during a roundtable discussion that he would go to bat for them against the Environmental Protection Agency.

“I’m on your side,” Johanns said emphatically when asked about the EPA’s surveillance flight tactics targeting America’s livestock feeding facilities. “They are one of the most unfriendly agencies out there, and they need to be stopped.”

Johanns said the EPA was unnecessarily covert.

“We had no clue they were conducting those. They told no one,” he said. “I found out about their tactics from ranchers, cattle feeders, that they were flying the feedlots and then going back later threatening them with citations.”

In May, Johanns, as a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and with other members of the Nebraska congressional delegation, sent a letter to the EPA seeking answers about its aerial surveillance of Nebraska feeding operations. Johanns followed up on June 12 with a proposed amendment to the Farm Bill banning the EPA’s use of aerial surveillance, saying it was past time for Congress to put an end to the agency’s use of the tactic.

“I needed 60 votes to stop it. I got 56, which I actually was pleased and surprised with,” he told the Harrisburg group. “I’ll try to get it in the bill this year to stop it.”

Johanns warned producers of another non-agriculture friendly presence that is gaining exposure across the nation. Rancher Robert Post asked for the senator’s advice and input about the Humane Society of the United States.

“Take them seriously. They are well organized and are bringing in a lot of Hollywood stars and raising a lot of money in the name of animal rights,” he said, citing his efforts against the HSUS related to the horse slaughter issue.

Johanns also explained that the HSUS operates under the guise of the local humane societies, which he calls a dishonest, deceitful tactic.

Many concerns were addressed during the hour-long roundtable discussion. Among those was the play crop insurance and disaster payments in the new Farm Bill. Producers said while the disaster programs currently in place, or proposed, are good conceptually, they do not deliver the price relief needed to keep farmers in business. Johanns’ Outreach Coordinator Sallie Atkins told producers she would work on developing better price supports and benefits during her weekly conference calls with the state Farm Service Agency representatives.

Producers also cited the need for less stringent dust-regulation, especially during these current drought conditions. Stricter dust regulation, they said, would be a huge detriment to the county’s infrastructure.

“All these EPA regulations on small producers and cattle feeders are stymieing growth,” said cattle feeder Gary Darnall.

Johanns agrees, citing the disconnect between the House and Senate representatives and production agriculture.

“They don’t get it,” he said of the House and Senate’s strong focus on the consumer side of benefits in the current Farm Bill versions. “They’re more interested in getting food stamps for people than protecting the farmers and ranchers.”

“Then what are you going to feed people with food stamps without production agriculture,” asked rancher Mike Klosterman.

"The United States is being melted down into a despotic empire dominated by "well-born" aristocrats controlled by the wealthy established families. The common working people are in danger of being supjugated to the will of an all-powerful authority remote and inaccessible to the people". Samuel Bryan

Emerson

"These lawyers, and men of learning and moneyed men, that...make us poor illiterate people swallow down the pill...they will swallow up all us little folks like the great Leviathan; yes, just as the whale swallowed up Jonah!" Massachusetts delegate

“We the People are the Rightful Masters of both Congress & the Courts, not to Overthrow the Constitution, but Overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.” ~Abraham Lincoln

high-level national dialogue

links between the country's environmental degradation and U.S. drug consumption

9 percent of the U.S. population appetite for illicit drugs costs $193 billion

"in preventable law enforcement expenses."

Undue Influence: The Power of Police and Prison Guards' Unions

By Andrew Stelzer, National Radio Project | Radio Report

Inspector General: US Wasted

Press Release 12-130
National Science Board Concerned About U.S. Innovation Capacity

Business R&D investment cut and shifted, public sector uncertainties

Cover of report Research & Development, Innovation, and the Science and Engineering Workforce.

The cover of the National Science Board's recently released companion report.
Credit and Larger Version

July 16, 2012

"Our nation's economic growth depends on our capacity to educate, innovate and build," says a new report released today by the National Science Board, the governing body of the National Science Foundation. But between 2008 and 2009, in the midst of the most recent recession, American businesses cut funding for research and development by nearly five percent, or $12 billion. The science board said these cuts coupled with government budget constraints at all levels are reasons for concern.

Private venture capital investment in select science and technology industries declined from $43 billion in 2000 to less than $10 billion in 2010. Private equity investments in certain S&T industries plummeted from nearly $60 billion in 2007 to less than $10 billion in 2008, but it has rebounded somewhat since then, reaching about $15 billion in 2010. The decline in private-sector investment was accompanied by a shift away from investment in crucial early stage start-ups, a more risky investment.

Oklahoma gets 'one practical farmer'

The Council for Native American Farming and Ranching was set up to advise Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack on how to eliminate barriers to Native American participation in USDA programs.

“This council has a real opportunity to simplify all people’s access to USDA programs,” said McPeak, a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.

He said the department’s relationship with Native American producers in Oklahoma is “better than it might be if they were on reservations.”

However, he said he had heard of farmers having trouble on tribal lands. For example, tribes running their own livestock, or people running livestock on tribal lands, had trouble accessing relief during past declarations of drought, he said.

Vilsack’s senior adviser on tribal affairs, Janie Hipp, said Native American farmers and ranchers face unique challenges in managing their property and obtaining credit.

“Farms and ranches on trust lands and restricted lands could face challenges to titles to their properties,” said Hipp, a member of the Chickasaw Nation from Idabel. “And access to credit is always an issue, since some of it is unique to Indian land. There have to be federal programs designed to hone in on access to credit.”

NFIP/CRS

UPDATE

August 2012

NFIP, CRS, and Natural Floodplain Functions

One of the most appreciated natural functions of both inland and coastal floodprone areas is their generation and maintenance of aquatic and terrestrial environments that nurture myriad species of plants and animals. Among those species are many that may face extinction, often because of loss of habitat. The Endangered Species Act of 1973 aims to protect such species by prohibiting anyone from “harming” or “taking” endangered species, and it extends similar protections to threatened species. Further, it requires all federal agencies to ensure that their actions do not jeopardize the continued existence of those species.

FEMA does not directly implement the Endangered Species Act—that responsibility rests with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service (the Services). However, as a federal agency, FEMA is required under Section 7 of the Act to “insure that any action it authorizes, funds, or carries out is not likely to jeopardize” threatened or endangered species or their habitat. This means that actions conducted by communities, individuals, or others pursuant to a FEMA program may not jeopardize those species or their habitat. Thus, National Flood Insurance Program communities need to avoid modifications to the floodplainsuch as fillthat could harm riparian or coastal habitats.

(sandbagged again. -ed.)

FEMA has established procedures by which applicants for Conditional Letters of Map Revision and Conditional Letters of Map Revision based on Fill (CLOMR and CLOMR-F) document that the Endangered Species Act has been complied with before FEMA will undertake its review of the CLOMR application. In general, that documentation takes the form of an official letter or determination from one of the Services stating either that the proposed action is not expected to affect the species or habitat or that a permit to cause such an impact has been granted. FEMA’s Procedural Memorandum No. 64, “Compliance with the Endangered Species Act for Letters of Map Change,” dated August 2010, lists the Endangered Species Act compliance needed for actions based on floodplain fill in NFIP communities, provides answers to frequently asked questions, and gives links to sources of more information about the Endangered Species Act. See http://www.fema.gov/library/viewRecord.do?id=4312.

                                                                                                                                                                                   

Also in this Issue

CRS Coordinator Description............................. 2         CRS Users Groups................................... 4

Minus-rated Policy Data..................................... 2         FEMA Regional Office Updates................ 5 

New CGA Calculations....................................... 3         Training Opportunities............................... 6



Natural Functions

An analogous situation exists with regard to CRS communities, FEMA, and other federal environmental laws. For local activities that may have an adverse impact on certain species or their habitat, or on water quality, or historical or archaeological features, or wetlands and for which a community is requesting CRS credit, a community must ensure that it has complied with the applicable federal protective laws. The procedures for documenting this compliance will be clarified when the 2013 CRS Coordinator’s Manual takes effect. Materials accompanying the Coordinator’s Manual will list the federal environmental laws pertinent to the various CRS activities and provide other helpful information.

Watch the next issues of this newsletter for more details about the connections between the CRS and protection of habitat and other natural floodplain functions.

 

What is a CRS Coordinator, anyway?

Many times over the years, CRS program staff have been asked to supply a job description for a local CRS Coordinator.

The CRS does not have specific requirements for the position of community CRS Coordinator. Every community is different, and should develop a job description that reflects the particular qualifications, skills, knowledge, and duties that will best serve its floodplain management program. CRS communities have had successful Coordinators who have come from a range of backgrounds and who have been local employees, contractors, citizen volunteers, and others. Only a community can determine its own best fit.

However, the CRS has now compiled a one-page guideline that summarizes some suggested qualifications, duties, and other information. Communities are invited to draw from these recommendations as needed.

Access the document, “The Community CRS Coordinator,” at www.CRSresources.org/200.

 

 

Data on Minus-rated Policies Available

Want to see if your community has minus-rated properties? The minus-rated policy list gives information on buildings that are not eligible for the CRS discount because they are "minus rated," that is, their lowest floor is one foot or more below the base flood elevation.

If you are interested, e-mail NFIPCRS@iso.com for the list of minus-rated properties and please provide the community number with your request. Remember that all such insurance policy information is subject to the Privacy Act. Follow the same rules you use when handling repetitive loss information.


A New Way to Calculate a
Community Growth Adjustment

Since the beginning of the CRS, credit points awarded for activities under the 400 Series, Mapping and Regulations, have been adjusted to recognize the impact of loss prevention activities in growing communities. The rationale for this is that growing communities face greater pressure for future development in their floodplains, compared to communities with little or no development pressure. Because enhanced floodplain management results in more flood loss prevention in developing areas than in areas that are not growing, the credits are increased accordingly. The CRS applies a community growth adjustment (CGA) by multiplying the number of points for the activity by the local rate of growth.

In most cases, the CGA value calculated to adjust community scores is based on population data and estimates of population growth provided by the U.S. Census Bureau. Although Census data are used most often, other sources provided by communities have been accepted and, in some cases, communities have opted to determine community-specific growth rates if it is determined to be to their benefit, rather than use Census Bureau rates.

Under the 2013 Coordinator’s Manual, the CRS will take a new approach to calculating CGA values. A community’s growth will be determined by calculating the county’s growth in housing units, using estimates and projections over a 10-year period extending from five years before to five years after the verification visit. A community will no longer have the option of applying a growth rate that differs from its county’s growth rate.

Advantages to the New Approach

This new approach brings several benefits.

       Since census data are not available until a year after the data are collected, CGA values determined under the current method are always at least one year out of date when the credit is adjusted. The new approach will more accurately reflect the current conditions of ongoing development. Further, the community’s credit for managing new development will be based on current and expected growth rather than on what happened 10 years ago. 

       Using housing units, rather than population, as a measure of growth is thought to be a better indicator of development pressure in the floodplain. In times of economic strength, construction activity rises in anticipation of growth, even when the population is not increasing. During economic downturns, less construction activity may result, even though there is population growth.

       Because estimates and projections can be obtained each year, CGA values for each community will be updated annually, rather than on the current five-year schedule. The new CGA values, however, will only be applied once the new Coordinator’s Manual becomes effective and only when the community is verified at its cycle visit. 

       Use of county growth rates, rather than community growth rates, is likely to reduce the variability in CGA values over time, because the rates are based on larger populations. 

For more information on calculating growth rates, email nfipcrs@iso.com.  


CRS Users Groups

Debbie Cahoon, cfm
Users Groups Liaison    

Hi! As the summer temperatures increase, so too do the number of CRS users groups forming around the country. Since my last column, two new groups have begun the process of creation—one in Georgia and one in Washington state—for a total of 17 groups. Users groups have proven to be an important “support group” for communities as they face the challenges and prepare for the changes to be incorporated in the next CRS Coordinator’s Manual, due sometime in 2013. Earlier this year, FEMA and ISO offered plenty of opportunities to take advantage of the webinars that broke down the changes and showed how the new manual would differ from the current one.

       26 webinars were held between February 9th and May 3rd;

       7 webinars were hosted by FEMA/ISO; and

       19 webinars were hosted by 12 of the users groups.

After the webinars, I emailed all the users groups to get their feedback on the webinars, find out how things were going for them in general, and hear whether they thought their communities were going to encounter any unusual problems in adjusting to the upcoming changes.

All in all, the webinars were a success, but they also uncovered some anxieties the communities had about how the changes were going to affect their CRS ratings. The feedback I received included worries about losing a class; wondering how other users groups were dealing with the proposed changes; speculation over the time frame for the new manual to be released; and concern about what all the changes will mean for recertifications and cycle visits.

Some of the feedback went deeper and revealed more specific concerns, such as the Coordinator’s Manual seems to be favoring communities with sophisticated GISs; worries on how the Uniform Minimum Credit will change; and the additional work it will take to develop a successful Program for Public Information (PPI).

From what I’ve seen and heard, the PPI is the next “big thing” for CRS and for the users groups. It makes sense when you think about it—more public information means a better informed citizenry, safer communities, and better floodplain management. The trick is to find what outlet works best for your community and tailor your messages to fit your situation and your citizens. The challenge lies in planning how to get those messages out when your community is on a fixed budget. A few of the users groups have decided to approach the PPI in a regional sense, using the user group itself as the core of the PPI committee. Those groups are in the fledgling stage as far as deciding on how the PPI committee will work, but I hope to report on their progress in my next column. There will be much more news in the coming months, so please stay tuned.  

Until next time!


Keep an Eye on the CRS Website

As noted in the last issue, the final draft of the CRS Coordinator’s Manual has been posted on the temporary “Manual update” website (www.CRS2012.org) so that communities can refer to it as they anticipate future activities. This final draft is being used in the Office of Management and Budget approval process. It is expected to become effective in 2013 (and therefore is being referred to as the “2013 Coordinator’s Manual,”) but the exact date has not yet been determined.

Over the coming year, www.CRS2012.org will be replaced by a more comprehensive website with the publications and materials of the CRS, information about credited activities, and other information useful to CRS communities. Until then, resources referenced in the Manual will be posted on www.CRS2012.org as they become available.

 

 

 

 

FEMA Regional Office CRS Coordinators

Although a community’s first point of contact on the CRS is usually the ISO/CRS Specialist for the area, an additional source of assistance is the FEMA Regional CRS Coordinator. There is one coordinator in each FEMA Regional Office. A Regional Office directory can be found at http://www.fema.gov/contact-us.

Last month, Cynthia McKenzie of Region 9 retired and Gregor Blackburn became the Region’s new CRS Coordinator. Here is a current list of the Regional Office CRS Coordinators.

Region 1 – Chris Markesich—(617) 832-4712, Christopher.Markesich@dhs.gov

Region 2 – Rich Einhorn—(212) 680-8503, Richard.Einhorn@dhs.gov

Region 3 – Mari Radford—(215) 931-2880,  Mari.Radford@dhs.gov

Region 4 – Janice Mitchell—(770) 220-5441, Janice.Mitchell@dhs.gov

Region 5 – John Devine—(312) 408-5567, John.Devine@dhs.gov

Region 6 - Linda Delamare, cfm—(940) 898-5279, Linda.Delamare@dhs.gov

Region 7 – Georgia Wright—(816) 283-7539, Georgia.Wright@dhs.gov

Region 8 – Barbara Fitzpatrick—(303) 235-4715, Barb.Fitzpatrick@dhs.gov

Region 9 – Gregor Blackburn, cfm—(510) 627-7186, Gregor.Blackburn@dhs.gov

Region 10 – John Graves, cfm —(425) 487-4737, John.Graves@dhs.gov

Statement of Purpose

The NFIP/CRS Update is a publication of the National Flood Insurance Program’s Community Rating System. It provides local officials and others interested in the CRS with news they can use.

The NFIP/CRS Update is produced in alternate months. It is distributed electronically, at no cost, to local and state officials, consultants, and others who want to be on the mailing list. Communities are encouraged to copy and/or circulate the Update and to reprint its articles in their own local, state, or regional newsletters. No special permission is needed.

To become a subscriber or to suggest a topic that you would like addressed, contact

                                                            NFIP/CRS Update

                                                            P.O. Box 501016

                                                            Indianapolis, IN 46250-1016

                               (317) 848-2898   fax: (201) 748-1936   NFIPCRS@iso.com 


Training Opportunities

Bring the CRS to a Theater near You

The CRS is anticipating the conduct of several field-deployed CRS courses during calendar year 2013. Any state, CRS users group, or organization that would like to host a course in its area should get in touch with the FEMA Regional CRS Coordinator (see page 4).

More Help for CRS Communities

Don’t forget that the CRS offers workshops and webinars to help communities with their elevation certificate and other requirements. If you are interested in hosting a webinar on the FEMA Elevation Certificate or any other activity, contact your ISO/CRS Specialist.

Workshops and Training on the CRS

       The Community Rating System (E278)

This is the all-purpose training course for the CRS. It is taught at both the Emergency Management Institute (see below) and at sites throughout the country at the request of interested communities or states. Note that this course now uses the 2013 CRS Coordinator’s Manual (in draft form), which will become effective in 2013.

Prerequisite: To enroll in the CRS course, you must be a Certified Floodplain Manager (CFM), or have com­pleted the National Flood Insurance Program course listed below (E273), or be a full-time floodplain manager with more than three years of experience specifically related to floodplain management.

Kansas City, Kansas (FEMA Region VII) .................................. September 24–28, 2012
Contact Melissa Mitchell at (913) 573-8664 or
melmitchell@wycokck.org

Jefferson Parish, Louisiana (FEMA Region VI) .............................. October 15–18, 2012
Contact Charlene Jones at (605) 736-6950 or
cjones@jeffparish.net

Lincoln, Nebraska (FEMA Region VII) ........................ October 29—November 1, 2012
Contact Bill Jones at (402) 471-3932 or
bill.jones@nebraska.gov

Emergency Management Institute (Emmitsburg, Maryland) ................... April 1–4, 2013

.....                                                                                            ................ May 13–16, 2013

.....                                                                                           .... July 29—August 2, 2013

..... Contact your state emergency management training office, EMI at (800) 238-3358 or (301) 447-1035, or see http://www.training.fema.gov/EMICourses/EMICourse.asp.

Note that the CRS course (E278) scheduled to be field-deployed in Del City, Oklahoma, this summer has been cancelled, as have the EMI-based August and September classes.

                                                            


Other Courses at the Emergency Management Institute

Besides the basic CRS course, FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute (EMI) offers training on many related topics, including floodplain management, mitigation, and construction. These are oriented to local building, zoning, planning, and engineering officials. Tuition is free for state and local government officials and travel stipends are available. Call the training office of your state emergency manage­ment agency, see http://www.training.fema.gov/EMICourses/EMICourse.asp, or call EMI at 1-800-238-3358 or (301) 447-1035.

       HAZUS-MH for Flood (E172)   .......................................................... December 3–6, 2012
                                                       ............................................................... May 13–16, 2013

       HAZUS-MH for Floodplain Managers (E176)   .................................. March 18–21, 2013

 

       Advanced Floodplain Management Concepts (E194)   ..................... August 26–29, 2013

       Managing Floodplain Development through the NFIP (E273) ........ November 5–8, 2012
                                                                                                         ........... March 11–14 2013
                                                                                                       .... April 29—May 2, 2013
                                                                                                        ............. June 24–27, 2013
                                                                                                       ..... September 9–12, 2013

E273 is also field deployed periodically. Contact your State NFIP Coordinator for more informa­tion. Find your State Coordinator at http://www.floods.org/index.asp?menuID=274.

       Retrofitting Floodprone Residential Buildings (E279)   ............................ May 6–9, 2013

       Advanced Floodplain Management Concepts II (E282)   .................. March 25–28, 2013

       Advanced Floodplain Management Concepts III (E284)   ....................... July 8–11, 2013

       Residential Coastal Construction (E386)   .............................................. August 5–8, 2013

CRS communities can receive CRS credit points after their staff members complete certain training sessions. Under Section 431.n, Staffing (STF) of the CRS Coordinator’s Manual, five points are provided for each member of a community’s floodplain permit staff who graduates from courses E194, E273, E278, E282, E284, or E386 (up to 25 points). Graduating from E279 is worth five points under Activity 360−Flood Protection Assistance.

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September is National Preparedness Month. Pledge to Prepare by joining the National Preparedness Coalition now! Empower yourself and help coordinate preparedness activities for your family, neighbors and co-workers and those with whom you may study or worship.  Pledge To Prepare


Directory of FEMA Earthquake Partners


Through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is addressing emergency issues

Feed the Future: Together We Can

This week, USDA was honored to join forces with USAID and Islamic Relief USA to host the department’s 4th annual Iftar celebration. The event welcomed over 170 guests, including representatives from humanitarian organizations, faith-based groups and federal employees.  This year’s Iftar called attention to the importance of reducing food insecurity abroad with the theme “Feed the Future: Together We Can.” Iftar is an evening gathering held each year during Ramadan.  A time of spiritual cleansing in the Islamic faith, Ramadan is when Muslims fast, abstaining from food and water from sunrise until sunset. Iftar is the meal at which Muslims break their fast each night. For many Muslims, fasting is an act of empathy towards those around the world who go hungry not by choice, but instead by circumstance.

...there's no instance where we have recorded levels of heavy metal above the drinking water standard. EPA's first Iron Mountain Mine superfund project manager Tom Mix - 1985;

plowshares

This "encroachment is especially troubling because it destroys local control of the means of self-government, one of the central values of our polity." City of Rome, (Powell, J., dissenting). More than 40 years after its enactment, this intrusion has become increasingly difficult to justify.

Return of the True Crusader

complete development

Riding with the Opiate Epidemic's First Responders

“high priority joint border issues"

Enhancing local emergency environmental response and joint preparedness

To make their criminal enterprises work, the drug cartels of Mexico need to move billions of dollars across borders. That’s how they finance the purchase of drugs, planes, weapons and safe houses, Senator Gonzalez says.“They are multinational businesses, after all,” says Gonzalez, as he slowly loads his revolver at his desk in his Mexico City office. “And they cannot work without a bank.”

The 40 richest people on the planet added $7.2 billion to their collective net worth this week as Warren Buffett and Amancio Ortega dueled for the title of world’s third-richest person. 

Undocumented migrations across the U.S. Mexico border leave more than 500 tons of trash and 100 vehicles at just one wildlife refuge.

“We’re treading water. It was a pretty flat market this week,” Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Harris Private Bank in Chicago, which oversees about $60 billion of assets, said in a phone interview. “Draghi kept his mouth closed and most of the other leaders are in their bathing suits some place.” Long-term research reveals causes and consequences of environmental change;

Corzine Gets Served Outside Capitol Hill Hearing

Jon Corzine, former CEO of MF Global, takes th...

Image by AFP/Getty Images via @daylife

Former MF Global CEO Jon Corzine was exiting the room during a recess in Thursday’s House Financial Services Committee, when a man attempted to serve him with papers on behalf of one of the firm’s former clients.

CNBC cameras captured a man walking up to Corzine as he exited the hearing room and attempting to serve him with a lawsuit. Corzine told the process server to see his lawyer and kept walking as someone in his party bent over to pick up the documents, which had been put on the ground in the former New Jersey senator and governor’s wake. The network’s Kayla Tausche said the suit is on behalf of a customer who had a $95 million MF Global account, filed in the Southern District of New York.

Earlier during Thursday’s hearing, Corzine reiterated that he never authorized the misuse of customer money, never intended to do so and never said anything that could have been misconstrued to those ends.

The testimony comes after CME Group Executive Chairman Terrence Duffy said in a Senate Agriculture Commitee hearing Tuesday that an MF Global employee told CME auditors that Corzine knew about a loan to the brokerage firm’s European subsidiary that came from commingled customer funds. (See “CME Chief Suggests Corzine Knew About Missing Money.”)

In Thursday’s hearing, Corzine said he could not specifically respond to such allegations without understanding their source. Later, once the hearing resumed following the recess, Corzine took umbrage at the conventional wisdom that he was trying to build MF Global into a smaller version of his former company, Goldman Sachs Group. (See “Weekend Reading: The Goldman Saga.”)

bottom feeders

"Environmental Justice Showcases a Broad Network"

"the diseases they trigger don’t stop at the national boundaries"

"It’s unfortunate we had to go to such extremes to fight back against this troubling trend of overreach and reckless political activism by the Obama Administration that shows no regard..." Texas Governor Rick Perry

Without meaningful participation from communities and local stakeholders, over 14 million people and one of the busiest cross-border trade regions in the world are prevented from establishing realistic and concrete goals, supporting the implementation of projects, considering new fundamental strategies, and encouraging the achievement of more ambitious environmental and public health goals. Just the same as Iron Mountain Mine's Superfund site.

EPA's entrenched bureaucratic institutionalized incompetence, neglect, & failure causing unacceptable adverse effects including:

1. Community-based capacity as stakeholders to develop projects for asthma and other effects of toxic contaminants exposures.

2. Community-based health strategy for detecting and treating elevated lead levels in our blood.

3. Community-based local Environmental Justice Problem Solving and access to Environmental Justice grants and awards.

4. Community-based local stakeholders tools to improve environmental and public health outcomes.

5. Community-based redevelopment of neighborhoods to improve human health, storm-water management and urban agriculture. 

6. Community-based organization implementing a comprehensive project to look at the cumulative effects of multiple environmental impacts.

7. Community-based leaders to prioritize neighborhood concerns.and risk factors, fix poor housing conditions and homelessness exposures.

8. Community-based tools to achieve Children's Environmental Health and Environmental Justice from children's exposure to contaminants.

9. Community-based local agency to focus efforts on heavily affected priority areas of the communities environmental problems and concerns.

10. Community-based local effort providing ‘treatment at the tap' mitigation, assessing home health and testing of drinking water sources.

The defining aspect of ecological Big Data is not raw size but another dimension: complexity.

The Wishing Well

"U.S. EPA will be retiring in large numbers." "We need new energy, new perspectives." "It's time for the next generation to lead."

EPA Office of Resource Conservation & Recovery Suzanne Rudzinski

Environmental Protection Agency intends to leave the defunct Pure Earth;

EPA remains committed

Penobscots nation sues state out of jurisdiction over river



BANGOR, Maine (AP) - The Penobscot Indian Nation is suing the state of Maine over who has jurisdiction over the Penobscot River.

The tribe went to federal court Wednesday to seek an injunction to keep intact its authority over the river on which the tribe has fished for hundreds of years.

The tribe points to an advisory opinion in 1988 from then-Attorney General James Tierney that gave tribal members the right to "sustenance fishing" for salmon.

But since then, Penobscot River salmon has been declared as endangered by the federal government. And Attorney General William Schneider issued an advisory opinion this month saying the tribe has authority over its land but not over the river, which he says is subject to state and federal law.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


Minnesota works on voluntary water quality program

Posted: Friday, August 24, 2012

A new Minnesota-federal partnership to improve water quality by speeding up voluntary on-farm conservation programs was the focus of a Farmfest discussion earlier this month.

Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson emphasized that the program will be “purely voluntary” as a task force of 15 members works on developing its details. Leading the task force are Minnesota farmers, including large and small producers and an organic farmer.

Recommendations for the program are expected in a few more months.

Fredrickson emphasized that U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Secretary Lisa Jackson told him the EPA is not interested in developing its own water quality standards for the state and will “back away” while the Minnesota program is developing and as pressure builds to do something about “alleged problems.”

Frederickson hopes the program, which will recommend “best management practices” for farms, will be good for 10 years and provide “certainty” to water quality recommendations and regulations.

Border 2020

According to the American Heritage Dictionary, to "whistle dixie" is "(to engage)] in unrealistically rosy fantasizing"

National Science Board Teleconference - CLOSED

Audit & Oversight Committee Teleconference - CLOSED

Committee on Strategy and Budget Teleconference - CLOSED

'Colombia should hold referendum on drug legalization'


Colombia news - Alejandro Ordoñez

Colombia should hold a referendum on whether it should legalize drug use, the country's Inspector General said Friday.

Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez, a conservative catholic and vociferous opponent of lenient drug legislation, debated drug policy with former president and prominent Liberal Party member Cesar Gaviria at a forum in the capital Bogota.

During the debate, Gaviria, a staunch supporter of legalization, called the criminalization of drugs a "failure" and stressed leniency towards the consumption of marihuana in certain parts of Europe and the United States has led to positive results.

"The war on drugs has failed and more than half of U.S. citizens support the legalization of marihuana," the former president said. According to a Gallup poll from October 2011, 50% of Americans support the legalization of marihuana against 46% who favor prohibition.

Ordoñez responded that the alleged failure of the war on drugs was a "myth" and called on a referendum to decide whether to legalize or fight the use of illicit substances.

"If you want to change the prohibitionist policy we should turn to the constituent, hold a referendum, because these reforms must be made facing the people," Ordoñez responded.

The inspector general voiced his support for a recent bill ratified by President Juan Manuel Santos that determines drug use a public health issue, rather than a security issue, but rejected a proposal made by Bogota mayor Gustavo Petro to construct drug consumption centers where drug addicts would be allowed to use drugs without police intervention.

According to Ordoñez, Petro's proposal would not lead to a reduction in crime, as suggested by the Bogota mayor, "but once satisfied [drug addicts] will look for ways to get more drugs."

Colombia has changed its legislation towards drug consumption since Santos' administration took office in August 2010; Following a court order, Congress decriminalized the carrying of small amounts of drugs for personal use and by determining drug use as a mental health issue, paved the way for drug addicts to be granted medical insurance to beat their habit.

The president has on several occasions called on the international community to discuss the merits the international war on drugs.

U.S. Agribusinesses Encouraged to ‘Explore Exporting’

WARLOCKS

National Reconnaissance Office launches witch-hunt against whistleblowers

Published: 15 August, 2012, 01:11

Screenshot from website nro.gov

Screenshot from website nro.gov

Allegations that the National Reconnaissance Office financially mishandled contracts caused such an outrage at the agency that its deputy director reportedly launched a witch-hunt on whistleblowers within the NRO.

Air Force Maj. Gen. Susan Mashiko, the deputy director of the National Reconnaissance Office, has made what is being described as “an illegal threat of retaliation against the whistleblowers,” McClatchy Newspapers reports. These allegations come following a report from McClatchy that a “series of allegations of malfeasant actions” associated with contracts coming out of the NRO office have prompted the agency’s higher-ups to launch an investigation.

"You're talking about a lot of money at this agency and a culture within the intelligence community that isn't really comfortable with the idea of transparency," former Inspector General Eric Feldman tells the outlet. "Generally speaking, people in that agency are ethical but there is a certain dependency on contractors and closeness with contractors that can create an awkward environment."

McClatchy reveals that Gen. Mashiko has allegedly attempted to reprimand whistleblowers linked to the NRO for coming forth about allegations of illegal activity within the agency, prompting even her own superiors to launch an investigation into attempts to silence the staffers.

According to documents obtained by McClatchy, current NRO Inspector General Lanie D'Alessandro has opened an official probe into Gen. Mashiko following claims that her tenure with the federal agency has been marred by a “history of intimidation,” according to other staffers.

“This is bureaucracy run amok. These practices violate the rights of Americans, and it’s not even for a good reason,” former NRO officer Mark Phillips told McClatchy during their initial investigation.

The documents suggest that the deputy director did not address concerns made over inappropriate conduct within the agency, instead aggressively seeking a way to silence the whistleblowers that went to the press.

"Now, rather than pledging to address the underlying issues, General Mashiko has responded with threats of reprisal against those who revealed the information to the IG," the inspector general writes in one memo obtained by McClatchy. "It is this threat of reprisal, by one of the most senior leaders in the NRO, that constitutes the violation of law.”

One source within the NRO speaking of the latest revelation says even though IG D'Alessandro has agreed to open up a probe, "people are going to be reluctant to talk with NRO's inspector general now.”

"Four directors went to the IG," Mashiko allegedly told a senior officer, according to a report authorized by the inspector general and made available to McClatchy. "I would like to find them and fire them."

Phillips told McClatchy reporters during their first report that he was reprimanded after asking the agency’s attorney to investigate malpractice tied to the polygraph screenings of prospective employees of the NRO, a federal spy agency staffed by members of the US Air Force and the CIA.


founding barbecuers

"Research – The Key to the Future of Agriculture"

Event
BSAC Fall 2012 IAB Meeting

September 19, 2012 8:00 AM  to 
September 21, 2012 5:00 PM
University of California, Berkeley; CA

Dear BSAC Special Colleagues,
Join us as our guests (no registration fee) for the BSAC  Fall 2012 IAB and Research Reviews September 19th-21st

Description: This is a bi-annual meeting of the industry advisory board and center members to assess ongoing research and set priorities for new research directions.  Visitors interested in membership are welcome if they are willing to sign a non-disclosure agreement.


BSAC IAB is RETURNING TO CAMPUS:
All events will be ON CAMPUS, in Engineering  Facilities  on the North Side of Campus. The Awards Banquet will be a Short Walk to the Historic (Mens) FACULTY CLUB.

OPEN SESSIONS WEDNESDAY 19th  September

  • Joint MEMS Industry Group Workshop   (Wednesday  MORNING September 19th)
  • BSAC Faculty Research Presentations (Plenary Session) Wednesday AFTERNOON September 19th
  • Industry-BSAC Mixer Wednesday EVENING Immediately Following the Afternoon  Session


CLOSED SESSIONS THURSDAY 20th September
  • Student Plenary Talks and Faculty-led Poster Sessions ALL DAY Thursday September 20th
  • DARPA MiNaSIP Research Review for Program Participants DURING LUNCH Thursday September 20th
  • An entertaining evening awards banquet Thursday EVENING September 20th

 

CLOSED SESSION FRIDAY Morning 21st September  (members, BSAC, and NSF only)

  • Industrial Advisory Board meeting Friday MORNING September 21st.

 

INDIVIDUAL MEETINGS, by Arrangement

  • Member Organizations with Faculty and Researchers

Please take this opportunity to renew your contacts with BSAC faculty, researchers, and fellow industry members while reviewing the latest work of your center and invited speakers. We promise to make it worth your time.


Detailed agenda and link to registration is online at

Meeting Type
Partnership Meeting

Contacts
John Huggins, jhuggins@eecs.berkeley.edu

NSF Related Organizations
Industrial Innovation and Partnerships
08/27/2012 12:57 PM EDT

Back to School is an exciting time for both students and parents as they prepare for a new school year and new challenges both in and out of the classroom. It also serves as a great time to remind students about the importance of staying safe and making healthy lifestyle choices.

The Century Council’s Ask Listen Learn: Kids and Alcohol Don’t Mix program provides youth, ages 9-14, and their parents with information about the dangers of underage drinking and the importance of living a healthy lifestyle.

In a recent survey conducted for The Century Council, it was noted that parents are the leading influence in their kid’s decision not to drink. The survey demonstrates the importance of parents and educators starting conversations with youth early and often about the risks and consequences surrounding underage drinking.

The Ask, Listen, Learn program provides materials for parents and instructors on how to start and continue the conversation with young people. The program also offers youth the opportunity to play fun kids’ games, download printable activities, and read about Superstars like Olympian Steven Lopez, Soccer Hall of Famer Julie Foudy, and swimming champion Rebecca Soni.

According to the 2011 Monitoring the Future Study, nearly one third of 8th graders report they have tried alcohol once in their lifetime and 15 percent report they have been drunk. In a separate study, a majority (65 percent) of today’s youth who have consumed alcohol in the past year report family and friends as the leading source from which they get alcohol.

Make no mistake, tweens know what’s going on and they’re more than just a little curious about it. So before they’re presented with the opportunity, it’s critical to give them the information they need to make the right decision. Help support them by teaching them how to say “Yes” to a healthy lifestyle and “No” to underage drinking. Make sure that either as a parent, teacher, or caregiver, you get involved.

You can order free, single copies, of the Ask, Listen, Learn brochures for parents, educators and kids. If you’re interested in distributing the brochures at school or community events, you can also order these free publications in bulk quantities.



Water Pollution Goals
Prove Elusive

by Robert McClure and Bonnie Stewart

Tackling Agriculture,
The Biggest Polluter

by Robert McClure

law review
Carcinogen chromium-6
Is Rampant in California Water
     OAKLAND, Calif. (CN) - One-third of the drinking water sampled in California is contaminated with carcinogenic hexavalent chromium, environmental groups claim in a lawsuit against the state's Department of Public Health.
     The National Resources Defense Council and the Environmental Working Group say the Legislature ordered the Department of Public Health to establish drinking water standards for the toxic chemical by January 2004, but it still has not done so.
Water sources near large cities such as Los Angeles, San Jose, and Riverside had the highest levels of contamination, according to the complaint.
     The Environmental Protection Agency has not established federal contamination levels for hexavalent chromium.
"More than a decade after the Legislature ordered the Department to act, and more than eight years after the statutory deadline for action passed, the Department has not even proposed a hexavalent chromium drinking water standard. The Department presently estimates on its website that it will not publish a final drinking water standard for hexavalent chromium for at least another two to three years."

Nanotechnology Improves the Corrosion Resistance of Galvanized Steel

Published on July 19, 2012 at 8:35 PM

NEI Corporation introduced today a nanotechnology-enabled, two-layer coating that significantly improves the corrosion resistance of zinc-plated and hot-dip galvanized (HDG) steel.

The NEI coating is a drop-in replacement for trivalent chromium. The coating process consists of first applying NANOMYTE PT-100, a self-healing conversion coating, followed by NANOMYTE TC-5001.

The latter is a barrier coating, designed to work synergistically with PT-100. Both PT-100 and TC-5001 are liquid coating formulations that are amenable to dip coating, brushing, and spray coating.

The new NANOMYTE coating technology is designed to protect zinc-plated and galvanized steel surfaces from rusting under severe environmental and operating conditions.

In salt-fog exposure experiments (ASTM B117), NANOMYTE-coated, zinc-plated steel panels showed no white rust after 840 hours; no red rust was observed even after 1200 hours. In contrast, non-coated, zinc-plated panels exhibited white rust in 24 hours and red rust after 168 hours in the salt-fog chamber. Salt-spray testing can be used in conjunction with field testing and online life predictors for coatings on HDG, as prescribed by the American Galvanizers Association (AGA).

The new technology is part of NEI's efforts to develop corrosion resistant coating systems, including pretreatments, primers and topcoats that protect steel, aluminum and magnesium from corrosion. The coatings are economical, easy to use, and provide excellent corrosion resistance compared to state-of-the art offerings. "Our thin, double coat solution for zinc-plated and HDG steel represents a significant advancement in the state-of-the-art that could eliminate the need for using thicker primers and topcoats," said Dr. Fred Allen, President of the Anticorrosion Coatings Division at NEI Corporation. "The market focused activities of NEI are a key to serving the needs of customers who require high-performance anticorrosion coatings. Our goal is to engage customers as partners in developing new corrosion-resistant coating products."

About NEI Corporation

Founded in 1997, NEI Corporation develops, manufactures, and distributes nanoscale materials for a broad range of industrial customers around the world. NEI's products include advanced protective coatings, high performance battery electrode materials, and specialty nanoscale materials for diverse applications. NEI has created a strong foundation in the emerging field of nanotechnology that has enabled the company to become a leader in selected markets. The company headquarters is based in Somerset, NJ.


UCLA Researchers Create Low-Cost Polymer Solar Cells by Solution Processing

Published on July 21, 2012 at 8:16 AM

By Gary Thomas

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) have created a new type of transparent polymer solar cells (PSC) that are capable of generating electricity. These cells can be fixed onto windows. The novel technology allows people within the buildings to see outside as they are visibly transparent.


Underground Pipe for Pipeline Construction

Published on August 18, 2012 at 5:26 AM

By Nick Gilbert

Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering at the University of Arizona and QuakeWrap president, Mo Ehsani, has developed a new underground pipe using aerospace materials to build a virtually endless length of pipeline.


The People’s Garden exhibit at the 2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival in the Reinventing Agriculture area of Campus and Community. The People’s Garden exhibit at the 2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival in the Reinventing Agriculture area of Campus and Community.

The People’s Garden exhibit at the 2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival in the Reinventing Agriculture area of Campus and Community.

Wednesday was opening day of the 2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall.  The Festival features three great themes.  One of the themes entitled “Campus and Community” is a program that commemorates the 150th Anniversary of the founding of Land grant universities and the USDA.


2012 Ag Outlook Forum: U.S. Agriculture, the Weather and Climate Change

Environment | June 2012

Parks for Sale

As local governments trade away public parkland, the safeguards put in place by the Land and Water Conservation Fund to protect that land are full of holes.

What’s Ahead for Global Food Security?

Woman farmers in Kenya, a country where food security is projected to improve over the next decade Photo: World Food Programme

Woman farmers in Kenya, a country where food security is projected to improve over the next decade Photo: World Food Programme

The Economic Research Service (ERS) has, since the late 1970s, reported annually on food security in a number of developing countries. A key indicator is the number of food-insecure people (those who each consume less than a nutritional target of 2,100 calories per day). In the latest report, we estimate food security in 76 countries, in four regions. Read more »


A Science Agenda for Food Security

Consumers in low-income countries on average spend half their income on food, leaving little or no money to spend on other goods and services. As the world population grows, agricultural science will play an important role in helping us combat hunger and malnutrition around the globe. (photo courtesy of the World Food Program/Rein Skullerud)

Consumers in low-income countries on average spend half their income on food, leaving little or no money to spend on other goods and services. As the world population grows, agricultural science will play an important role in helping us combat hunger and malnutrition around the globe. (photo courtesy of the World Food Program/Rein Skullerud)

A reassessment is sorely in order. After all, how long can you base new regulations on old science?  A new definition of "judicial records"

The subject of wetlands protection has offered the federal government a pretext for an unprecedented assault upon private property. Congressman Don Young (R-AK) has cogently summarized the issue:

"There are those in this country who in the name of environmental protection would seek to destroy the right to use your own land. At best these extremists tend to believe that our traditional notions of private property are old-fashioned throwbacks to our capitalist past that have outlived their usefulness. At worst they believe that all resources are to be shared by the masses and that they should be "managed" by the government for the benefit of all. If anyone can understand the practical difference between the central government managing the land for the collective benefit of the masses as Karl Marx suggests -- or for the collective benefit of the "environment" -- please explain it to me. I see no real difference."

Certain cross-sector community collaborative solutions to connect, convene and catalyze the best resources from institutions working together on community problems and identify and highlight solutions that work through extensive research, listening and outreach efforts.

  • Effective elements of community cross-sector collaborations that can be applied to this and other national priorities
  • Promising solutions to address challenges facing youth who are neither in school nor in the workplace

CARDOZO, J., Opinion of the Court

SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES


294 U.S. 511

Baldwin v. G.A.F. Seelig, Inc.

APPEAL FROM THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK


No. 604 Argued: February 11, 12, 1935 --- Decided: March 4, 1935 [*]

State Department oversight of climate change spending abroad is a mess, watchdog reports

Inadequate oversight, lax bookkeeping, sloppy paperwork, haphazard performance agreements and missing financial documentation have plagued U.S. State Department spending of tens of millions of dollars to combat climate change, according to a report by State’s internal financial watchdog — and the problem could be much, much bigger than that.
The audit report, issued last month by the State Department’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG), casts an unflattering spotlight on a relatively obscure branch of the State Department that supervises climate change spending, and depicts it as over-extended in its responsibilities, unstaffed in critical monitoring posts, and more concerned with spending money than in monitoring its effectiveness.
The State Department branch is known as the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs and its Office of Global Change, or OES/EGC, which have become the nerve center of the Obama administration’s international climate change policy, and the epicenter of its foreign climate change spending, which continues to balloon despite serious economic problems at home. 
The OIG report points to a host of lapses in the way OES/EGC has supervised climate change spending, based on what the OIG observed in a sampling of climate change projects between 2006 and 2010, when the overall spending tab amounted to some $214 million.
The OIG sampling involved $34 million of the total.
Click here for a list of sampled programs.
The picture painted by the OIG report is vigorously disputed by the State Department’s Assistant Secretary for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, Kerri Ann Jones, even as she accepted most of the OIG’s recommendations in her 10-page reply to the audit. Jones took over her post in August 2009, toward the very end of the period examined by the Inspector General’s office.
Since then, however, the situation may have gotten worse.
For one thing, the Obama administration’s spending on international climate change projects accelerated between 2010, when the OIG report ended its scrutiny, and mid-2012, when the report appeared — and continues today.
That spending spree has been based on its commitments at a variety of United Nations-sponsored climate change meetings, including the failed Copenhagen climate change conference in December 2009, and subsequent sessions in Mexico, South Africa and, most recently, the Rio + 20 U.N. summit conference on “sustainable development” in Brazil.
Through that process, the world’s developed countries have committed to spend some $30 billion annually on climate change projects in the developing world, with the U.S. a major contributor. (The first board meeting of a so-called Green Climate Fund that hopes to handle most of that money takes place starting on August 23.)
According  to a State Department website, the U.S. has contributed some $5.1 billion in climate change funding to developing countries in 2010 and 2011 alone, with additional money still pouring forth in 2012.
Among the lapses highlighted by the OIG in its sampling:
  • OIG looked at  seven of 19 program grants totaling $34 million, and discovered they contained no specific plans for monitoring the results. As the report demurely noted, “Without comprehensive monitoring of grants, the department may not always have reasonable assurance that federal funds were spent in accordance with the grant award; that the grant recipient performed program activities as dictated in the grant award; and that the program’s indicators, goals and objectives were achieved.”
  • So-called grant oversight officers whose responsibilities included developing the monitoring plans, also failed to provide written reviews of compliance with State Department reporting standards, along with a variety of other financial procedures. In some cases, there apparently weren’t enough oversight officers to go around; when three left their jobs, OIG found evidence that only one was replaced.
  • Oversight officers apparently didn’t do a lot of overseeing. The OIG discovered that actual visits to climate change sites were rare, and when they occurred, not much effort went into examining the actual paperwork involved. In one series of Indian cases examined by OIG, the officers’ reports “typically summarized meetings held with grantee officials where only the statuses of the programs were discussed.”
  • Requirements that grant recipients submit quarterly financial statements were apparently ignored, even though procedures called for cutoffs if the statements were not provided. The report cites an unnamed recipient in Hyderabad, India, who got two separate grants totaling $1.1 million: funding continued to be doled out throughout the project, even though the reporting requirements were completely ignored. And in other cases, even when quarterly reports were received, they were often flawed.
  • The same cavalier attitude toward reporting apparently applied even when projects ended. As the report discreetly puts it, overseers “did not always obtain the final reports needed to ensure that final deliverables were achieved, funds were reconciled, and proper closeout of the project was completed.”
  • One reason for this, apparently, is that reporting requirements for detailed results toward specific indicators — along with general goals and objectives — were not included in any of the seven grants examined by OIG. One of the missing indicators in a number of cases was the actual amount of greenhouse gases removed from the atmosphere by the project.
Click here for the complete report.
The lack of a written demand for specific, reported results in the case of State Department grants became even more dramatic when the Inspector General’s Office examined another important financing tool, known as a “climate change inter-agency acquisition agreement” — essentially, the employment of another branch of the U.S. government to carry out commitments State has negotiated in areas ranging from defense to health to legal education.
The acquisition agreements are common for the State Department, where non-diplomatic expertise can be in short supply. During the period examined by the OIG, State spent three times as much -- $115 million — on the agreements, versus $34 million on grants.  
If anything, the OIG report says, the quality and quantity of financial and other reporting in the State Department’s hands for such agreements, was even worse than for outright grants.
Among other things: 
  • In five acquisition agreements examined by the auditors, none contained  the required performance and financial reports “necessary for effective program monitoring in a timely manner.”
  • In four of the five cases, there was “no evidence” that the Bureau of Oceans had designated an oversight officer, as required. Indeed, OIG found evidence that the Bureau had conducted only one site visit -- in 2008 -- among all the sampled programs that used inter-agency exchange agreements, in this case involving a project carried out by USAID on the bureau’s behalf.
  • In that one case, the report says, the visit “did not include a review of receipts or other documentation for expenditures to substantiate financial progress or a review of documentation that supported performance reports submitted to OES/EGC and that served as evidence that activities had occurred.”
  • The only expenditures OIG could verify in all five inter-agency cases it examined were for travel costs. As the report starkly put it: “OIG was not provided any supporting documentation that could be substantiated for the majority of the recipients’ expenditures.” The report added that there was only “limited evidence” that Bureau of Oceans officials “had requested or reviewed supporting documentation to substantiate assertions made in the reports.”
  • In one specific case where OIG itself demanded the evidence from the contractor of the project, the only available documentation was the demands for payment from five sub-contractors. “OIG received no documentation to verify the expenses claimed or ensure that only authorized expenditures were charged to the project,” the report declares.
  • But while other U.S. government agencies may have been blurry about their supervision of the money they paid out on State’s behalf to other climate change contractors, they were highly specific — and highly expensive — when it came to the fees they charged for that role.
Starting in 2008, the OIG report notes, USAID, the U.S. government’s most active international helping agency, began charging a “General and Administrative Support Overhead Rate” of 23.7 percent for funds it administered under inter-agency agreements, including those in the climate change domain.
Thus, on two Indian grants totaling $10.5 million and administered by USAID over two years, the overhead fee was about $2 million. “Thus,” the report notes, “only approximately $8.5 million of the total was budgeted toward the execution of the [climate change] program.”
On examining the problem more closely, however, OIG discovered that the documentation wasn’t there because the Bureau of Oceans didn’t ask for it. The Bureau’s agreements with other agencies to carry out its work “did not include language that required recipients to maintain supporting documentation for financial expenditures and all pertinent achievements for purposes of substantiation.”
Or, as Assistant Secretary Jones put it in her letter reviewing the OIG report, when it comes to dealing with other Federal agencies, her Bureau provides only “guidance” on the details of performance reporting, while the agencies “are not required to perform project related accounting and are not subject to overhead auditing procedures.”
Click here for Jones' letter.
Overall, a State Department spokesman assured Fox News, in response to questions, the Bureau of Oceans is taking the OIG report and all its recommendations “seriously,” and is “working closely with the [State] Department in the development and implementation of new policies and procedures.”
The catch, however, is that in her letter, Jones promised to change many things more specifically — but only after officials located deeper in the State Department’s labyrinthine bureaucracy come up with “standardized policies for inter-agency agreements.”
And that could involve a much bigger problem. In discussing the lack of documentation with State Department officials early this year, OIG discovered that there are apparently no rules demanding that every part of the State Department handle and account for such inter-agency spending in the same way. And that includes “procedures for reviewing and approving agreements to ensure compliance with Federal and [State] Department requirements.”
The catch, therefore, is that OIG’s discovery about the Bureau of Oceans’ quirky and sometimes non-existent standards could be true across the entire State Department when it comes to inter-agency spending.
Or, as the inspector general’s report delicately put it, the accounting problems with climate change may “signify a Department-wide shortcoming, as inter-agency agreements may not be efficiently and effectively administered and managed in the areas of policy application, review and approval, and overall program management.”  
That could mean discrepancies could involve much bigger bucks than have been examined so far, and well beyond the area of climate change.
According to OIG,  in fiscal 2010 and 2011 alone, the State Department transferred some $4.6 billion to other U.S. agencies to perform work on its behalf, ranging from USAID ($968 million) to Defense (1.358 billion) to Justice ($558 million).
Click here for an overall list of State Department inter-agency spending. 
And while a working group within the State Department’s Office of the Procurement Executive ponders the issue prior to providing “guidance” for changes in the rules, the current procedures — or lack of them — for spending the money, at least when it comes to climate change, will remain in place.
Click for more stories by George Russell

There is a one-third probability to get a global perfect storm next year.

Nouriel Roubini on Threats to the Global Economy

charms


08/15/2012 02:01 PM EDT
going for the gold

 DNA holds the genetic code for all sorts of biological molecules and traits. But University of Illinois researchers have found that DNA's code can similarly shape metallic structures. The team found that DNA segments can direct the shape of gold nanoparticles--tiny gold crystals that have many applications in medicine, electronics and catalysis. Each of the four DNA bases codes for a different gold particle shape: Rough round particles, stars, flat round discs and hexagons. 

“DNA-encoded nanoparticle synthesis can provide us a facile but novel way to produce nanoparticles with predictable shape and properties,” Lu said. “Such a discovery has potential impacts in bio-nanotechnology and applications in our everyday lives such as catalysis, sensing, imaging and medicine.”

Gold nanoparticles have wide applications in both biology and materials science thanks to their unique physicochemical properties. Properties of a gold nanoparticle are largely determined by its shape and size, so it is critical to be able to tailor the properties of a nanoparticle for a specific application.

Full story at http://news.illinois.edu/news/12/0808nanoparticles_YiLu.html


Iron Mountain Mines Institute: Catalysts for Change

nano-gold

Iron Mountain Mines Institute has current stockpiles of mine waste precipitates with over 500,000 tons of calcium sulfate & iron oxides containing aluminum, zinc, copper, silver, cobalt, titanium, & GOLD.

 

 We produce catalysts.

For further information contact: John Hutchens, AMD&CSI, 925-878-9167



GOING FOR THE GOLD

When your banker opens up his vaults to show you he's got what he says he does, he's admitting a crisis of confidence and fearing a crisis of legitimacy.

gold in vault
What's in your vault?

Save the Post Office:

Letter Carriers Consider Bringing Back Banking Services

Sunday, 12 August 2012 00:00 By Ellen Brown, Truthout | News Analysis

Homes outside the front door of the post office in Prim, Arkansas, on Dec. 30, 2011. The small post office in Prim is one of the many that the Postal Service has planned reduced hours at instead of a shutdown. (Photo: Steve Hebert / The New York Times)Homes outside the front door of the post office in Prim, Arkansas, on December 30, 2011. The small post office in Prim is one of the many that the Postal Service has planned reduced hours at instead of a shutdown. (Photo: Steve Hebert / The New York Times)On July 27, 2012, the National Association of Letter Carriers adopted a resolution at their national convention in Minneapolis to investigate the establishment of a postal banking system. The resolution noted that expanding postal services and developing new sources of revenue are important components of any effort to save the public post office and preserve living-wage jobs; that many countries have a long and successful history of postal banking, including Germany, France, Italy, Japan and the United States itself; and that postal banks could serve the nine million people who don't have a bank account and the 21 million who use usurious check cashers, giving low-income people access to a safe banking system. "A USPS [United States Postal Service] bank would offer a 'public option' for banking," concluded the resolution, "providing basic checking and savings - and no complex financial wheeling and dealing."
What is bankrupting the USPS is not that it is inefficient. It has been self-funded throughout its history. But in 2006, Congress required it to prefund postal retiree health benefits for 75 years into the future, an onerous burden no other public or private company is required to carry. The USPS has evidently been targeted by a plutocratic Congress bent on destroying the most powerful unions and privatizing all public services, including education. Britain's 150-year-old postal service is on the privatization chopping block for the same reason, and its postal workers have also vowed to fight. Adding banking services is an internationally tested and proven way to maintain post office solvency and profitability.
Serving an Underserved Market Without Going Broke
Many countries operate postal savings systems through their post offices, providing depositors without access to banks a safe, convenient way to save. Great Britain first offered this arrangement in 1861. It was wildly popular, attracting over 600,000 accounts and £8.2 million in deposits in its first five years. By 1927, there were twelve million accounts - one in four Britons -with £283 million on deposit.
Other postal banks followed. They were popular because they serviced a huge untapped market - the unbanked and underbanked. According to a Discussion Paper of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs:
The essential characteristic distinguishing postal financial services from the private banking sector is the obligation and capacity of the postal system to serve the entire spectrum of the national population, unlike conventional private banks which allocate their institutional resources to service the sectors of the population they deem most profitable. 
Serving the unbanked and underbanked may sound like a losing proposition, but numerous precedents show that postal savings banks serving low-income and rural populations can be quite profitable. (See below.) In many countries, according to the UN paper, banking revenues are actually crucial to maintaining the profitability of their postal network. Letter delivery generates losses and often requires cross-subsidies from the post's other activities in order to maintain its network. One effective solution has been to create or expand the role of postal financial services.
One reason public postal banks are profitable is that their costs are low: the infrastructure is already built and available, advertising costs are minimal and government-owned banks do not award their management extravagant bonuses or commissions that drain profits away. Rather, profits return to the government and the people.
Profits also return to the government in another way: money that comes out from under mattresses and gets deposited in savings accounts can be used to purchase government bonds. In Japan, for example, Japan Post Bank is the holder of fully one-fifth of the national debt. The government has its own captive government lender, servicing the debt at low interest rates without risking the vagaries of the international bond market. Fully 95 percent of Japan's national debt is held domestically in one way or another. That helps explain how Japan can have the worst debt-to-gross-domestic-product ratio of any major country and still maintain its standing as the world's largest creditor. If you owe the money to yourself, it's not really a debt.
Some Examples of Successful Public Postal Banks
Kiwibank
New Zealand's profitable postal bank had a return on equity of 11.7 percent in the second half of 2011, with net profits almost trebling. It is the only New Zealand bank able to compete with the big four Australian banks that dominate the New Zealand financial sector.
In fact, Kiwibank was set up for that purpose. When the New Zealand postal banks were instituted in 2002, it was not to save the post office, but to save New Zealand families and small businesses from big-bank predators. By 2001, Australian mega-banks controlled some 80 percent of New Zealand's retail banking. Profits went abroad and were maximized by closing less profitable branches, especially in rural areas. The result was to place hardships on many New Zealand families and small businesses.
The New Zealand government decided to launch a state-owned bank that would compete with the Aussie banks. To keep costs low while still providing services in communities throughout New Zealand, the planning team opened bank branches in post offices, establishing Kiwibank as a subsidiary of the government-owned New Zealand Post.
Suddenly, New Zealanders had a choice in banking. In an early version of the "move your money" campaign, 500,000 customers transferred their deposits to public postal banks in Kiwibank's first five years - this in a country of only four million people. Kiwibank consistently earns the nation's highest customer satisfaction ratings, forcing the Australia-owned banks to improve their service in order to compete.
China's State-Owned Postal Savings Bureau
With the assistance of the People's Bank of China (the central bank), China's Postal Savings Bureau was re-established in 1986 after a 34-year lapse. As in New Zealand, savings deposits flooded in, showing an extraordinary growth rate of over 50 percent annually in the first half of the 1990s and over 24 percent annually in the second half. By 1998, postal savings accounted for 47 percent of China Post's operating revenues; and 80 percent of China's post offices provided postal savings services. The Postal Savings Bureau has served as a vital link in mobilizing income and profits from the private sector, providing credit that is available to finance local development. In 2007, the Postal Savings Bank of China was set up from the Postal Savings Bureau and established as a state-owned limited company, which continues to provide postal banking services.
Japan Post Bank 
By 2007, Japan Post was the largest holder of personal savings in the world, boasting combined assets for its savings bank and insurance arms of more than ¥380 trillion (US$3.2 trillion). It was also the largest employer in Japan. As in China, Japan Post recaptures and mobilizes income from the private sector, funding the government at low interest rates and protecting the nation's sovereign debt from raids by foreign speculators.
Switzerland's Swiss Post
Postal financial services are by far the most profitable activity of Swiss Post, which suffers heavy losses from its parcel delivery and only marginal profits from letter delivery operations.
India's Post Office Savings Bank (POSB) 
POSB is India's largest banking institution and its oldest, having been established in the latter half of the 19th century following the success of the postal savings bank system in England. Operated by the government of India, it provides small savings banking and financial services. The Department of Posts is now seeking to expand these services by obtaining a license for the creation of a full-fledged bank that would offer full lending and investing services.
Russia's PochtaBank
Russia, too, is seeking to expand its post office services. The head of the highly successful state-owned Sberbank has stepped down to take on the task of revitalizing the Russian post office and create a post office bank. PochtaBank will operate in the Russian Post's 40,000 local post offices. The post office will function as a banking institution and compete on equal footing not only with private banks, but with Sberbank itself.
Brazil's ECT
Brazil instituted a postal banking system in 2002 on a public/private model with the national postal service (ECT), forming a partnership with the largest private bank in the country (Bradesco) to provide financial services at post offices. The current partnership is with Bank of Brazil. ECT (also known as Correios) is one of the largest state-owned companies in Latin America, with an international service network reaching more than 220 countries worldwide.
The US Postal Savings System
The now-defunct US Postal Savings System was also quite successful in its day. It was set up in 1911 to get money out of hiding, attract the savings of immigrants accustomed to saving at post offices in their native countries, provide safe depositories for people who had lost confidence in private banks and furnish depositories that had longer hours and were more convenient for working people than what private banks provided. The minimum deposit was $1 and the maximum was $2,500. The postal system paid two percent interest on deposits annually. It issued US Postal Savings Bonds in various denominations that paid annual interest, as well as Postal Savings Certificates and domestic money orders. Savings in the system spurted to $1.2 billion during the 1930s and jumped again during World War II, peaking in 1947 at almost $3.4 billion.
The US Postal Savings System was shut down in 1967, not because it was inefficient, but because it became unnecessary after the profitability of catering to the unbanked and underbanked became apparent to the private financial sector. Private banks then captured the market, raising their interest rates and offering the same governmental guarantees that the Postal Savings System had.
Time to Revive the US Postal Savings System? 
Today, the market of the unbanked and underbanked has grown again, including about one in four US households, according to a 2009 FDIC survey. Without access to conventional financial services, people turn to an alternative banking market of bill pay, prepaid debit cards and check cashing services, as well as payday loans. The unbanked pay excessive fees for basic financial services, are susceptible to high-cost predatory lenders  and have trouble buying a home and other assets because they have little or no credit history. On average, a payday borrower pays back $800 for a $300 loan, with $500 purely going toward interest. Low-income adults in the US spend over five billion dollars paying off fees and debt associated with predatory loans every year. People with access to banks are better able to resist these services and break the cycle of poverty.
Another underserviced market is the rural population. In May, a move to shutter 3,700 low-revenue post offices was halted only by months of dissent from rural states and their lawmakers, who said the cost cutting would hurt their communities. Banking services are also more limited for farmers following the 2008 financial crisis. With shrinking resources for obtaining credit, family farmers and ranchers are finding it increasingly difficult to stay in their homes.
Postal banking could be a win-win in these circumstances, providing jobs and income for the post office along with safe and inexpensive banking services for underserviced populations. Countries such as Russia and India are exploring full-fledged lending services through their post offices; but if lending to the underbanked seems too risky, a US postal bank could follow the lead of Japan Post and use the credit generated from its deposits to buy safe and liquid government bonds. That could still make the bank a win-win-win, providing income for the post office, safe and inexpensive depository and checking services for the underbanked and a reliable source of public funding for the government.
Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.

The common law is the Will of Mankind issuing from the Life of the People

The judiciary of the United States is the subtle corps of sappers and miners constantly working underground to undermine our Constitution from a co-ordinate of a general and special government to a general supreme one alone. This will lay all things at their feet. … I will say, that “against this every man should raise his voice, and, more, should uplift his arm" … — Thomas Jefferson letter to Thomas Ritchie, Sept. 1820
hands
haec manus inimica tyrannus
"particular expertise in the legal issues at hand"


STONER TOASTED
"These are our state partners," said Nancy Stoner, the nation’s top water-quality administrator,
"We have been talking about the challenges ahead for us" (the Clean Water Act turns 40 Oct. 9.)


Water's fate: fouled, pushed far from its natural origins, squandered and exploited.
management needs strategies that hold solutions,

Water sustainability flows through human-nature interactions

unleashed fury
"Solutions come from looking at issues from multiple points of view at the same time. That’s the way to avoid the unintended consequences that plague water and a way to prevent a water crisis from becoming a water catastrophe." Jianguo “Jack” Liu, director of Michigan State University’s Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability,

Contact: Jianguo “Jack” Liu, Fisheries and Wildlife, Office: (517) 432-5025, jliu@panda.msu.edu; Layne Cameron, Media Communications, Office: (517) 353-8819, Cell: (765) 748-4827, Layne.Cameron@cabs.msu.edu; Sue Nichols, Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, Office: (517) 432-0206, nichols@msu.edu


E.P.A.’s reluctance to dive into river

Superfund program was sold to Congress on the basis of cleanup technology that didn’t exist then, and doesn’t exist today.

EPA wades in

The EPA has said that existing federal and state water quality programs are not adequate, acknowledging their failure and the State and Regional Water Board's failure to implement the Act's provisions.

The EPA says its plan prioritizes seven actions to be pursued in partnership with the State Water Resources Control Board, the Regional Water Boards for the Central Valley and San Francisco Bay, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation.

They are:

• By 2013, propose a standard to curb selenium discharges from cities, farms, and oil refineries;

• By 2013, achieve organophosphate pesticide water quality goals in Sacramento County urban streams;

• By 2014, set new estuarine habitat standards, including salinity, to improve conditions for aquatic life;

• By 2017 establish a monitoring and assessment program for water quality in the Delta;

• Ensure that EPA’s pesticide regulation program more fully considers the effects that pesticides have on aquatic life;

• Restore and rebuild wetlands and floodplains to sequester drinking water contaminants, methylmercury, and greenhouse gases and make the Delta more resilient to floods, earthquakes, and climate change;

• Support the development and implementation of the Bay

“The issues they've identified as needing improvement are welcome but are only a subset of issues that urgently need improvement,” says Bill Jennings, chairman and executive director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance. “And I'm curious as to what they mean by advocating support for the BDCP, which after all, is essentially a peripheral diversion project masquerading as a habitat conservation plan.”

The Bay Delta is the hub of California’s water distribution system, providing drinking water to 25 million people, sustaining irrigation for 4 million acres of farmland, and supporting 750 different species of plants, fish, and wildlife.
The Bay has been degraded over time by many factors, including the destruction of rivers and wetlands and the diversion of freshwater flows by federal and state water projects;


Superfund Stirs Troubled Waters

Forcing somebody else to pay for large stretches of urban waterways passed over for decades because they were technically complex, big,  costly, and difficult.

After years of study and pilot projects that met with varying degrees of success — and failure — the E.P.A. is finally tackling some of the most heavily polluted waterways. Many are in the New York-New Jersey area, which, since the beginning of Superfund, has had the greatest number of polluted sites.

Under pressure from community groups and environmental organizations, the E.P.A. has added to the list the heavily polluted Gowanus Canal, in Brooklyn, and Newtown Creek, on the Brooklyn-Queens border.

Across the country, large cleanups are expected to begin soon in Oregon and Washington State, and remediation continues on the Housatonic River in Massachusetts and Connecticut.
Environmental officials say they have learned through trial and error that it can be far more effective to take an entire river system into account, rather than proceeding piecemeal.

Innovative technology now could speed the entire project.

Used by millions to dump sewage and wastes for more than two centuries, identifying somebody else to pay is a legal nightmare.

“Detoxification of sediment may be beyond our capacity now,” he said, “but someday it won’t be.”


Is the Water Safe? There's an App for That

Riverkeepers announce and celebrate a new app that helps residents immediately learn where it's safe to swim,
jointly celebrate the release of Swim Guide, the app that displays bacteria monitoring data.

jgi

Technology Development Program (TDP)

  • Provides JGI users with early access to nascent technologies and in close collaboration with onsite scientists to address questions of DOE mission relevance.
  • High-impact projects exploring the very limits of current technology.

California Neighborhood Comes Together in Urban Forestry Project

A Kids Zone added fun with face painting and other activities during planting at the Urban Tilth Edible Forest in Richmond, Calif. Other highlights were the community barbeque and a “make your own soda” used to teach children how much sugar goes into their favorite beverage.

A Kids Zone added fun with face painting and other activities during planting at the Urban Tilth Edible Forest in Richmond, Calif. Other highlights were the community barbeque and a “make your own soda” used to teach children how much sugar goes into their favorite beverage.

This year, more than 80 volunteers worked together to plant 20 trees, 117 native and edible understory plants, and more than 600 butterfly garden plants as part of the Cesar Chavez Community Garden Day celebration at the Edible Forest garden on the Richmond Greenway, a 2.8-mile trail in Contra Costa County, Calif. Read more »

Welcome to NEON

The National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) is a continental-scale observatory designed to gather and provide 30 years of ecological data on the impacts of climate change, land use change and invasive species on natural resources and biodiversity. NEON is a project of the National Science Foundation, with many other U.S. agencies and NGOs cooperating.

All NEON data and information products will be freely available via the Web. NEON’s open-access approach to its data and information products will enable scientists, educators, planners, decision makers and the public to map, understand and predict the effects of human activities on ecology and effectively address critical ecological questions and issues.

The Airborne Observation Team just completed its first test flights with a fully-integrated set of instruments.

Geo

NEON: A Community-Driven Resource

The NEON concept was born in the ecological community and the design honed by thousands of dedicated people participating in workshops and reviews.  Read more about the community working to bring NEON to fruition.

LTER Network

  • The Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network is a collaborative effort involving more than 1800 scientists and students investigating ecological processes over long temporal and broad spatial scales
  • The Network promotes synthesis and comparative research across sites and ecosystems and among other related national and international research programs
  • The National Science Foundation established the LTER program in 1980 to support research on long-term ecological phenomena in the United States
  • The 26 LTER Sites represent diverse ecosystems and research emphases
  • The LTER Network Office coordinates communication, network publications, and research-planning activities
NEON broke ground on its first two sites this week, marking the official start of observatory construction.

Tis the Jolly CZEN

CZEN Home

The Critical Zone Exploration Network (CZEN) is a community of people and a network of field sites investigating processes within the Critical Zone, defined as the Earth’s outer layer from vegetation canopy to the soil and groundwater that sustains human life. CZEN members are a diverse group of researchers and educators who study the physical, chemical and biological processes shaping and transforming Earth’s Critical Zone. This research spans a wide range of disciplines including geosciences, hydrology, microbiology, ecology, soil science, and engineering. CZEN encourages all researchers working in the Critical Zone to join the effort by registering on this site and contributing content. CZEN’s primary goal is to create a network of observatories for investigating Critical Zone processes such as weathering and soil formation. Through this network, researchers can access and integrate data in a way that allows isolation of environmental variables and comparison of environmental effects across gradients of time, lithology, human disturbance, biological activity and topography.


[W]e conclude that an agency may not insulate itself from correction merely because it has not been corrected soon enough, for a longstanding error is still an error. the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a decision by the (EPA)

"EPA exceeded its authority.... and its grounds for doing so were insufficient, capricious and arbitrary."
23-page opinion by Circuit Judge E. Grady Jolly


EPA slaps landlords

EPA fines landlords $40,000 for failing to provide "EPA-Approved" pamphlets to tenants

But remember, they're doing it for the children:

“Thinking of renting or selling a home or apartment?” asks the Environmental Protection Agency. “Make sure you disclose its lead-based paint history. Mr. Wolfe Landau did not and it cost him a $20,000 fine.”

Landau is one of the many landlords and realtors fined by the EPA for failing to provide an “EPA-approved” pamphlet to tenants seeking to rent or buy a house built before 1978... for the EPA, the non-compliance business is booming.

Juan Hernandez of Bridgeport, Conn., faces seven “Level 1” violations for failing to provide seven tenants with a copy of the “Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home” pamphlet... The EPA filed a complaint against Hernandez on March 27, detailing notifying him that the agency plans to collect $49,980 from him, which works out to $7,140 for each pamphlet he failed to distribute...

...Hernandez’s total fine for other disclosure violations, such as supplying the property’s lead history and a “Lead Warning Statement,” reached $127,150, payable to the "Treasurer of the United States of America."
EPA 'Guidance' Slapped Down

Community Devolvement Coordinator's - Environmental Justice Stakeholder's

Monologue - Dialogue - Epilogue Session

(EPA can't ignore public feedback on our Superfund site forever)

"You are a nest of vipers and thieves, and by the grace of the almighty God, I will ROOT you out!"

- President Andrew Jackson

“[i]n response to concerns about the limited degree of public involvement in the selection of CERCLA remedies.” 2 JAMES T. O’REILLY, INTERVENTION IN JUDICIAL PROCEEDING, SUPERFUND & BROWNFIELDS CLEANUP § 22:16 (2009–10).

(The non-profit irrigation canal owner tax exemption may apply to employees engaged in insect, rodent, and weed pest control)


NSF 10-040
Dear Colleague Letter: Climate, Energy, and Sustainability

Directorate for Biological Sciences, Directorate for Computer & Information Science and Engineering, Directorate for Education and Human Resources, Directorate for Engineering, Directorate for Geosciences, Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences, Office of Cyberinfrastructure, Office of Integrative Activities, Office of International Science and Engineering, Office of Polar Programs

March 2010

In FY 2010, NSF is expanding its support for climate research by issuing five new cross-directorate solicitations:

These solicitations are intended to support innovative research and education that will advance our capability and capacity to understand and predict changes to Earth’s natural and human-dominated systems, to assess the vulnerability and resilience of these systems to change, and to foster workforce development and scientific literacy in these areas. These advances will strengthen the scientific knowledge base for policy decisions at regional and national levels.

Building on recommendations in the August 2009 National Science Board Report, Building a Sustainable Energy Future and the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007, NSF has requested funds in FY 2011 to further expand research support in this area through new and existing programs focused on Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability (SEES). SEES is proposed to address challenges in climate and energy research and education using a systemic approach to understanding, predicting, and reacting to change in the linked natural, social, and built environment through:

  • short and long term observations enabled by a new generation of experimental and observational networks;
  • data analysis, modeling, simulation and intelligent decision-making facilitated by advanced computation;
  • research at the energy-environment-society nexus;
  • innovative strategies for energy production, distribution and use;
  • study of societal factors such as vulnerability and resilience, and sensitivity to regional change; and
  • building of research and education partnerships, both nationally and internationally.

The portfolio of SEES will also help develop the workforce required for future economic, energy and environmental sustainability.

Information on NSF's climate research activities as well as plans for SEES is available at http://www.nsf.gov/sees.


Coastal SEES (Coastal SEES)
Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability


Program Solicitation
NSF 12-594

NSF Logo

National Science Foundation

Directorate for Geosciences

Directorate for Biological Sciences

Directorate for Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences

Directorate for Engineering

Office of Polar Programs

Full Proposal Deadline(s) (due by 5 p.m. proposer's local time):

January 17, 2013

NSF anticipates an annual call for proposals by this program

SUMMARY OF PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

General Information

Program Title:

Coastal SEES (Coastal SEES)

Synopsis of Program:

A sustainable world is one in which human needs are met equitably and without sacrificing the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Meeting this formidable challenge requires a substantial increase in our understanding of the integrated system of society, the natural world, and the alterations humans bring to Earth. NSF's Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability (SEES) activities aim to address this need through support for interdisciplinary research and education.

Hydropower bills energize environmental debate over dams

Hydropower dams would get a boost, while their skeptics would get punished, under a controversial new bill backed by Western conservatives in Congress.

Published: Aug. 10, 2012 at 11:30 a.m. PDTUpdated: Aug. 10, 2012 at 11:55 a.m. PDT
0 comments

Hydropower dams would get a boost, while their skeptics would get punished, under a controversial new bill backed by Western conservatives in Congress.

In a bit of tit for tat, the legislation introduced this month would strip federal funding from environmental groups that have challenged hydropower facilities in court over the past decade. The bill further would block federal money from being used to study or undertake dam removals, save for the rare occasion when Congress has authorized the action.

“This bill would . . . help eliminate government roadblocks and frivolous litigation that stifle development,” Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., said in a statement when he introduced it.

The chairman of the House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee, Hastings has convened a panel hearing for next Wednesday in Pasco, Wash., that will be stacked with hydropower supporters, providing a hint of legislative momentum.

But with little time left in a Congress now mostly focused on campaign season, and with the 17-page Hastings bill poisonous to prominent environmental groups, the legislation appears fated for now to serve primarily as debate provocation.

“This is incredibly extreme,” said Jim Bradley, the senior director of government relations for American Rivers. “I haven’t seen anything quite like this. It’s a little bit shocking for a member of Congress to create this kind of blacklist.”

American Rivers, the National Wildlife Federation and Trout Unlimited are among the organizations that could be cut off from federal grant funding under the bill; each has been party to a suit potentially challenging hydropower generation, and each has received federal money.

“We’re very concerned about it,” said Steve Moyer, Trout Unlimited’s vice president for government affairs.

It’s all a reminder that hydropower, however fresh it sounds, can generate political heat as well as occasional cooperation.

In June, for instance, a sharply divided House passed a bill by Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., that would permit California’s Merced Irrigation District to raise the spillways on the district’s New Exchequer Dam. That would increase power production and water storage, but it also would temporarily inundate part of a protected Wild and Scenic River. The Obama administration opposes the Denham bill, which faces an uncertain future in the Senate.

Hydropower rhetoric, too, can get heavy. At a hydropower hearing last year, Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., the chairman of the House Water and Power Subcommittee, denounced American Rivers, which advocates for protecting river habitat nationwide, as an “extremist organization.”

Last year, on a closely divided vote, McClintock won House approval for an amendment blocking the removal of what he called “four perfectly good hydroelectric dams” in the Klamath River Basin of Oregon and Northern California. Congress later dropped the amendment; but, as with the new Hasting bill, a point had been made about an important part of the nation’s energy mix.

In a more collaborative vein, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., won unanimous House support in July for a bipartisan bill that streamlines licensing for small hydropower projects. The legislation would exempt from federal licensing requirements the nation’s 1,100-plus hydro projects that aren’t operated by the federal government and that generate less than 10 megawatts of electricity; the current exemption is limited to projects that generate less than 5 megawatts.

“Notwithstanding all of (the) benefits, the regulatory approval process for hydropower development, especially for smaller projects, can be unnecessarily slow, costly and cumbersome,” Rodgers said during House debate.

Her bill awaits Senate action.

Hydropower accounts for about 8 percent of all electrical production nationwide. California has more hydropower facilities than any other state, while Washington state leads in overall power production. Lawsuits periodically have challenged these dam operations, directly or indirectly, and supporters of Hastings’ bill say the litigation slows energy development and increases consumer costs.

Groups that file lawsuits that “if successful would result in” a reduction in hydropower generation would be covered by the federal grant cutoff, under the new bill. Attorneys for such groups likewise would be cut off. Spencer Pederson, a spokesman for the House Natural Resources Committee, said the panel didn’t have a list of which organizations might be affected.

“It is a policy statement about the importance of hydropower and how taxpayer dollars shouldn’t be used to destroy that resource,” Pederson said of the bill.

Court and federal grant records show that American Rivers would be affected because the group has litigated and it’s received federal funding, including a $1 million National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration grant last year. The 110,000-member Trout Unlimited likewise has sued and has received federal grants, including a $350,000 habitat conservation grant last year, federal records show, while the significantly larger National Wildlife Federation has sued and received a variety of habitat conservation grants last year.

Subject:
 Find Affordable Housing for Seniors
 From:
To:

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has a number of resources to help seniors find affordable rentals. They offer a low-rent apartment search that shows low-rent apartments for senior citizens and people with disabilities, as well as for families and individuals. For low-rent apartments, the government gives funds directly to the apartment owners. There is an income limit to qualify.

You can also look for multifamily units by state that rent to seniors and people with disabilities. HUD does not provide details like eligibility, waiting list information, or types of accessible features for these properties, but the list can help you identify potential rentals in your area.

There's also the public housing program and public housing choice vouchers, commonly called Section 8. Public housing comes in all sizes and types and is managed by local housing agencies that are funded by the federal government. Public housing choice vouchers allow you to find a private rental and the government pays the landlord directly to subsidize the rent. Both programs are limited to low-income families and individuals.

If you have questions or need help finding a rental, talk to a HUD-approved housing counselor.


USDA-Funded North Valley Health Center in Minnesota Expected to Improve Rural Quality of Life

Minnesota Rural Development State Director Landkamer, fourth from the right, breaking ground on the new North Valley Health Center in Warren, Minn.

Ground was broken on the new 43,000 square-foot North Valley Health Center on July 26. It will be located next to the Good Samaritan Nursing Home and will feature a larger physical therapy department, full handicap accessibility and covered entrances, among other enhancements.Community members came together to build the first hospital in Warren, Minn., all the way back in 1905. Today, the community is coming together once again to build a new innovative healthcare facility that will continue the tradition of strong rural healthcare in the community of 1,500. Read more »

Health Centers
near Iron Mountain Rd, Redding, CA 96001

Results 1 - 7 of total 7.   Page 1 of 1
1

SHASTA COMMUNITY DENTAL CLINIC
  (~ 5.13 miles away)
1400 Market St Ste 8103, Redding, CA 96001-1050
Phone number  530-246-5894
Directions  Get directions to this site    from this site
2

SHASTA COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER
  (~ 5.48 miles away)
1035 Placer St, Redding, CA 96001-1125
Phone number  530-246-5710
Directions  Get directions to this site    from this site
3

PCN Clinic (Primary Care Neuro-psychiatry and Specialty Care Clinic)
  (~ 5.48 miles away)
980 Placer St, Redding, CA 96001-1126
Phone number  530-246-5710
Directions  Get directions to this site    from this site
4

SHASTA LAKE CITY FAMILY HLTH CTR
  (~ 6.31 miles away)
4215 Front St, Shasta Lake, CA 96019-9430
Phone number  530-246-9168
Directions  Get directions to this site    from this site
5

ANDERSON FAMILY HEALTH CENTER
  (~ 15.44 miles away)
2801 Silver St, Anderson, CA 96007-4239
Phone number  530-378-0486
Directions  Get directions to this site    from this site
6

HILL COUNTRY COMMUNITY CLINIC
  (~ 29.95 miles away)
29632 Highway 299 E, Round Mountain, CA
Phone number  530-337-6243
Directions  Get directions to this site    from this site
7

SHINGLETOWN MEDICAL CENTER
  (~ 32.14 miles away)
31292 Alpine Meadows Rd, Shingletown, CA 96088-9462
Phone number  530-474-3390
Directions  Get directions to this site    from this site


West Nile Virus Found in Shasta County Mosquito Sample

POSTED: Aug 10 2012 07:02:42 PM PDT  UPDATED: 7:11 PM Aug 10 2012
A mosquito sample collected by the Shasta Mosquito and Vector Control district tested positive for for West Nile virus.

Event Activity to Engage The Public

PEGGY Selden - ROCKBRIDGE CERT RESIDENT VOLUNTEER

In the animal kingdom there are creatures who "prepare" demonstrated by the hard working bee, industrious ant, and acron packing squirrel.  At events in 2011 using the BEEE READY BE HIVE (Plastic cone shape like a Bee Hive)  we inticed folks to reach into the hive and grab a honey pot an "recieve a grab-n-go item on the spot" signage>(Go into the hive and select a pot..you might get lucky on the spot..A lucky choice and you can brag...you'll receive something for your Grab-n-Go Bag). 

A Guessing Game for the number of acrons in a "squirrel's nest" (A Jar filled with acorns and a nest of shredded grey paper on top) signage>(This little creature prepares ahead..Guess How Many acorns he has in his bed..His gathering is steady...Be right and receive A gift to Help Get You Ready)

The stickers from the ANTS MOVIE were used all over my grandson's mesh bag where the contents of his Bug-Out-Bag were inventoried for all to read.  The see through Mesh Bag Helped point out contents too!

Counting or inventory of giveaways helped us record the number of folks we spoke to.  Registering for "homemade" packages of hygiene items, tools or first aid kits also allowed us to capture names and address to invite the public to BASIC CERT CLASSES.

A homemade manual version of the FEMA READY KIDS website interactive "match game" allowed us to keep the kids busy while the parents filled out a survey.

Personal Preparedness Kits on display were used as talking points where many did not know that Emergency Water came in Mylar Bags with a longshelf life and ability to stay in the family car safely.




Avoid Eating Oysters from Farm Backed by Dianne Feinstein

The California Department of Health is warning consumers not to eat oysters from Drakes Bay Oyster Company, because they may contain bacteria that causes serious illness. Drakes Bay Oyster Company is the same business that's been locked in a nasty dispute with the National Park Service over its oyster farm at Point Reyes National Seashore. As the Express has reported, US Senator Dianne Feinstein is a strong backer of the oyster farm and wants the federal government to extend its lease at Drakes Estero in Point Reyes — a move that would be unprecedented because Drakes Estero has been designated by Congress to become the first marine wilderness on the West Coast.

Drakes Bay Oyster Company
In a statement this afternoon, California health officials said at least three people have been sickened by eating oysters from Drakes Bay Oyster Company. The oysters contained the bacterium Vibrio parahaemolyticus. "Symptoms of Vibrio parahaemolyticus infection include vomiting, abdominal cramps, watery diarrhea, headache, fever, and chills," the statement said. "Most infected people recover without treatment in a few days. Severe illness and death from Vibrio parahaemolyticus infection is rare, but can occur with chronic liver disease, cancer, or other conditions that weaken the immune system."

Drakes Bay Oyster Company, the largest supplier of oysters in California, has already initiated a voluntary recall of shucked and inside-shell raw oysters. "The shucked oysters are packaged under the Drakes Bay Oyster Farm label and sold in 9 ounce, 1-pint, 1-quart and half-gallon jars, or tubs," the health department stated. "The affected shucked products are labeled with lot numbers 363 through 421. The lot number can be found on the top label of each jar or tub. The in-shell raw oysters are sold individually or in bags ranging in size from 1 dozen to 10 dozen. In-shell raw oyster tags are marked with harvest dates ranging from July 17, 2012, through August 8, 2012."

A complete list of the suspect oysters from Drakes Bay is on the state health department's website. Health officials also are recommending that consumers experiencing any ill effects after consuming the oysters should consult their health care providers. People that observe the oysters being offered for sale are encouraged to call the California Department of Public Health at (800) 495-3232.

The health department bulletin and the recall could deliver a debilitating blow to Drakes Bay Oyster Company, which has been under fire from environmentalists for repeatedly violating state environmental laws at its Point Reyes oyster farm. At the same time, Drakes Bay, with Feinstein's help, is attempting to convince US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to set aside precedent, block creation of the marine wilderness, and extend its lease for another ten years before it expires this November.

Energy Projects in 2011 that have failed

By The Associated Press

The Associated Press

The 2011 Department of Commerce magazine, entitled "Energy Opportunities are ON," predicted a renewables renaissance in Idaho. Things haven't worked out as well as many of the companies featured had hoped. Here's a partial list of projects that have faltered.

— Solar declines: In the 2011 magazine, the Department of Commerce announced Hoku Corp. was putting the "final touches" on its $400 million polysilicon manufacturing plant in Pocatello to supply the solar panel industry. The plant hasn't been completed and its employees have been laid off. Meanwhile, Hawaiian-based, Chinese-owned Hoku fights for its survival.

And Transform Solar, the joint venture between Idaho-based Micron Technologies Inc. and Australia's Origin Energy, were just preparing to hire hundreds at the time it was lauded by Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter in the 2011 publication. Earlier this year, the company announced it was shutting down, laying off its workers and closing the Nampa factory's doors.

— Turbine trouble: The agency publication predicted that Utah-based Pavilion Energy Resources would be building a new wind turbine manufacturing facility in Idaho to mass produce low-wind turbines, to fulfill an initial $100 million turbine order. Last month, the company's leader, Rick Wood, said from his offices in Salt Lake City, "If Idaho doesn't get its act together, there's a real chance we're not going to go ahead."

— Geothermal fizzle: The Department of Commerce touted Idaho's 855 megawatts of marketable, reasonably priced geothermal power as putting the state in third place behind California and Nevada. Though one utility-scale project has been built — U.S. Geothermal revamped a former U.S. Department of Energy demonstration site in Malta and began commercial production in 2008 — others haven't materialized. Consequently, plans by the Idaho's Office of Energy Resources to fund itself through expected royalties from geothermal projects have been thwarted, forcing the agency to seek money elsewhere to help it survive.

— Biomass bust: Yellowstone Power, a company developing a $28.5 million biomass facility at a proposed sawmill in Emmett Idaho, won a 15-year electricity purchase agreement from Idaho Power that got attention in the magazine. Last week, Montana-based Yellowstone agreed to pay Idaho Power $200,000 in a non-performance damage settlement because the project failed and it couldn't deliver promised electricity.

—Wind departs: Notably, one of the Idaho Department of Commerce's biggest marketing coups of 2008, a turbine-manufacturing factory of California-based Nordic Windpower lured to a vacant military building in Pocatello, wasn't featured in that magazine. The reason? Nordic decided Idaho was too far from its customers in the Midwest so it moved to Kansas.

Copyright The Associated Press

Dear Colleague Letter - Rapid Response Research Grants on Research about the Potential Threat of Debris Fields from the March 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami on the West Coast of North America

DATE: August 9, 2012

In the aftermath of the March 2011 earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan, fields of debris are now washing up on the western shores of the United States. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Japanese authorities say that approximately five million tons of wreckage flowed into the Pacific Ocean following the earthquake and tsunami. While a majority of it likely sank, experts estimate that between one to two million tons was left floating and is heading toward North America. The debris fields are expected to reach and potentially threaten the west coast of North America from the spring of 2012 through late 2014.

When unforeseen circumstances offer unique opportunities to advance basic knowledge, NSF has in place the Rapid Response Research (RAPID) funding mechanism. As noted in the GPG, this mechanism is used to support activities having a severe urgency with regard to availability of, or access to data, facilities or specialized equipment, including quick-response research on natural or anthropogenic disasters and similar unanticipated events. In the past RAPID funding supported fundamental research activities related to acute events such as the New Zealand earthquake in February 2011, the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in March 2011, and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.

The NSF Directorates for Biological Sciences (BIO), Geosciences (GEO), Engineering (ENG), Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS), and Computer & Information Science & Engineering (CISE) and the Office of Cyberinfrastructure (OCI) are accepting proposals to conduct research on the potential threat to the North American west coast from debris fields associated with the March 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami. Proposals must conform to the guidelines for preparation of Rapid Response Research (RAPID) proposals as specified in the NSF Grant Proposal Guide (GPG) available at: http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=gpg.

Sincerely,

Alan Blatecky
Director, Office of Cyberinfrastructure

Margaret A. Cavanaugh
Acting Assistant Director for Geosciences

Farnam Jahanian
Assistant Director for Computer & Information Science & Engineering

Thomas W. Peterson
Assistant Director for Engineering

H. Edward Seidel
Assistant Director for Mathematical and Physical Sciences

John C. Wingfield
Assistant Director for Biological Sciences

root dwellers

“There are thousands hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.” - Henry David Thoreau

Improving the security and resilience of our nation's drinking water and waste-water infrastructures is vital to ensure the provision of clean and safe water to all in the United States. Significant actions are underway to assess and reduce consequences, threats, and vulnerabilities to potential terrorist attacks; to plan for and practice response to natural disasters, emergencies, and incidents; and to develop new security technologies to detect and monitor contaminants and prevent security breaches. Learn more about water security.


I. INTRODUCTION

Critical Zone Observatory

The critical zone - the veneer of Earth that extends from the top of the vegetation to the base of weathered bedrock - is so-named because it is where fresh water flows, soils are formed from rocks, and terrestrial life flourishes. This critical zone provides most of the ecosystem services on which societies depend. Its intrinsic resilience, natural evolution, and fate in the face of human land use and climate change need to be understood and predicted to inform strategies for sustaining a wide range of human activities. Unprecedented pressures are being placed on the critical zone, and understanding the interrelated processes, system dynamics, sensitivities, and thresholds in this zone is of vital importance for informing human decisions.

Through the Critical Zone Observatories (CZO) solicitation, NSF 12-575, NSF will create a network of observatories that will be fully coordinated in terms of observations, data management, modeling, and educational and outreach activities. Key to this networked approach is a CZO National Office (CZO-NO). The CZO-NO will facilitate coordination of research and educational programs of the CZO network and provide a centralized entity that represents the CZO network with the scientific community and the public.

This solicitation requests proposals for the creation of the CZO-NO. The Principal Investigator (PI) will serve as Director of the CZO-NO and will work closely alongside all CZO PIs and co-PIs to achieve the following goals:

  • Facilitate communication among CZOs;
  • Negotiate and implement common protocols for sensing, analyzing, and reporting of common measurements amongst CZOs;
  • Promote dissemination of information and resources both among the CZOs and to additional stakeholder communities beyond the reach of individual CZOs;
  • Identify common CZO concerns and needs;
  • Identify opportunities to leverage resources or develop synergistic activities;
  • Plan the development of and implement agendas for annual CZO PI meetings in coordination with the CZO site hosting the meeting;
  • Coordinate implementation of data publication.

II. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

NSF invites the submission of proposals for the Critical Zone Observatory National Office (CZO-NO). The CZO-NO will have two main functions: to coordinate activities of the network of CZOs, and to disseminate information to a number of audiences. The CZO-NO is expected to work with the CZO community and to share CZO discoveries, data, and research opportunities with the broad scientific community.

Responsibilities of the CZO-NO in coordinating the network of CZOs will include, but are not limited to:

  • Organizing and participating in regular, monthly teleconferences for the CZO PIs and co-PIs;
  • Supporting the CZO network's committees and working groups;
  • Coordinate the planning and logistics of two face-to-face meetings of CZO PIs per year. One meeting will take place at a professional meeting (e.g. AGU) and the second will be a CZO site visit;
  • Assisting with the coordination and planning of common measurements, protocols and data management for the network of CZOs.

Responsibilities of this office in representing the CZO network include, but are not limited to:

  • Being the singular point of communication with the larger science community on behalf of the CZO network;
  • Promoting the CZO program and developing a high-profile public identity that emphasizes its interdisciplinary nature and focus on creation of knowledge for a sustainable Earth;
  • Creating a strong education and outreach program in which CZO data and discoveries reach a broad spectrum of local, regional, national, and international audiences, including scientists, educators, students, landowners, policymakers, and the general public. Outreach activities should be coordinated among CZO sites and with the broader scientific community;
  • Serving as the liaison of the CZO program to other CZ-related groups or organizations (e.g., CSDMS, CUAHSI, CZEN, DOSECC, LTER, NEON, UNAVCO, etc.);
  • Representing the CZOs at research and educational conferences, and public outreach events;
  • Developing and distributing CZO outreach materials through the use of traditional and new media;
  • Assisting in the organization of workshops, short courses, and sessions at national and international meetings;
  • Organizing and managing a CZO booth at professional meetings and conferences;
  • Developing a quarterly CZO newsletter and an annual integrated CZO science report, and maintaining an archive of these items;
  • Maintaining and updating content of the CZO Website (criticalzone.org);
  • Developing and managing a CZO speaker series.

Critical Zone Observatories National Office Structure

NSF anticipates that successful operations and management of the CZO-NO will require a senior-level scientist (the proposal PI) on a part-time appointment who will serve as the CZO-NO Director and manage the activities of the office; a full-time office manager at the postdoctoral level or equivalent that would assist the PI with scientific issues; an Education & Outreach (E&O) Coordinator; and additional full-time support staff who will perform other functions of the office, including maintaining Web content, providing logistical and other support for workshops and meetings, supporting the CZO advisory structure, and administrative functions. The CZO-NO may hire appropriate staff, students, and postdoctoral associates to assist in scientific, education and outreach activities.

Links and related documents

Additional documents that are useful descriptors of community planning related to the CZO's may be accessed through www.nsf.gov/geo/ear/programs/czo_moreinfo.jsp

welcome!

Fire Danger precautions are in effect, more information... 

The East Bay Regional Park District spans Alameda and Contra Costa counties east of San Francisco with 112,000+ acres in 65 parks including over 1,200 miles of trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding and nature study. The Park District offers lakes, shorelines, campgrounds, visitor centers, interpretive and recreation programs, picnic areas, indoor/outdoor rental facilities, golf courses and much more. Our award-winning Trails Challenge Program is a popular self-guided hiking, biking, and walking program with thousands of participants each year. Our volunteer programs offer opportunities in public safety, interpretation, environmental protection and habitat and species preservation. We hope you will enjoy your visit to our East Bay Regional Parks. 

SATURDAY, AUGUST 11: VINYL RECORD DAY

Profile America — Saturday, August 11th.  Listening to a favorite song can bring back fond memories.  That's the idea behind Vinyl Record Day — which will be celebrated tomorrow, as it is each year on the 12th, the anniversary of Thomas Edison's invention of the phonograph.  Vinyl records — both 33 1/3 and 45 RPM — brought Americans their favorite music for more than half a century.  Now, an increasing number of portable electronic devices allow us to listen to our favorites anywhere.  Even with these advances, physical recordings still account for a majority of recordings sold.  And premium quality vinyl LPs are making a modest comeback, especially in the audiophile community.  You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau, online at www.census.gov.

Sanders, EPA chief tour Vermont National Guard solar installation


Sanders and EPA Chief Inspect Vermont National Guard Solar Power Project

SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt., Aug. 23 – Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson today joined U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders on a tour of a Vermont National Guard solar power installation that is a model for military bases around the country.

Brig. Gen. Thomas Drew, the Guard’s new adjutant general, escorted the EPA administrator and Sanders (I-Vt.) on a tour of one of the largest solar projects at any National Guard base in the United States.

“This solar installation project is a great example of what can happen at military facilities, where we can foster healthier environments for the people on our bases, and drive innovation that is critical to our economic and environmental future,” said Jackson. “Some of our most interesting and innovative environmental ideas are taking hold on bases and through EPA’s work with the military. The EPA is proud of our active collaboration with the various branches, and our efforts to protect health and the environment in the places where our soldiers and their families live and work.”

Sanders welcomed the EPA chief to Vermont and echoed her statement. “At a time when the U.S. Defense Department is the largest consumer of energy in the world, the Vermont National Guard is a model for what other military institutions can be doing,” the senator said.

Sanders applauded Jackson’s leadership at the EPA, crediting her and the Obama administration with improving fuel economy standards for cars and trucks and for strong enforcement of clean air regulations to combat global warming. “Perhaps not as well known,’ the senator added, “is that EPA has been working with the military to help make our bases more sustainable when it comes to energy and water use.”

As Chairman of the Senate Green Jobs Subcommittee, Sanders held a hearing with leaders from the Army, Navy, and Air Force and EPA to discuss that partnership. He cited the Vermont National Guard as a leader.

The project was estimated to save hundreds of thousands annually on the Guard’s energy bills and provide 40 percent of the electricity needs at the base. In fact, the project has outperformed expectations. In the last three months, the solar project has generated 681 megawatt hours of electricity, over 11 percent more than expected. During the same three-month period, the Guard saved more than $82,000 on electric bills.

“Our National Guard is a model for the military and for businesses, as well, that want to invest in energy efficiency and sustainable energy to save money and cut greenhouse gas emissions,” Sanders said.

Completed in 2011, the project was built with $8.5 million in grants secured by Sanders.

Contact: Michael Briggs (202) 224-5141


GAIN Index

PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, Aug. 10, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Global Adaptation Institute (GAIN) will host an international Open Consultation process before release of the 2012 GAIN Index in October. This consultation reflects GAIN's commitment to updating the index each year to incorporate new or revised data and advice on methodological, design and communications improvements.

The GAIN Index (index.gain.org) is a navigation tool to help guide investments in adaptation and assess a country's vulnerability and readiness to adapt to global challenges such as population growth, urbanization and climate change.

"Since release of the GAIN Index one year ago, we have presented it in six continents and to dozens of business leaders, think tanks, government agencies and academic institutions, said GAIN Founding CEO Dr. Juan Jose Daboub. "The response has been overwhelmingly positive and along the way GAIN has gladly accepted suggestions to enhance the power of the index."

Such improvements under consideration include incorporating indicators for ecosystem services and urbanization. Ecosystem services are the multitude of ecological processes that humans rely upon to support their lives and livelihoods, providing food and clean water, natural disaster protection, climate regulation and nutrient cycling. Understanding urban trends and conditions is key to effective adaptation as many of the challenges humanity faces from population growth and climate change will take place in cities.

"The Institute highly values the viewpoints and concerns of all stakeholders," said Dr. Bruno Sanchez-Andrade Nuno GAIN Directors of Science & Technology. "We will consider every suggestion received and constructive ideas will be incorporated into the GAIN Index."

The open consultation process will begin August 25, 2012. Please visit gain.org in the coming weeks for information on submitting comments or contact Dr. Sanchez at brunosan@gain.org.

The Global Adaptation Institute (GAIN) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)3 organization guided by a vision of building resilience to climate change and other global forces as a key component to sustainable development.

Please visit us at: gain.org

SOURCE Global Adaptation Institute

EPA Combined Sewers Guidance, Reviews Mixed 

Nearly two decades ago, the EPA introduced a policy for controlling municipal sewer overflows from pipes that carry both stormwater and sewage.

Last summer, for instance, the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District signed a record $US 4.7 billion Clean Water Act settlement to reduce the amount of raw sewage and polluted surface runoff entering local waterways.

In June, the agency released the final version of the strategy, which seeks to give communities more flexibility in meeting water-quality goals. The voluntary process also encourages use of “green” infrastructure, or natural water-absorbing systems such as wetlands and grass roofs that could cut compliance costs in the long run.

The water-quality requirements of the Clean Water Act are still paramount, but the integrated framework allows a city choose the sequence in which it will take on projects.

“There are many jurisdictions that do not have the capability even to get to the negotiating table, because of the level of research and analysis that is necessary to evaluate an integrated plan." said George Hawkins, the general manager of the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority, who was a witness at the House hearing last week.

Nancy Stoner, the EPA’s top water official, told the House subcommittee that the new guidance is not as rigid as is commonly assumed.

“Certainly needs are great,” she said. “But we think we have the flexibility now, under the framework, to address [cost concerns] as best as we can, in partnership with state and local communities using the resources available.”

Seattle will be the first U.S. city to find out how the new policy works in practice.

In May, Seattle officials announced a proposed agreement with federal and state regulators that will allow sewage and stormwater projects to be managed in tandem. The city, which expects to spend $US 500 million on capital infrastructure to implement the agreement, will submit a draft integrated plan by the end of 2014.

Since 1968, Seattle has spent $US 524 million (measured in 2009 dollars) to control overflows from combined sewers. This has reduced the annual polluted discharge by 75 billion liters (20 billion gallons), yet the city is still not in compliance. Nancy Ahern, a deputy director at Seattle Public Utilities, told Circle of Blue that the utility is trying to find the highest-priority stormwater projects to swap places in the timetable with combined sewer projects.

Saturday, 11 August 2012 06:00
Seattle will be the first city to test the new “integrated” framework.

“It may turn out that more cost-effective solutions are developed over time. Those less important requirements may be easier to meet down the road.”

–Ben Grumbles,
Clean Water America Alliance

Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, Inc. cuahsi banner logo




 CUAHSI enables the university water science community to advance understanding of the central role of water to life, Earth, and society. CUAHSI focuses on water from bedrock to atmosphere, from summit to sea and from the geologic past, through the present and into the future. 

EPA has used the good neighbor provision to impose massive emissions reduction requirements on upwind States without regard to the limits imposed by the statutory text. Whatever its merits as a policy matter, EPA’s Rule violates the statute. EPA’s Transport Rule violates federal law. Therefore, the Rule must be vacated.

It is not our job to set environmental policy.
Our limited but important role is to independently ensure that
the agency stays within the boundaries Congress has set.
EPA did not do so here.

we conclude that EPA has transgressed statutory boundaries.

We conclude that EPA’s interpretation on the FIPs issue is
contrary to the text and context of the statute (a Chevron step 1
violation), in the alternative is absurd (a Chevron step 1 violation),
and again in the alternative is unreasonable (thus failing Chevron
step 2 if we get to step 2).

United States Court of Appeals
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CIRCUIT


gate-keeper

PETE 3P2P Train-the-Trainer
The Community College Citizen Preparedness Program is offering to tribal members and other interested parties this training that includes an overview of local, state, and federal program, 15 national planning scenarios, NIMS, FEMA's IS-22 course and other related topics.

This is a loss for all of us, but especially for those living downwind...John Walke, at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Bayer Beats Out ExxonMobil for Most Toxic Corporate Air Polluter Title

Sunday, April 04, 2010
Bayer Material Science, Baytown

The worst air polluter in the United States isn’t an oil or chemical company, but a longtime name best associated with aspirin: Bayer. According to the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the Bayer Group, headquartered in Germany, was ranked No. 1 in its Toxic 100 Air Polluters in the United States.

 
The Toxic 100 Air Polluters rankings are based on the amounts and toxicity of chemicals released by companies, along with such factors as wind patterns and the number of people exposed.
 
Having long ago moved beyond making pain relievers, Bayer today produces diverse pharmaceuticals, medical devices, agricultural products, chemicals and more, while being “committed to the principles of sustainable development and to its role as a socially and ethically responsible corporate citizen,” according to the Bayer Group’s website.
 
Most of Bayer’s pollution problems stem from one plant: Bayer Material Science in Baytown, Texas, east of Houston. This plant specializes in the production of plastics and polymers, including products used in the automotive and construction industries.
 
On March 30, the Bayer CropScience division agreed to pay a $143,000 fine for violations related to an explosion in September 2008 that killed two workers at its plant in Institute, West Virginia. The explosion occurred during the production of a component used in the insecticide thiodicarb.
 
Following Bayer on the list are ExxonMobil, Sunoco, DuPont, Arcelor Mittal, Steel Dynamics, Archer Daniels Midland, Ford Motors, Eastman Kodak and Koch Industries.
-David Wallechinsky


EPA is the first mover in regulating ambient air pollution

...the good neighbor obligation is not a clear numerical target – far from it – until EPA defines the target...
an upwind State’s good neighbor obligation for that pollutant is nebulous and
unknown. The statutory standard is “amounts” of pollution which will “contribute
significantly to nonattainment” or “interfere with maintenance” of the new NAAQS in a
downwind State. There is no way for an upwind State to know its obligation without knowing
levels of air pollution in downwind States and then apportioning its responsibility for
each downwind State’s nonattainment.
Therefore, the upwind State’s obligation remains impossible for the upwind State to
determine until EPA defines it. Without further definition by EPA, a prohibition on “amounts
 which will . . . contribute significantly” is like a road sign that tells drivers to drive “carefully.”
The regulated entities – here, the upwind States – need more precise guidance to know how to conform their
conduct to the law. A SIP logically cannot be deemed to lack a “required submission” or deemed to be deficient for failure
to meet the good neighbor obligation before EPA quantifies the good neighbor obligation.
Statutory text “cannot be construed in a vacuum.

The Supreme Court has explained that “judicial review provisions are jurisdictional in nature and must be
construed with strict fidelity to their terms. This is all the more true of statutory provisions specifying the
timing of review, for those time limits are, as we have often stated, mandatory and jurisdictional, and are not
subject to equitable tolling.”

Phew! I beg your pardon.

Natural Resources Defense Council

Compensation % of Expenses Paid to Title
$381,279 0.38% Frances Beinecke President
Other Salaries of Note
$252,806 0.25% Peter Lehner Executive Director
$158,600 0.16% John H Adams Trustee
NRDC affirms the integral place of human beings in the environment.

Income Statement     (FYE 06/2011)

REVENUE  
Total Contributions $90,868,193
   Program Service Revenue $4,390,776
Total Primary Revenue $95,258,969
   Other Revenue $1,798,995
TOTAL REVENUE $97,057,964
   
EXPENSES  
   Program Expenses $76,931,508
   Administrative Expenses $6,408,309
   Fundraising Expenses $14,791,893
TOTAL FUNCTIONAL EXPENSES $98,131,710
   
Payments to Affiliates $0
Excess (or Deficit) for the year $-1,073,746
   
Net Assets $197,413,060
Charity Navigator

Clean Water Act's anti-pollution goals prove elusive as polluters are exempt

By Robert McClure and Jason Alcorn, InvestigateWest
with Bonnie Stewart, EarthFix

Beside Seattle’s notoriously polluted Duwamish River, an excavator scoops up small pieces of waste metal and slings them onto a rusty mountain at Seattle Iron & Metals Corp. A pile of flattened cars and trucks squats nearby amid vast sheets of scrap metal.

Katie Campbell/EarthFix

For at least four years, Seattle Iron & Metals has dumped more pollutants into Seattle's polluted Duwamish River than allowed under the Clean Water Act, government records show.

For at least the last four years, this auto-shredder and metal recycler has dumped more pollutants into the river than allowed under the federal Clean Water Act, government records show. The levels have ranged higher than 250 times above what’s known to harm salmon that migrate through the river.

The company, which declined to comment for this story, has reported its violations to the government, as required by law. But instead of punishing the metal recycler, the Washington Department of Ecology encouraged the company to reduce its pollution levels. The agency also searched for a legal way to make Seattle Iron & Metals’ pollution limits more lenient, and says it plans to relax them soon.

The Seattle Iron & Metals story is emblematic of widespread failures in the nation’s efforts to end the toxic pollution that modern life has unleashed on America’s rivers, lakes and bays. The Clean Water Act, passed by a large bipartisan majority of Congress 40 years ago, was intended to eliminate water pollution by 1985. Congress declared: “It is the national policy that the discharge of toxic pollutants in toxic amounts be prohibited.”

Yet in the Pacific Northwest, as across the nation, the Clean Water Act has fallen far short of its goals. A majority of Northwest waterways fail to meet federally approved water-quality standards. An investigation by EarthFix and InvestigateWest reveals:

  • Whole categories of polluters are effectively exempt from penalties when they dump pollutants illegally. This affects thousands of facilities.
  • Violations of the Clean Water Act in the Northwest occur routinely, yet citations and financial penalties are relatively rare.
  • Government bodies are among the most prolific violators, especially those that manage aging sewage-treatment plants and stormwater pipes that dump polluted rainwater runoff directly into waterways.

Read more, and see an interactive map of Clean Water Act penalties in the Pacific Northwest.



ClimateWire -- Fri., August 10, 2012 -- Read the full edition

1. WATER: Researchers probe 'yuck factor' in attempts to extend water supplies

If one were to suggest that wastewater could be used as an efficient source of fresh water, a likely rejoinder would be serious doubt and, at the very least, a pinched face and a declaration along the lines of "Ew, that's gross." Call it "the yuck factor."


News From the Field
Seeking That Caffeine Buzz for More Than a Thousand Years

August 6, 2012

image of three beakers As early as 1050 A.D., inhabi­tants of North Amer­ica, specif­i­cally east of St. Louis, Mo. were seek­ing out, brew­ing and rit­u­ally drink­ing copi­ous quan­ti­ties of a sub­stance anthro­pol­o­gists are call­ing Black Drink. Researchers say local inhab­i­tants parched holly leaves and small twigs, placed them in a large pot with water, boiled and agi­tated the liq­uid into a froth before drink­ing it. Full Story

Source
University of New Mexico

(Starbucks in their dream-catchers. -ed.)

Lookout Mountain woman claims physician husband poisoned her coffee
6:35pm, August 7th, 2012

Superfund open house at St. Louis City Hall Wednesday
  • By LINDA GITTLEMAN
  • Posted: 08/25/12 03:26 pm

  • Everyone is invited to an open house at St. Louis city hall on Wednesday evening for a review of one of the Velsicol Superfund sites.
  • Every five years, the Environmental Protection Agency is required to check up on the sites that have been cleaned and review those sites scheduled for cleanup.
  • Basically, said Tom Alcamo, EPA’s project manager for the St. Louis sites, it’s an informal recap of what’s happened so far and what’s on the agenda.
  • On the immediate agenda, of course, is the clean up of the Velsicol Chemical plant site and the nearby contaminated residential yards with orange fences.
  • Clean up of the residential properties is expected this year, with more likely next year.
  • Clean up of the plant site is expected to begin in 2014, if funding is approved.
  • But at the Wednesday meeting, the Pine River/dam sediment clean up that was completed a few years ago will also be reviewed.
  • And there’s more.
    A third spot – the river downstream from the dam – will be discussed.
  • Several years ago, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality conducted a study of the river downstream from the dam – all the way to the connection with the Chippewa River – and presented its findings to the EPA.
  • The EPA, Alcamo said, concluded that enough contamination exists to warrant more studies, expected to begin this fall.

  • Profile Picture

    Consumer Reports National School Safety Coalition


  • AIG to pay $100 million claims settlement

    Insurance giant AIG will pay nearly $79 million to the Los Angeles Unified School District to settle a lawsuit over its failure to pay claims on properties with environmental and pollution hazards, The Times has learned.

    Although AIG admitted no wrongdoing, the $78.8-million settlement, combined with earlier payments under the policy, approach the full value of $100 million in coverage purchased in 1999.

    Gen Re Settlement Ruling Reversed by U.S. Appeals Court

    General Reinsurance Corp.’s $72 million settlement of investor claims that it participated in a fraudulent transaction with American International Group Inc. (AIG) was revived by a federal appeals court.

    The court today reversed a ruling by U.S. District Judge Deborah Batts, who had denied a request to certify a class in the case to allow the 2009 settlement to go forward. The U.S. appeals court in New York sent the case back to Batts to consider the fairness of the settlement.

    AIG investors sued in 2004, alleging the companies were involved in a scheme that allowed New York-based AIG to improperly inflate its loss reserves. Gen Re is a unit of Warren Buffett’s Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A)

    The investors, led by three Ohio public pension funds, claimed that in late 2000 and early 2001 AIG and Gen Re engaged in a sham transaction that let AIG inflate its revenues and loss reserves.

    The case is In Re American International Group Inc. Securities Litigation, 10-4401, U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (Manhattan).

    To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Van Voris in New York at rvanvoris@bloomberg.net

    To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Dunn at adunn8@bloomberg.net

    .
    'Stakeholders' includes grassroots communities
    1. There must be peril or the appearance of peril to a third party, caused by the defendant.
    2. That peril or appearance of peril must be imminent
    3. A reasonable person would recognize the peril or appearance of peril and the plaintiff must also have actually recognized it.
    4. The plaintiff must have exercised reasonable care in effecting the rescue.

    grassroots politics of electric coops



    Beltway Confidential


    USDA spends $2M, gets one intern, program fails

    United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials spent $2 million on an internship program that had one intern, as it failed to use properly $63 million in federal funding provided for USDA to protect itself from hackers.

    The USDA inspector general discovered that the Office of Chief Information Officer (OCIO) “funded an intern program for a total of $2 million which, while funded as a security enhancement project, only resulted in one intern being hired full-time for ASOC [Agriculture Security Operations Center],” according to a new report.

    “While the intern program may be a beneficial step in the long-run, it did little to further the more pressing objective of improving USDA’s IT security,” the inspector general said. The $2 million included $686,000 for “development and implementation of a networking website” in FY 2010 and 2011 and another $192, 500 in housing costs for the intern.
    The USDA’s broader failure to manage 16 projects designed to protect the department from regular IT security threats. Before 2009, when it requested a $44 million increase to its $18 million security budget, the USDA depended on external organizations such as the Department of Homeland Security to alert it to such threats.

    The USDA “made some progress,” according to the report, but not the effort was plagued by errors. “Specifically, we found that some of OCIO’s projects did not meet the purposes outlined in the Congressional request for funding or were not targeted to improve the most critical IT security risks,” the inspector general explained. “Additionally, some of these projects were not completely implemented, and were not sufficiently coordinated. This occurred because OCIO did not adequately plan projects and determine how it would utilize both internal and external resources.”

    The result of that bureaucratic mismanagement? “[T]he Department’s information systems are still at risk, even after expending $63.4 million of funding increases received in FY 2010 and 2011,” the report found.

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture is coordinating much of the country as communities are struggling with lack of rain and high temperatures
    The Army Corps of Engineers is working to ensure that the drought doesn't impede navigation of the nation's rivers, and the Department of the Transportation is working with state governments to provide emergency waivers of federal truck weight regulations and hours of service requirements to drought-stricken communities.
    because when there’s a disaster like this, "everybody needs to pull together."

    After more than a decade of inaction, the Administration reconvened the Environmental Justice Interagency Working Group and engaged more than 100 environmental justice leaders at a White House forum.  Federal agencies signed a Memorandum of Understanding formally committing to environmental justice, and released strategies for integrating environmental justice into federal decision-making and programs in areas such as transportation, labor, health services, housing and others.

    The historic Partnership for Sustainable Communities is to break down traditional silos among the Federal agencies for housing, transportation, and environmental protection.

    To help ensure transparency, public engagement and accountability in Federal decisions about actions that may affect the quality of the environment, the Administration says it is modernizing and reinvigorating the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA).

    Confidentially, There's no word on when NEPA will be "modernized and reinvigorated".

    Supporting an outdoor economy that includes approximately 90 million homeless and $ trillions in fraud, extortion, piracy; & economic anemia.

    Subject:
     Updated Directory of FEMA Earthquake Partners
     From:
    "FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency)" <fema@service.govdelivery.com>
    To:

    The Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is pleased to announce the release of the updated Directory of FEMA Earthquake Partners, August 2012.

    Developing and strengthening partnerships for building safer communities underlies all of the initiatives and activities carried out by FEMA in support of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP). The Directory of FEMA Earthquake Partners supports those partnerships by providing contact information for more than 300 organizations and individuals involved in earthquake mitigation. The Directory includes the following groups:

    • NEHRP Agencies
    • Advisory Committee on Earthquake Hazards Reduction
    • FEMA Regional and Headquarters Earthquake Program Managers
    • State Earthquake Program Managers
    • Regional Earthquake Consortia
    • Seismic Safety Commissions, Committees, and Councils
    • Universities and Academic Research Centers
    • Non-Governmental Partners

    Not all of the organizations listed under Non-Governmental Partners have a mission based on earthquake mitigation. Some organizations are included because their constituents, such as homeowners, school children, and property insurers, will benefit from or have a significant interest in earthquake mitigation. The Directory also lists the in-house resources of FEMA's partners, such as journals, magazines, or newsletters, through which FEMA and other organizations can promote their earthquake publications and resources, best practices, and news of important events and activities.

    The Directory is a "living" document and is updated on a regular basis. If you believe your organization should be included in the Directory, or if you have an update to an organization or individual already listed, please email Francoise Arsenault at farsenault@briconsultingroup.com.

    To view or download the Directory, please visit the FEMA Library, Directory of FEMA Earthquake Partners.

    To view or download other NEHRP publications and products or to sign up for updates on earthquake risk mitigation publications, news, and events, visit Earthquake Publications.

    6 Steps to Handle IT Security Incidents

    New Guide from the National Institute of Standards and Technology
    •  Symantec's CISO on Security Leadership


    Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace (SaTC)


    Program Solicitation
    NSF 12-596

    Replaces Document(s):
    NSF 12-503

    NSF Logo

    National Science Foundation

    Directorate for Computer & Information Science & Engineering
         Division of Computer and Network Systems
         Division of Computing and Communication Foundations
         Division of Information & Intelligent Systems

    Directorate for Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences
         Division of Social and Economic Sciences

    Directorate for Mathematical & Physical Sciences
         Division of Mathematical Sciences

    Office of Cyberinfrastructure

    Directorate for Education & Human Resources
         Division of Undergraduate Education

    Directorate for Engineering
         Division of Electrical, Communications and Cyber Systems



    "We are really trying to get the science about what makes this watershed tick right,"

    "As an Alaska Native person, I have no desire to disappear," said Anna Mae Ferguson of Togiak. "Subsistence is more than economics. In addition to supplying food and other necessities, it provides people with productive labor, personal self esteem and strong family relationships, and a cultural foundation that cannot be replaced or duplicated by any other management."

    SOVEREIGN BEINGS

    Do we really want more government?

    Exclusive: Ben Kinchlow explains importance of being self-governing individuals

    With what is arguably the most important election to occur in most of our lifetimes on the horizon, please forgive me if it seems I am going back and plowing up the same ground, but recently I talked about “yellow lines”  and what that means in our everyday lives. I received many emails regarding a particular word I used in that commentary, sovereignty.

    Although the Founding Fathers never used that word per se, the entire concept of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution is based on the notion of human sovereignty. When the founders said man is “… endowed by his Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” it was evident that they were alluding to the idea that human beings are authorized by a Creator to make, and be responsible for, their own decisions.

    It is critical that we understand the concept on which the founders based their positions in the Declaration and the Constitution. Just as we refer to the United States as a “sovereign” nation, we must understand that, using the same rationale, every person is a “sovereign” being.

    The founders saw God, the Creator, as the ultimate Sovereign and mankind “made in His image and His likeness” as beings who operated in a state of individual “sovereignty” (independent, autonomous, self-governing, self-determining, nonaligned, free). They were to be held accountable for their actions, individually and collectively.

    The right of individuals to cast a free, unencumbered vote is predicated upon the concept of man as a free moral and, therefore, responsible agent – a definition that is applicable only to and by those who ascribe to creationism. Evolutionists, of course, hold that man is subservient to his animalistic urges, is merely a slave to his nature, and must, therefore, impute the power to control his behavior to someone “smarter” than himself (i.e., the government).

    A sovereign, which man is, has the right to be responsible for and enjoy the benefits of, or suffer the consequences of, his freely made decisions. Since the assumption was that all the voting individuals would be persons who were aware of the issues and willing to accept the consequences (individually and collectively) of their actions, their votes, and subsequently their government, would reflect “the will of the people.”

    It was their considered opinion that an enlightened populace – thus free (unbiased) press and free speech – would send individuals to the seat of government who would represent their positions and enact legislation that reflected the will of an involved, informed, participative majority: a representative republic. While there would be different levels of achievement and skills among them, overall, the entire population would benefit (or suffer) as a result of their corporate decisions.

    Some years after I finished junior college, I got a chance to ride the Autobahn, the world-famous no-speed-limit highway in Germany. While a passenger, I was really eager to get behind the wheel, open up the Mercedes we were riding in and drive that concrete ribbon myself. I felt qualified, because after the Air Force I had gone to college on the GI Bill but supported my family by working nights and weekends as a test driver for a major tire company. I also drew extra pay for high-speed tire testing (for police pursuit) and racked up a lot of miles on the Texas track at well over 100 miles per hour.

    I wanted to taste the freedom of “zoom-zoom” again. You see, you can drive as fast as you want on the Audubon. There are three lanes; the left lane is unlimited, and if your car doesn’t top 110-120 miles per hour, you have no business in that lane; the middle lane is for those driving up to a hundred miles per hour; the right lane is the “slow lane” for people only doing around 65 to 85 miles per hour. Point being, the Autobahn is available to accommodate everyone from the slow driver to the speed demon. If one wants to admire the beautiful countryside and picturesque villages, take the back roads. Everyone has options and all will benefit, or suffer, depending on the individual’s adherence to, or refusal to abide by, established customs or laws. Imagine the ensuing chaos of 45 miles per hour vehicles in the 120 miles per hour lane, or a 120 miles per hour driver in the 75 miles per hour lane, or an 85 to 100 miles per hour vehicle tearing down country roads and through sleepy villages.

    So what has that to do with us? The truth is, the Creator has designed all of us to be self-governing individuals with the freedom and responsibility to make our own choices and determine our own destinies. I am convinced that this is one of the primary reasons America, despite some missteps and relatively few serious social problems, has been such a wondrous and successful experiment in human behavior. I am persuaded the framers of the Constitution had a divine understanding of the biblical concept of the sovereignty of humans – our God-given right to be free and self-directed.

    Unfortunately, in recent decades we have seen a chipping away at the idea of individual responsibility and the adherence to a national moral code. As a result, the quality of American life and the scope of American greatness is rapidly declining. We now have “entitlements” to healthy, able-bodied citizens, protection extended to social predators, pornographers, abortion mills, same-sex marriages and other licentious behavior. Latitude is now granted, not to liberty but to license.

    What’s next? Polygamy? After all, shouldn’t government (taxpayers) be responsible for a man’s 12-24 kids by 10-12 wives if he can’t feed them himself? Bestiality? Why not? Why shouldn’t sex with animals be a constitutionally protected right? (Didn’t I read somewhere that women have left millions of dollars to pets? True love?)

    The good news/bad news is, in our constitutionally mandated republic, “We the People” are responsible for our own destinies. Isn’t that the essence of liberty? Isn’t that the way it should be for a free people? Isn’t that why America is (thus far) arguably the greatest country in existence today? Why are people lined up (in some cases for years) to get in, but few are lined up to get out?

    I think there is a clear-cut underlying reason, perhaps best stated by the second president of the United States, John Adams: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

    The alternative to self government is more government.


    Sunset for Sunstein

    President Obama released a brief statement on the departure of Sunstein, thanking him for “his friendship and for his years of exceptional service.”

    The White House statement did not provide any reason for Sunstein’s departure.

    Get Aaron Klein’s “Fool Me Twice: Obama’s Shocking Plans for the Next Four Years Exposed” at WND’s Superstore

    Politico, which first reported Sunstein was leaving the White House, did not cite any reason for his departure either. The news outlet reported Sunstein will return later this month to his previous post at Harvard Law School.

    During his academic career, Sunstein has espoused controversial views on regulating the media and the Internet.

    WND first reported in 2008 Sunstein’s proposal that the government ban “conspiracy theorizing,” including by sending agents to infiltrate websites and chat rooms. Among the beliefs Sunstein would ban, is that the theory of global warming is a deliberate fraud.

    WND reported that in his 2009 book, “On Rumors,” he argued websites should be obliged to remove “false rumors” while libel laws should be altered to make it easier to sue for spreading such “rumors.”



    “Keep the ball rolling.”
    ball

    Freeminers to the Rescue!

    FEMA.gov Communities

    National Preparedness Coalition

    Here is a summary of the recent activity in the group.

    Calendar event Family Emergency Preparedness Night
    Terri Mehling - Jefferson County West Virginia Homeland Security and Emergenc... (Aug 10th 2012 8:47 am)
    Jefferson County Homeland Security & Emergency Management will be holding a workshop on how your family can become prepared for an emergency. Do you know what a disaster kit or family disaster plan is? If not, you will after attending this extremely informative workshop. The location is yet to be determined. For more information, contact (304) 728-3329.


    Calendar event Jefferson County Homeland Security & Emergency Management at the County Fair
    Terri Mehling - Jefferson County West Virginia Homeland Security and Emergenc... (Aug 10th 2012 8:43 am)
    We will again this year be out at the Jefferson County, WV County Fair in Building 2. Come and talk to us about disaster preparedness and the different activities of our office. Community Emergency Response Team volunteers will also assist us and can tell you about their experience and training. The fair is Aug. 19 thru Aug. 25 Hope to see you there! If you have any questions, you can contact our office at (304) 728-3329


    Calendar event Serve DC's Commander Ready Kickoff
    Darwin Ray - Serve DC - The Mayor's Office on Volunteerism (Aug 10th 2012 8:42 am)
    On Friday, September 14th, Serve DC joins local emergency-management and first-responder agencies, students, teachers and parents to kick off the 2012-13 season of Commander Ready, Serve DC's specialized program designed to educate and engage youth ages 5-13 in emergency preparedness. Please note this is a closed event. For more information, please contact Alexandra King


    Calendar event Planning for Access and Functional Needs Populations in Emergencies
    Darwin Ray - Serve DC - The Mayor's Office on Volunteerism (Aug 10th 2012 8:31 am)
    Join Serve DC for its Second Annual National Preparedness Month Forum: Planning for Access & Functional Needs Populations in Emergencies. This free event convenes local and national access-and-functional-needs experts, advocates, and emergency-management professionals to discuss how to ensure the needs of all District residents--regardless of access or ability--are understood and accommodated for in times of crisis. Discussion topics include: Overview of access and functional needs populations; Access and functional needs considerations in planning and preparedness; Fostering partnerships and collaboration between emergency-management professionals and community-based and advocacy organizations focused on access and functional needs populations; and Encouraging participation of access and functional needs populations in emergency preparedness and planning. Registration is free and breakfast and lunch will be provided. Contact Jason Williamson for additional information.


    Calendar event 9/11: September 11th National Day of Service & Remembrance
    Darwin Ray - Serve DC - The Mayor's Office on Volunteerism (Aug 10th 2012 8:08 am)
    Are you ready? September marks the 9th annual National Preparedness Month (NPM) and, as the designated Citizen Corps coordinator for the District of Columbia, Serve DC is proud to announce the following NPM event: 9/11: September 11th National Day of Service & RemembranceOn Tuesday, September 11th, Serve DC and HandsOn Greater DC Cares will commemorate the September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance and National Preparedness Month with an afternoon of service dedicated to supporting veterans and first responders. The event features hands-on service projects, emergency preparedness demonstrations and trainings and a volunteer recruitment fair. For more information, please contact Carly Skidmore at carly.skidmore@dc.gov.


    Calendar event ---> FREE BASIC PISTOL COURSE <---
    Scott Grubbs (Aug 10th 2012 8:04 am)
    But don't delay, there is a limited number of seats and registration is required... Be safe, - Scott


    Database 2012 Coalition Members
    Steven Swiech (Aug 10th 2012 7:59 am)


    Calendar event Crawford County COA S.A.F.E. Series: Emergency Preparedness
    Gary Rapelje (Aug 10th 2012 7:42 am)
    Presentation on emergency preparedness for families, older adults and pets. This discussion will include putting together a disaster kit(s), making a plan, staying informed and lastly being involved. The kit or kits will be used to live on for up to 72 hours when more organized aide can arrive. The plan will cover what to do in different types of emergency situations. Being informed is staying current on what is happening in your area. For being involved I will just briefly list some volunteer organizations that train people to help in emergencies or disasters.


    Calendar event Proclamation - National Preparedness Month
    Don Rawson - City of Escondido (Aug 9th 2012 6:41 pm)
    Mayor Sam Abed of The City of Escondido will issue an official proclamation declaring September 2012 as National Preparedness Month. The Mayor will encourage all citizens to take preparedness measures before, during, and after a major emergency.


    Calendar event FTB Emergency Preparedness Campaign
    Uschi Turner - California Franchise Tax Board (Aug 9th 2012 6:32 pm)
    Articles on our internal net every week on a variety of emergency preparedness topics, posters will be displayed at each entrance the entire month, and preparedness brochures will be available at each entrance all month.


    Calendar event CERT teams join in community dril.
    jim Mallory (Aug 9th 2012 5:19 pm)
    Several Richmond, CA CERT teams have organized a exercise to test their Incicdnt. Command, communications and patient triage and transport capabiliyies


    Calendar event Community READY & Safety Fair
    robert strojek - community covenant church (Aug 9th 2012 4:53 pm)
    BE READY with displays of preparenes items


    Calendar event Disaster Fair - City of Auburn, WA
    Public Education Garrand (Aug 9th 2012 3:14 pm)
    This event is an exciting afternoon of adventure and education for the whole family featuring disaster preparedness information, ideas, and supplies.


    Calendar event Youth Preparedness Council 2012
    NPM Team - FEMA (Aug 9th 2012 3:01 pm)


    Calendar event The Issaquah Salmon Days Festival 2012
    Public Education Garrand (Aug 9th 2012 3:00 pm)
    Welcome to the Pacific Northwest's most-beloved, family-friendly, award-winning and fishiest festival around! We've got lots of activities, arts and crafts, music, food, friends and excitement. State Emergency Management Staff will be hosting a booth along with Radio Disney to promote the October 18, Great Washington ShakeOut.


    Calendar event Washington State Emergency Manager's Association (WSEMA) Conference
    Public Education Garrand (Aug 9th 2012 2:54 pm)
    The Annual Conference is a wonderful time for emergency management professionals all over the State of Washington (and beyond) to network, share fresh ideas and exchange our business cards prior to responding together during emergency events.


    Calendar event Renton Biz Tech Fair
    Public Education Garrand (Aug 9th 2012 2:47 pm)
    Renton Technical College will host the 2012 Washington Small Business Fair. One Day, One Place learn what you need to run a business. State emergency management staff will host a booth to provide business with information and tools to help them prepare their business and their employees survive disasters. What to do - before, during & after.


    Calendar event WA State Dept of Labor & Industries Preparedness Event
    Public Education Garrand (Aug 9th 2012 2:11 pm)
    L & I will be hosting an emergency preparedness event. Booths will provide disaster, health and other information to L&I staff members


    Calendar event Washjam
    Public Education Garrand (Aug 9th 2012 1:45 pm)
    At the third Washington State Jamboree, over 6,000 Cubs, Scouts, and Venturers will experience camping with Scouts from all over Washington, Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia, and even Texas & Utah!. Local and State Emergency Management staff will host a booth providing disaster preparedness information and activities to the attendees.


    Calendar event PETE 3P2P Train-the-Trainer
    Public Education Garrand (Aug 9th 2012 1:36 pm)
    The Community College Citizen Preparedness Program is offering to tribal members and other interested parties this training that includes an overview of local, state, and federal program, 15 national planning scenarios, NIMS, FEMA's IS-22 course and other related topics.


    Actions


    Clamping down on ‘accidents’

    First Published Aug 10 2012 01:01 am • Last Updated Aug 10 2012 01:01 am

    Utah’s pollution-regulation agency was right to move ahead with a new rule that says industries that do more polluting than their permits allow will be penalized unless they can prove they somehow were not at fault. A federal court says so.

    The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver last week refused to review a federal Environmental Protection Agency regulation that the Utah Department of Environmental Quality adopted last month. US Magnesium, a mining and mineral-processing operation southwest of the Great Salt Lake, argued that the EPA hadn’t followed proper procedure when it adopted the tougher rule, but the court wisely found that argument sadly lacking.

    The whole issue of Utah’s lax anti-pollution regulations governing accidental releases originally landed in court when an environmental group, WildEarth Guardians, labeled the state’s industry-friendly "unavoidable breakdown rule" a "loophole" and filed suit.

    The 30-year-old state regulation assumed a company was innocent until proven guilty of negligence when an accident or breakdown occurred. EPA changed its policy in 1999 to hold companies accountable for excess pollution, and Utah came up with a tighter state rule only after the EPA threatened to take over part of Utah’s air-quality program.

    Still, despite objections from big polluters and the US Magnesium lawsuit, the state DEQ commendably moved forward with the updated rule to coincide with the EPA’s.

    If this is, indeed, the end of the drawn-out legal wrangling over this issue, as it appears, Utah’s 1,200 biggest polluters will finally have to do more to prevent breakdowns that temporarily spew even more chemicals into the air than usual. That is welcome news for the thousands of Utahns who struggle to breathe during summertime heavy-ozone days and winter inversions.

    Industries that are allowed to do a certain amount of polluting will no longer be able to simply apologize for "accidents," fill out a report and merrily go along without making substantial changes to the way they operate.

    Now the state can, and should, issue a Clean Air Act citation with fines hefty enough to motivate those businesses to make changes, even expensive changes if necessary, to avoid future penalties.

    The state agency charged with protecting the environment, and the health of people living in it, should never allow a company of any size to get away with needlessly poisoning the Beehive State’s air with virtual impunity.


    Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 03:00 PM PDT

    Drink It In -- Big Wins for Clean Water

    by Mary Anne Hitt

    Imagine you were facing a life-threatening illness, and your doctor told you this: "You need to move or you will never survive this stuff."

    That is exactly what happened to West Virginia resident Debbie Havens, who lives near the infamous Little Blue Run coal ash dump. But Debbie didn't move, and after fighting pollution from the site for decades, she and her neighbors got some unbelievable news last week -- FirstEnergy, the utility that operates the site, is going to shut it down.

    That is just one of the many inspiring successes that made headlines last week, and they all have one thing in common -- they all happened due to the courage, persistence, and determination of committed volunteers and local residents. From West Virginia, to Pennsylvania, to Illinois, last week saw pivotal victories in our fight for clean water and healthy families.

    Good news for West Virginians and Pennsylvanians came when FirstEnergy Corp. agreed to close its Little Blue Run coal ash site, one of the nation's largest and most controversial. The 1,700-acre unlined wet dump for coal ash coming from FirstEnergy's Bruce Mansfield power plant straddles the border between West Virginia and Pennsylvania. It contributes a toxic cocktail of arsenic and selenium pollution to nearby ground and surface water.

    The coal ash dump is visible from space, exuding an eerie bright blue color. In the past, the Sierra Club has profiled West Virginians who live near the dump,including Debbie Havens. Havens' husband had his thyroid removed several years ago after being diagnosed with thyroid cancer, and in 2010, Havens developed a thyroid nodule. With no family history of thyroid problems, the Havens' endocrinologist assessed that environmental exposure was the cause, and told her, "You need to move or you will never survive this stuff."

    Unfortunately, the Havens' experience is not unique. For those living near unlined coal ash dumps like Little Blue Run, the risk of cancer can be as high as 1 in 50. And this statistic only takes into account the risk of cancer from exposure to arsenic in drinking water -- not any of the other poisonous pollutants like lead, mercury, and selenium.

    Given this level of toxicity, it's no surprise that local groups cheered Pennsylvania officials for stepping in and protecting local water sources by ordering the closure of the Little Blue Run coal ash dump. FirstEnergy is required to begin closure plans for an eventual 2016 shutdown of the site. Unfortunately, the company wants to build another coal ash dump to replace Little Blue Run. Though the company claims that the new coal ash dump will be double-lined and "state of the art," many residents oppose it.

    While the closure of the Little Blue Run site will bring some peace of mind to families worried about pollution, and to those who have dealt with it firsthand like Havens, it is important to hold FirstEnergy accountable for cleaning up the mess it has already made and to ensure that water is not jeopardized by future coal ash dumps.

    Meanwhile, in Illinois, volunteers and local residents banded together to protect their water quality and local wildlife from pollution from a proposed coal mine. Capital Resources Development Co. had wanted to operate a 600-acre surface mine near the 150-person town of Banner and the Rice Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area.

    In a decisive victory for the residents of Banner and local wildlife, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources denied the mine's permit application last week. Among other concerns, the mine would have threatened nesting ospreys, bald eagles, and short-eared owls.

    As Mayor Ken Fuller puts it, "Banner could have lost its wells and water if the coal mine had happened… My town could have died."


    ATLaw - The Daily Report's blog about Georgia law, business and politics'

    Former bank president receives 12 years in prison


    10:54 am, August 10th, 2012

    A federal judge in Atlanta has sentenced the former president of the FirstCity Bank of Stockbridge to 12 years in prison for his role in a multi-million-dollar conspiracy that contributed to the bank’s collapse, the U.S. attorney of the Northern District of Georgia announced today.

    U.S. District Judge Steve Jones also banned former bank president Mark Conner from the banking industry for life and ordered him to pay $19.5 million in restitution to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. which took control of the bank when it collapsed March 2009, according to U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates and court documents associated with Conner’s prosecution.  Conner also civilly forfeited $1.7 million in cash and interests in multiple properties in Georgia and Virginia collectively worth more than $5 million, federal prosecutors said.

    “Our state, which leads the nation in bank failures, is still recovering from a banking crisis of epic proportions,” Yates said after Conner was sentenced. “These failures have a ripple effect in every workplace and household in the state. This sentence should serve as a warning that regardless of your position or the complexity of your scheme, bank officers and directors who place FDIC-insured funds at risk through fraud and self-dealing will be brought to justice.”

    Last October, Conner pleaded guilty to a charge that he had conspired with the bank’s former attorney and a former loan officer to  routinely mislead federal and state bank regulators to conceal a scheme in which he reaped more than $7 million, federal prosecutors said.

    According to Christy Romero, acting special inspector general for the federal Troubled Asset Relief Program, Conner – beginning in 2004 – directed the bank to make loans to buy land that he owned and caused the bank to fund draws on construction and development loans from which he personally benefited. “As the real estate market declined,” Romero said, “Conner schemed to take foreclosed properties off the bank’s books through sales to straw purchasers, concealing that the bank funded the purchases.”

    According to federal authorities, Conner and his co-conspirators misrepresented the nature, terms and underlying purpose of the loans they directed the bank to authorize and falsified documents and information presented to the bank’s loan committee and the bank board of directors.  Conner and his co-conspirators also persuaded at least 10 other banks to invest in the fraudulent loans and shifted all or part of the risk to other banks, prosecutors said.

    Conner also pleaded guilty to a perjury charge in connection with a bankruptcy petition that he filed in January 2011 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Northern District of Georgia, prosecutors said.

    According to prosecutors, Conner claimed in his bankruptcy petition that he had just over $3,000 in cash and no unencumbered real estate holdings and later testified at a bankruptcy hearing that he was “down to less than nothing,” prosecutors said, when Conner had more than $545,000 in off-shore bank accounts through which he had made more than $4 million in loans, which he also had failed to disclose.

    Conner, 46, formerly of Canton, was arrested at by federal agents at Miami International Airport in March 2011 after he debarked from a flight from the West Indies.


    Four Federal Questions:
    Where do you think you are? Who do you think you know? Why do you think you know what to do? What do you think that you want to be when you grow up?


    An Environmental Justice Advocate!


         The Environmental Protection Agency overstepped its statutory authority in issuing a "Final Guidance" when under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act, the Department of the Interior can delegate its authority to issue permits for discharging water from mining projects to state agencies.
     
         In 2010 and 2011 the EPA released an interim and then final guidance memo to its field offices suggesting that applications for permits for water discharges that did not include conductivity tests to measure the salinity of the discharge, and of the water into which the discharge would flow, should be denied.
         The act provides a limited role for the EPA in reviewing state permitting programs for compliance with water quality standards in the Clean Water Act. "The SMCRA grants to the EPA only the ability to comment on and provide its written concurrence prior to the Secretary's approval of a state SMCRA permitting program. In other words, once the EPA has given its assent to approve a state SMCRA permitting program, the SMCRA affords it no further authority in the oversight or administration of the SMCRA regime." and the EPA's "virtual moratorium on mining permits and the agency's usurpation of the Secretary of the Interior's and the states' permitting authority under the act."  District Court Judge Reggie Walton agreed. Judge Walton agreed the SMCRA "unambiguously limits the EPA's authority" to comment and concurrence on state plans before the secretary of the Interior delegates permitting authority.
         He also agreed that the EPA's actions were not justified by the CWA or it own regulations.
         "As written, the regulation does not mandate when the state permitting authority must conduct its analysis of the discharge's impact on the water quality standard," Walton said.
         Walton found that the fact that the regulations were written in both present and future tense "belies the defendants assertion that the CWA ... require[s] a pre-issuance reasonable potential analysis."
         In the final guidance the EPA presumed that all discharges from coal mining operations would be likely to violate state water standards and that conductivity tests to determine salinity would be instructive- hence the virtual moratorium on permit approvals.
         Judge Walton said "by presuming anything with regard to the reasonable potential analysis the EPA has effectively removed the determination from the state authority."
         And there can be no question that a plain reading of the regulation leaves that determination, and the decision as to when it must be made, solely to state permitting authorities," Walton said.
         While the EPA was free to change the regulations through the normal rulemaking process to require a reasonable potential analysis before state's issue a permit, until it did so the "recommendation" in the final guidance had no support in the Clean Water Act Walton concluded. 

    "The government of the United States is one of delegated powers alone. Its authority is defined and limited by the Constitution. All powers not granted to it by that instrument are reserved to the States or the people."
    Judging the constitutionality of an Act of Congress is "the gravest and most delicate duty that this Court is called on to perform." Blodgett v. Holden. The Court will not shrink from its duty "as the bulwark of a limited Constitution against legislative encroachments," The Federalist No. 78
    we are now a very different Nation," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion, adding that continued enforcement "must be justified by current needs."


    Chief Justice John Roberts
    called it "a gun to the head"

    The EPA's threat of "a construction moratorium is no less 'a gun to the head' than Congress's threat to terminate Medicaid funding," Mark DeLaquil, an attorney at the firm Baker Hostetler, which represents Texas, wrote in a letter to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

    Texas, Wyoming and industry groups have sued the EPA over its decision to seize permitting authority for greenhouse gas emissions after finding the states' plans to be inadequate. The federal agency has said large industrial sources of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases cannot be built or expanded without the permits.

    The case, which has yet to be argued in the appeals court, is the first attempt to use the high court's health care ruling to weaken environmental law.

    Distinction drawn

    Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 08:57 AM PDT

    Go fly a kite.

    Global Wind Day

    Indoctrinate a child into a global cult.

    by RLMiller

    kids flying kitesFriday, June 15 is Global Wind Day - a day to discover wind and its power to change the world. How better to celebrate the wind than to watch a kite dance on a breezy shoreline?

    Unless you're of the Americans For Prosperity, New Jersey mindset. In that case, Global Wind Day is an effort by global environmentalists connected with the radical Party of European Socialists to indoctrinate and manipulate innocent children as props to advance their radical “renewable” energy schemes.

    Really.

    Because everyone knows that indoctrination starts with children flying kites.

    The Sierra Club of New Jersey decided to gather on the beach at Ocean City and Asbury Park, bring kids and kites, and let everyone have fun. However, if you're paid by  the Koch brothers, "fun" is merely a code word meaning "brainwash kids and then use them as props and human shields in their quest to foist their European-style, anti-free-market, globalist ‘green’ agenda on the world."

    Consider similarities between kids and kites:

    Kites and children have so much in common. For one thing, there's their beauty. Both are inherently gorgeous. For another, both are capable of soaring, one physically, the other spiritually.
    Of course, "soaring" is merely slang for "a cult-like movement to force taxpayers to provide massive subsidies for on land, and the even more costly, offshore wind mills," per the ever zealous AFP.

    Yes, Americans For Prosperity is now sinking to Westboro Baptist Church levels, protesting children flying kites at the beach. The Orwellian-named Liberty and Prosperity is already planning the resistance against the "ignorance, dishonesty, tyranny, and corruption" of an invading mass of kite-armed children:

    We want to teach the truth. Can you join us on the Ocean City Boardwalk this Friday at noon?  We need at least 20 people to (a) distribute literature, (b) display signs like “Enough Green Tyranny”, “Wind Energy = High Electric Bills”,  “Veto RGGI Now!”, (c) display our symbolic wooden pikes draped with red liberty caps. Can you make a sign? Can you get a 4 foot to 6 foot pole (from any lumber store) along with a red  “liberty” cap?
    A side note: using the same logic allowing one to conclude that kite flying constitutes environmental indoctrination, the Liberty and Prosperity authors want it to be known that they're not being paid by the Koch brothers, but they are working closely with Americans For Prosperity. Which of course has nothing whatsoever to do with the Koch brothers, beyond its very existence.

    Of course, Americans For Prosperity's real sleazy aim is for the politicization of wind: these protests will scare off children and their skittish parents from appreciating the wind at their backs. The kids need support. If you're in New Jersey, go to the beach:

    June 15th is Global Wind Day and we need your help to get Governor Christie to move offshore wind forward. We'll be gathering at a beach near you for a kite-flying rally and celebration of NJ's offshore wind potential. Bring your family, friends and kites.  

    FREE kites to everyone who signs up online!

    WHO: You, your friends and family

    WHAT: Get Wind Em-Powered Kite Rally

    WHEN: June 15th at 12 noon

    WHERE: A beach near you

    Ocean City -- 10th Street Beach
    Asbury Park -- Asbury and Ocean Avenue Beach Entrance

    Bring your camera. You might be lucky enough to photograph a teabagger ensuring that kite-flying children grow up in an ever-warming world gone haywire. Or a well organized army of kite-wielding children scaring off hopelessly mismatched lobbyists.

    Go fly a kite!

    Originally posted to Climate Hawks on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 08:57 AM PDT.


    Pharma giants fail drugs test [Daily Mail, London]

    By Roger Baird, Daily Mail, London McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

    Aug. 09--BOTH AstraZeneca and its smaller partner BTG took a hit in the markets after announcing the failure of a key drug they were jointly testing. The need to refresh its pipeline with new drugs is pressing for both AstraZeneca and BTG alike. (refer to brief joint relief).


    Corporate Breakups: The Hot New Growth Strategy

    Breakups are not a solution to every problem—but for many corporations today, the sum of the parts may be worth more than the whole.

    (How holistic can you get. -ed.)

    Event
    I/UCRC: Center for Resource Recovery & Recycling (CR3) IAB Meeting

    October 3, 2012 7:30 AM  to 
    October 4, 2012 4:00 PM
    KU Leuven Campus; Heverlee, Belgium

    Katolieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium This is a bi-annual meeting of the industry advisory board and center members to assess ongoing research and set priorities for new research direction.  Guests interested in membership are welcome to attend if they sign a non-disclosure agreement.

    Agenda, logistics, and registration information are posted on the CR3 website: http://www.wpi.edu/academics/Research/CR3/meetings.html

    Meeting Type
    Partnership Meeting

    Contacts
    Carol Garofoli, (508) 831-5592

    NSF Related Organizations
    Industrial Innovation and Partnerships


    Event
    Center for Excellence in Logistics and Distribution (CELDi) Fall IAB Meeting


    November 7, 2012 2:00 PM  to 
    November 8, 2012 2:00 PM
    Sheraton DFW Airport Hotel; Irving, TX

    This is a bi-annual meeting of the industry advisory board and center members to assess ongoing research and set priorities for new research and directions.  Visitors interested in membership are welcome if they are willing to sign a non-disclosure agreement.


    TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE FOR COMMUNITIES (TASC) CONTRACT
    U.S. EPA, Office of Acquisition Management, Washington DC.
    Federal Business Opportunities, FBO-3893, Solicitation SOL-HQ-12-00004, 2012

    U.S. EPA is issuing a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the Office of Superfund Remediation and Technology Innovation (OSRTI). This RFP is being issued as a total small business set aside and is open to all small business socioeconomic classifications. The primary purpose of this contract will be to provide technical assistance services in the following areas: information assistance and expertise, community education, technical assistance needs assessment and plan development, and community infrastructure support as described the performance work statement, which is posted at www.epa.gov/oamsrpod/ersc/TASC/index.htm. EPA intends to issue a single award contract—fixed-rate, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity—with cost-reimbursable elements. The anticipated period of performance includes a 24-month base period, one 12-month option period, one 24-month option period, and one 24-month award-term incentive period for a potential maximum period of performance of 84 months. Offers are due by August 20, 2012. https://www.fbo.gov/spg/EPA/OAM/HQ/SOL-HQ-12-00004/listing.html

    TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION FOR ENVIRONMENTAL AND ECONOMIC PROGRESS: AN EPA ROADMAP
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Center for Environmental Finance. EPA 190-S-12-003, 5 pp, Apr 2012

    EPA has developed the Roadmap to help guide its efforts with both internal and external stakeholders in the implementation of specific strategies to meet the new challenges and opportunities posed by Presidential executive order, Presidential Memorandum, Presidential Strategy, Presidential Initiative, and recent legislation. EPA's vision is expressed as follows: The EPA will promote innovation that eliminates or significantly reduces the use of toxic substances and exposure to pollutants in the environment and that also promotes growth of the American economy. Building upon the EPA's history of scientific and technological expertise, the Agency will seek out prospective technological advances that have the greatest potential to achieve multiple environmental goals. Consistent with its statutory and regulatory authorities, the EPA will partner with a diverse set of new and existing stakeholders to speed the design, development and deployment of the next generation of environmental technologies, creating a cleaner environment and a stronger economy for our nation and the world. Working with new and existing partners and stakeholders, EPA will seek tangible, outcome-oriented opportunities to catalyze and support technology innovation across the range of the Agency's work. www.epa.gov/envirofinance/EPATechRoadmap.pdf


    NOT-FOR-PROFIT AMD RECLAMATION
    Office of Surface Mining, Funding Opportunity S13AS00003, 15Jun 2012

    This funding opportunity is advertised to assist local organizations, especially watershed groups, to begin actual construction projects to improve the water quality of streams affected by acid mine drainage. Lands and water eligible for reclamation or drainage abatement expenditures under Section 404 of Public Law 95-87 are those that were mined for coal or which were affected by such mining, wastebanks, coal processing, or other coal mining processes, except as provided for under Section 411 of Public Law 95-87, prior to August 3, 1977, and for which there is no continuing reclamation responsibility under state or other federal laws. Eligible applicants are nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS other than institutions of higher education. Expected Number of Awards: 15. Estimated Total Program Funding: $2,000,000. Award Ceiling: $100,000. Award Floor: $5,000. The closing date for this opportunity is October 1, 2012. Applications will be accepted throughout the fiscal year. www.grants.gov/search/search.do?mode=VIEW&oppId=176873

    EPA ANNOUNCES $69.3 MILLION TO CLEAN UP CONTAMINATED SITES AND REVITALIZE COMMUNITIES
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Superfund & Brownfields News Release, 24 May 2012

    EPA has announced $69.3 million in grants for new investments to provide communities with funding necessary to clean up and redevelop contaminated properties, boost local economies, and create jobs while protecting public health. The 245 grantees include tribes and communities in 39 states across the country, funded by EPA's Brownfields Assessment, Cleanup, Revolving Loan Fund, and Revolving Loan Fund Supplemental grants. The grants awarded will assess and clean up abandoned industrial and commercial properties. Nearly half of the grantees this year are new awardees who demonstrate a high level of commitment for undertaking specific projects and leveraging the funding to move those projects forward. Approximately 29% of the grants are being awarded to non-urban areas with populations of 100,000 or less, 16% are being awarded to "micro" communities with populations of 10,000 or less, and the remaining grants are being awarded to urban areas with populations exceeding 100,000. There are an estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites in America. In 2011, EPA's Brownfields Program leveraged 6,447 jobs and $2.14 billion in cleanup and redevelopment funds. Since the program's inception, EPA's brownfields investments have leveraged more than $18.3 billion in cleanup and redevelopment funding from a variety of public and private sources and have resulted in ~75,500 jobs. More than 18,000 properties have been assessed, and over 700 properties have been cleaned up. Brownfields grants also target under-served and low income neighborhoods—places where environmental cleanups and new jobs are most needed. See the list of all awarded brownfields grants by state: http://cfpub.epa.gov/bf_factsheets/. More information on EPA's brownfields program: http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/.

    BIOCHEMICAL REACTOR CONSTRUCTION AND MINE POOL CHEMISTRY CHANGES, GOLINSKY MINE, CALIFORNIA
    Gusek, J., J. Kelsey, R. Schipper, and B. Shipley.
    2011 National Meeting of the American Society of Mining and Reclamation, Bismarck, ND, June 11-16, 2011. ASMR, Lexington, KY. 253-268, 2011

    In early 2010, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds were available to implement the "shovel-ready" design package for a biochemical reactor (BCR) module planned for the abandoned Golinsky Mine site in northern California. The construction site, located near Lake Shasta, is only accessible by boat, followed by a 1-mile trip on a narrow dirt road. During construction, this restricted site access was further complicated by the highest lake levels in years, which required the relocation of the construction contractor's mobilization site. The construction of the BCR within the footprint of an abandoned limestone quarry required a few minor design modifications, but the logistics of moving 1,000-plus tons of organic substrate, drainage gravel, HDPE liner, riprap, pipes, and construction equipment safely across Lake Shasta in a coordinated barge and ground transportation program was probably the greatest project accomplishment. In October 2010, supersacks of mixed rice hulls, wood chips, and limestone were proportioned and mixed with hay and placed in the Module 1 geomembrane-lined BCR. Subsequently, 6 cubic yards of composted manure and residual pilot BCR substrate were rototilled into the upper surface of substrate. The construction effort was essentially complete by late October 2010 at a cost of about $1.3 million. The advancement of this project from the first bench-scale investigations into the practicality of BCR in 2003 to the construction of a full-scale module in 2010 spanned seven years. http://www.asmr.us/Publications/Conference%20Proceedings/2011/0253-Gusek-CO-2.pdf


    Research
    FROM VEGETATED DITCHES TO RICE FIELDS: THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX FOR PESTICIDE MITIGATION
    Moore, M.T., R. Kroger, J.L. Farris, M.A. Locke, E.R. Bennett, D.L. Denton, and C.M. Cooper.
    Pesticide Mitigation Strategies for Surface Water Quality. American Chemical Society, ACS Symposium Series 1075, 29-37, 2011

    In agricultural areas, pesticides enter aquatic receiving waters through irrigation and storm runoff, spray drift, or even atmospheric deposition. Innovative mitigation strategies are needed to address pesticide contamination of surface waters. Management practices incorporating vegetation and phytoremediation have demonstrated success in reducing pesticide loads to rivers, lakes, and streams. This chapter focuses on vegetative management practices—constructed wetlands, drainage ditches, and rice fields—that have been studied in the intensively cultivated Mississippi Delta. Summaries of research results and field implementations are presented, as well as potential future directions for additional research. www.ars.usda.gov/SP2UserFiles/person/3938/2012/MooreetalACSbk-2011-1075.pdf


    THE ROLE OF AQUATIC ECOSYSTEMS IN THE ELIMINATION OF POLLUTANTS
    Moore, M.T., R. Kroeger, and C.R. Jackson.
    Ecological Impacts of Toxic Chemicals. Bentham Science Publishers, Ltd. eISBN: 978-1-60805-121-2, Chapter 11:225-237, 2011

    Aquatic ecosystems possess unique capabilities that allow them to eliminate or remediate certain levels of pollutants. Primarily through the presence of vegetation, aquatic ecosystems are known to be capable of removing or at least decreasing pollutant loads travelling through the aqueous phase. In addition to vegetation, soil/sediment and microbes play a significant role in transferring or transforming pollutants to acceptable levels in aquatic ecosystems. This chapter focuses on some of the primary literature describing phytoremediation of organic pollutants (e.g., hydrocarbons and pesticides) and inorganic pollutants (e.g. metals and nutrients). Research indicates the popularity and success of phytoremediation techniques used to remove both organic and inorganic pollutants from the water column. www.ars.usda.gov/SP2UserFiles/person/3938/2012/MooreKrogerJacksonBookChapter2011.pdf


    EFFECTS OF VEGETATION IN MITIGATING THE TOXICITY OF PESTICIDE MIXTURES IN SEDIMENTS OF A WETLAND MESOCOSM
    Lizotte Jr, R.E., M.T. Moore, M.A. Locke, and R. Kroger.
    Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, Vol 220 No 1, 69-79, 2011

    Investigators measured sediment pesticide effects on an aquatic invertebrate animal, Hyalella azteca, living in and on contaminated sediment. The study took place in a divided constructed wetland, one half with plants and one half without plants, to investigate how well this wetland with or without plants could decrease the effects of two pesticides, diazinon and permethrin, on aquatic animals. The study showed that plants performed more effectively in decreasing the effects of pesticides in sediment within the first 5 hours. Results also showed that a water-retention time of 21 days in the subject constructed wetland was needed to remediate sediment toxicity. These results are potentially of interest to regulatory and other agencies and the pesticide industry by providing additional information to improve and sustain river, stream, and lake water quality using constructed wetlands as an effective conservation practice. http://naldc.nal.usda.gov/download/50020/PDF


    EFFECT OF GENETICALLY MODIFIED POPLARS ON SOIL MICROBIAL COMMUNITIES DURING THE PHYTOREMEDIATION OF WASTE MINE TAILINGS
    Hur, M., Y. Kim, H.-R. Song, J.M. Kim, Y.I. Choi, and H. Yi.
    Applied and Environmental Microbiology, Vol 77 No 21, 7611-7619, 2011

    The application of transgenic plants to clean up areas affected by waste associated with heavy metal mining is a promising method for removing metal pollutants from soils; however, the effect of using genetically modified organisms for phytoremediation is a poorly researched topic in terms of microbial community structures, despite the important role of microorganisms in the health of soil. In this study, a comparative analysis of the bacterial and archaeal communities found in the rhizosphere of genetically modified (GM) versus wild-type (WT) poplar was conducted on trees at different growth stages (i.e., the rhizospheres of 1.5-, 2.5-and 3-year-old poplars) that were cultivated on contaminated soil alongside unplanted control soil. Based on the results of DNA pyrosequencing, poplar type and growth stages were associated with directional changes in the structure of the microbial community. The rate of change was faster in GM poplars than in WT poplars, but the microbial communities were identical in the 3-year-old poplars. This phenomenon may arise because of a higher rate and greater extent of metal accumulation in GM poplars than in naturally occurring plants, which resulted in greater changes in soil environments and hence the microbial habitat. http://aem.asm.org/content/77/21/7611.full?sid=e38f3b48-2f64-4db4-a475-51c91d90ae8c

    MUNICIPAL BIOSOLIDS
    Sepulvado, J.G., A.C. Blaine, L.S. Hundal, and C.P. Higgins.
    Environmental Science & Technology, Vol 45 No 19, 8106-8112, 2011

    A study was conducted to investigate the occurrence and fate of perfluorochemicals (PFCs), emerging contaminants of concern, from land-applied municipal biosolids. Investigators evaluated the levels, mass balance, desorption, and transport of PFCs in soil receiving biosolids application at various loading rates. The study is the first to report levels of PFCs in agricultural soils amended with typical municipal biosolids. Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) was the dominant PFC in both biosolids (80 to 219 ng/g) and biosolids-amended soil (2 to 483 ng/g). Concentrations of all PFCs in soil increased linearly with increasing biosolids loading rate. These data were used to develop a model for predicting PFC concentrations in soil amended with typical municipal biosolids using cumulative biosolids loading rates. Mass balance calculations comparing PFCs applied versus those recovered in the surface soil interval indicated the potential transformation of PFC precursors. Lab desorption experiments indicated that the leaching potential of PFC decreases with increasing chain length and that previously derived organic-carbon normalized partition coefficients may not be accurate predictors of the desorption of long-chain PFCs from biosolids-amended soils. Trace levels of PFCs were also detected in soil cores from biosolids-amended soils to depths of 120 cm, suggesting potential movement of these compounds within the soil profile over time and confirming the higher transport potential for short-chain PFCs in soils amended with municipal biosolids. http://www.sludgenews.org/resources/documents/Jennifer_G._Sepulvado_et_al._PFCs.pdf


    RECENT TECHNOLOGY ON BIO-REMEDIATION OF POPS AND PERSISTENT PESTICIDES
    Takagi, K., R. Kataoka, and K. Yamazaki.
    JARQ: Japan Agricultural Research Quarterly, Vol 45 No 2, 129-136, 2011

    After isolating Nocardioides sp. PD653 and Mucor sp. DDF from contaminated soil as degraders of HCB and dieldrin, respectively, the authors devised an approach for introducing these organochlorine pesticide-degrading bacteria into contaminated media. They developed a soil-charcoal perfusion method using special charcoal (Charcoal A100) as a microhabitat and adsorbent of organic chemicals. The Charcoal A100 is enriched with a degrading bacterial consortium as a new material for bioremediation. This technology was applied successfully to the degradation of simazine in soil and aquatic environments by layering Charcoal A100 enriched with a simazine-degrading bacterial consortium (CD7) under the subsoil of contaminated sites. The material was effective for preventing penetration of simazine into subsoils and nearby aquatic environments for approximately two years. http://www.jircas.affrc.go.jp/english/publication/jarq/45-2/45-02-01.pdf



    ACID MINE DRAINAGE AT ORE KNOB TAILINGS PILE: HYDROLOGIC AND GEOCHEMICAL CHARACTERIZATION AND BIOREMEDIATION
    Behrooz, Seyedeh Mehrnoosh, Ph.D. dissertation, North Carolina State University, 124 pp, 2012

    A 20-month in situ pilot test was conducted to evaluate the surface application of waste glycerol (WG) to reduce release of acid mine drainage (AMD) constituents from mine tailings. Beneficial characteristics of the WG include high aqueous solubility, high organic content, and high alkalinity. Four columns packed with fine-grained sulfide-rich tailings were incubated in the field under ambient temperature and precipitation conditions. The columns were periodically pumped to maintain an unsaturated condition. In the two replicate untreated control columns, diffusion of oxygen into the tailings resulted in large increases in dissolved Fe, sulfate, Mn, Mg, Al, Zn, and hydrogen peroxide acidity with an associated drop in pH. In the two replicate treated columns, WG was blended into the top 0.18 m of tailings seven months after the columns were established, resulting in large reductions in Fe, sulfate, hydrogen peroxide acidity, Al, Cu, and Mn. Observed pollutant reductions resulted from a combination of (1) neutralization of acidity by the potassium hydroxide present in the WG, (2) reduction of sulfate to hydrogen sulfide with subsequent precipitation of dissolved metals, and (potentially) (3) consumption of oxygen, slowing oxidation of the tailings. http://repository.lib.ncsu.edu/ir/handle/1840.16/7781


    ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT OF IN SITU GROUNDWATER REMEDIATION WITH REDUCED IRON REACTIVE MEDIA

    Higgins, Monica R., Ph.D. dissertation, University of Michigan, 164 pp, 2011

    This project sought to answer key questions for determination of the environmental impact of permeable reactive barriers (PRBs) that contain reduced-iron reactive media. A life-cycle assessment comparative study of the environmental sustainability of a pump-and-treat-system and a PRB was conducted based on 30 years of treatment, allowing for the quantification of environmental impacts (potentials for global warming, acidification, eutrophication, ozone depletion, and smog formation as well as human health effect), determination of the environmentally preferable technology, and identification of materials and processes that most influence the sustainability of each technology. The project also encompassed an investigation of the local environmental impacts (i.e., toxicity to microorganisms) of in situ remediation with reduced-iron reactive media. This work was conducted in two parts to investigate (1) the effect of zero-valent iron (ZVI) nanoparticles and dissolved ferrous iron on bacterial cultures growing under anaerobic conditions, including the effect of nZVI age, and (2) the effect of iron sulfide nanoparticles and dissolved sulfide on bacterial growth, including the dissolution of FeS in the microbial growth medium. Equilibrium speciation modeling provided insight into the chemical changes in the presence of nZVI and the aqueous species responsible for observed effects. http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/89676/1/mrhig_1.pdf


    TOWARDS SUSTAINABILITY OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION: RECOVERY OF NUTRIENTS FROM WASTEWATER FILTRATION AND THE WASHING OF ARSENIC CONTAMINATED SOILS
    Amofah, Lea Rastas, Ph.D. thesis, Lulea University of Technology, Sweden. ISBN 978-91-7439-389-7, 242 pp, 2012

    In this thesis project, laboratory, pilot-scale, and full-scale investigations were conducted to study phosphorus (P) sorption in blast furnace slag (BF slag) filters. A full-scale wastewater treatment system comprising a willow bed followed by two parallel P-filters with BF slag and Filtralite® P media was examined for wastewater treatment efficiency, nutrient accumulation in willow biomass, and biomass production. The willow bed efficiently reduced the content of total suspended solids and biodegradable organic matter in the influent wastewater and prevented the clogging of downstream phosphorus filters during one year of operation. The Filtralite® P treatment train simultaneously removed over 90% of BOD and 70% of P during the experimental period, whereas the coarse-grained BF slag used in the treatment system was inefficient in retaining P, and the concentrations of oxygen-consuming compounds were elevated downstream of the filter. Additionally, laboratory, pilot-scale, and full-scale investigations were conducted to examine arsenic (As) removal from soil using physical separation and chemical extraction (i.e., soil washing). Arsenic mobilization from contaminated soil was affected by pH, the content of organic substances, and redox potential. The nature of these effects depended on contaminant type (i.e., wood preservatives) and the soil calcium content. Extractions at elevated temperatures facilitated high As mobilization from contaminated soil at short contact times. The fastest As mobilization was achieved by using an acid oxalate citrate solution rather than reductive or alkaline extraction solutions at room temperature. Soil treatment, comprising the exclusion of the fine soil fraction prior to chemical extraction applied at an elevated temperature, was efficient in decontaminating soils, even for short contact times; however, the recovered mass of soil after decontamination is appreciably smaller than the soil mass prior to decontamination, and the process consumes a high amount of energy and lowers the soil quality, which limits the potential end use of the decontaminated soil. The alkaline extraction effluents could be decontaminated at a pH of 4 to 5 with the addition of a coagulant, a process facilitated by the exclusion of the fine soil fraction from the chemical extraction step. http://pure.ltu.se/portal/files/36285392/doktorsavhandling.pdf

    THE GLOBAL ACID ROCK DRAINAGE GUIDE
    INAP: The International Network for Acid Prevention, 2012

    Research into the process of acid rock drainage (ARD) formation and methods to minimize its impact has been conducted for over 50 years. A considerable volume of scientific and engineering guidance is available on ARD, but the research is in disparate references, not easily accessible, and tends to be issue, commodity, or geographically centric. INAP and the Global Alliance have undertaken to consolidate the information and produce an up-to-date guide that will be global in scope—a practical reference on best practice rather than a literature or research summary. The Global Acid Rock Drainage Guide (the GARD guide) was created through the contributions of many individuals and organizations. A team lead by Golder Associates prepared the initial draft. The GARD Guide is a technical document designed primarily for a scientist or engineer with a reasonable background in chemistry and the basics of engineering, with little specific knowledge of ARD. The principal user will typically be an employee of the mining industry, regulatory agency, research organization, non-governmental organization, or consulting company. A compendium of the concepts, techniques, and processes, the GARD Guide has been prepared as a road map through the process of evaluating, planning, design, and management of ARD over the lifecycle of mining. It provides a broad but not highly detailed understanding of ARD technologies and management. The guide also gives references to identify more detailed information on ARD for those looking for specifics on ARD technologies and approaches. Initiated in 2009, the GARD Guide is still a work in progress. The GARD website provides for reader input, and comments are welcome. http://www.gardguide.com/index.php/Main_Page


    GUIDANCE DOCUMENT FOR THE REVEGETATION OF LAND CONTAMINATED BY METAL(LOIDS)
    Kopittke, P.M., F.P.C. Blamey, and N.W. Menzies.
    CRC for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment, Adelaide, Australia: CRC CARE Technical Report No. 20, 53 pp, Mar 2012

    Successful implementation of a revegetation system in an area affected by metals (e.g., a mining site) requires a true multi-disciplinary effort, with collaboration between soil scientists, agronomists, hydrologists, ecotoxicologists, and economists. The overall revegetation process can be separated into three broad steps: (1) assessment of soil contamination; (2) remediation; and (3) revegetation/plant selection. Although all three steps are considered in this report, emphasis is placed on the first and last steps. This document provides a brief review of current knowledge, with a particular emphasis on Australian plants and landscapes. http://www.crccare.com/publications/downloads/CRC-CARE-Tech-Report-20.pdf


    SAMPLING STRATEGIES FOR BIOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT OF GROUNDWATER ECOSYSTEMS
    Hose, G.C. and M.J. Lategan.
    CRC for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment, Adelaide, Australia: CRC CARE Technical Report No. 21, 32 pp, Apr 2012

    The biota of an ecosystem consist of two major components: the microbes (including bacteria and fungi), and the larger, mostly crustacean macro- and meiofauna (stygofauna). Accordingly, groundwater ecosystems are very different from surface water ecosystems and so require different strategies for their biological assessment. Sampling of stygofauna generally is conducted by means of pumps, nets, or traps, with the choice of method often having little impact on the variety of animals collected but some influence on abundance. The authors recommend sampling multiple bores on multiple occasions at a location for adequate assessment of stygofauna diversity. Field experience indicates that samples from multiple bores on a single occasion, or from a single bore on multiple occasions, will not assess stygofauna diversity adequately: at least five sampling locations and five sampling events may be required. Microbial assemblages can be assessed by a variety of means including molecular or metabolic fingerprinting, direct measurement of biomass, and microbial enzyme activity. Irrespective of the method chosen, repeat temporal and spatial sampling should be undertaken. While measures of microbial activity at relatively undisturbed sites may be variable over time, the effects of disturbance to an aquifer can cause a large and readily detectable shift in microbial activity, greatly exceeding the spatial and temporal variability among undisturbed sites. Assessments of aquifer ecosystems in the context of environmental impact assessment call for examination of both microbes and stygofauna, reflecting the major biotic components of the ecosystem. Multiple samples over space and time are necessary, with the exact level of replication and sampling effort ideally determined by site-specific studies. http://www.crccare.com/publications/downloads/Tech-Report-21.pdf


    ECOLOGICAL IMPACTS OF TOXIC CHEMICALS
    Sanchez-Bayo, F., P.J. van den Brink, and R.M. Mann (eds).
    Bentham Science Publishers, Ltd. eISBN: 978-1-60805-121-2, 281 pp, 2011

    The papers in this open-access text offer comprehensive coverage of chemical fate and effects in terrestrial and aquatic environments. The editors have brought together international input from experts for systematic coverage of this complex topic, from the source of organic and metal compounds, to their fate and impacts on land and in freshwater and marine ecosystems. The first two chapters introduce the theme of the book, covering the sources and mode of action of environmental contaminants and the toxicity of various common pollutant categories: mining wastes, sewage, and industrial and metropolitan discharges. The transport and fate of metal and organic pollutants in the environment is described from a modeler's perspective. The processes governing the movement of chemicals between air, land, and water are described, along with biological transformations, including degradation and bioaccumulation, which are essential to risk management. The following three chapters deal with terrestrial ecosystems. Chapter 3 explains how naturally occurring metals and metalloids can become contaminants when they bioaccumulate and result in sublethal to lethal effects on populations and food chains. The key metals of toxicological concern include arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, mercury, molybdenum, selenium and zinc. Application of agricultural pesticides (fungicides, insecticides and herbicides) can have a range of unintended adverse effects on non-target biota. Chapter 5 explores the forest industry's use of pesticides (herbicides and insecticides), with case examples of lab to field studies in risks attendant upon pest management. The final six chapters address the many issues of chemicals in marine and freshwater environments. All the chapters in full text are freely available at http://www.benthamscience.com/ebooks/contents.php?JCode=9781608051212.


    CLUSTER GUIDE
    Contaminated Land: Applications in Real Environments (CL:AIRE), ISBN: 978-1-905046-17-1, 50 pp, June 2012

    The Cluster methodology is designed to offer an alternative way of remediating multiple sites that are located in relatively close proximity and share a decontamination or treatment facility located on a single site—the Hub site. Cluster projects are temporary and operate only as long as the sites defined within the Cluster are being remediated or developed. They are also demonstrably appropriate for grouping in terms of geographical distance, relative savings, and practical issues for each of the participating sites. The Cluster methodology follows a different strategy than traditional standalone projects and can provide a more economical and sustainable approach. The guide identifies the key planning considerations required to set up a cluster project but should not be seen as a step-by-step guide to establishing and operating the project. CL:AIRE participants have completed a full-scale commercial cluster project involving four former gasworks in Northwest England. The methodology delivered economies of scale and savings that surpassed expectations and enabled the treatment and reuse of contaminated soil that that ordinarily would have been sent to landfill. Local stakeholders supported operation of the treatment hub and helped to answer questions related to planning: Which sites to include? How to engage the planning authorities? How to put workable contractual arrangements in place? CL:AIRE has compiled the lessons learned to share with the wider environmental sector. http://www.claire.co.uk/index.php?option=com_phocadownload&view=file&id=288:initiatives&Itemid=82


    U.S. Military Opening 16 Million Acres For Renewable Energy

    David Quilty | 07 August, 2012 | Alt Energy, Clean Tech

    militaryrenewables

    The U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Department of Defense have signed a “Memorandum of Understanding,” partnering up to further develop renewable energy technologies pertinent to each department. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar signed the MOU back in July, with a goal to begin collaborating by October 2012.

    The DOD is looking to develop renewable energy sources in the interest of greater energy security while the DOI has goals of generating additional renewable energy sources on public lands and the Outer Continental Shelf. Through this partnership, the DOD will be opening up 16 million acres of its land for new renewable energy projects and development, with the stated goal of providing clean energy for military bases and installations. “Renewable energy will allow a military base to maintain critical operations for weeks or months if an electric power grid goes down,” said Dorothy Robyn from the DOD.

    In July, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced plans for “solar zones” in six southwestern states in order to encourage solar power development and this partnership will add wind (both on and offshore) and geothermal sources of energy to future studies. Because of the amount of withdrawn lands (public land withdrawn for military use) the DOD currently has under ownership, it expects that renewable projects could generate 1 GW of energy for each branch of military by 2025. This MOU aims to make that a reality.

    A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. - old Greek proverb

    Uncivil War: Custody Battles Cross States

    The Mighty Wind

    Jurisdictional Facilities, Re: Pacific Wind

    Energy Plans
    in News Departments > New & Noteworthy
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    Ever since the earliest turbines were installed in California in the 1980s, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) has had an unfavorable view of wind energy, as wind turbines interfered with radar systems. However, thanks to new technology and a recently announced collaboration, the DOD is set to become a major player in renewable energy procurement, including wind projects.

    Based on a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed this week by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Secretary Ken Salazar, the DOD will play a significant role in encouraging wind, offshore wind, solar, geothermal and biomass energy resources on or near DOD installations.

    According to the agencies, the MOU establishes a plan for how the two departments will work together to deploy renewable energy, and details each department's responsibilities.

    The MOU allows the DOD to explore ways in which renewable energy could be provided directly to a single installation or be transmitted across a network of DOD installations, according to a press release issued by the DOI. Some larger projects could sell their excess power to the grid, as long as appropriate measures are in place to ensure military-base security, the DOI adds.

    Changing winds
    The DOD's involvement in the MOU deviates from its historic stance on utility-scale wind power. Many of the department’s concerns stem from how wind turbines interact with radar systems, as operating wind turbines can be indistinguishable from airplanes on many radar systems and can cause blackout zones in which planes disappear from the radar entirely.

    However, the DOD says it now has a process to review instances where renewable energy projects could impact military operations or readiness.

    Thanks, in part, to that new system, each of the military branches has committed to deploying 1 GW of renewable energy on or near its installations by 2025. In fact, the U.S. Army's Central Contracting Command just released its highly anticipated $7 billion request for proposals (RFP) for renewable energy generation.

    The RFP calls for wind, solar, geothermal and biomass energy generation through 30-year power purchase agreements (PPAs).

    The Army's attempts to procure renewable energy got off to a rocky start last February, when the service first released its draft RFP for wind energy.

    Some wind and solar developers - as well as lenders - expressed concerns about certain aspects of risk allocation, such as in cases of national security, or even the process by which a lender could take possession of a distressed project. Because the PPAs would be financed according to nonrecourse financing, it is paramount that banks and lending institutions approve of them, according to industry experts.

    "A lender is going to want an easement or access to the renewable energy facility," says Chris Diaz, principal at Bellaire Bluffs, Fla.-based Seminole Financial Services. "If there's an issue with a base closure, for example, the lender's only recourse may be to come and get the project, unless the U.S. Army agrees to honor the 30-year PPA as long as the system is producing power."

    In fact, the Army's draft RFP drew nearly 800 comments, according to James W. Campbell, spokesperson for the U.S. Army's Engineering and Support Center. The comments generally fell into three categories: bankability of the PPA, scope of the PPA and power pricing.

    Further complicating matters is that most wind and solar developers do not track military procurements. Therefore, the Army's requirements likely created some confusion among civilian respondents.

    Anntonette Alberti, vice president at Saratoga, N.Y.-based Tetra Tech, says that although financial lenders were underrepresented at the beginning of the process, the Army has made efforts to incorporate feedback from lenders.

    "As long as the Department of Army is relying upon project developers to arrange nonrecourse financing to provide the capital to build the renewable energy projects contemplated by the Huntsville PPA procurement, the lending community has a powerful role in determining the ultimate success of the Army's plans,” Alberti says.

    However, Campbell maintains that despite its rocky start, the draft RFP served its purpose.

    "The Army sought comments to get an idea of how the DOD can better work with the wind industry," he says. "That was the entire purpose of the draft RFP."


    Army's Logic for Developing Wind and Solar Energy Makes No Sense

    August 10, 2012 RSS Feed Print

    Daniel Kish is senior vice president at the Institute for Energy Research.

    The Army Corps of Engineers recently put out a request for proposal for renewable energy developers to build energy facilities on Army bases. The Army says building renewables such as wind and solar on Army bases will promote "energy security," however this claim fails to acknowledge the inherent problem of reliability with intermittent sources of energy like wind and solar. The Army also claims that it wants to blunt the impact of electricity price increases, but instead of proposing low-cost sources of electricity, the Army proposes high-cost sources like advanced biofuels. The Army's justification for their plan does not make any sense.  

    It is important to remember that under our system of civilian control of the military, political appointees direct the branches of the military to carry out administration policy, and the military salutes and carries out the orders. It would appear that politicians working to promote renewables is the reason the Army is making this move, because its proposal would essentially accomplish the opposite of what it says it intends to do.  

    When the Army announced that they had sent out a request for proposal for renewables on Army bases, Assistant Secretary for Installations, Energy, and the Environment Katherine Hammack claimed, "Right now, the power grid is aging and we have all seen increased interruptions which have affected our military installations." She continued, "We don't always build them in garden spots around the United States. Some, like Fort Bliss [Texas], are at the end of the power line. This will give us energy security by having power produced on the installation that's able to serve the base in case of power disruption."

    [See a collection of political cartoons on energy policy.]

    The problem with Hammack's argument is it assumes renewables such as wind and solar are reliable, despite the fact that everyone knows these sources of energy are inherently intermittent and therefore unreliable. Weather forecasting has improved such that it is more likely to know whether there will be sufficient wind tomorrow or sufficient sun, but that is not reliability. Wind or solar would make power production on military bases more secure if disruptions to the grid only happened when the wind was blowing or the sun was shining, and that will obviously not be the case.

    Despite the fact that wind and solar are not reliable sources of energy, the Army's request for proposal explicitly calls for proposals for wind and solar (see pages 6, 7 among others). Hammack's argument that producing wind and solar on Army bases with increased "energy security" does not hold water, since the obvious alternatives, coal, and natural gas, are abundant in the United States: The United States has over 450 years of coal at the current rate of consumption, for example.

    [See a slide show of the 10 states that use the most energy per capita.]

    The Army also claims that the purpose of the renewable energy projects is to shield Army bases from electricity price hikes. But like the energy security argument, the Army's assertion that its proposal will save money is rooted in fallacy. One of the reasons electricity prices are rising is because of regulations imposed by the Obama administration, and the Army could simply ask Congress to waive them for the military if high prices were the only issue at hand.

    According to the Energy Information Administration, 27 gigawatts of coal-fired electricity generating capacity will close by 2016. If the Obama administration were truly concerned about electricity prices increases, they would halt the regulations leading to these record plant closures.

    The Army's justifications for building wind and solar installations on its bases does not make sense—at least not according to their own logic. It does not improve energy security to build sources of electricity that are inherently intermittent and unreliable like wind and solar. Furthermore, if the Army and the Obama administration were sincerely troubled by electricity price increases, they would stop the impending regulatory assault on coal-fired power plants, rather than wasting limited defense dollars on high-cost sources like wind and solar. 


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    The Poisoned Well


    Our mission is to provide citizens with the ideas and news they need to build more prosperous, livable and sustainable communities.

    “Nathaniel Bacon and his Followers Burn Jamestown” — from the lithograph by Howard Pyle

    The Original Bacon’s Rebellion

    In 1676, a Henrico farmer by the name of Nathaniel Bacon led a series of expeditions to defend the frontier against Indian attack. Raising his own militia, he acted in defiance of the colonial governor, Sir William Berkeley, who preferred to deal with the Indians more diplomatically. Elected to the House of Burgesses, Bacon also pressed the interests of the small farmers and common people in the colonial assembly. In a “Declaration of the People” — the first expression of popular sovereignty in the English colonies — he accused Berkeley of raising unjust taxes, elevating his cronies to positions of high office, exercising a monopoly in the beaver trade and interfering with his campaigns against the Indians. The power struggle between Bacon and Berkeley led to a series of armed skirmishes culminating with the siege and burning of Jamestown, the colonial capital. Bacon’s death of “bloodie flux” and “lousey” disease put an end to the first rebellion against English authority in the North American colonies.

    The 21st Century Bacon’s Rebellion

    In 2002 Jim Bacon departed Virginia Business magazine, where he had been publisher and editor-in-chief, to launch Bacon’s Rebellion as an electronic newsletter. Three years later, he added the Bacon’s Rebellion blog as an affiliated but stand-alone project. With funding from the Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC), Bacon’s Rebellion was the first digital enterprise in Virginia to conduct serious, in-depth journalism on topics related to state and local governmental policy.

    Bacon shut down the blog while taking a job with the Boomer Project, a Richmond-based market research firm with a focus on the Boomer generation. He later wrote a book, “Boomergeddon,” warning Boomers that an eventual collapse of federal government finances would shred the Social Security and Medicare safety net they are counting on for retirement.

    After winding up the “Boomergeddon” project, Bacon re-launched the Bacon’s Rebellion blog, jettisoning the newsletter in order to spend more time on original reporting. He publishes the blog as a full-time endeavor, backed financially with sponsorships from the Piedmont Environmental Council and the Bon Secours Virginia Health System. Bacon’s Rebellion is open to working with other sponsors.

    Jim Bacon has no known relationship to Nathaniel Bacon, and he bears no grievance towards Virginia’s Indian tribes. However, he does live in Henrico County, and he does share his namesake’s predilections for shaking up the established order.

    Guiding Principles of the Rebellion

    The philosophy articulated by the 21st-century Bacon’s Rebellion is based on the following guiding principles:

    ■ Free markets and the individual pursuit of enlightened self-interest are the most efficient means of allocating resources and creating wealth – most of the time.

    ■ The vitality of the economy and well being of a community also require collective action, either in the civic realm or in the governmental realm.

    ■ Government is a necessary evil which requires constant oversight. Even at the state and local level, it falls prey to organized special interests seeking to acquire funds, influence regulations or curry some other favor.

    ■ Governmental institutions are slower to adapt to changing circumstances than are business institutions. Governments lack the discipline of the marketplace – failure does not result in bankruptcy, liquidation or takeover by a stronger entity.

    ■ Governmental institutions also have no clear “bottom line.” Governments have nothing comparable to sales, profits, return on investment and other vital measures – as defined by Generally Accepted Accounting Principles – that investors use to evaluate corporations.

    ■ The managers of all institutions, whether business, educational, civic or governmental, tend to shun accountability. The rules of governance, by which citizens hold these entities accountable, must be constantly updated. And leaders of these institutions must be subject to continual scrutiny.

    ■ Any proper accounting of the general welfare must include the health of the environment.

    ■ The proper focus of social justice is to create equal rights under the law and to open up economic opportunities for all citizens — not to mandate equal outcomes.



    Hearing entitled “Sound Money: Parallel Currencies and the Roadmap to Monetary Freedom”
    Thursday, August 2, 2012 10:00 AM in 2128 Rayburn HOB
    Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology


    Click here for the Archived Webcast of this hearing.

    WITNESS LIST


    AOCS Goes to Washington

    Missed the live feed? Catch the full hearing on YouTube HERE or Mr Gray’s excerpt HERE.

    While debriefing from our most recent trip to FreedomFest in Las Vegas, I posed a question: how do we take our movement to the next level? I mean, we have so many people that are paying attention now, but still believe we can petition the government to solve today’s social and economic problems.

    Last week, Congressman Paul’s bill to audit the Fed finally came to a vote on the House floor. Though it passed with overwhelming majority, it is expected to die in the Democratic-controlled Senate. Years of work, donations, phone calls and effort stopped in their tracks.

    Ron Paul said it best in his final appearance last month with Fed Chairman Bernanke:

    “We’re in deep doldrums and we never change policy. We never challenge anything. We just keep doing the same thing. Congress keeps spending the money, welfare expands exponentially, wars never end, and deficits don’t matter,” Paul said.

    The AOCS position takes in to consideration this reality. Let’s just move on. Let’s stop talking about auditing the Fed. Forget about Ending the Fed. Let’s start ignoring the Fed, and eliminating the impact they have on our lives. This has been our position from day one.

    So, it came as quite a surprise when I received an invitation to testify in front of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy on parallel and competing currencies.

    My first reaction was to turn it down. We’ve enjoyed nearly 5 years of uninterrupted operations, with no sign whatsoever of government interference. We like to fly below the radar, and don’t want unnecessary attention. We have a lot of work to do, and not a lot of time to do it. But at some point, some day, the world will have to know what we’re doing.

    And that day is upon us.

    Let’s stop talking about auditing the Fed.

    Forget about ending the Fed.

    Let’s start ignoring the Fed,

    and eliminating the impact they have on our lives.

    At 10am Eastern time on Thursday, August 2nd 2012, I am taking advantage of a rare opportunity to go on the record before the Domestic Monetary Policy subcommittee and tell them exactly what I’d like them to do to help complementary currencies come in to existence: absolutely nothing.

    Below you can find a transcript of my written testimony, now part of the Congressional record. I invite you to tune in to the hearing, which is tentatively scheduled to be broadcast live on one of the C-Span channels Thursday, August 2nd at 10a Eastern. It will be recorded and posted here after completion, in case you can’t catch it live. Certainly, the hearing can also be cancelled or postponed at any moment without notice.

    But this is it: we can no longer operate quietly. It was only a matter of time, anyway, given the work we’re doing with the Lakota Indian Nation and Commodity Banking. The best we can do is tell the truth and let the chips fall where they may.

    ________________________________________________

    Date: August 2nd, 2012

    Author: Robert J Gray, Executive Director of the American Open Currency Standard

    Re: Testimony Before the Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy & Technology

    Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee,

    My name is Rob Gray and I was asked to testify today on the theory of competing currencies, and the practical challenges that make such a theory difficult or impossible to implement.

    For nearly 5 years now, I’ve successfully directed the American Open Currency Standard – the standard for private voluntary and complementary currencies that compete against each other, not against the US dollar. Allow me to clarify: we do not consider AOCS Approved medallions produced and traded in our private barter marketplace ‘competition’ to the US Federal Reserve Note. Because “fair competition”, as one would find in the “free market”, assumes the existence of a level playing field, the existence of a standard set of rules. Those players who wish to compete honestly do so by relying simply on the merit of the value they bring to the market.

    No fair challenge can be made between honest men and thieves. Let me be clear that when I say thieves: I refer to the current private central bank and the men in government who allow it to exist.

    This brings us to a critical point: according to your Employee Handbook, Article 1, Section 8 says: “The Congress shall have the Power …To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof…”.  For anyone who has been a manager or business owner, it is not uncommon to find that you may have an employee who may choose to not do the work that is delegated to them, or even that they simply do it very badly. When such a time comes it is necessary for the manager or owner to step in and do the work themselves. I would argue that since 1913, Congress has failed to do the job with which it had been tasked. We the people are now bypassing you and are no longer waiting for you to make it right.  It is far better to simply walk away from the system.  We are walking away from toxic thoughts, relationships, investments and careers.  We are taking the hard intellectual journey to rid ourselves of the indoctrination that keeps us in this system. We are realizing the power we have in ourselves and the everyday choices that we make to either empower some soulless collective or our own families. We are realizing that we simply need to withdraw our time, energy, and money from banks, politicians and corporations that do not serve our interests.

    In the time since our inception, the American Open Currency Standard has enjoyed nearly five years of growth and success in our mission of issuing a means that allows valuable exchanges among men who produce. In the next five years, we expect to expand our offerings and to increase our ability to keep up with the demand for our private currency. We are doing the job Congress would not.

    The use of community currencies here in the US became popular back in the early 1930′s. You see, at the time, the theory was that a group of the world’s most powerful men, many of them international bankers, were intentionally and systematically removing currency from circulation, creating an artificial scarcity of money across America. Small cities and towns felt it worse than anyone. But life did go on.

    Then, during the greatest economic depression this country had ever seen, individuals across this country developed their own mediums of exchange. They still needed things – food, clothing, daily essentials – they still needed to live, and they didn’t have time to wait for the government to fix the problem, and they certainly weren’t going to rely on the same bankers that caused the crash to offer solutions. And so, according to historical records, thousands of community currencies were created, circulated and traded in places where the scarcity of dollars was interfering with the human desire to live, and the market’s desire to trade. And since their elected employees were not doing the job for which they were hired, these individuals took it upon themselves to secure the means to their own survival and potential prosperity.

    More recently, community currencies have sprung up across Europe as the Euro and national fiat currencies become increasingly unavailable and undependable. Today, communities all across the Eurozone trade their own money instead of the Euro.

    Community currencies are not simply a good idea in theory; they are necessary, alive, and true examples of the free market’s unwillingness to be artificially manipulated. Right now alternative and complementary currencies circulate widely across this country and in many different forms: Ithaca, New York uses a local fiat currency based loosely on the value of time; Berkshire, Massachusetts uses a fiat-backed fiat system, while many more communities circulate gold, silver and copper AOCS Approved barter tokens as a medium of exchange. How they are issued, accepted, accounted for and reported varies widely, as the participants and procedures are as different as the markets they serve.

    As for practical issues to overcome in the issuance and circulation of complementary currencies, there are plenty. In a voluntary system, those that participate in the trading of private currencies must deal with the possibility of counterfeiting, fraud, scarcity, acceptance, accounting, storage and other issues, all without the luxury of big brother holding a gun to anyone’s head to ensure their success.

    Even with all the risks, the market moves on. As in any free market, good ideas circulate with success, and bad ones eventually fade away. Participants voluntarily choose to accept and circulate the highest quality and most valuable currencies in exchange for their best production. Merchants accept complementary currencies based on the premise that someone else is willing to do the same later. Issues arise and are worked out by the market with only one light to guide them: the mutual exchange of value. No guns, no laws, no force: just the willingness to think outside the box and act on principle.

    Complementary currencies are not new, in theory or in practice. Further, private currencies circulated long before governments erected themselves to interfere. What’s new, however, is the public’s apathy towards you and your policies. You’ve managed for the last hundred years somehow to convince the citizenry that you’re relevant. Now, just recently, we’re beginning to see the tides change on this. And once it catches on, you’ll be rendered completely obsolete.

    The greatest hurdle you will face over the next few years is trying to convince “we, the people” that you are still necessary in spite of your failures to get the job done. Sure, some will continue to rely on you for hand-outs; it’s what they’ve known their entire lives and they will be slaves right up and to the point of their own destruction. They don’t know any better and I don’t blame them for their ignorance. But as you continue to squeeze the life out of the middle class, watch out for their greatest weapon: apathy. They may not be ready to admit it, but soon they’ll turn their backs on you and never believe another lie – the lie that you are willing and able to do the job for which you were hired.  In the future you will not have to worry about million man marches or citizen journalists trying to catch you on camera.  What you need to fear is no one paying attention to you.  The next American revolution will not be fought with bullets and bombs; it will be won with the opposite consciousness.

    “It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.” ~Henry Ford

    To that end, I’m here today to propose a solution. My understanding of this subcommittee is that you desire to be part of the solution. You want to believe you’re doing something good for the country. Today, the greatest gift you can offer to the people you clearly represent is to introduce, not to the legislature but directly to the public, what I call IR 1207 – Individual Resolution 1207 – commonly referred to as  ’Ignore the Fed’. Store your wealth in silver. Bank with a non-fractional bank that pays real money on deposits. Use the card services network to satisfy dollar obligations. Do not try to compete with the federal reserve system: ignore them. This country has succeeded in doing away with two central banks already over the course of its history – it is learning to do the same again.

    Congressman Paul: on July 13, 2011, you asked Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, a question: ‘Is gold money?’ I ask that same question of you here today: is gold money? Is silver money?  They most certainly are not. At least not by the current definition as handed down by Congress’ money-issuing surrogate, the Federal Reserve. And that’s just fine.

    I respectfully petition you, sir, to seriously reconsider your position on this matter. The government has perverted the word money. My wife is a nutritionist, and she tells people, ‘If your grandparents wouldn’t recognize it as food, don’t eat it.’ I suggest to you that if your great-grandparents wouldn’t recognize it as money, don’t accept or spend it.

    A great philosopher once said “When destroyers appear among men, they start by destroying money, ….”  Today, conventional wisdom tells us that money is a worthless pile of paper. And for the last 100 years Congress has for a third time (again) shunned its responsibility when it comes to issuing money. Since the creation of the Federal Reserve and Congress’ abdication of their responsibility, the dollar has lost 98% of its value. I don’t suspect anyone would call that stellar job performance. I must be blunt and say that, as employees, Congress, you have not been successful in your charge to “…coin money and regulate the value thereof…” and therefore your services in this area are no longer needed.  It is sad that even the men and women in this chamber either do not understand the system they serve or are so dependent upon the system’s favors that they dare not speak in opposition to it.

    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!” ~Upton Sinclair

    I ask you to leave the Fed their money and leave the people our silver, gold and copper. Do not push to redefine whatever representations we choose for our wealth as ‘money’. Let the Fed do what it wants with their ‘money’, so long as they leave us alone. I warn you: ‘honest money legislation’ is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The record of Congress over time has proven that it will make a miserable failure of this aspect of human survival as it has so many others.

    The greatest thing this Congress can do is exactly what you’ve done so far: nothing.

    “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” — Ronald Reagan.

    I will not facilitate this government to “help” understand, control and ultimately destroy alternative currencies.  All I ask is that you stay out of our way. The people in our world are happy to go right along saving you from your own destruction by producing value against all the odds, regulations, codes, and challenges thrown our way. But leave our money alone. It doesn’t belong to you, and it never will.

    If you really want to help, I would recommend that instead of trying to DO something, you could start by undoing some things. But that list is far too long for me to get into here today and as a responsible employer, I’ll allow you some room for creativity.

    One last thing I would like to leave you all to ponder…

    How is it possible for every single person in the world to be in debt with credit card debt, student debt, consumer debt, auto debt, and mortgages?

    How is it possible that every small business and corporation in the world is also in debt?

    And finally how is it possible that every single local, county, province, state and nation on earth is also in debt?

    Who owns the other side of that debt?

    When you understand that, maybe just maybe, something positive will come out of this chamber.

    The bottom line is simple: humanity is not going to wait for permission to survive. Things that cannot go on forever… won’t.  The market will move on – with or without you. And, based on your rate of success to date, our preference is without you.

    I thank you for your attention to this matter of life and death.

    “There are thousands hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.” -Henry David Thoreau

    http://financialservices.house.gov/UploadedFiles/HHRG-112-BA19-WState-RGray-20120802.pdf

    hydropower summit

    “California is the global pioneer for geothermal energy,”

    The first modern geothermal well in the U.S., Magma No. 1 was drilled in 1955 at The Geysers, in the Mayacamas Mountains of northern California – a site that today comprises about 45 square miles and is the largest geothermal field in the world.


    This is the same geothermal feature that created Iron Mountain and the West Shasta Copper belt over 1/2 million years ago. 


    The USGS has identified over 5400 MW of known geothermal resource capacity, as well as estimated an additional 11,000 MW of undiscovered resource capacity in California. 

    The Geysers represents almost one-half of the state’s geothermal output.  Additional major geothermal power production in California occurs at power plants located around Coso and the Imperial Valley, with enough installed capacity to meet the needs of more than 1 million households. 

    Sandia National Laboratory indicated that with advanced technologies included, there could be as much as 24,750 MW of additional capacity.  More recently, the 2008 USGS assessment reported undiscovered resources at 11,340 MW, and potential for Enhanced Geothermal Systems in the state as high as 48,000 MW.

    It’s important to get the facts straight, because making right policy decisions today is vital.


    California is the largest producer of geothermal energy in the world.


    9 Million Investment in Rural Communities to Foster Job Creation and Innovation

    08/01/2012 | 01:33pm US/Eastern

    Winners of the Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge will strengthen regional industry clusters and rural economies across 12 states

    The Obama administration today announced the winners of the multi-agency Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge to spur job creation and economic growth in rural regions across the country.


    Spiritual Superfund sites

    Cleanup Alternatives

    The Superfund remedial process begins once sites are brought to the attention of the Superfund site assessment program. As the EPA uses all available tools to ensure the protection of human health and the environment, various avenues for site cleanup are evaluated during site assessment to determine which is the most appropriate to meet site cleanup needs.

    In addition to determining whether placing a site on the National Priorities List is the most efficient option to achieve site cleanup, the EPA evaluates a number of other options for addressing site issues. Below, you will find descriptions of each of these site cleanup options and links to external web pages for additional information.

    The National Priorities List (NPL) is a list of national priorities among the known or threatened releases of hazardous substance, pollutants, or contaminants throughout the United States. The list, which is appendix B of the NCP (40 CFR part 300), was required under Superfund law. The NPL is required to be revised annually and it is intended primarily to guide EPA in determining which sites warrant further investigation to assess the nature and extent of public health and environmental risks associated with a release of hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants.


    When a liable Potential Responsible Party (PRP) demonstrates it is viable and cooperative, EPA regional offices, at their discretion, may enter into a Superfund Alternative Approach (SAA) agreement with the PRP to facilitate the cleanup of a site. To view a list of all sites currently being managed under these agreements, please visit EPA's Compliance and Enforcement Office's Superfund Alternative Approach webpage.



    Sites completing the Superfund assessment process and determined to need long-term cleanup attention may be addressed under a State or Tribal environmental cleanup program. Those that require no EPA financing, enforcement, or other substantial involvement are assigned a status of "Other Cleanup Activity: State/Tribal Lead" in EPA's CERCLIS database. EPA periodically checks in with State and Tribal regulators on the status of cleanup work at these sites. Should conditions change such that Federal Superfund involvement becomes necessary, EPA will work with its State and Tribal partners to determine next steps and revise the site status accordingly.

    Federal Facility sites completing the Superfund assessment process and determined to need long-term cleanup attention may be addressed under another Federal agency's environmental cleanup program. Federal facilities that are tracked in EPA's CERCLIS database and are being cleaned up off of the NPL are assigned a status of "Other Cleanup Activity: Federal Facility Lead". EPA periodically checks in with other Federal agencies on the status of cleanup work at these sites.



    Removal actions are quick responses to immediate threats from hazardous substances in order to eliminate dangers to the public. Typical situations requiring removal actions include chemical fires or explosions, threats to people from exposure to hazardous substances, or contamination of drinking water supplies. Types of removal actions include removing and disposing of hazardous substances, constructing a fence or taking security precautions to limit human access to a site, providing a temporary alternative water supply to local residents when drinking water is contaminated, and temporarily relocating area residents if necessary.

    It is the EPA's policy to defer placing sites on the NPL that can be comparably addressed under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Subtitle C corrective action authorities. There are certain exceptions to this policy and sites not subject to Subtitle C will continue to be considered for NPL listing.




    It is EPA's policy not to list releases of source, by-product, or special nuclear material from any facility with a current license issued by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) because the NRC has full authority to require cleanup of releases from such facilities. If a facility is licensed by the NRC, but the NRC does not have authority to require cleanup, the site will not be deferred from NPL listing.


    Superfund Help: Acronyms | Topics | Frequent Questions | Publications | Sitemap


    Promoting high-growth entrepreneurship
    Speeding up “lab to market” research:  The President has directed all federal research agencies to help accelerate innovation by speeding up grants to startups.  The National Science Foundation launched an Innovation Corps to get teams of scientists out of the lab and starting new companies.  Over twenty federal agencies have cooperated to fund regional entrepreneurial ecosystems, and are dramatically streamlining patent licenses for entrepreneurs in clean energy and biotech.

    “It … seems doubtful that a defendant can ever be found to be an arranger if he did not know the substance in question is hazardous.” U.S. District Judge Griesbach


    Inspector General to Investigate EPA Enforcement

    The Inspector General for the Environmental Protection Agency will begin an investigation into the consistency and fairness of the agency’s enforcement actions.

    We are accusing the Environmental Protection Agency & Dept. of Justice ENRD of conducting a "vindictive, spurious, retaliatory and overzealous prosecution"

    "we are still driving on the same winding mountain road but this time in a faster car, with faulty brakes." Neil Barofsky

    When Uncle Sam governs with a tire iron in his hand, U.S. companies wisely pull off the road and pray for new management.

    move slowly as we figure out this big water-quality puzzle

    Green Roof Roots: Stumbling Upon Environmental History in Lake Tahoe

    Kelly Coplin
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    Last weekend I had the great fortune to spend three days biking, swimming and relaxing along the shores of Lake Tahoe with my family. I’ve spent summer weekends at the lake almost annually since I was a baby, and like...continued | comments (2)

    Day-tripping without a car in Los Angeles

    Jessica Lass
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    Yes, sure, no one walks in LA…except well, more people than you’d think. Every month more Angelenos are choosing to ride their bike to work or ride public transit as a cheaper, healthier alternative to driving (if it can be...continued | comments (3)

    Truth in jest; a livestock industry in denial about its drug problem

    Sasha Lyutse
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    Sometimes a bit of humor is worth a thousand words. Here at NRDC, we’ve written about how the livestock industry employs a strategy of obfuscation—pesky facts be damned!—to try and convince us that their massive and largely unregulated use of...continued | comments (1)

    Ready for round two? A new mega-resort is proposed near Cabo Pulmo National Park

    Carolina Herrera
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    Mexico’s Cabo Pulmo National Park may once more be under threat from a mega tourism resort. Barely two months since President Calderón announced the cancellation of the controversial Cabo Cortés tourism and residential development, a new company has proposed a...continued | comments

    Final Test Before California's Cap-and-Trade Program Kicks Off

    Kristin Eberhard
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    Next week’s scheduled practice auction of greenhouse gas allowances for California’s largest polluters will provide an important first look into how the state’s cap-and-trade program, a key element of the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32), will work going forward....continued | comments

    Alaska to EPA: Stay away from Pebble Mine (but please help us clean up this other mine)

    Taryn Kiekow
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    Alaska is sending EPA mixed messages.  On the one hand, Alaska Attorney General Michael Geraghty has told EPA to steer clear of Pebble Mine.  On the other hand, he just asked EPA to clean up the Red Devil mine.  Does...continued | comments (5)

    A Look at Rural Clean Energy Solutions for Climate Change Impacts

    Grace Gill
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    The word Punjab is derived from Persian, meaning five (panj) rivers (ab).  It is named so for the five rivers coursing through the arable land, like veins through a body, providing the essential nourishment to cultivate the land.  As a...continued | comments

    Clean Energy Companies Are Powering Economic Recovery and Job Growth

    Peter Lehner
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    A few years ago, Craig Winn launched a new company with two employees and a good idea: leverage the auto industry’s engineering prowess to improve solar manufacturing. Three years later, the Michigan-based company has hired nearly 50 workers and doubled...continued | comments (1)

    LA Ratepayer Advocate Recommends Approval of LADWP Electricity Rate Increase

    Kristin Eberhard
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    Yesterday the Los Angeles Ratepayer Advocate presented his preliminary report on LADWP’s two-year electricity rate request to the LADWP board. He recommended approval of the rate increase.In his presentation, he highlighted the importance of energy efficiency, which makes up only...continued | comments

    Climate Change SOS: Which Side Are You On

    Franz Matzner
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    Burning fossil fuels kills.  Coal and oil are already making the planet sick and it’s only going to get worse until a choice is made to stop denying the truth, start cleaning up, and get on track to putting an...continued | comments (3)

    More evidence of the risks posed by fracking wastewater in the Marcellus region

    Kate Sinding
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    The disposal of contaminated wastewater generated from fracking in the Marcellus Shale region presents a significant risk to rivers and other bodies of water, finds a recent study carried out by Stony Brook University and published in this month’s issue...continued | comments (4)

    China Environmental News Alert

    Greenlaw from NRDC China
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    NRDC has been working in China for over fifteen years on such issues as energy efficiency, green buildings, clean energy technologies, environmental governance and public participation, and green supply chain issues. This China Environmental News Alert is a compilation of...continued | comments

    Turning the Tide on Plastic Pollution With Art

    Francesca Koe
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    Beauty can be found in the most unexpected of places. In a moving series of photographs, artist Mandy Barker turns the tragedy of marine plastic pollution into compelling works of art. Her series, SOUP, documents plastics salvaged from beaches around...continued | comments

    New NRDC Report Shows Arctic Oil Development Needs to be Put on Hold

    Chuck Clusen
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    With the Department of the Interior considering whether to grant Shell permits to drill in America’s Arctic Ocean, and Shell scrambling to get started amid a flurry of problems, a new NRDC report details the huge risks that come with the rush...continued | comments

    Richmond's Toxic Tornado: A Cautionary Tale on Why Power Plants Need Safeguards

    Tiffany Traynum
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    I’ve always loved the magic of movies and television. Hollywood has the ability to make anything happen or look like it’s happening with the use of out-of-this-world special effects, sound mixing, and some serious studio make-up. Huge blockbuster hits...continued | comments


    Game On! USDA Launches Feds Feed Families 2012

    On Monday I accepted the challenge for USDA to donate more than 1.8 million pounds of food this summer through the 4th annual Feds Feed Families Food Drive (FFF).  Game on!

    If each USDA employee donates just two pounds of food per week, we will contribute more than 2 million pounds and help our hardworking neighbors put food on the table during these tough economic times.  FFF began four years ago to help fill a gap during the summer months, when food banks and pantries struggle with an increase in demand from families and individuals, but a decrease in donations.  Each year of the food drive, USDA employees have stepped up to the plate: in 2011, USDA employees organized over 2,000 food drives across the country and collected 1.79 million pounds of fresh and shelf-stable food.

    Read more »


    Calling All Champions of Change

    Hunger is an issue that touches the lives of people all around us. Whether it’s the single mother struggling to feed her family of four while simultaneously making ends meet or a person living in rural America who has to drive 50 miles to the closest grocery store, hunger affects us all.


    Rural Development

    Council for Native American Farming and Ranching Begins Work

    Natural Resources/Range Manager of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes in Blackfoot, ID., Mark Wadsworth, speaking, was voted as the President of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Council for Native American Farming and Ranching (CNAFR) held at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012. CNAFR was created to advise the Secretary on ways to eliminate barriers to participation for Native American Farmers and Ranchers in USDA programs. The Council was established as part of the Keepseagle settlement, and is conducted under the oversight of USDA's Office of Tribal Relations under the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.

    Natural Resources/Range Manager of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes in Blackfoot, ID., Mark Wadsworth, speaking, was voted as the President of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Council for Native American Farming and Ranching (CNAFR) held at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012. CNAFR was created to advise the Secretary on ways to eliminate barriers to participation for Native American Farmers and Ranchers in USDA programs. The Council was established as part of the Keepseagle settlement, and is conducted under the oversight of USDA's Office of Tribal Relations under the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.

    An intensive two day public meeting wrapped up earlier this week in Washington, D.C., as the recently appointed members of the Council for Native American Farming and Ranching met face-to-face for the first time. Read more »

    USDA Official, Center for Rural Strategies, Discuss Ways Rural Areas can Attract and Retain Creative Young Americans

    Kelle Jolly of the Carpetbagger Theater in Knoxville, TN shares her perspective with other rural arts practitioners at the Double Edge Theater in Ashfield, MA. Photo Courtesy Center for Rural Strategies

    Kelle Jolly of the Carpetbagger Theater in Knoxville, TN shares her perspective with other rural arts practitioners at the Double Edge Theater in Ashfield, MA. Photo Courtesy Center for Rural Strategies

    This past week, I had the opportunity to join a group of rural arts leaders at a conference in the Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts.   The event had a number of objectives, including some hearty brainstorming about the crucial role rural arts organizations and artists play in buoying small town economies and enhancing the livability of rural places.  Additionally, since there were a number of talented and inspiring young people in the group, this was a chance for them to learn and share their experiences.  While there was no USDA sponsorship of this event, the Obama Administration can certainly feel inspired by the positive energy these practitioners bring to the country. Read more »

    Secretary Meets with Energy and Rural Development Officials During a Nebraska Swing

    Late last week, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack went to Omaha, Nebraska to discuss the President’s “All of the above” energy strategy, and meet with wind energy and rural development officials.  Speaking to members of the American Coalition for Ethanol, he said that while the drought is severe and the Obama Administration is moving to help affected farmers and ranchers, we won’t know the impact of this drought until harvest time – but we do know that working together, we will get through this challenge.

    The Secretary noted that Nebraska has been hit hard by drought. Today, USDA declared an additional 172 additional counties across the United States as primary natural disaster areas due to drought – and as of today, all of the State of Nebraska is covered by primary or contiguous disaster designations for drought.

    Read more »

    Endgame At Hand

    MF Global Files Chapter 11

    MF Global.The curtain may be about to fall on Jon Corzine’s third act.

    Update 10:25 a.m.: MF Global filed for bankruptcy Monday morning, according to Reuters and the Wall Street Journal. The latter reported that a proposed deal in which some of the firm’s assets would be sold to Interactive Brokers, is off.

    ————————–

    MF Global, the brokerage firm Corzine took the helm of in March 2010, had its shares halted by the New York Stock Exchange Monday amid reports that a bankruptcy filing is on its way.

    The Federal Reserve Bank of New York suspended the brokerage firm from conducting new business with the Fed in a terse statement Monday that could ultimately lead to a termination of MF Global’s status as a primary dealer, one of the preferred institutions allowed to conduct business with the Fed like underwriting offerings of U.S. Treasury securities.


    Obama Spars With Romney on Energy in Swing State Pitches

    Knicker Knocker

    Environmental News: Firsthand


    Defending the Homeplace

    The hound dogs ran up the trail, ears flopping and noses close to the ground as we sat on our porch watching the rain clouds move up from the valley. Thunder rumbled and lightning pierced the dark sky. The dogs, never lifting their heads, howled and yipped as they ran through the clearing and disappeared back into the dense woods.

    Within minutes the storm, a real "gully washer," was upon us, pounding the tin roof of our cabin and shaking the windows with powerful thunder claps. The cabin is in a temperate rain forest, which gets up to 90 inches of rain a year, much of it in summer thunderstorms. Tulip Poplar trees grow over 200 feet tall and white oaks are five feet in diameter. Forest floors are so thick with under growth that, as the locals say, "A dog can't wag his tail in it."

    When the storm passed, evening began to settle. A Towhee trilled "Drink your tea!" in the waning light and hoot owls called. Stars shone in the clear sky. Below in the valley, dim lights blinked on farms that have been in families for over a hundred years. Mountains reaching over 6,000 feet folded in the distance.

    (May I borrow your bat for my practice?)

    Yesterday the Justice Department announced that once again it's not going to pursue evidence of Wall Street crimes which has been sent its way. It has already failed to act on information sent to it by sources whose investigators are apparently more dogged than its own, including several other government agencies and the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. Now the bipartisan committee which was led by Senators Carl Levin and Tom Coburn can be added to the list of sources whose leads weren't pursued by Attorney General Eric Holder and his staff.

    the Holder Justice Department has had a troublesome relationship with facts. That dates back to its ginned-up and ultimately discredited claims about something called "Operation Broken Trust," in which it claimed credit for dozens of mortgage-related convictions that it said had resulted from a coordinated operation of that name. As the New York Times noted, many of those investigations had actually concluded before the 2008 election, Holder's appointment, and the creation of "Broken Trust." The Columbia Journalism Review gave its review of the fiasco the headline "Obama Administration's Financial-Fraud Stunt Backfires."

    Then there's the graphic evidence of inactivity since the election of President Obama and the confirmation of Attorney General Holder, courtesy of Syracuse University's TRAC project:

    2012-08-10-economix15traccustom1.jpg


    (On the other hand, prosecution of immigration cases has soared under this administration.)

    Most tellingly of all, there are the insider comments which suggest that the Justice Department has been dragging its feet in providing the mortgage fraud task force with the extremely modest resources it was promised (roughly 100 staff members to investigate a trillion-dollar fraud that involved all of the major U.S. banks, as opposed to 1,000 for the much smaller savings and loan scandal of the 1980s).

    And despite Holder's claims, the convictions obtained over the least three and a half years have been strictly for small fry. The Justice Department hasn't even tried any cases against major financial executives, despite seemingly overwhelming evidence which includes:

    The AIG allegations: We used the Levin/Coburn Report to review the list of potential criminal activity in that case here.

    GE Capital deceptions: That's the company whose politically-connected CEO was given a presidential appointment. Referring investigators were stunned to find that no criminal charges would be filed over its fraudulent deception of investors, even though they had identified specific individuals in the accounting department who had cooked GE's books. GE Capital has also been implicated in fraudulent mortgage practices.

    Wells Fargo drug-money laundering: That's the case in which bankers laundered money for the Mexican cartels that have killed tens of thousands of people. You know the gangsters we mean -- they're the guys who decapitate people.

    JPMorgan Chase's "London Whale": With particular concern about the cover-up of billion-dollar losses, with special concerns about CEO Jamie Dimon's statement to investors that its London losses were "a tempest in a teapot." Dimon later admitted he had made mistakes. (If he had made false statements to investors, that would be stock fraud, a crime.)

    And there are others, too numerous to mention all of them here: Countrywide. Citigroup. HSBC. The list goes on and on.

    The Justice Department's argument for inaction seems to come down to this: Bank cases are complicated. They're hard to win. We don't want to try. And it has repeatedly used an argument that's also been made by the president and Treasury Secretary as well, as they've tried to explain away the inactivity: that bad banking behavior isn't necessarily criminal behavior. That claim's been repeated many times, especially in the context of "ABACUS" and other Goldman Sachs misdeeds contained in the Coburn/Levin report.

    But it's not true. It's already illegal to lie to clients, to knowingly conceal important information from in order to get their money under false pretenses, or to withhold materially important information from shareholders. And yet that flimsy argument seems to lie at the core of the DOJ's explanation for once again declining to pursue the evidence wherever it may lead.

    Here's what really happened in this case: Goldman was selling its clients "crap" investments (a Goldman employee's word), and which it knew to be "crap," while at the same time betting against those investments. And it concealed the fact that these investments were selected, not by the people it told investors were doing the choosing, but by somebody who was well-known for betting against the "crap" -- and who would make a fortune if they failed.

    Under the massive civil settlement for ABACUS, the parties acknowledged that it was a "mistake" for Goldman marketing materials to claim that "the reference portfolio was 'selected by' ACA Management LLC without disclosing the role of Paulson & Co. Inc. in the portfolio selection process and that Paulson's economic interests were adverse to CDO investors."

    "Mistake"? That's more of the linguistic evasion that's used when crooked bankers pay hundreds of millions to settle criminal and civil charges while "neither admitting nor denying wrongdoing." Goldman paid a record amount -- more than half a billion dollars -- to settle this case. The total settlement came to 550 million dollars. That's 550 million admissions of wrongdoing.

    As they say: Money talks.

    We're not into speculating about the motives for the Justice Department's inaction. But it's not surprising when others who do come to unflattering conclusions, and not just about Holder. This is an issue which the president himself will ultimately have to address -- for his campaign, and ultimately for his legacy.

    Meanwhile, the cases the Justice Department hasn't prosecuted have led to billions of dollars in settlements. Eric Holder says that his department and this administration are doing everything they can to prosecute Wall Street fraud and make sure it doesn't happen again. There's only one thing that makes that statement hard to believe: It's a troublesome little thing called "facts."

    The Administration’s wide approach "all-hands-on-deck"  impotent against drought

    What is the sound of one hand not being handcuffed? haec manus inimica tyrannus

    You're probably wondering how the government chastised the head of a company that's been fined tens of millions of dollars as the result of multiple charges of criminal behavior on his watch? Here's how: By asking him to replace respected economist Paul Volcker as head of the President's Economic Advisory Panel.

    Not that GE's punishment was limited to prestigious presidential appointments. It also received billions of dollars in bank bailout money -- despite the fact that it's not technically a bank. No problem, said the government. It promptly created a loophole that enabled GE to receive TARP assistance without being required to follow that program's limits on executive compensation (or any of its other rules). That loophole also allowed GE to benefit from the government's low interest emergency loan facility for banks, the Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program. ProPublica reports that "GE received nearly a quarter of the $340 billion in debt backed by the program," which allowed GE to save billions of dollars.

    That'll teach 'em.

    GE's accounting showed a lot of "imagination."

    Just before sunset on April 10, 2006, a DC-9 jet landed at the international airport in the port city of Ciudad del Carmen, 500 miles east of Mexico City. As soldiers on the ground approached the plane, the crew tried to shoo them away, saying there was a dangerous oil leak. So the troops grew suspicious and searched the jet.

    They found 128 black suitcases, packed with 5.7 tons of cocaine, valued at $100 million. The stash was supposed to have been delivered from Caracas to drug traffickers in Toluca, near Mexico City, Mexican prosecutors later found. Law enforcement officials also discovered something else.

    The smugglers had bought the DC-9 with laundered funds they transferred through two of the biggest banks in the U.S.: Wachovia Corp. and Bank of America Corp., Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its August 2010 issue.

    Criminal Empires

    On June 15, the Mexican Finance Ministry announced it would set limits for banks on cash deposits in dollars.

    Mexico’s drug cartels have become multinational criminal enterprises.

    Some of the gangs have delved into other illegal activities such as gunrunning, kidnapping and smuggling people across the border, as well as into seemingly legitimate areas such as trucking, travel services and air cargo transport, according to the Justice Department’s National Drug Intelligence Center.

    These criminal empires have no choice but to use the global banking system to finance their businesses, Mexican Senator Felipe Gonzalez says.

    “With so much cash, the only way to move this money is through the banks,” says Gonzalez, who represents a central Mexican state and chairs the senate public safety committee.

    Gonzalez, a member of Calderon’s National Action Party, carries a .38 revolver for personal protection.

    “I know this won’t stop the narcos when they come through that door with machine guns,” he says, pointing to the entrance to his office. “But at least I’ll take one with me.”

    News From the Field

    Umpire cries "FOWL"; Innocent wildlife sue for protection from the continuing bombardment. Seek to cover monthly overhead, president offers low interest loan.

    Greens keeper balks at suggestion drought is responsible, says its a wild swing.

    National pastime participants indolent and apathetic regarding environmental 'impact' effects of disintegrating lacing and leather in long-term critical ecology national wildlife conservation canal zone flood control watershed observatory.

    Endangered species reject relocation, flock together "In the Shadows" of 'home base'. Fishy-Hunters gather evidence, claim " we have your balls". Commissioner investigates. Free Agents negotiate for fairplay, collective bargaining; team owners maintain lockout. Union Strikes; Air Traffic Control Intervenes on aviation Pilot program; safety first; 

     Institute for Instruction Training flight Instrumentation Transportation Simulators;

    crash course;

    Through a Memorandum of Understanding signed by EPA, the Department of the Interior and the Army Corps of Engineers on June 11, 2009, Federal agencies are taking action to minimize adverse environmental and health impacts


    Water quality trading addresses freshwater problems with economic, environmental unity

    Published: Saturday, August 18, 2012, 12:00 PM

    DENMAN-EVANS-CREEK-SITE_20539095.JPG
    Thomas Edlen, a fellow with The Freshwater Trust, uses a densitometer to measure the current shade at a restoration site along Little Butte Creek in Southern Oregon. The readings will be used to set a baseline from which to measure the effects of the tree plantings.
    By Joe Whitworth

    The drought is serving notice that water is a scarce and precious resource coming under serious pressure. This is true even in years of no drought. Right now, if all the issues facing freshwater ecosystems are the size of Yankee Stadium, our collective ability to address those issues -- everybody working everywhere in conservation -- is about the size of a baseball.

    Environmental pioneers dealt well with the issues of their day, but the tools they built only got us so far. We need the next generation: tools that build on success but also recognize the limitations. Today, more than a third of the 3.6 million stream miles in this country are designated as impaired under the Clean Water Act. Under the Endangered Species Act, we have listed 28 types of salmon and have recovered none -- zero. In a very real sense, the environmental war is over and the greens won, but the victories have come mostly on paper. They need to translate to real results on the ground.

    Baseline legal protections are the start, but if we expect a functional environment, we can't just hold the line there -- holding the line by itself is losing. We need to restore our natural systems faster than we degrade them. To do this, we must add to our basic tool kit a market-based, quantified framework that lets us fully account for our actions and create environmental gain.


    Press Release 12-146
    Tale of Two Scientific Fields--Ecology and Phylogenetics--Offers New Views of Earth's Biodiversity

    Scientists report new look at 'patterns in nature' in special issue of journal Ecology

    Image of a pattern created by a leaf miner insect with the words Photo Gallery.

    See nature's patterns in this photo gallery.
    Credit and Larger Version

    August 3, 2012

    View patterns of nature in this photo gallery.

    Patterns in nature are in everything from ocean currents to a flower's petal.

    Scientists are taking a new look at Earth patterns, studying the biodiversity of yard plants in the U.S. and that of desert mammals in Israel, studying where flowers and bees live on the Tibetan plateau and how willow trees in America's Midwest make use of water.

    They're finding that ecology, the study of relationships between living organisms and their environment, and phylogenetics, research on evolutionary relationships among groups of organisms, are inextricably intertwined.

    Results of this tale of two fields are highlighted in a special, August 2012 issue of the journal Ecology, published by the Ecological Society of America (ESA). Most of the results reported are funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

    The issue will be released at the annual ESA meeting, held this year from August 5-10 in Portland, Ore.

    Melding information from ecology and phylogenetics allows scientists to understand why plants and animals are distributed in certain patterns across landscapes, how these species adapt to changing environments across evolutionary time--and where their populations may be faltering.

    "To understand the here and now, ecologists need more knowledge of the past," says Saran Twombly, program director in NSF's Division of Environmental Biology.  "Incorporating evolutionary history and phylogenies into studies of community ecology is revealing complex feedbacks between ecological and evolutionary processes."

    Maureen Kearney, also a program director in NSF's Division of Environmental Biology adds, "Recent studies have demonstrated that species' evolutionary histories can have profound effects on the contemporary structure and composition of ecological communities."

    In the face of rapid changes in Earth's biota, understanding the evolutionary processes that drive patterns of species diversity and coexistence in ecosystems has never been more pressing, write co-editors Jeannine Cavender-Bares of the University of Minnesota, David Ackerly of the University of California at Berkeley and Kenneth Kozak of the University of Minnesota.

    "As human domination of our planet accelerates," says Cavender-Bares, "our best hope for restoring and sustaining the ‘environmental services' of the biological world is to understand how organisms assemble, persist and coexist in ecosystems across the globe."

    Papers in the volume address subjects such as the vanishingly rare oak savanna ecosystem of U.S. northern tier states, revealing an ancient footprint of history on the savanna as well as how it has fared in a 40-year fire experiment.

    Other results cover the influence of ecological and evolutionary factors on hummingbird populations; habitat specialization in willow tree communities; growth strategies in tropical tree lineages and their implications for biodiversity in the Amazon region; and the characteristics of common urban plants.

    "The studies in this issue show that knowledge of how organisms evolve reveals new insights into the ecology and persistence of species," says Cavender-Bares.

    Plants in urban yards, for example, are more closely related to each other--and live shorter lives--than do plants in rural areas, found Cavender-Bares and colleagues.

    Their study compared plant diversity in private urban yards in the U.S. Midwest with that in the rural NSF Cedar Creek Long-Term Ecological Research site in Minnesota.

    Cities are growing faster and faster, with unexpected effects, says Sonja Knapp of the Hemholtz Center for Environmental Research in Germany, lead author of the paper reporting the results.

    "Understanding how urban gardening affects biodiversity is increasingly important," says Cavender-Bares.  "Urbanites should consider maintaining yards with a higher number of species."

    In the special issue, researchers also look at topics such as what determines the number of coexisting species in local and regional communities of salamanders. Kenneth Kozak of the University of Minnesota and John Wiens of Stony Brook University report that variation in the amount of time salamanders occupy different climate zones is the primary factor.

    Evolution of an herbaceous flower called goldfields, and how that led to the plant's affinity for certain habitats, is the subject of a paper by David Ackerly, Nancy Emery of Purdue University and colleagues. Emery is the paper's lead author.

    In all, 17 papers combine ecology and phylogenetics to offer new answers to long-standing questions about the patterns and processes of biodiversity on Planet Earth.

    Integrating Ecology and Phylogenetics
    A special issue of the journal Ecology

    Integrating ecology and phylogenetics: the footprint of history in modern-day communities
    Jeannine Cavender-Bares, David D. Ackerly, Kenneth H. Kozak, Co-Editors

    Synthesizing phylogenetic knowledge for ecological research
    Jeremy M. Beaulieu, Richard H. Ree, Jeannine Cavender-Bares, Nicholas Deacon, George D. Weiblen, and Michael J. Donoghue

    Assessing the effects of spatial contingency and environmental filtering on metacommunity phylogenetics
    Pedro R. Peres-Neto, Mathew A. Leibold and Stephane Dray

    Phylogenetic species-area curves
    Matthew R. Helmus and Anthony R. Ives

    Phylogenetic tree shape as a predictor of niche segregation
    Jonathan Davies, Natalie Cooper, Jose Alexandre Felizola Diniz Filho, Gavin H. Thomas, Shai Meiri

    Shocks to the system: Community assembly of the oak savanna in a 40-year fire frequency experiment
    Jeannine Cavender-Bares and Peter B. Reich

    Demographic drivers of successional changes in phylogenetic structure across life history stages in plant communities
    Natalia Norden, Susan Letcher, Vanessa Boukili, Nathan Swenson, and Robin Chazdon

    Phylogenetic and functional characteristics of household yard floras and their changes along an urbanization gradient
    Sonja Knapp, Lucy Dinsmore, Cinzia Fissore, Sarah Hobbie, Ina Jakobsdottir, Jens Kattge, Jennifer King, Stefan Klotz, Daniel C. Laughlin, Joseph P. McFadden, and Jeannine Cavender-Bares

    Untangling the influence of ecological and evolutionary factors on trait variation across hummingbird assemblages
    Catherine H. Graham, Juan L. Parra, Boris A. Tinoco, F. Gary Stiles, Jim A. McGuire

    Phylogenetic and functional alpha and beta diversity in temperate and tropical tree communities
    Nathan G. Swenson, David L. Erickson, Xiangcheng Mi, Norman A. Bourg, Jimena Montana-Forero, Xuejun Ge, Robert Howe, Jeffrey K. Lake, Xiaojuan Liu, Keping Ma, Nancai Pei, Jill Thompson, Maria Uriarte, Amy Wolf, S. Joseph Wright, Wanhu Ye, Jinlong Zhang, Jess K. Zimmerman and W. John Kress

    Phylogenetic signal and phenotypic plasticity in traits under variable competitive regimes
    Jean H. Burns and Sharon Y. Strauss

    Habitat specialization and the role of trait lability in structuring hyper-diverse willow communities
    Jessica Savage and Jeannine Cavender-Bares

    Niche evolution and habitat specialization in Lasthenia
    Nancy C. Emery, Elisabeth J. Forrestel, Ginger Jui, Michael Park, Bruce G. Baldwin and David D. Ackerly

    Phylogeny, ecology and the origins of climate-richness relationships
    Kenneth H. Kozak and John J. Wiens

    Floral diversity and community structure in Pedicularis (Orobanchaceae)
    Deren A. R. Eaton, Charles B. Fenster, Joe Hereford, Shuang-Quan Huang, Richard H. Ree

    Herbivory, growth strategies and habitat specialization in four tropical tree lineages: Implications for Amazonian Beta-Diversity
    Greg P.A Lamarre, Christopher Baraloto, Claire Fortunel, Nallarett Davila, Italo Mesones, Julio Grandez Rios, Marcos Rios, Elvis Valderrama, Paul Fine

    Predicting the impact of tropical rain forest conversion on insect herbivore abundance from plant traits and phylogeny
    Timothy J. S. Whitfeld, Vojtech Novotny, Scott E. Miller, Jan Hrcek, Petr Klimes, and George D. Weiblen

    Phylogenetic diversity promotes ecosystem stability
    Marc W. Cadotte, Russell Dinnage, David Tilman

    -NSF-

    Media Contacts
    Cheryl Dybas, NSF (703) 292-7734 cdybas@nsf.gov

    Related Websites
    NSF Discovery Article: Oak Savannas: Out of Africa and Into the American Midwest: http://www.nsf.gov/discoveries/disc_summ.jsp?cntn_id=122756&org=NSF
    Ecological Society of America journal Ecology: http://www.esajournals.org/loi/ecol/
    Life on Earth: Preserving, Utilizing and Sustaining Our Ecosystems: 2012 ESA Meeting: http://www.esa.org/portland/
    NSF Cedar Creek Long-Term Ecological Research Site: http://www.lternet.edu/sites/cdr/
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    Small Business Technology Transfer Program Phase I Solicitation FY-2013 (STTR)


    Program Solicitation
    NSF 12-592

    Replaces Document(s):
    NSF 11-561

    NSF Logo

    National Science Foundation

    Directorate for Engineering
         Industrial Innovation and Partnerships

    Letter of Intent Due Date(s) (required) (due by 5 p.m. proposer's local time):

    October 20, 2012 - November 20, 2012

    LOI must be submitted in order to submit a full proposal

    Full Proposal Deadline(s) (due by 5 p.m. proposer's local time):

    December 20, 2012

    A LOI must have been submitted on or before 11/20/2012

    IMPORTANT INFORMATION AND REVISION NOTES

    New requirements for the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program:

    • A Letter of Intent (LOI). Note that a LOI is required prior to submission of a full STTR proposal.
    • A signed SBIR/STTR Funding Agreement Certification. (See the Special Award Conditions section of this solicitation.)

    All proposals that fail to address the following items will be considered non-responsive and will be returned without review:

    1. A proposal submitted after 5:00 p.m. (proposer's/submitter's local time) on the deadline date. The "proposer's time" is the time zone associated with the company's address, as registered with NSF at the time of proposal submission.

    2. A proposal that does not contain all the required components uploaded into the appropriate module within FastLane. See the required components below that make up a complete proposal. All proposals must have each of the items listed below, without exception.

    A complete proposal consists of the following:
    1. Project Summary (reference section A.9.2)

    2. Project Description (15 page limit) and all 7 parts (reference section A.9.3)

    3. References Cited (reference section A.9.4) - required by NSF for all proposals

    4. Biographical Sketches (reference section A.9.5) - required by NSF for all proposals

    5. Budget and Sub-budgets (reference section A.9.6)

    6. Current and Pending Support - the proposal being submitted is considered pending support" and must be listed (reference section A.9.7).This means that ALL submitted proposals MUST contain this document, without exception.

    7. Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources (reference section A.9.8) - required by NSF for all proposals

    8. Supplementary Documents (reference section A.9.9)
    1. A proposal with items in the Supplementary Documents section other than the following:
      1. Letters of Support for Technology (no more than 3 letters; reference section A.9.9.1)

      2. Post Doc Mentoring Plan (required if funds are included on line "B.1 Post Doctoral Scholars" on the proposer's budget or a subaward budget; reference section A.9.9.2)

      3. Company Commercialization History must be provided using the NSF template if Phase II SBIR/STTR awards have been received previously (reference section A.9.9.3)

      4. Data Management Plan (reference section A.9.9.4) - required by NSF for all proposals

      5. Letters regarding Use of Human or Animal subjects e.g. Institutional Review Board (IRB) or Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) approval of animal use (if applicable; reference section A.9.9.5)

    2. A STTR proposal with a budget exceeding $225,000.
    3. A proposal missing a Company Commercialization History, if a company has certified on the Cover Page that it has previously received SBIR/STTR Phase II awards. A Company Commercialization History must be submitted using the NSF template (reference section A.9.9.3).

    4. A proposal with documents placed in the "Additional Single Copy Documents" module in FastLane.

    5. A collaborative proposal (defined as simultaneous proposal submissions from different organizations, with each organization requesting a separate award) is prohibited. Note - Small business concerns are encouraged to collaborate with research institutions; however, only one proposal, with subawards, should result.

    6. A proposal lacking sufficient technical/commercial potential substance to justify review.

    7. A proposal that does not fall within the scope of the topic or subtopic as delineated in the topic or subtopic description.

    8. A proposal not containing research proposed in science, engineering, or education.

    9. Unacceptable objectives as defined in Section IV.

    SUMMARY OF PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

    General Information

    Program Title:

    Small Business Technology Transfer Program Phase I Solicitation FY-2013 (STTR)

    Synopsis of Program:

    The Small Business Technology Transfer program stimulates technological innovation in the private sector by strengthening the role of small business concerns in meeting Federal research and development needs, increasing the commercial application of federally supported research results, and fostering and encouraging participation by socially and economically disadvantaged and women-owned small businesses.

    The Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR) requires researchers at universities and other non-profit research institutions to play a significant intellectual role in the conduct of each STTR project. These researchers, by joining forces with a small company, can spin-off their commercially promising ideas while they remain primarily employed at the research institution. The program is governed by Public Law 112-81 (SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011).

    NSF seeks to help reach the nation's biological innovation goals, and the larger objective of growing the bioeconomy The bioeconomy has emerged as a national priority because of its growth potential across many key industries and its societal benefits, which include transforming manufacturing processes, increasing agricultural productivity, advancing medicine, addressing energy needs, and meeting challenges in the environment. The STTR research topic for this solicitation is Enhancing the Bioeconomy using emerging Biological Technologies (EBBT). Proposals must use a biologically-based approach, such as synthetic biology, systems biology, metabolic engineering, proteomics, bioinformatics, and computational biology, to address business opportunities in key industry sectors including biomedical, biomanufacturing, and sustainable agriculture. For additional information reference section A.10.

    WEBINAR: A webinar will be held within 6 weeks of the release date of this solicitation to answer any questions about the solicitation. Details will be posted on the SBIR/STTR website: http://www.nsf.gov/eng/iip/sbir/index.jsp as they become available.

    Cognizant Program Officer(s):

    Please note that the following information is current at the time of publishing. See program website for any updates to the points of contact.

    • Ruth M. Shuman, SBIR/STTR Program Director, Biological and Chemical Technologies (BC), telephone: (703) 292-2160, email: rshuman@nsf.gov

    • Prakash Balan, SBIR/STTR Program Director, Biological and Chemical Technologies (BC), telephone: (703) 292-5341, email: pbalan@nsf.gov

    • Jesus V. Soriano, SBIR/STTR Program Director, Biological and Chemical Technologies (BC), telephone: (703) 292-7795, email: jsoriano@nsf.gov

    • Theresa A. Good, Program Director, Directorate for Engineering, Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems (CBET), telephone: (703) 292-7029, email: tgood@nsf.gov

    • Susanne von Bodman, Program Director, Directorate for Biological Sciences, Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (MCB), telephone: (703) 292-8440, email: svonbodm@nsf.gov

    • Aleksandr L. Simonian, Program Director, Directorate for Engineering, Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems (CBET), telephone: (703) 292-4826, email: asimonia@nsf.gov

    Applicable Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number(s):

    • 47.041 --- Engineering

    Award Information

    Anticipated Type of Award: Fixed Amount Awards

    Estimated Number of Awards: 25 (pending availability of funds).

    Anticipated Funding Amount: $5,625,000 (pending availability of funds).

    Eligibility Information

    Organization Limit:

    Proposals may only be submitted by the following:
    • Only firms qualifying as a small business concern are eligible to participate in the STTR program. Socially and economically disadvantaged small business concerns and women-owned small business concerns are particularly encouraged to participate. For an STTR Phase I Proposal, a minimum of 40% of the research, as measured by the budget, must be performed by the small business concern and a minimum of 30% of the research, as measured by the budget, must be performed by the collaborating research institution.

      Proposals from joint ventures and partnerships are permitted, provided the entity created qualifies as a small business in accordance with this solicitation. Proposing firms are also encouraged to take advantage of research expertise and facilities that may be available to them at colleges, universities, national laboratories, and from other research providers. Such collaborations may include research subcontracts, consulting agreements, or the employment of faculty as senior personnel and of graduate or undergraduate students as assistants by the small business.

    PI Limit:

    The primary employment of the Principal Investigator (PI) must be with the small business concern at the time of the award. A PI must spend a minimum of two calendar months on an STTR Phase I project. Employment releases and certifications of intent shall be required prior to award. Primary employment is defined as 51% employed by the small business. NSF considers a fulltime work week to be normally 40 hours and considers employment elsewhere of greater than 19.6 hours to be in conflict with this requirement.

    Limit on Number of Proposals per Organization: 2

    An organization may not submit more than two (2) proposals. If more than two (2) proposals are submitted, the additional proposals will be returned without review.

    Limit on Number of Proposals per PI: 1

    No person may participate as the principal investigator (PI) or Co-PI for more than one (1) proposal submitted to this solicitation. It is the responsibility of the submitting organization to ensure that no person is listed as the PI or Co-PI on more than one (1) proposal submitted to this solicitation.

    Proposal Preparation and Submission Instructions

    A. Proposal Preparation Instructions

    • Letters of Intent: Submission of Letters of Intent is required. Please see the full text of this solicitation for further information.
    • Preliminary Proposal Submission: Not Applicable
    • Full Proposal Preparation Instructions: This solicitation contains information that deviates from the standard NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide, Part I: Grant Proposal Guide (GPG) proposal preparation guidelines. Please see the full text of this solicitation for further information.

    B. Budgetary Information

    • Cost Sharing Requirements: Inclusion of voluntary committed cost sharing is prohibited.
    • Indirect Cost (F&A) Limitations:

      Indirect costs are limited to an effective rate of 150% of salaries and wages. (See Section V.A.9.6)

    • Other Budgetary Limitations: Not Applicable

    C. Due Dates

    • Letter of Intent Due Date(s) (required) (due by 5 p.m. proposer's local time):

      October 20, 2012 - November 20, 2012

      LOI must be submitted in order to submit a full proposal

    • Full Proposal Deadline(s) (due by 5 p.m. proposer's local time):

      December 20, 2012

      A LOI must have been submitted on or before 11/20/2012

    Proposal Review Information Criteria

    Merit Review Criteria: National Science Board approved criteria. Additional merit review considerations apply. Please see the full text of this solicitation for further information.

    Award Administration Information

    Award Conditions: Additional award conditions apply. Please see the full text of this solicitation for further information.

    Reporting Requirements: Standard NSF reporting requirements apply.

    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    I. INTRODUCTION

    The National Science Foundation (NSF), an independent agency of the Federal Government, invites eligible small business concerns to submit Phase I proposals for its FY 2013 Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program. NSF will support high-quality projects on important scientific, engineering, or science and engineering education problems and opportunities that could lead to significant commercial and public benefit if the research is successful.

    The STTR solicitation is issued pursuant to the authority contained in Public Law 112-81 (SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011). STTR policy is provided by the Small Business Administration (SBA) through the SBA Policy Directive.

    II. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

    The primary objective of the STTR Program is to increase the incentive and opportunity for small firms to undertake cutting-edge, high-risk, high-quality scientific, engineering, or science and engineering education research that would have a high-potential economic payoff if the research is successful. The STTR program expands the public and private partnership to include collaborative opportunities for small businesses and non-profit research institutions. A team approach is required in an STTR project where at least one research investigator is employed by the small business concern and at least one investigator is employed by a collaborating research institution.

    The fundamental mission of NSF is to promote discoveries and to advance education across the frontiers of knowledge in science and engineering. Consistent with that mission, NSF encourages and supports a wide range of proposals from the research and education community and also from the private small business sector. These proposals are reviewed under NSF's merit review criteria, which cover both the quality of research (intellectual or technical merit) and its potential impact on society (broader/commercial impacts).

    The STTR program solicits proposals from the small business sector consistent with NSF's mission. The program is governed by Public Law 112-81. A main purpose of the legislation is to stimulate technological innovation and increase private sector commercialization. The NSF STTR program is therefore in a unique position to meet both the goals of the NSF and the purpose of the STTR legislation by transforming scientific discoveries into both societal and economic benefit, and by emphasizing private sector commercialization. Accordingly, NSF has formulated an STTR solicitation topic: Enhancing the Bioeconomy using emerging Biological Technologies (EBBT) (see section A.10 for the full topic description).

    Successful proposers will conduct Research and Development (R&D) on projects that:

    1. Provide evidence of a commercially viable product, process, or service, and
    2. Meet an important social or economic need.

    Projects should have the following:

    • High potential commercial payback, and
    • High-risk efforts.

    Projects may also address:

    • Research tools that meet significant commercial market needs, or,
    • Applications that result in multipurpose commercially viable functions.

    For more in-depth program information, please reference the following web site: http://www.nsf.gov/eng/iip/sbir/program_reqs.jsp.

    III. AWARD INFORMATION

    STTR Phase I proposals may be submitted for funding up to $225,000. STTR Phase I projects are for 12 months. The program expects to make approximately 25 fixed amount awards. Anticipated funding amount is approximately $5,625,000 (subject to the availability of funds and the quality of proposals). Award notification is typically within five months from the proposal submission deadline date. All awards will have an effective date of July 1, 2013.

    IV. ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION

    Organization Limit:

    Proposals may only be submitted by the following:
    • Only firms qualifying as a small business concern are eligible to participate in the STTR program. Socially and economically disadvantaged small business concerns and women-owned small business concerns are particularly encouraged to participate. For an STTR Phase I Proposal, a minimum of 40% of the research, as measured by the budget, must be performed by the small business concern and a minimum of 30% of the research, as measured by the budget, must be performed by the collaborating research institution.

      Proposals from joint ventures and partnerships are permitted, provided the entity created qualifies as a small business in accordance with this solicitation. Proposing firms are also encouraged to take advantage of research expertise and facilities that may be available to them at colleges, universities, national laboratories, and from other research providers. Such collaborations may include research subcontracts, consulting agreements, or the employment of faculty as senior personnel and of graduate or undergraduate students as assistants by the small business.

    PI Limit:

    The primary employment of the Principal Investigator (PI) must be with the small business concern at the time of the award. A PI must spend a minimum of two calendar months on an STTR Phase I project. Employment releases and certifications of intent shall be required prior to award. Primary employment is defined as 51% employed by the small business. NSF considers a fulltime work week to be normally 40 hours and considers employment elsewhere of greater than 19.6 hours to be in conflict with this requirement.

    Limit on Number of Proposals per Organization: 2

    An organization may not submit more than two (2) proposals. If more than two (2) proposals are submitted, the additional proposals will be returned without review.

    Limit on Number of Proposals per PI: 1

    No person may participate as the principal investigator (PI) or Co-PI for more than one (1) proposal submitted to this solicitation. It is the responsibility of the submitting organization to ensure that no person is listed as the PI or Co-PI on more than one (1) proposal submitted to this solicitation.

    Additional Eligibility Info:

    Requirements Relating to Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Numbers and Registration in the System for Award Management (SAM)

    The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a policy directive (September 14, 2010, 75 FR 22706) which requires applicants to provide a Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number when applying for a new award or renewal of an award under Federal grants or cooperative agreements. In accordance with this mandate, each proposer must have a DUNS number prior to submission of a proposal to NSF. Any subawardees named in the proposal must be registered in FastLane, which requires that they obtain a DUNS number.

    In addition, each proposer also must be registered in the System for Award Management (SAM) database prior to submission of the proposal. Subawardees named in the proposal, however, do not need to be registered in the SAM. The SAM is the primary registrant database for the U.S. Government. The SAM collects, validates, stores, and disseminates data in support of agency acquisition missions, including Federal agency contract and assistance awards. This SAM registration must be maintained with current information at all times during which the organization has an active award or a proposal under consideration by NSF. Failure to comply with the SAM registration requirement prior to proposal submission may impact the processing of the proposal. To register in the SAM, go to https://www.sam.gov/. Proposers are advised that it takes approximately three-to-five business days to complete the registration process.

    Unacceptable objectives: Proposed efforts directed toward systems studies; market research; commercial development of existing products or proven concepts; straightforward engineering design for packaging; laboratory evaluations; incremental product or process improvements; evolutionary optimization of existing products; and evolutionary modifications to broaden the scope of an existing product or application are examples of projects that are not acceptable for STTR. Projects deemed unacceptable will be returned without review to the proposer.

    V. PROPOSAL PREPARATION AND SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS

    A. Proposal Preparation Instructions

    Letters of Intent(required):

    A Letter of intent (LOI) must be submitted via FastLane at http://fastlane.nsf.gov/. The LOI, which is a prerequisite to proposal submission, will be used to assist NSF program staff in gauging the number and range of proposals, to enable early selection and better management of reviewers and panels, and to allow NSF to preview proposals with respect to eligibility requirements.

    The LOI provides several data fields to capture the description of the proposed project. Please note that the Synopsis and Other Comments data fields provide a maximum of 2,500 characters to convey important aspects of the project. There are three Additional Information data fields as follows:

    • Designation of Subtopic and Key Words. Provide the name of the subtopic (reference section A.10 for the subtopic descriptions) and up to five key words.
    • Description of the Commercial Opportunity. Provide a short description of the problem addressed by the proposed technology that includes the commercial outcome and impact (limited to 255 characters).
    • List of Partners/Collaborators. Provide a list of partners and collaborators, and a brief indication of their role or expertise, that will participate on the project (limited to 255 characters).

    Letter of Intent Preparation Instructions:

    When submitting a Letter of Intent through FastLane in response to this Program Solicitation please note the conditions outlined below:

    • Sponsored Projects Office (SPO) Submission is not required when submitting Letters of Intent
    • Designation of Subtopic and Key Words is required when submitting Letters of Intent
    • Description of the Commercial Opportunity is required when submitting Letters of Intent
    • List of Partners/Collaborators is required when submitting Letters of Intent
    • Submission of multiple Letters of Intent is not allowed

    Full Proposal Instructions: Proposals submitted in response to this program solicitation should be prepared and submitted in accordance with the guidelines specified in the NSF Grant Proposal Guide (GPG). The complete text of the GPG is available electronically on the NSF website at: http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=gpg. Paper copies of the GPG may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone (703) 292-PUBS (7827) or by e-mail from nsfpubs@nsf.gov.

    The following instructions supplement the GPG guidelines.

    A.1. Responsiveness to NSF STTR Program and Topic.

    A.1.1 Communication with the NSF Program Manager: A company planning to submit a proposal in response to this solicitation is encouraged to describe the innovation and business opportunity to the cognizant program manager via email and receive feedback prior to proposal submission. You may contact the program officer at any time before the submission deadline. Note, however, the communication with the program manager will become increasingly difficult as the deadline approaches.

    A.1.2 Designation of Topic and Subtopics. This STTR solicitation has only one topic; therefore designate "Enhancing the Bioeconomy using emerging Biological Technologies (EBBT)" as the topic. A firm MUST identify the appropriate subtopic on the cover page. The subtopics for this solicitation are listed below and explained more fully in section V.A.10:

    1. Biomedical Applications

    2. Sustainable Agriculture Applications

    3. Biosensing Applications

    4. Biomanufacturing Applications

    5. Advanced Life Science Tools

    A.2. Phase I Proposal Objectives. An STTR Phase I proposal must describe the research effort needed to investigate the feasibility of the proposed scientific or technical innovation. The primary objective of the Phase I effort is to determine whether the innovation has sufficient technical merit for proceeding into a Phase II project. A secondary objective is to assess potential commercial feasibility of the proposed work.

    A.3. Phase I Project Requirements. The deliverable at the end of an STTR Phase I grant is a technical report that summarizes the experimental and theoretical accomplishments of the research proposed. This report serves as the basis for a Phase II proposal.

    A.4. Administrative and Technical Screening. All proposals that fail to address the following items will be considered non-responsive and will be returned without review:

    1. A proposal submitted after 5:00 p.m. (proposer's/submitter's local time) on the deadline date. The "proposer's time" is the time zone associated with the company's address, as registered with NSF at the time of proposal submission.

    2. A proposal that does not contain all the required components uploaded into the appropriate module within FastLane. See the required components below that make up a complete proposal. All proposals must have each of the items listed below, without exception.

    A complete proposal consists of the following:

    1. Project Summary (reference section A.9.2)

    2. Project Description (15 page limit) and all 6 parts (reference section A.9.3)

    3. References Cited (reference section A.9.4) - required by NSF for all proposals

    4. Biographical Sketches (reference section A.9.5) - required by NSF for all proposals

    5. Budget and Subcontract budgets (reference section A.9.6)

    6. Current and Pending Support - the proposal being submitted is considered "pending support" by NSF and must be listed (reference section A.9.7). This means that ALL submitted proposals MUST contain this document, without exception.

    7. Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources (reference section A.9.8) - required by NSF for all proposals

    8. Supplementary Documents (reference section A.9.9)
    1. Unallowable items uploaded to the Supplementary Documents section other than the following:
      1. Letters of Support for Technology (no more than 3 letters; reference section A.9.9.1)

      2. Post Doc Mentoring Plan (required if funds are included on line "B.1 Post Doctoral Scholars" on the proposer's budget or a subaward budget; reference section A.9.9.2)

      3. Company Commercialization History must be provided using the NSF template if Phase II SBIR/STTR awards have been received previously (reference section A.9.9.3)

      4. Cooperative Research Agreement (reference section A.9.9.4)

      5. Data Management Plan (reference section A.9.9.5) - required by NSF for all proposals

      6. Letters regarding Use of Human or Animal subjects e.g. Institutional Review Board (IRB) or institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) approval of animal use (if applicable; reference section A.9.9.6)

    2. A STTR proposal with a budget exceeding $225,000.

    3. A proposal missing a Company Commercialization History, if the company certified on the Cover Page that it has previously received SBIR/STTR Phase II funding. The Company Commercialization History must be submitted using the NSF template (reference section A.9.9.3).

    4. A proposal with documents placed in the "Additional Single Copy Documents" module in FastLane (other than Suggested Reviewers and/or Proprietary Information). Items placed in this module are not accessible to reviewers.

    5. A collaborative proposal of any kind is prohibited. A collaborative proposal is defined as simultaneous proposal submissions from different organizations.

    6. A proposal lacking sufficient technical/commercial potential substance to justify review.

    7. A proposal that does not fall within the scope of the topic or subtopic as delineated in the topic or subtopic description.

    8. A proposal not containing research proposed in science, engineering, or education.

    9. Unacceptable objectives as defined in Section IV.

    A.5. Marking Proprietary Information. To the extent permitted by law, the Government will not release properly identified and marked technical data. If the proposal contains proprietary information, check the box at the bottom of the proposal cover page and identify proprietary technical data in the proposal by clearly marking the information and providing a legend or footnote. Typically, proprietary information is marked in the text either with an asterisk at the beginning and end of the proprietary paragraph, underlining the proprietary sections, or choosing a different font type. An entire proposal should not be marked proprietary.

    A.6. Human Subjects and Animal Use. Please refer to Chapter II, Sections D.5 and D.6 of the GPG (http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=gpg). Note that in some cases, product testing involves human subjects. In addition to the information in the GPG, please refer to http://www.hhs.gov/ohrp. Look for federal-wide assurances under the Office of Human Research Protection website.

    If human subjects Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval is indicated, and it is not in hand at the time of submission, there must be a plan for such approval; a supporting letter regarding IRB approval should be provided under supplementary documents. The approval must be readily attainable within six weeks of informal notification of recommendation for award to ensure continued processing for funding. The small business has three basic options with regard to human subjects review: 1) establish your own IRB (see Office of Human Rights Protection (OHRP) at Health and Human Services (HHS) http://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/assurances/; 2) use the review board of a (usually local) university or research institution, either via consultants to the project, a project subcontract, or directly through its own contacts; and 3) use a commercial company.

    Animal use in funded projects requires approval of the company or collaborating institutions' Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). Please refer to http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_welfare/rig.shtml for additional information.

    A.7. Debriefing on Unsuccessful Proposals. When a proposal is declined, verbatim copies of reviews, excluding the names of the reviewers, summaries of review panel deliberations, if any, and a description of the process by which the proposal was reviewed will be available electronically.

    Phase I proposals that have been declined or returned without review by NSF are NOT eligible for reconsideration under the same program solicitation; however, proposals may be resubmitted under a subsequent solicitation, after suitable revision, conditional upon their falling within the scope of the subsequent topic or subtopic offerings.

    A.8. General Requirements

    A.8.1 Sample Limitations. Samples, videotapes, slides, appendices, or other ancillary items will not be accepted. Websites containing demonstrations, etc., may be cited in the proposal, but reviewers are not required to access them.

    A.8.2 Page Format. Multiple column formats are not accepted.

    A.9. Required Format.

    The required format of a Phase I proposal is described in the following paragraphs. Each proposal submitted to the NSF STTR program will use the following FastLane Forms:

    Cover Sheet
    Project Summary
    Table of Contents (automatically generated)
    Project Description
    References Cited
    Biographical Sketches
    Budgets and Budget Justification (also required for each subaward)
    Current and Pending Support
    Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources

    Supplementary Docs (do not upload additional documents besides the following when applicable):

    1. Letter(s) of Support for Technology or Market Opportunity (3 maximum),
    2. Post Doc Mentoring Plan (if applicable),
    3. Company Commercialization History on the NSF Template (if applicable),
    4. Cooperative Research Agreement,
    5. Data Management Plan, and
    6. Letter(s) regarding human subjects Institutional Review Board or Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) approval of animal use (if applicable).

    Single Copy Documents - Suggested Reviewers and/or Proprietary Info are the only items permitted. Documents uploaded here are not accessible to reviewers.

    A.9.1. Cover Sheet and Certification. Complete topic and subtopic fields must be included on the cover sheet. All proposals must be electronically signed. For information regarding electronic signature, reference the FastLane webpage.

    A.9.2. Project Summary. An edited version of the Project Summary will be available to the public if a proposal is awarded. The Project Summary shall be written in the third person and shall begin as follows: "This Small Business Technology Transfer Phase I project...". The summary must have the following components:

    1. A summary paragraph limited to 200 words addressing the intellectual merits of the proposed activity. No proprietary information should be included in the summary. Include a brief identification of the problem or opportunity, the research objectives, a description of the research, and the anticipated results.

    2. A summary paragraph limited to 200 words addressing the broader impacts/commercial potential of the proposed activity. Include information on the potential commercial value, societal impact, and enhanced scientific and technological understanding.

    3. A listing of key words. The key words or phrases should identify the areas of technical expertise in science, engineering, or education which are to be invoked in reviewing the proposal; and the areas of application that are the initial target of the technology.

    4. The subtopic name.

    A.9.3 Project Description. The project description shall contain the following parts in the following order and must not exceed 15 pages.

    Part 1: Identification and Significance of the Innovation. The first paragraph shall contain a clear and succinct statement specifying the research innovation proposed, and a brief explanation of how the innovation is relevant to meeting a need described in the subtopic narrative.

    Part 2: Background and Phase I Technical Objectives. List and explain the key objectives to be accomplished during the Phase I research, including the questions that must be answered to determine the technical and commercial feasibility of the proposed concept. It is important to show how potential customer needs will be met if the research is successful. Therefore, Phase I proposers are strongly encouraged to consider commercial potential as well as the technical challenges of their research.

    Part 3: Phase I Research Plan. This section must provide a detailed description of the Phase I research approach. The description must include the following:

    • A technical discussion of the proposed concept,
    • What is planned and how the research will be carried out,
    • The plan to achieve each objective, and
    • The sequence of experiments, tests, and computations involved in the measurement of those objectives.

    Part 4. Commercial Potential. Proposals must describe the business opportunity to be enabled by the proposed innovation. The information contained within the Commercial Potential section should convey the scope and nature of this business opportunity. This section should briefly describe the current as well as the anticipated market landscape and the resources required to address the opportunity. The goal of this section is to justify, from a market-opportunity perspective, why a Phase I feasibility study should be undertaken.

    In preparing the description of the commercial potential, you are strongly encouraged to address the following four sections: market opportunity, company/team, product/competition, and revenue/finance. A well crafted Commercial Potential section is typically 3-5 pages in order to fully address the four sections referenced below.

    • The market opportunity - Describe the anticipated target market or market segments and provide a brief profile of the potential customer. What customer needs will be addressed with the innovation? Estimated size of the market being addressed? What barriers to entry exist?
    • The Company/Team - What are the origins of the company/team? How many current employees are there? What is the revenue history, if any, for the past three years? Give a brief description of the experience and credentials of the personnel responsible for taking the innovation to market. How does the background and experience of the team enhance the credibility of the effort; have they previously taken similar products/services to market? Does proposed research mesh with company objectives? How does the proposed technology sit within the company mission?
    • Product or technology and competition - How does your product or service sit within the competitive landscape? What is the main competition? What is the value proposition for the product or service enabled by the innovation? How do you plan to protect any IP generated from the proposed innovation? What critical milestones must be met to get the product or service to market?
    • Financing and revenue model - based upon revenue assumptions, describe how you plan to finance your innovation.

    Part 5. Consultants and Subawards/Subcontracts. Keep in mind that an STTR Phase I project requires a minimum of 40% of the research, as measured by the budget, to be performed by the small business concern, and a minimum of 30% of the research, as measured by the budget, by the collaborating research institution. The remaining 30% may be allocated as appropriate to achieve the objectives of the proposed STTR Phase I project.

    Consultant: The services of each consultant must be justified within the context of the proposal. In this section of the proposal, information must be provided on each consultant's expertise, organizational affiliation, and contribution to the project. In addition, each consultant, whether paid or unpaid, must provide a signed statement that confirms availability, time commitment, role in the project, and the agreed consulting rate (not to exceed $600 per day). The maximum consulting rate under this solicitation is $600 per day (NSF defines a day as 8 hours). This rate is exclusive of any indirect costs, travel, per diem, clerical services, fringe benefits, and supplies.

    The signed consultant statements (with the required stated number of days at $600 per day) must be uploaded as part of the proposal budget justification.

    Subaward (also known as the subcontract): Subawards (including contracts, subcontracts, and other arrangements) are used for research, describe the tasks to be performed and how these are related to the overall project. A minimum of 30% of the research (as measured by the budget) must be performed by a research institution. A Co-PI from the research institution must be identified on the subaward proposal budget.

    Each subaward must use a separate proposal budget and budget justification, and provide details of subaward costs by cost category. Each subawardee budget must be prepared in FastLane.

    Purchases of analytical or other routine services from commercial sources and the acquisition of fabricated components from commercial sources are not regarded as reportable subaward activity. Such items -- routine analytical or other routine services -- should be reported on the Budget under Other Direct Costs/Other (Line G.6 on the budget form).

    All research, including subawards and consultancies, must be carried out in the U.S. (See definition of Place of Performance.)

    Note: If a subawardee lists Post Docs as part of the subaward budget, a Post Doc Mentoring Plan must be provided. For more information on what is required, see the information at the following link: http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/policydocs/pappguide/nsf09_29/gpg_2.jsp#IIC2j. Upload the mentoring plan into the supplemental docs module of FastLane. A Post Doc Mentoring plan template can be obtained at: http://www.nsf.gov/eng/iip/sbir/Sample_Postdoc_Mentoring_Plan.doc

    Part 6. Equivalent or Overlapping Proposals to Other Federal Agencies. A firm may elect to submit proposals for equivalent or overlapping work under other Federal solicitations or may have received or expect to receive other Federal awards for equivalent or overlapping work. The firm must certify on the proposal cover page whether another Federal Agency has received this proposal (or an equivalent or overlapping proposal). In addition, the proposer must inform NSF of overlapping or equivalent proposals and awards as follows: (a) related federal awards (ongoing or completed); (b) proposals that have been submitted under other government solicitations; and (c) anticipated submissions (within the upcoming calendar year) to other agencies of related proposals. For all such cases, the following information is required:

    • The name, address and telephone contact of the sponsoring agency to which the proposal was or will be submitted,
    • Date(s) of proposal submission(s),
    • Title, number, and date of solicitation under which the proposal was submitted or will be submitted,
    • Title and performance period of the proposal, and
    • Name and title of principal investigator, annual person-months (calendar-months) devoted by any personnel on the equivalent or overlapping project who are participating as PI or senior personnel on this proposal.

    If no equivalent or overlapping proposals are under consideration, explicitly state: NONE. NSF will not make awards that duplicate research funded or expected to be funded by other agencies, although in some cases NSF may fund portions of work described in an overlapping proposal provided that the budgets appropriately reduce costs and allocate costs among the various sponsors. If a proposer fails to disclose equivalent or overlapping proposals as provided in this section, the proposer could be liable for administrative, civil, or criminal sanctions.

    Part 7. Lineage of the Innovation. NSF supports basic/fundamental research. A large portion of the research NSF funds finds its way to the market place. Many of the technology/science/education projects that the NSF SBIR/STTR programs supports had origins from previously funded NSF academic/non-profit projects. If the proposed STTR project has connections to previously NSF funded academic/non-profit research, please provide the following information:

    Directorate Name:

    Division Name:

    Award Number:

    A.9.4. References Cited. Provide a comprehensive listing of relevant references, including patent numbers and other relevant intellectual property citations. References must be uploaded into the system.

    A.9.5. Biographical Sketches. (A maximum of 2 pages per person.) Provide relevant biographical information for the Principal Investigator (PI) and key personnel (including consultants and key members of the subaward team). Biographical Sketches must be uploaded into the system.

    A.9.6. Budget. The total budget shall not exceed $225,000 for the STTR Phase I proposal (including all sub-awards). Budget line items must be shown in detail in the budget justification.

    List the principal investigator and senior personnel by name with their time commitments budgeted in person-months and the dollar amount for the performance period. The PI must be budgeted for a minimum of two (2) months to the project.

    Do not list company employees under B.1 Post Doctoral Scholars. If the subawardee institution budgets funds on line B.1 Post Doctoral Scholars, the company is responsible for ensuring that a Post-Doc Mentoring Plan is included with the proposal (see A.9.9.2).

    The reimbursement rates for consultants are a direct cost that cannot exceed the daily equivalent rate paid to an Executive Level IV Federal employee. As of January 2009, that rate is $600 per day (NSF defines a day as 8 hours). Indicate the number of days proposed per consultant. Consultant travel should be shown under the domestic travel category, E-1, but counts as an outsourcing expense.

    The budget justification should provide a line by line explanation of each budget item (including the signed consultant letter/s).

    The proposal justification should indicate the specifics of the materials and supplies required. Materials and supplies are defined as tangible personal property, other than equipment, costing less than $5,000. Each materials and supplies line item should include an estimated cost for that item.

    Letters and supporting documentation from Consultants and Subawardees are NOT considered letters of support and MUST be uploaded with the Budget Justification and not as a Supplemental Document.

    Permanent equipment, patent expenses, and foreign travel are not allowable expenditures. Tuition costs are not considered research or research and development. Accordingly, they are not acceptable costs and should not be included on the budget for the company and the subawardee.

    One domestic trip (for up to two persons, normally the PI and an individual associated with business operations) is required to attend a two-day grantee workshop in the DC area. The intent of this workshop is to discuss the research program with a program officer and to learn the mechanics of preparing a Phase II proposal; therefore, this trip must be included in the Phase I budget. An explicit statement acknowledging attendance at the grantee workshop is required on the budget justification page. A good budget estimate is $2,000 per person to cover the conference registration fee and travel expenses.

    Indirect costs plus fringe benefits is limited to an effective rate of 150% of salaries and wages, i.e. Line C + Line I should not be more than $150% of Line A + Line B. The following expenses will not be funded as part of the indirect cost pool:

    • Independent Research and Development (IR&D)
    • Patent and patent related expenses will not be funded as either a direct or indirect cost
    • Sales and marketing expenses
    • Business development
    • Manufacturing and production expenses

    Reasonable fees (estimated profit) will be considered under Phase I. The amount of the fee approved by NSF cannot exceed seven percent (7%) of the total indirect and direct project costs. The proposal bottom line cannot exceed $225,000 for STTR Phase I proposals.

    Detailed documentation of budget line items is required for ALL budget items and must be documented on the budget justification page.

    A.9.7. Current and Pending Support of Principal Investigator and Senior Personnel. This section should provide information about all research to which the principal investigator and other senior personnel either have committed time or have planned to commit time during the STTR Phase I period of performance, whether salary for the person involved is included in the budgets of the various projects. All current project support from whatever source (Federal, State, local or foreign government agencies, public or private foundations, industrial or other commercial organizations) must be listed. Current and Pending Support must be uploaded into the system. The proposal being submitted is considered "pending" and therefore MUST appear in the Current and Pending Support module.

    For all ongoing or proposed projects or proposals that will be submitted in the near future -- but excluding any proposals already cited above in the Equivalent or Overlapping Proposals to other Federal Agencies section -- that involve the Principal Investigator or senior personnel, provide the following information:

    • Name of sponsoring organization,
    • Title and performance period of the proposal, and
    • Annual person-months (calendar months) devoted to the project by the principal investigator and each of the senior personnel.

    A.9.8. Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources. Provide a description that specifies the availability and location of significant equipment, instrumentation, computers, and physical facilities necessary to complete the portion of the research that is to be carried out by the proposing firm in Phase I. Purchase of permanent equipment is not permitted in a Phase I project (reference definition of Permanent Equipment). DO NOT use budget line item D for Phase I proposals. This document must be uploaded into the appropriate module in Fastlane for all proposals.

    If the equipment, instrumentation, computers, and facilities for this research are not the property (owned or leased) of the proposing firm, include a statement signed by the owner or lessor which affirms the availability of these facilities for use in the proposed research, reasonable lease or rental costs for their use, and any other associated costs. Upload images of the scanned statements into this section.

    A.9.9. Supplementary Documents. The items permitted in this module for a Phase I proposal are limited to the following (if applicable):

    A.9.9.1. Letters of Support for Technology or Market Opportunity (no more than three letters). Letters of support act as an indication of market validation for the proposed innovation and add significant credibility to the proposed effort. Letters of support should demonstrate that the company has initiated dialog with relevant stakeholders (potential customers, strategic partners, or investors) for the proposed innovation and that a real business opportunity may exist should the technology prove feasible. The letter(s) must contain affiliation and contact information for the signatory stakeholder.

    A.9.9.2. Post Doc Mentoring Plan. If a proposal requests funding to support postdoctoral researchers, a Post Doc Mentoring Plan must be included as a supplementary document. The plan must provide a description of the mentoring activities that will be provided for such individuals. The mentoring plan must describe the mentoring that will be provided to all postdoctoral researchers supported by the project, irrespective of whether they reside at the submitting organization, any subawardee organization, or at any organization participating in a simultaneously submitted collaborative project. Proposers are advised that the mentoring plan may not be used to circumvent the 15-page project description limitation. A template for the Post Doc Mentoring Plan can be obtained at: http://www.nsf.gov/eng/iip/sbir/Sample_Postdoc_Mentoring_Plan.doc

    A.9.9.3. Company Commercialization History. A Company Commercialization History is required for all proposers certifying receipt of previous Phase II awards from any Federal agency. The NSF Commercialization History Template must be used. All items must be addressed in the format outlined in this template. Additional narratives and commercialization history documents from other SBIR/STTR agencies are not permitted.

    A.9.9.4. Cooperative Research Agreement. See the Cooperative Research Agreement (CRA) model. The proposing small business concern must provide a signed written CRA between the small business and the research institution at the time of award. For proposal submission, place a draft of the CRA or a letter stating that a CRA will be provided upon notification of award recommendation.

    A.9.9.5 Data Management Plan. Proposals must contain a supplementary document labeled "Data Management Plan" which should include the statement, "All data generated in this STTR Phase I project is considered proprietary." Fastlane will not permit submission of a proposal that is missing the newly required Data Management Plan. For further information on the content of data management plans, see: http://nsf.gov/eng/general/ENG_DMP_Policy.pdf

    A.9.9.6. Human Subjects Institutional Review Board (IRB) or Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) Approval for Animal Use. Please refer to Chapter II, Sections D.5 and D.6 of the GPG (http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=gpg). Note that in some cases, product testing involves human subjects. In addition to the information in the GPG, please refer to http://www.hhs.gov/ohrp. Look for federal-wide assurances under the Office of Human Research Protection website.

    Animal use in funded projects requires approval of the company or collaborating institutions' Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). Please refer to http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_welfare/rig.shtml for additional information.

    A.10. Research Topic - Enhancing the Bioeconomy using emerging Biological Technologies (EBBT) The fundamental mission of NSF is to promote discoveries and to advance education across the frontiers of knowledge in science and engineering. Consistent with that mission, NSF encourages and supports a wide range of proposals from the research and education community and from the private small business sector. These proposals are reviewed under NSF's merit review criteria, which cover both the quality of research (intellectual or technical merit) and its potential impact on society (broader impacts or commercial potential).

    The STTR program solicits proposals from the small business sector consistent with NSF's mission. The program is governed by Public Law 112-81. A main purpose of the legislation is to stimulate technological innovation and increase private sector commercialization. The NSF small business program is therefore in a unique position to meet both the goals of NSF and the purpose of the STTR legislation by transforming scientific discovery into both societal and economic benefit, and by emphasizing private sector commercialization. NSF has formulated a solicitation topic for STTR that conforms to the legislation. The STTR Topic for this solicitation is Enhancing the Bioeconomy using emerging Biological Technologies (EBBT). Research and innovation in the biological sciences has created a large and rapidly growing bioeconomy built on three fundamental technologies - genetic engineering, DNA sequencing, and high-throughput automation. Future growth of the bioeconomy is dependent upon expansion of emerging technologies. The aim of this solicitation is to harness emerging advances in life sciences research to address commercial opportunities in the subtopic areas listed below.

    Proposals submitted to this solicitation must utilize emerging biologically-based technologies such as synthetic biology, systems biology, metabolic engineering, proteomics, bioinformatics, and computational biology. In additional, proposers must clearly identify the intended commercial outcome of the research: product, process, or service.

    Proposals must address one of the subtopics that are outlined below. Proposals that are not responsive to the subtopics outlined below or proposals deemed to be basic/fundamental research, will be returned without review.

    The subtopics for this solicitation are as follows:

    1. Biomedical Applications: Creating devices, systems, and organisms with novel functions that provide new strategies for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer, infectious diseases, immune diseases, and metabolic disorders. This includes (but is not limited to) novel diagnostic tools, drug delivery, and drug production.

    2. Sustainable Agriculture Applications: New approaches for meeting the world's future nutritional needs. Target areas for improvement may include (but are not limited to) drought tolerance, improved nutritional value, enhanced disease resistance, and higher crop yield. Proposers should give consideration to technologies that enhance biodiversity, produce less carbon dioxide, and use less water and fertilizer.

    3. Biosensing Applications: Engineer organisms and cells to achieve novel properties, making use of signaling networks and regulatory elements. Application areas of interest may include (but are not limited to) toxicity testing, food safety, drug evaluation, environmental monitoring, and bio-prospecting.

    4. Biomanufacturing Applications: Creating new manufacturing capability by designing microorganisms, plants, and cell-free systems for the production of novel chemicals and biomolecules. Applications may include (but is not limited to) health-care products, food ingredients, chemicals, and other biomaterials such as enzymes and bio-based polymers.

    5. Advanced Life Science Tools: Create new tools and approaches with the goal of reducing costs and shortening the time line for emerging life science tools technologies. This may include (but is not limited to) tools for identification and standardization of parts such as genes and regulatory elements, synthesis and assembly of DNA, testing and evaluation, and computational modeling.

    An interdisciplinary and interdependent team approach is required in response to this STTR topic. Proposers should endeavor to bring scientists and engineers from multiple fields together to form collaborative teams.

    When preparing the Project Summary portion of your proposal, use the subtopic letter and name as the first item in the key words/phrases portion of the Project Summary (i.e., A. Biomedical Applications).

    Proposers are reminded to identify the program solicitation number (NSF 12-592) in the program solicitation block on the NSF Cover Sheet For Proposal to the National Science Foundation. Compliance with this requirement is critical to determining the relevant proposal processing guidelines. Failure to submit this information may delay processing.

    B. Budgetary Information

    Cost Sharing: Inclusion of voluntary committed cost sharing is prohibited

    Indirect Cost (F&A) Limitations:

    Indirect costs are limited to an effective rate of 150% of salaries and wages. (See Section V.A.9.6)

    C. Due Dates

    • Letter of Intent Due Date(s) (required) (due by 5 p.m. proposer's local time):

      October 20, 2012 - November 20, 2012

      LOI must be submitted in order to submit a full proposal

    • Full Proposal Deadline(s) (due by 5 p.m. proposer's local time):

      December 20, 2012

      A LOI must have been submitted on or before 11/20/2012

    D. FastLane Requirements

    Proposers are required to prepare and submit all proposals for this program solicitation through use of the NSF FastLane system. Detailed instructions regarding the technical aspects of proposal preparation and submission via FastLane are available at: http://www.fastlane.nsf.gov/a1/newstan.htm. For FastLane user support, call the FastLane Help Desk at 1-800-673-6188 or e-mail fastlane@nsf.gov. The FastLane Help Desk answers general technical questions related to the use of the FastLane system. Specific questions related to this program solicitation should be referred to the NSF program staff contact(s) listed in Section VIII of this funding opportunity.

    Submission of Electronically Signed Cover Sheets. The Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) must electronically sign the proposal Cover Sheet to submit the required proposal certifications (see Chapter II, Section C of the Grant Proposal Guide for a listing of the certifications). The AOR must provide the required electronic certifications within five working days following the electronic submission of the proposal. Further instructions regarding this process are available on the FastLane Website at: https://www.fastlane.nsf.gov/fastlane.jsp.

    VI. NSF PROPOSAL PROCESSING AND REVIEW PROCEDURES

    Proposals received by NSF are assigned to the appropriate NSF program where they will be reviewed if they meet NSF proposal preparation requirements. All proposals are carefully reviewed by a scientist, engineer, or educator serving as an NSF Program Officer, and usually by three to ten other persons outside NSF who are experts in the particular fields represented by the proposal. These reviewers are selected by Program Officers charged with the oversight of the review process. Proposers are invited to suggest names of persons they believe are especially well qualified to review the proposal and/or persons they would prefer not review the proposal. These suggestions may serve as one source in the reviewer selection process at the Program Officer's discretion. Submission of such names, however, is optional. Care is taken to ensure that reviewers have no conflicts of interest with the proposal.

    A. NSF Merit Review Criteria

    All NSF proposals are evaluated through use of the two National Science Board (NSB)-approved merit review criteria: intellectual merit and the broader impacts of the proposed effort. In some instances, however, NSF will employ additional criteria as required to highlight the specific objectives of certain programs and activities.

    The two NSB-approved merit review criteria are listed below. The criteria include considerations that help define them. These considerations are suggestions and not all will apply to any given proposal. While proposers must address both merit review criteria, reviewers will be asked to address only those considerations that are relevant to the proposal being considered and for which the reviewer is qualified to make judgments.

    What is the intellectual merit of the proposed activity?
    How important is the proposed activity to advancing knowledge and understanding within its own field or across different fields? How well qualified is the proposer (individual or team) to conduct the project? (If appropriate, the reviewer will comment on the quality of the prior work.) To what extent does the proposed activity suggest and explore creative, original, or potentially transformative concepts? How well conceived and organized is the proposed activity? Is there sufficient access to resources?

    What are the broader impacts of the proposed activity?
    How well does the activity advance discovery and understanding while promoting teaching, training, and learning? How well does the proposed activity broaden the participation of underrepresented groups (e.g., gender, ethnicity, disability, geographic, etc.)? To what extent will it enhance the infrastructure for research and education, such as facilities, instrumentation, networks, and partnerships? Will the results be disseminated broadly to enhance scientific and technological understanding? What may be the benefits of the proposed activity to society?

    Examples illustrating activities likely to demonstrate broader impacts are available electronically on the NSF website at: http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/gpg/broaderimpacts.pdf.

    Mentoring activities provided to postdoctoral researchers supported on the project, as described in a one-page supplementary document, will be evaluated under the Broader Impacts criterion.

    Additional Solicitation Specific Review Criteria

    The STTR program has additional criteria which reflect the legislative emphasis of the program and complement the standard NSF review criteria listed above.

    "What is the intellectual merit of the proposed activity?"

    1. Is the proposed plan a sound approach for establishing technical and commercial feasibility?
    2. To what extent does the proposal suggest and develop unique or ingenious concepts or applications?
    3. How well qualified is the technical team (Principal Investigator, key staff, consultants, and subawardees) to conduct the proposed activity?
    4. Is there sufficient access to resources (materials and supplies, analytical services, equipment, facilities, etc.)?
    5. Does the proposal reflect state-of-the-art in the major research activities proposed? (Are advancements in state-of-the-art likely?)

    "What are the broader impacts/commercial potential of the proposed activity?"

    1. What may be the commercial and societal benefits of the proposed activity?
    2. Does the outcome of the proposed activity lead to a marketable product or process that warrants significant NSF support?
    3. Given the stage of the proposed effort, is the team well-balanced between technical and business skills?
    4. Has the proposing firm successfully commercialized SBIR or STTR-supported technology where prior awards have been made? (Or, has the firm been successful at commercializing technology that has not received SBIR or STTR support?)
    5. Has the proposer evaluated the competitive advantage of this technology vs. alternate technologies that can meet the same market needs?
    6. Does the proposal lead to enabling technologies (instrumentation, software, etc.) for further innovation?
    7. How well is the proposed activity positioned to attract further funding from non-SBIR sources once the project ends?

    NSF staff also will give careful consideration to the following in making funding decisions:

    Integration of Research and Education
    One of the principal strategies in support of NSF's goals is to foster integration of research and education through the programs, projects, and activities it supports at academic and research institutions. These institutions provide abundant opportunities where individuals may concurrently assume responsibilities as researchers, educators, and students and where all can engage in joint efforts that infuse education with the excitement of discovery and enrich research through the diversity of learning perspectives.

    Integrating Diversity into NSF Programs, Projects, and Activities
    Broadening opportunities and enabling the participation of all citizens -- women and men, underrepresented minorities, and persons with disabilities -- is essential to the health and vitality of science and engineering. NSF is committed to this principle of diversity and deems it central to the programs, projects, and activities it considers and supports.

    B. Review and Selection Process

    Proposals submitted in response to this program solicitation will be reviewed by Ad hoc Review and/or Panel Review.

    Reviewers will be asked to formulate a recommendation to either support or decline each proposal. The Program Officer assigned to manage the proposal's review will consider the advice of reviewers and will formulate a recommendation.

    After scientific, technical and programmatic review and consideration of appropriate factors, the NSF Program Officer recommends to the cognizant Division Director whether the proposal should be declined or recommended for award. NSF is striving to be able to tell applicants whether their proposals have been declined or recommended for funding within six months. The time interval begins on the deadline or target date, or receipt date, whichever is later. The interval ends when the Division Director accepts the Program Officer's recommendation.

    A summary rating and accompanying narrative will be completed and submitted by each reviewer. In all cases, reviews are treated as confidential documents. Verbatim copies of reviews, excluding the names of the reviewers, are sent to the Principal Investigator/Project Director by the Program Officer. In addition, the proposer will receive an explanation of the decision to award or decline funding.

    In all cases, after programmatic approval has been obtained, the proposals recommended for funding will be forwarded to the Division of Grants and Agreements for review of business, financial, and policy implications and the processing and issuance of a grant or other agreement. Proposers are cautioned that only a Grants and Agreements Officer may make commitments, obligations or awards on behalf of NSF or authorize the expenditure of funds. No commitment on the part of NSF should be inferred from technical or budgetary discussions with a NSF Program Officer. A Principal Investigator or organization that makes financial or personnel commitments in the absence of a grant or cooperative agreement signed by the NSF Grants and Agreements Officer does so at their own risk.

    VII. AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION

    A. Notification of the Award

    Notification of the award is made to the submitting organization by a Grants Officer in the Division of Grants and Agreements. Organizations whose proposals are declined will be advised as promptly as possible by the cognizant NSF Program administering the program. Verbatim copies of reviews, not including the identity of the reviewer, will be provided automatically to the Principal Investigator. (See Section VI.B. for additional information on the review process.)

    B. Award Conditions

    An NSF award consists of: (1) the award letter, which includes any special provisions applicable to the award and any numbered amendments thereto; (2) the budget, which indicates the amounts, by categories of expense, on which NSF has based its support (or otherwise communicates any specific approvals or disapprovals of proposed expenditures); (3) the proposal referenced in the award letter; (4) the applicable award conditions, such as Grant General Conditions (GC-1); * or Research Terms and Conditions * and (5) any announcement or other NSF issuance that may be incorporated by reference in the award letter. Cooperative agreements also are administered in accordance with NSF Cooperative Agreement Financial and Administrative Terms and Conditions (CA-FATC) and the applicable Programmatic Terms and Conditions. NSF awards are electronically signed by an NSF Grants and Agreements Officer and transmitted electronically to the organization via e-mail.

    *These documents may be accessed electronically on NSF's Website at http://www.nsf.gov/awards/managing/award_conditions.jsp?org=NSF. Paper copies may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone (703) 292-7827 or by e-mail from nsfpubs@nsf.gov.

    More comprehensive information on NSF Award Conditions and other important information on the administration of NSF awards is contained in the NSF Award & Administration Guide (AAG) Chapter II, available electronically on the NSF Website at http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=aag.

    Special Award Conditions:

    STTR Phase I and Phase II awards are subject to availability of funds. NSF has no obligation to make any specific number of STTR Phase I or Phase II awards based on a solicitation and may elect to make several or no awards under any specific subtopic. STTR Phase I awards are 12-month, fixed-price grants and shall not exceed $225,000. The STTR Phase II fixed-priced grants typically will not exceed $750,000 per award. A Phase II award is based on a Phase I award. STTR Phase II awards normally will be made for a 24-month period of performance. (For information on Phase II, reference Phase II proposal preparation found on the SBIR/STTR web site (Phase II Award Information). Reasonable fees for profit (not to exceed 7% of the total direct and indirect costs) will be considered under both phases.

    SBIR/STTR prospective grantees will be notified by NSF to provide a signed SBIR/STTR Funding Agreement Certification. The federal government relies on the information provided by grantees to determine whether the business is eligible for a Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program award. Certification will be used to ensure continued compliance during the life of the funding agreement. (http://www.nsf.gov/eng/iip/sbir/Forms/SBIR_STTR_FUNDING_AGREEMENT_CERT.doc)

    C. Reporting Requirements

    The Principal Investigator must submit a final project report to the cognizant Program Officer within 15 days after expiration of a grant.

    Failure to provide the required final project report will delay NSF review and processing of any pending proposals for that PI. PIs should examine the formats of the required reports in advance to assure availability of required data.

    PIs are required to use NSF's electronic project-reporting system, available through FastLane, for preparation and submission of final project reports. Such reports provide information on activities and findings, project participants (individual and organizational) publications; and, other specific products and contributions. PIs will not be required to re-enter information previously provided, either with a proposal or in earlier updates using the electronic system. Submission of the report via FastLane constitutes certification by the PI that the contents of the report are accurate and complete.

    The Phase I final report will be due to NSF within 15 days of the expiration of the grant. A Phase II proposal requires an approved Phase I Final Report to be uploaded as part of the Phase II proposal package.

    VIII. AGENCY CONTACTS

    Please note that the program contact information is current at the time of publishing. See program website for any updates to the points of contact.

    General inquiries regarding this program should be made to:

    • Ruth M. Shuman, SBIR/STTR Program Director, Biological and Chemical Technologies (BC), telephone: (703) 292-2160, email: rshuman@nsf.gov

    • Prakash Balan, SBIR/STTR Program Director, Biological and Chemical Technologies (BC), telephone: (703) 292-5341, email: pbalan@nsf.gov

    • Jesus V. Soriano, SBIR/STTR Program Director, Biological and Chemical Technologies (BC), telephone: (703) 292-7795, email: jsoriano@nsf.gov

    • Theresa A. Good, Program Director, Directorate for Engineering, Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems (CBET), telephone: (703) 292-7029, email: tgood@nsf.gov

    • Susanne von Bodman, Program Director, Directorate for Biological Sciences, Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (MCB), telephone: (703) 292-8440, email: svonbodm@nsf.gov

    • Aleksandr L. Simonian, Program Director, Directorate for Engineering, Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems (CBET), telephone: (703) 292-4826, email: asimonia@nsf.gov

    For questions related to the use of FastLane, contact:

    IX. OTHER INFORMATION

    The NSF Website provides the most comprehensive source of information on NSF Directorates (including contact information), programs and funding opportunities. Use of this Website by potential proposers is strongly encouraged. In addition, National Science Foundation Update is a free e-mail subscription service designed to keep potential proposers and other interested parties apprised of new NSF funding opportunities and publications, important changes in proposal and award policies and procedures, and upcoming NSF Regional Grants Conferences. Subscribers are informed through e-mail when new publications are issued that match their identified interests. Users can subscribe to this service by clicking the "Get NSF Updates by Email" link on the NSF web site.

    Grants.gov provides an additional electronic capability to search for Federal government-wide grant opportunities. NSF funding opportunities may be accessed via this new mechanism. Further information on Grants.gov may be obtained at http://www.grants.gov.

    ABOUT THE NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

    The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent Federal agency created by the National Science Foundation Act of 1950, as amended (42 USC 1861-75). The Act states the purpose of the NSF is "to promote the progress of science; [and] to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare by supporting research and education in all fields of science and engineering."

    NSF funds research and education in most fields of science and engineering. It does this through grants and cooperative agreements to more than 2,000 colleges, universities, K-12 school systems, businesses, informal science organizations and other research organizations throughout the US. The Foundation accounts for about one-fourth of Federal support to academic institutions for basic research.

    NSF receives approximately 55,000 proposals each year for research, education and training projects, of which approximately 11,000 are funded. In addition, the Foundation receives several thousand applications for graduate and postdoctoral fellowships. The agency operates no laboratories itself but does support National Research Centers, user facilities, certain oceanographic vessels and Arctic and Antarctic research stations. The Foundation also supports cooperative research between universities and industry, US participation in international scientific and engineering efforts, and educational activities at every academic level.

    Facilitation Awards for Scientists and Engineers with Disabilities provide funding for special assistance or equipment to enable persons with disabilities to work on NSF-supported projects. See Grant Proposal Guide Chapter II, Section D.2 for instructions regarding preparation of these types of proposals.

    The National Science Foundation has Telephonic Device for the Deaf (TDD) and Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) capabilities that enable individuals with hearing impairments to communicate with the Foundation about NSF programs, employment or general information. TDD may be accessed at (703) 292-5090 and (800) 281-8749, FIRS at (800) 877-8339.

    The National Science Foundation Information Center may be reached at (703) 292-5111.

    The National Science Foundation promotes and advances scientific progress in the United States by competitively awarding grants and cooperative agreements for research and education in the sciences, mathematics, and engineering.

    To get the latest information about program deadlines, to download copies of NSF publications, and to access abstracts of awards, visit the NSF Website at http://www.nsf.gov

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    PRIVACY ACT AND PUBLIC BURDEN STATEMENTS

    The information requested on proposal forms and project reports is solicited under the authority of the National Science Foundation Act of 1950, as amended. The information on proposal forms will be used in connection with the selection of qualified proposals; and project reports submitted by awardees will be used for program evaluation and reporting within the Executive Branch and to Congress. The information requested may be disclosed to qualified reviewers and staff assistants as part of the proposal review process; to proposer institutions/grantees to provide or obtain data regarding the proposal review process, award decisions, or the administration of awards; to government contractors, experts, volunteers and researchers and educators as necessary to complete assigned work; to other government agencies or other entities needing information regarding applicants or nominees as part of a joint application review process, or in order to coordinate programs or policy; and to another Federal agency, court, or party in a court or Federal administrative proceeding if the government is a party. Information about Principal Investigators may be added to the Reviewer file and used to select potential candidates to serve as peer reviewers or advisory committee members. See Systems of Records, NSF-50, "Principal Investigator/Proposal File and Associated Records," 69 Federal Register 26410 (May 12, 2004), and NSF-51, "Reviewer/Proposal File and Associated Records," 69 Federal Register 26410 (May 12, 2004). Submission of the information is voluntary. Failure to provide full and complete information, however, may reduce the possibility of receiving an award.

    An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, an information collection unless it displays a valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control number. The OMB control number for this collection is 3145-0058. Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 120 hours per response, including the time for reviewing instructions. Send comments regarding the burden estimate and any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to:

    Suzanne H. Plimpton
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    Division of Administrative Services
    National Science Foundation
    Arlington, VA 22230





    Policies and Important Links

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    National Science Foundation

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    Genomic Study of Africa's Hunter-gatherers Elucidates Human Variation and Ancient Interbreeding

    July 26, 2012

    a young boy practices his archery skills In a report to be featured on the cover of the Aug. 3 issue of the journal Cell, University of Pennsylvania geneticists and their colleagues analyze the fully sequenced genomes of 15 Africans belonging to three different hunter-gatherer groups and decipher some of what these genetic codes have to say about human diversity and evolution. Full Story

    continental drilling

    NSF 12-111

    Dear Colleague Letter - Continential Scientific Drilling

    DATE: July 30, 2012

    This letter is to inform you of two actions that the National Science Foundation (NSF) will take to accommodate the needs of the continental scientific drilling community.

    (1) To facilitate the planning activities that are necessary to support earth science proposals requiring continental scientific drilling, the Division of Earth Sciences (EAR) will accept "planning grant proposals". Such a planning grant may be used to support pre-drilling activities that will strengthen a drilling proposal intended for submission to one of EAR's core science programs. These activities could include workshops, community planning activities, site surveys, equipment design, and drilling plan and budget preparation. These proposals should be submitted to the EAR/Instrumentation and Facilities Program as "unsolicited proposals" with a budget of less than $50,000.

    (2) EAR intends to release a solicitation to re-compete the management and operation of a Continental Scientific Drilling Program Office. This plan will address existing National Science Board policy requiring periodic re-competition of the management of major NSF facilities (NSB-08-16). NSF welcomes community feedback on this plan. Please contact the following NSF program officer with questions or comments:

    David Lambert
    Instrumentation & Facilities Program
    703-292-8558
    dlambert@nsf.gov

    Subject:
     WATCH - National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) Overview
     From:
    National Science Foundation Update <nsf-update@nsf.gov>
    To:

    Aug 16 2012 12:00PM to
    Aug 16 2012 1:00PM
    NSF Room 110

    Abstract

     This presentation will be an overview of the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE). Initiative history, current status, and future directions will be covered along with insight into how cybersecurity education, awareness, training, and workforce development all interact and enable the larger Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education enterprise of this country. A National Cybersecurity Workforce Framework document has ...
    More at http://www.nsf.gov/events/event_summ.jsp?cntn_id=125064&WT.mc_id=USNSF_13&WT.mc_ev=click


    This is an NSF Events item.

    GSA Seeks Ideas to Develop Miami Courthouse

    miami

    Kelp Forestry?

    Top Materials News


    News From the Field
    Superfast Evolution in Sea Stars

    July 23, 2012

    an image of the sea star c. pentagona How quickly can new species arise? In as little as 6,000 years, according to a study of Australian sea stars. Full Story

    When the World Burned Less

    July 30, 2012

    image of fire In the years after Columbus' voyage, burning of New World forests and fields diminished significantly--a phenomenon some have attributed to decimation of native populations by European diseases. But a new University of Utah-led study suggests global cooling resulted in fewer fires because both preceded Columbus in many regions worldwide. Full Story

    Big Horns Trump Smooth Pickup Lines Every Time

    July 26, 2012

    image of beetle horns Elk and rhinoceros beetles aren't diabetic, but to grow big horns and attract mates it appears that the males are insulin-dependent. Ian Dworkin, a Michigan State University zoologist, was part of a team that for the first time ever, showed why horns--from elk to rhinoceros beetles--and other decorative, mate-attracting structures are sensitive to changes in nutrition. As reported in the current issue of Science, the key ingredient for this growth is insulin. Full Story

    Are you the mayor of your favorite coffee shop, café, or park?

    112th


    Calling All Champions of Change

    Posted by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, on June 6, 2012

    Hunger is an issue that touches the lives of people all around us. Whether it’s the single mother struggling to feed her family of four while simultaneously making ends meet or a person living in rural America who has to drive 50 miles to the closest grocery store, hunger affects us all.

    That is why I am calling upon all community leaders who have committed themselves to ending this struggle to apply to the “White House Champions of Change:  Alleviating Hunger at Home and Abroad” program.  The purpose of this program is to recognize individuals who are using innovative community-based approaches to reduce hunger and ensure that people have access to enough food both in the United States and internationally. Read more »

    In order to “acquire and to diffuse among the people of the United States useful information on subjects connected with agriculture…

    Private Citizen on the Public Agenda: Too few of the intellectual elite provide the society with statesmanlike leadership and guidance in public affairs. Cross-fertilization of ideas and experience enriches the practice of public policy. The raw material is still here.

    It is essential to the healthy functioning of our system that we have in the non-governmental sector a generous supply of leaders who have an understanding -- gained first hand -- of the challenges that our national government faces. In a day when the individual feels increasingly remote from the centers of power and decision, such leaders can help their fellow citizens comprehend the process by which the Nation is governed.

    storm cloud

    Priorities: Catalyze large-scale change so every American has the necessary tools at hand

    Joint Support for Governors’ Institute on Community Design

    “The Institute is a vital tool for our states’ leaders as they look for ways to trigger economic development and create strong, resilient communities,” says former Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening, who co-chairs the Institute alongside former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman.

    The Institute, established in 2005 and administered by Smart Growth America, will now receive joint support from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) in a new, collaborative effort as part of the federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities.

    Joint funding supports the ability to provide thought leadership and policy-development assistance, the Institute is one of the first programs to receive joint support from all three participating agencies.

    Abolish Aerial Surveillance Bill

    Multiple Award Government & Industry Conference in Arlington, Va.( MAGIC)

    Are Fiat Currencies Headed for a Collapse?

    Published: Friday, 27 Jul 2012 | 5:27 AM ET
    Text Size
    By: Lisa Oake
    Anchor, CNBC Asia-Pacific

    As the investment world eagerly awaits more stimulus, a debate on a previously unthinkable topic has started to emerge – can fiat currencies survive round after round of debasement?

    Some heavy hitters say the answer is no.

    A fiat currency derives its worth from the issuing government - it is not fixed in value to any objective standard. That means central banks can print as much money as they want.  If an economy is struggling, injecting more notes into the system juices activity but lowers the value of the currency in question.

    With major central banks all desperate to stimulate their economies, some say currencies have entered a dangerous new phase often described as a race to the bottom.

    Mark Mobius, Executive Chairman of Templeton Emerging Markets Group, says investors will soon start to demand fiat currencies be backed by gold or other hard assets.

    “It's already happening, you're beginning to see that trend with central banks stocking up on gold.  The estimate is that at least half of the buying is central bank buying. They are looking to the day when they can say okay, our currency is backed by gold and therefore we're a strong country,” Mobius told CNBC Asia.

    Mobius has $50 billion under management.

    Yu-Dee Chang, Chief Advisor at ACE Investment Strategists, says repeated stimulus is shortsighted. “If you keep printing money, sooner or later, we're going to get in trouble.  QE is good for the economy and for the market but the long-term effect is very much questionable,” said Chang.

    But not everyone thinks fiat currencies are approaching their demise.  Sean Callow, Senior Currency Strategist at Westpac Bank, says if there was going to be a melt-down, it would have happened by now.

    “The bond market vigilantes have had every chance to punish the U.S. for its huge fiscal deficits. The markets are confident in these currencies - the U.S. dollar [.DXY  Loading...      ()], the pound [GBP=X  Loading...      ()], and the yen [JPY=X  Loading...      ()] in particular. That's where the balance sheet expansion has occurred and yet those currencies have held up pretty well over the past couple of years,” said Callow.

    As the fiat currency debate gains momentum and relevance, one London-based manager of a billion dollar fund says the answer about what lies ahead is in the past.

    “Every single fiat currency in history has collapsed, this time will be no different.”

    cnbc
    “I just want to say one word to you, Benjamin.  Plastics.”
    To distinguish a cost recovery action under Section 107(a) from a contribution action under Section 113(f), the U.S. Supreme Court observed that a Section 107(a) action may lie where a party has itself “incurred” cleanup costs, as opposed to reimbursing costs paid by other parties, which is more appropriately covered by Section 113(f).[7] A significant practical difference between the two sections presents itself when one or more defendants has settled its liability with the federal government — while Section 113 contribution claims are barred by the CERCLA contribution protection scheme, Section 107 cost recovery claims, whether brought by the government or a PRP, are not barred.[8] Although a PRP that settles with the federal government or a state is entitled to contribution protection, CERCLA provides no protection for settlements among private parties. To remedy this situation, the courts — recognizing there is little incentive for partial settlements in multiparty cases without such protection — have created common-law mechanisms to provide contribution protection in private CERCLA actions. They rely on one of two competing federal contribution-protection mechanisms: the Uniform Comparative Fault Act (“UCFA”) and the Uniform Contribution Among Tortfeasors Act (“UCATA”). Both are model statutes and have not codified in federal law. Nonetheless, the courts rely on them to create a federal common law corollary to the statutory contribution protection found in CERCLA. UCATA was promulgated in 1955 by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws. Section 1 provides that joint or several tortfeasors have a right to contribution to the extent they have paid more than their pro rata share of common liability. Section 4 explains that when one joint tortfeasor settles with a plaintiff, that tortfeasor’s liability for contribution to other tortfeasors is discharged, and the nonsettling tortfeasors’ liability to plaintiff is reduced by either the amount stipulated to or paid in the settlement, whichever is greater. The UCFA was promulgated in 1977 by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws as a replacement to UCATA in jurisdictions adopting the principle of comparative fault.[9] Section 2 of the UCFA provides that liability among tortfeasors is to be allocated according to their respective percentages of fault. Section 6 provides that if one tortfeasor settles with the plaintiff, the settling party is protected against contribution claims by its fellow tortfeasors, and plaintiff’s claim against the remaining tortfeasors is reduced by the settlor’s “equitable share” of liability.

     The joint and several liability language was deleted from the final legislation in order to secure passage.Evidence supporting apportionment need not be precise—and that there only need to be "facts contained in the record reasonably support[ing] the apportionment of liability." Most agree BNSF establishes a lower standard for divisibility.
     The Supreme Court has not directly addressed the issue. In 2007, Justice Thomas in U.S. v. Atlantic Research Corp. stated "[w]e assume without deciding that § 107(a) provides for joint and several liability.” The Supreme Court and many other judicial bodies have repeatedly stated that if Congress has deleted a proposal for a particular rule or remedy, and did so as a part of a legislative compromise, that deletion should be recognized and given effect by the courts. So far this rule of statutory construction has been disregarded.

    Settling CERCLA litigation is a minefield, but armed with a carefully developed and executed strategy, a CERCLA plaintiff can successfully bring finality to the government’s claims without hindering its ability to seek contribution from other PRPs for an equitable share of remediation costs.


    "THE ALTRUIST IN POLITICS"


    By Benjamin Cardozo

    delivered by Cardozo as his commencement oration at Columbia College in 1889


    There comes not seldom a crisis in the life of men, of nations, and of worlds, when the old forms seem ready to decay, and the old rules of action have lost their binding force. The evils of existing systems obscure the blessings that attend them; and, where reform is needed, the cry is raised for subversion. The cause of such phenomena is not far to seek. "It used to appear to me," writes Count Tolstoi, in a significant passage, "it used to appear to me that the small number of cultivated, rich and idle men, of whom I was one, composed the whole of humanity, and that the millions and millions of other men who had lived and are still living were not in reality men at all." It is this spirit-the spirit that sees the whole of humanity in the few, and throws into the background the millions and millions of other men-it is this spirit that has aroused the antagonism of reformers, and made the decay of the old forms, the rupture of the old restrictions, the ideal of them and of their followers. When wealth and poverty meet each other face to face, the one the master and the other the dependent, the one exalted and the other debased, it is perhaps hardly matter for surprise that the dependent and debased and powerless faction, in envy of their opponents' supremacy, should demand, not simple reform, but absolute community and equality of wealth. That cry for communism is no new one in the history of mankind. Thousands of years ago it was heard and acted on; and, in the lapse of centuries, its reverberations have but swelled in volume. Again and again, the altruist has arisen in politics, has bidden us share with oth