SPECIAL ELECTION LEFTOVERS, PLUS SCIENTIST DISPUTES STATE’S CLAIMS IN ‘CLEANUP’ for ‘REST OF RIVER’ … ALL, EXCLUSIVE TO THE PLANET!
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, FRIDAY, OCT. 21, 2011) — There have been many discussions on the recently concluded Special Election that pushed the “winner” to Boston. The residual feeling is one of anger but not shock, disbelief but not surprise. As THE PLANET pieced together the “plot” yesterday based on several insider discussions and inductively piecing together the evidence. Granted, it’s a piece of detective work that Sherlock Holmes wouldn’t have broken a sweat over. Even Hemlock Holmes would crack this case.
Therein lies the true callousness of the plan. The plotters knew they had a great chance of succeeding based on the combination of anger and apathy that now grips the electorate in the City of Pittsfield. Someday, a candidate might come along and be the spark that ignites a revolution. He or she may come slouching in from Bethlehem and expose the varying levels of fraud. Until then, though, voters can look forward to “more of the same.”
When anger gets bottled up by apathy, nothing good comes out of it.
SORE LOSER — THE PLANET received a couple of scorching e-mails from third-place finisher Pam Malumphy that were headed OFF THE RECORD. Now technically, nothing’s off the record until BOTH parties agree. Her missives are fair game as far as fair play is concerned. However, THE PLANET will keep her messages confidential so that we won’t add to Pummelin’ Pam’s further mortification. We can say that after her message of yesterday, she then blocked THE PLANET’s ability to reply. We will let that be the extent, at present, of our commentary on this fallen asteroid. We wish her well in her future endeavors, we will be open to reconciliation if she wants, and we hope she finds whatever it is she is looking for.
GOING TO BOSTON — Now that Tricia Farley-Bouvier has won a seat in Boston, she has to “hit the ground running,” as Uncle Gerry Lee promised she would. Gerry came out of his coma at the American Legion long enough to offer that Sage of the Elders advice. THE PLANET will drink to that. In actuality, all eyes will be upon her every action for a while, especially those who have been free with the criticism over her campaign. TFB can choose one of two ways: She can be the stooge of her critics’ predictions, of she can surprise everyone by becoming an strong, independent voice for them. THE PLANET thinks TFB has untapped ability in the latter regard. Now or never, we shall find out.
SOUP’S ON — THE PLANET’S food consultant, noted gourmand Chef Ron Kitterman, passes along this Boston Baked Bean recipe for Tricia and her entourage.
Ingredients 5 -16 ounce cans of pre baked beans
1/4 pound of thick cut bacon
1 cup of diced onion
1 cup of brown sugar
1/4 cup of ketchup
1/4 cup of cider vinegar
1/4 cup of maple syrup
1/4 cup of molasses
4 Tablespoons of prepared mustard
Brown the bacon in the bottom of the 3-4 quart cast iron pot and mix in the onions Mix and simmer rest of the ingredients for about 1 1/2 hours until the liquid is reduced. Then place opposite the hot coals and cover for and additional hour, or until desired doneness
She will be down there in bean town and able to purchase bean pots from Durkin Park which make the best beans in the world, but you hit the nail on the head she has to prove herself now.
Sounds might tasty. We thank Chef Ron K.
LEST WE FORGET, THE GE-PCB DEBATE HASN’T GONE ANYWHERE
For the GOBs, GE, and other assorted Special Interests, the Special Election had the (PICK ONE) ( )Fortuntate ( )Unfortunate effect of diverting our attention from the toxic mess still infesting Pittsfield and environs and what to do about it.
In that vein, we put Industrial Toxins back on the front burner, Steve Canyon oxygen masks in place, and present this informative letter from Peter Skaller of Housatonic. Skaller, we should note, has a Ph.D. in Forest Ecology.
We can all learn from his expertise. This is the type of in-depth coverage of a VITAL issues that the Boring Broadsheet fails to share — the same way it failed to share many letters from prominent Pittsfield residents advocating the candidacy of Mark Miller. THE PLANET had several complaints along these lines. As we saw yesterday, though, a compliant and toady local daily played a key role in “the plot,” if we read the evidence correctly. Any fat cats who have the proper “blessings” can pull off all sorts of hanky-panky (“Olver Touts EV Worldwide’s 1,000 Jobs for PIttsfield!”) can count on that sad excuse of a newspaper. The BB has but one mission: To roll over and play dead for its political and corporate masters.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: THE PLANET EXPERIENCED FORMATTING ISSUES WITH THE ARTICLE, BUT THE INFORMATION IS INTACT. THANK YOU FOR TOLERANCE.]
SCIENTIST HAS ‘SERIOUS DOUBTS’ ABOUT VALIDITY OF STATE’S PLAN FOR THE ‘REST OF THE RIVER’
BY PETER SKALLER, Ph.D., Forest EcologyOn Wednesday evening, October 12, the Massachusetts Dept. of Environmental Protection together with the Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, presented their proposal for cleaning the Housatonic River of the PCB contamination which General Electric caused. I would like to outline a number of points that cast serious doubt on both the intentions and scientific validity of the proposal made. Some of what I will say is based upon statements omitted in their presentation but are made in their full proposal which can be read on their website.POINT 1. — DEP has placed a high priority on protecting so-called “core areas,” which support significant numbers of at-risk flora and fauna species. Based upon their mapping work, they have identified 33.4 floodplain acres which they deem suitable for remediation because they do not conflict with their species-protection agenda.Their stated concern is that the natural meandering of the river, a process necessary for the creation of appropriate habitat for many at-risk species, not be disrupted by dredging and “armoring” or other bank stabilization approaches that would impede river meandering. The scientific basis for this approach is highly questionable. River meandering is determined by two factors: the river’s descent gradient and the bedrock. Unless the bedrock creates a rock-walled canyon or channel which constrains a slow-moving river’s natural urge to meander, it will meander even if large trees or dense shrubbery are stabilizing the banks. Flood plain forests, including mature ones, are continually being undercut and trees continually topple over into the river creating all sorts of flow diversions that create new channels and foster new deposits of sediment.The typically poorly-drained soils also encourage shallow-rooted trees far from the bank to uproot in wind or even to die from oxygen-depletion, creating openings where plant succession processes revert to earlier stages. These at-risk species will find ample opportunity for their populations to flourish in an environment where such natural processes occur.After dredging away contaminated soils, of course, armoring the banks with rip-rap would interrupt this process, but the temporary use of rocks or logs to curtail rapid erosion, together with the strategic planting/moving of trees and shrubs, offers a way to more thoroughly clean the floodplains and allow for natural river behavior. To not dredge contaminated floodplain sites in the name of an erroneous concept of river behavior is simply not based on a true understanding.POINT 2. — In the DEP’s written proposal one finds the following remark: “…even in these 33.4 acres, we view excavation as a last resort, to be performed if institutional controls and site-wide averaging are not sufficient.” Institutional controls, or “IC,” consist of warning signage and other “educational” tools to alert people to the risks involved in using certain areas. It is hard to believe that an agency purportedly concerned with environmental protection could take IC seriously.But the other concept is downright frightening, for it means that an area containing a severely contaminated area as well as an area with little contamination could then, through “averaging,” come out to be within their criteria for tolerable levels of toxins. But how will land parcels be bounded so as to include areas to be averaged? Such a process leaves things wide open for skewing data, but even if done with a statistically sound randomized process, it still could result in leaving behind high concentrations of toxins for their eventual release into the larger ecosystem.POINT 3. — The DEP has clearly stated that their criterion for choosing areas for clean-up is based upon the higher not the lower value for the range of PCB concentrations deemed acceptable from a human-health standpoint by the EPA. What kind of value system resulted in such a choice?POINT 4. — No data was presented to show what % of the total contaminated floodplain do these 33.4 acres represent, assuming that this number is even the true target (see point 1). It would be a tiny fraction.POINT 5. — The DEP states that with the partial dredging of Woods Pond and the limited dredging of appropriate floodplain areas, 25% of the PCBs in the river would be removed. How much of the river is included in this estimate? All the way to Long Island Sound, which should be the so-called “Rest Of The River,” not just the Massachusetts portion? This is like saying to your child after he/she spilled milk on the floor, “Just clean up ¼ of it. We can leave the rest to just rot there.” Not only is that not good for the house, but it is not good for the child! Since GE apparently is unwilling to clean up it own mess out of its own free-will, it seems to require a parent to require it to overcome childish lack of responsibility. 25%? Reversed, it means leaving the river 75% filthy. [EDITOR’S NOTE: THIS IS A POINT THE PLANET HAS MADE, THAT IS, HOW DOES CLEANING 25% AFFECT THE REMAINING 75%? YOU HAVE A RIVER THAT’s 75% TOXIC.]
POINT 6. — The frequent use of the term “the Commonwealth” has turned their approach into a kind of nationalistic “us first” effort. This river flows into Long Island Sound, whose waters and creatures disperse through the entire world! And even locally, the contaminated fish and birds and other creatures carry this toxin so as to infect the world.POINT 7. — Although the DEP listed known alternative technologies, it seems to have done this with a dismissive attitude and demonstrated no true commitment to researching and encouraging them, in spite of many statements about being open to reviewing new approaches as they become available in the future.
In summary, the Massachusetts proposal for cleaning the Housatonic River was not based on accurate scientific understanding of rivers, and was permeated by a curious interest in keeping the clean-up to a bare minimum. Why is this?
THE PLANET thanks Skaller for this commentary.
AND SO ALL CONTINUES WELL ON THE PLANET, AS WE SAY …
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.