The monthly update comes a little early this month, to make room for WC’s usual end-of-the-year very nearly extravaganza.
The disaster on Rio Nunoz just keeps getting worse. The government and the mining companies lied about the extent of the contamination; they said the water was safe to drink, but the arsenic levels are ten times safe levels. The slow-flowing stream provides drinking water and fish for hundreds of thousands of people. The contamination is visible from satellites now.
You can see the copper-colored river in the “after” shot, and the contamination spewing out into the Atlantic Ocean. Shockingly, the other dams that threaten the river and estuary with still more mine waste remain unrepaired. When a mining company tells you this could never happen in Alaska, remind them that the Brazilian mining companies made the same promises.
If we needed more proof that the evil folks do lives long after them, the Alaska Supreme Court put another nail in the Palin coffin, this one going all the way back to when Alaska’s Shame was the Mayor of Wasilla. In yet another lawsuit coming out of Mayor Palin’s disastrous Wasilla Sports Complex, the Alaska Supreme Court refused to force the City of Wasilla to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for a $2,900 easement to serve the complex. Wasilla won, but poor negotiating and wretchedly-worded agreements by Mayor Palin’s administration cost the City a big chunk of change. WC has no objection to lawyers being paid money – even his former law firm, Birch, Horton – but WC wonders if any aspect of Palin’s Disaster wasn’t botched? Remember the City has already paid over $2 million for the property after a botched eminent domain proceeding. Does anyone know if Archie Giddings is related to Palin?
The international climate accord out of Paris has been deemed a success and a failure, and it’s true. It’s also true that it’s probably the best we could hope for when 180 or so wildly different nations try to agree on how to save the planet. It is almost certainly not enough to meet the two degree Celsius threshold that climatologists has set as the tipping point for irreversible change. But it might get pretty close. What’s remarkable is that none of the major Republican presidential wannabes have even mentioned the Paris accord. Not in a debate; not in their stump speechs. It’s almost like they are afraid to address the biggest issue facing America and the world.
Through the hard work of Dr. Derek Sikes at the University of Alaska Museum and Dr. Clifford Ferris, the late Ken Philip‘s life work, Butterflies of Alaska: A Field Guide has been published. Photographs of mounted and wild specimens, collection maps and descriptions for the 80-odd Alaska butterflies are presented. You can get a copy at Gulliver’s Books in Fairbanks or from the University of Alaska Museum of the North. WC is pleased beyond words that the Guide is out, and sends his sincere thanks to all of the folks who made it happen. Special thanks to Derek Sikes, who led the effort, to Dr. Ferris, who did all the writing, and to Cath Daly, who did much of the grunt work. WC still can’t read a good, new science fiction or fantasy novel without the urge to call Ken and share the excitement. Butterflies of Alaska will be a treasured memory.
Major League Baseball pundits are predicting that the Chicago Cubs’ off-season player acquisitions make them a lock for the World Series. Damn. The Cubs are doomed. Again. Still.
All this and the Alaska Legislature isn’t even in session yet. WC can hardly wait.
But right now WC has to check and see if Santa has put WC’s annual lump of col under the Christmas tree yet.