Monthly Archives: April 2014

How the US Chamber of Commerce “buys” elections?

Free barbecues. That’s the ticket, at least in South Carolina. (click here)

I wonder if the voters in South Carolina really want barbecues rather than competent representation in the US Senate. I guess we’ll find out….

Adaptive measures improve survival during Stockholm heat waves

Paul Knappenberger, Patrick Michaels, Anthony Watts. Adaptation to extreme heat in Stockholm County, Sweden. Nature Climate Change. 4, 302–303 (2014) doi:10.1038/nclimate2201

Click here for the paper (fee). Click here for discussion by one of the authors.

Natural climate variability contributes to global temperature changes

K.M. Cobb.  Palaeoclimate: A southern misfit Nature Climate Change 4, 328–329 (2014) doi:10.1038/nclimate2219

Southern Hemisphere temperature reconstruction estimates of climate sensitivity to CO2 are lower than previously believed. Click here for the full article.

Legal immigrants most angry about illegal immigration

“Speaking at The New York Meeting on Monday, Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) took a firm stance against illegal immigration, saying massive illegal immigration angers legal immigrants and threatens to balkanize America. “ click here

Will USEPA regulate algal blooms as a way to drive nutrient standards lower?

The potential harm in algal blooms has been known and researched for many years. As the list of alarming contaminants becomes shorter, the Agency needs to find something else to vilify in drinking water in order to drive other standards lower. Oh, don’t misunderstand. Algal toxins can be and are a real problem. The idea that USEPA is going to solve this problem by writing a regulation in its usual way is nonsense. But this is the regulatory system we must live with now. 

Calling it what it is (nonsense) does not change the regulatory system we have and that may not happen in our lifetime. But we must identify the real problem (e.g. with USEPA, CDC, etc) and begin to address how to improve this system now less we fool ourselves into extinction.

USEPA is pooling data and conducting technical analyses with Health Canada on harmful algal blooms. The reason? From what I would guess, Health Canada typically has a very activist (alarmist?) posture on such contaminants. Look for health advisories to be developed that are very (overly alarmist) conservative.

We have known for decades that some algal blooms produce cyanobacteria, which can have serious effects on aquatic ecosystems. Guidelines exist and there is a lot of practical information already available on their control (e.g. here ).

Regulating algal toxins in drinking water is also an indirect way for activists to force regulation of nutrients in runoff and in wastewater. Do these present a problem? In some cases, yes. Will an EPA regulation solve this problem? No.

CDC study found 11 waterborne disease outbreaks associated with harmful algal blooms in fresh water in the U.S. between 2009 and 2010, affecting at least 61 people. Adverse health effects included gastrointestinal effects, respiratory symptoms and rash or skin irritation. Think about this. In a country of over 300,000,000 people, only 61 are known to have been affected over the 2 year period.  For those 61 people, it was certainly a big deal. But is a national regulation justified? Is this a joke?

An un-named peer review panel determined that there was “sufficient information” to conduct health advisories on two types of algal blooms: microcystin-LR and cylindrospermopsin. A health advisory for anatoxin will not be developed.

The agency would like to jump start the UCMR4 process. Activists are nervous and want to draw media (alarmists) attention to drinking water as a national issue again. Otherwise, USEPA will have to find something else to do. Whether algal toxins have an adverse effect on human health, occur in public water systems with a frequency and at levels of public health concern, and whether regulation presents a meaningful opportunity for health risk reduction for persons served by public water systems must be determined to meet SDWA requirements.

USEPA is also conducting a full-court press “trying to get out to the public so that they understand issues related to nutrients.” (A Chinese friend of mine would use the word “propaganda” for such an effort as this.) I suspect that we the public who are concerned about such things like algal toxins (as I am) may already know a lot about this problem and how to solve it.

Global warming absent for half of the satellite record


Source: RealScience

California proposes 10 ug/L Hexavalent Chromium limit

CDPH Submits Final Regulation Package Regarding Hexavalent Chromium (Cr VI) and Drinking Water

Date: 4/15/2014

Number: 14-038

Contact: Anita Gore, Heather Bourbeau (916) 440-7259


The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) today submitted to the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) its final proposed regulation establishing the first ever drinking water Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for hexavalent chromium (Cr VI). More than 18,000 comments were received by CDPH regarding the proposed regulation. The proposed final regulation documents include the Summary and Response to comments received.

The proposed final regulation will take effect after it has been reviewed and approved by OAL in compliance with the Administrative Procedures Act. This review can take up to 30 working days to complete. Once approved, the regulation is then filed with the Secretary of State and will become effective the first day of the following quarter.

“The drinking water standard for hexavalent chromium of 10 parts per billion will protect public health while taking into consideration economic and technical feasibility as required by law,” said Dr. Ron Chapman, CDPH director and state health officer.

If the regulation is approved as expected, implementation of the new drinking water standard for hexavalent chromium will begin July 1, 2014.

Today’s filing also complies with timelines imposed by the Alameda Superior Court in Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. v. California Department of Public Health.

The department’s response to comments and regulations submitted can be found on the CDPH website.