Re: global warming and sea level rise

From: Mike Lorrey (
Date: Wed Jul 25 2001 - 12:51:59 MDT

Harvey Newstrom wrote:
> Spike Jones wrote,
> > I suspect that this issue is even more mired in politics than is
> > the rising sea level notion. I have heard people say that we have
> > destroyed the atmosphere and polluted the ocean, etc, but I can
> > still breathe just fine, and I have eaten fish from the sea for many
> > years, and I can tell no difference in their taste.
> Spike,
> I can't believe you say this. Here in Florida we sometimes have pollution
> problems where we have to shut down the beaches. We have tar balls wash up
> on shore.

Do you know for a fact that those tar balls do not come from natural

> We have bacteria blooms.

Which are shown to be more related to periodic updrafts of cold
deepwater than to human pollution.

> We have fish kills. It is the ocean
> equivalent of bad air days. Sometimes the pollution gets so bad that it
> starts killing things in the water, and they patrol the beach to keep humans
> from going in. These can be directly traced back to petroleum products,
> sewage streams, fertilizer runoff or cruise ship dumping. There is a reason
> that Jeb Bush doesn't want oil drilling of Florida's coast. We are already
> seeing the problems with pollution. As someone who has grown up in Florida
> and see these things, I can't imagine someone dismissing the concept of
> ocean pollution.

According to sources, there is more oil pollution from natural seepage
than from leaks from oil drilling and transport.

> By the way, the reason the fish tastes the same is that we shut down Florida
> waters for fishing when bacteria or heavy metals get too high. We have
> regular patrols that measure contaminants in water and open/close areas as
> pollution levels change. In the water-management offices, there are whole
> maps showing current pollution levels. The green areas of safety and the
> red areas of contamination move around over the weeks like a weather map.
> We have had entire seasons of fishing or clamming canceled in various
> counties due to sustained pollution levels. We have state officers who
> trace the pollutants back to the source, fine the company until they stop
> it, and then monitor the polluted area for a few months or years until they
> can open it up again. We didn't have to do this when I was a kid.

And back in the 'good old days', nobody knew about these things, and
people just died for the same reasons that were attributed to other
sources that people were aware of.

> I don't want anyone to think that I am anti-technology. I am very
> pro-technology. However, we must be realistic. Air pollution and water
> pollution really do exist. They are not imaginary phenomenon or
> conspiracies cooked up by the liberal left.

Yes, they do, especially on the east coast, which gets the pollution of
everyone else in the country dumped on us. We in NH have, according to
the EPA, very poor air quality despite a low population density and no
air polluting industries or major airports. It all drifts in from the
midwest states. What I can say is that that sort of pollution really is
not that detectable at all. I'll occasionally see a faint brown mist
appear a thousand or so feet over the Lebanon interchage in the
evenings, a few hours after rush hour. However, we've cleaned up so much
of our environment compared to when I was a kid.

I remember when the Androscoggin River up in northern NH was colored
orange and smelled to high heaven from pulping operations in Berlin.
Between the mill and the hydro station downstream in Berlin, there would
be 1-3 feet of suds on top of the orange water, and when the wind
shifted direction, those on the west side of the river received the full
brunt of the stink of the mill (which is why nobody lives on the east
side of the river). The mill spewed out a terrible orange/brown plume of
smoke that could be seen from 20 miles away (and smelled from that

Today, the mill is still in operation, but the river is no longer the
mess it once was. It is clear and smells fine. The mill still smells
from the smell of rotting bark and the bleaching of pulp inside, but the
river is now a fine place to do fly fishing, and there are no worries
about them being toxic. The mill only emits a slight plume of white
steam, and they've stopped shipping logs down the river, everything is
by truck now. Atlantic salmon are back in migration in the watershed
now, as their spawning streams are protected from streamside logging,
and erosion controls are used.

As for my local area here in Lebanon, I've got pictures from early in
the 20th century when there would be log jams miles long on the
Connecticutt river. They would scour out the beds of the river of all
life, and wipe out bridges as well. Today, there are no such log
shipments, and everyone gets in a tizzy if someone's riverbank collapses
from natural erosion.

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