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Published: Sunday, 1/20/2008

'07 records undercut denials of naysayers

More Incredibly Circumstantial Evidence for Global Warming Naysayers: The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration reported Tuesday that 2007 was the fifth-warmest year on record for the world and the 10th-warmest on record for the United States.

Note: The floodgates have now officially reopened for hate mail, both electronic and print, as well as for the usual plethora of nasty voice mail messages I get whenever I dare bring up the issue of climate change and/or invoke memories of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize that was awarded to Al Gore and the United Nations panel of climate scientists known as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Six of the 10 warmest years on record for the contiguous United States have occurred since 1998, part of a 30-year trend of warmer temperatures, according to NOAA's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C.

However, cooler-than-average December temperatures prevailed in 11 states from the Upper Midwest to the West Coast. Last month also was the 18th-wettest December since national records began in 1895.

Sierra Club Smells Victory: The Michigan Court of Appeals said Tuesday, in essence, the environmental group has a right to stick its nose in the business of concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, when it comes to spreading manure.

Sierra sued the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality on the grounds that the public has a right to peruse documents known as comprehensive nutrient management plans when CAFOs seek their required Clean Water Act permits.

The group is trying to keep manure applied to fields from reaching streams and aquifers, including water that flows into western Lake Erie.

Mussel Out-Muscles Nuke: Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, along comes a zebra mussel powerful enough to shut down a nuclear plant.

OK, we're embellishing here.

But the Syracuse Post-Standard had a story Monday about how the eating habits of some Lake Ontario zebra mussels and their more hardy, deepwater cousins, the quagga mussels, resulted in the proliferation of stringlike algae that's akin to seaweed.

Weeds clogged intake filters of the 852-megawatt James A. FitzPatrick nuclear plant near Oswego, N.Y., so much that it was shut down three times between Sept. 12 and Oct. 28, resulting in losses of $1.5 million to $2 million a day, the story said.

The plant's capacity is less than that of Davis-Besse and Fermi 2, which can produce 898 and 1,111 megawatts, respectively. Both facilities are along western Lake Erie which, uh, usually has a worse algae problem than Lake Ontario.

Call it another good reason to keep exotic species out of the Great Lakes, even if nukes manage to keep engineering their way around such problems.

DTE in Cross-Border Dispute: Detroit-based DTE Energy may have to defend itself in a Canadian court on charges of polluting the St. Clair River with mercury released from its St. Clair and Belle River coal-fired power plants in eastern Michigan.

On Wednesday, Canada's Superior Court of Justice in Sarnia, Ont., granted a request by Scott Edwards, the Waterkeeper Alliance's legal director.

The alliance is a group co-founded by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., with programs now across the world.

John Austerberry, the DTE spokesman, said Thursday the utility had not been notified and had found media reports "baffling." He said all of the company's power plants are in compliance with Michigan and U.S. regulations, and that it is spending $1 billion fleetwide to reduce emissions from several plants.

Contact Tom Henry at: thenry@theblade.com or 419-724-6079.



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