New Yorkers Rally Against Fracking Infrastructure and Flawed LNG Regulations
On Wednesday, Oct. 30, hundreds of New Yorkers from across the state came to Albany to expose Gov. Cuomo (D-NY) and the Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) proposed Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) regulations for what they are: fatally flawed, a danger to public health and our wellbeing and supportive of a massive fracking infrastructure build out.
For some background, New York has had a ban on LNG facilities since 1973, when a horrific explosion in Staten Island killed 40 workers. Now the natural gas industry is lobbying to lift the ban, and the DEC has come out with a new eight-page regulatory framework based on an antiquated 1976 law. Publicly, the DEC and the gas industry claim that the regulations are just to allow for small-scale truck fueling stations and have nothing to do with fracking, but the new regulations go well beyond DEC’s stated goals. The truth is that they would give a green light for the oil and gas industry to potentially build out a massive infrastructure for fracking, including enormous import/export facilities.
Noting this contradiction, the gross inadequacies in the regulations and that expanded natural gas infrastructure is not in New York’s best interests, the New Yorkers Against Fracking coalition has called on Gov. Cuomo and the DEC to withdraw the regulations.
Oct. 30 marked the one and only public hearing on the proposed regulations. The hearing took place at DEC’s headquarters in Albany at 2:00 p.m. Preceding it, at 12 noon, hundreds of New Yorkers rallied outside, demanding that the regulations be withdrawn and that New Yorkers want a renewable energy future, not fracking or its dirty infrastructure.
At 1:00 p.m., we lined up outside of the DEC’s office to enter the hearing and testify against the proposed regulations. As the media reported, within minutes the room meant for 125 people was filled beyond capacity, with many left waiting outside on the street, unable to enter.
Dozens delivered crippling testimony, demonstrating that the regulations are not based in science, do not protect public health and the environment, and that the only basis for them comes from a “study” done by a LNG company that directly stands to significant benefit—a stark conflict of interest.
Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.
Sweden's reindeer have a problem. In winter, they feed on lichens buried beneath the snow. But the climate crisis is making this difficult. Warmer temperatures mean moisture sometimes falls as rain instead of snow. When the air refreezes, a layer of ice forms between the reindeer and their meal, forcing them to wander further in search of ideal conditions. And sometimes, this means crossing busy roads.
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By Aaron W Hunter
A chance discovery of a beautifully preserved fossil in the desert landscape of Morocco has solved one of the great mysteries of biology and paleontology: how starfish evolved their arms.
The Pompeii of palaeontology. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<h2></h2><p>Although starfish might appear very robust animals, they are typically made up of lots of hard parts attached by ligaments and soft tissue which, upon death, quickly degrade. This means we rely on places like the Fezouata formations to provide snapshots of their evolution.</p><p>The starfish fossil record is patchy, especially at the critical time when many of these animal groups first appeared. Sorting out how each of the various types of ancient starfish relate to each other is like putting a puzzle together when many of the parts are missing.</p><h2>The Oldest Starfish</h2><p><em><a href="https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/216101v1.full.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Cantabrigiaster</a></em> is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. It was discovered in 2003, but it has taken over 17 years to work out its true significance.</p><p>What makes <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> unique is that it lacks almost all the characteristics we find in brittle stars and starfish.</p><p>Starfish and brittle stars belong to the family Asterozoa. Their ancestors, the Somasteroids were especially fragile - before <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> we only had a handful of specimens. The celebrated Moroccan paleontologist Mohamed <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2016.06.041" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Ben Moula</a> and his local team was instrumental in discovering <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0031018216302334?via%3Dihub" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">these amazing fossils</a> near the town of Zagora, in Morocco.</p><h2>The Breakthrough</h2><p>Our breakthrough moment came when I compared the arms of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> with those of modern sea lilles, filter feeders with long feathery arms that tend to be attached to the sea floor by a stem or stalk.</p><p>The striking similarity between these modern filter feeders and the ancient starfish led our team from the University of Cambridge and Harvard University to create a new analysis. We applied a biological model to the features of all the current early Asterozoa fossils in existence, along with a sample of their closest relatives.</p>
Cantabrigiaster is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<p>Our results demonstrate <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> is the most primitive of all the Asterozoa, and most likely evolved from ancient animals called crinoids that lived 250 million years before dinosaurs. The five arms of starfish are a relic left over from these ancestors. In the case of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em>, and its starfish descendants, it evolved by flipping upside-down so its arms are face down on the sediment to feed.</p><p>Although we sampled a relatively small numbers of those ancestors, one of the unexpected outcomes was it provided an idea of how they could be related to each other. Paleontologists studying echinoderms are often lost in detail as all the different groups are so radically different from each other, so it is hard to tell which evolved first.</p>
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