Thursday, October 15, 2009

Darth Vader

thupload_New-England.jpg asked for reader submissions of photos of fall foliage. These two examples are fascinating. The top, impressionistic photo was by Chris Tackett in Arkansas, and despite the fuzziness clearly shows the conifer in the background that is turning yellow, just like I have shown in prior posts is happening in New Jersey. And it's not a healthy condition!!

The beautiful lower picture was taken by Chris Harmon October 2005. In fact it is so beautiful if I look at for more than a second I just want to cry. Look how lovely even the leaves on the ground are! And compare them to the many photos I have put in other blog entries of the shriveled brown leaves we have had for the past few weeks, on the trees and on the ground.

What a horrible, tragic loss. It breaks my heart.

This story in the NYT about government suppression of science for ideological and political reasons is just infuriating.

Here's a link to the newly (finally!) released document that the Bush Administration refused to let the American people see. Bush and Cheney (cue heavy breathing) should be put in jail for this crime, among many others. Withholding this kind of information has led directly to inaction, bringing us ever closer to catastrophic warming - climaticide.

I learned more about EPA regulations from this report than I have from many visits to the murky labyrinths at the bureaucratic dungeons of their website, not to mention multiple calls and emails!

Armed with new insights about how the EPA determines what to track and regulate, I wrote another letter, this time to Obama's EPA administrator, Lisa Jackson:

Dear Ms. Jackson,

Congratulations on your appointment and I wish you great success.

In reading the EPA document just released, "Proposed Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases Under theClean Air Act", I see that EPA included six gases for consideration. Tropospheric Ozone is not on the list, according to the report, because it behaves differently than the six listed (does not persist as long in the atmosphere) and is already regulated as a hazard to human health and is monitored at the National Ambient Air Quality section of EPA.

In visiting that website, it appears that regulations for those standards were last revised in 1990, and that the emissions monitored are: Carbon Monoxide, Lead, Nitrogen Dioxide, Particulate Matter, Ozone and Sulfur Dioxide. However, in recent years the government has mandated the addition of ethanol to gasoline.

Ethanol emissions produce acetaldehyde, the precursor to Peroxyacetyl Nitrates when reacting to UV radiation. PANs are well known to be detrimental to human health, and to vegetation, as is Ozone.

Something in the atmosphere is killing the vegetation on the East Coast of the US (and perhaps elsewhere). I know it is in the atmosphere because the tell-tale symptoms of damaged stomata can be readily identified on every single species of tree or other vegetation - perennial, annual, and even aquatic. They are unable to photosynthesize and produce chlorophyll. What I see is a rapidly accelerating ecosystem collapse which will inevitably lead to mass extinctions.

Aside from the impact on crops, a loss of trees is going to be a massive reversal of CO2 absorption rates, thus contributing to global warming. Ethanol emissions should thus be considered in the new EPA regulations of greenhouse gases.

I strongly suggest you get some researchers on this very urgent and neglected aspect of toxic, not to say lethal, invisible gases - if you have none already who are investigating the escalating use of ethanol and its impacts on trees and other plants.

I would very much appreciate a response. Specifically, I would like to know if EPA has been testing for acetaldehyde and/or PAN's; and if so, where and for how long in the past the records go; and how to access the data. There are photos documenting the damage and links to research at

Please feel free to contact me via email at if there is any aspect of my questions I could clarify.

Thank you,
Gail Zawacki
Oldwick, NJ

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