Forever and ever and a daze

Petro Pete manages the transition to an unlivable planet

a stunning time-lapse of the eclipse

Slices in time. Credit: Kaytee Ray-Riek

Everywhere on earth is on the front lines of climate change. It ain’t called “global warming” for nothing! But even I have to admit that the Gulf Coast is really on the front lines. Inconceivable quantities of fossil fuels are extracted, processed, refined, burned, and transported through the region that was a fecund sea in the Permian Era, even as the fossil-fueled droughts and fires and storms and rising seas of today consume it.

On Tuesday, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan announced a crackdown on toxic air pollution from petrochemical plants in Cancer Alley. The stricter limits on ethylene oxide, chloroprene, and other toxics will affect over 200 plants across the country, with the greatest concentration in the Gulf Coast stretch from Texas to Louisiana.

Today is a new day,” Regan said.

And yesterday in another marked victory for environmental justice, the EPA also announced new strict standards to get the highly toxic compounds known as “forever chemicals” out of our drinking water:

Water systems will have three years to monitor for the chemicals. If they find levels above the EPA’s standards, they will have to implement a system to reduce them within five years from now. A lawsuit between polluters and drinking water providers were recently settled, with 3M expected to pay more than $10 billion while DuPont and its spinoffs are expected to pay a combined $1.2 billion

But what’s this, a new children’s book about Gulf, titled “Petro Pete”?

With Orwellian logic, the Biden administration has approved the massive Sea Port Oil Terminal for the Texas coast. Last October, youth activists with Climate Defiance denounced Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg as “Petro Pete” for his department’s apparent support for the project. They weren’t wrong. Petro Pete’s U.S. Maritime Administration administrator Ann C. Phillips signed off on SPOT’s license on Monday, with her agency issuing this wild doublespeak statement:

“Under President Biden, the United States is making the largest ever investment in clean energy and climate action. While the Biden-Harris Administration is accelerating America’s transition to a clean energy future, action is also being taken to manage the transition in the near-term.”

Let’s go live to how that transition is being managed.

Yesterday a front of killer storms tore through the Gulf Coast, inundating New Orleans with rains of an intensity that only a few years ago only came during hurricane season:

Rainfall totals of between five and eight inches were recorded on city rain gauges. Several areas of New Orleans saw more than two inches of rain in an hour, overwhelming the Sewerage and Water Board's capacity to move water out of the city. The utility, which for months has been plagued by issues with its turbines and the other power sources that run many of its pumps, was forced to ration power during the storm as drainage canals — and many city streets — filled with storm water. The rainfall totals came close to what was experienced during some of New Orleans' other recent catastrophic flooding events, including the 2017 floods, when eight inches of rain fell in a six-hour span. The hardest hit areas appeared to be in Mid-City and Gentilly, where major roadways were inaccessible, cars stalled out and residents were forced to don shrimp boots to make their way through waters well more than a foot high in some areas.

New Orleans, flooded

Street flooding on Palmyra Street, between Gayoso and Dupre streets, on April 10, 2024. The water was about two feet deep. Credit: Anthony McAuley

The storms also spun off an EF1 tornado that tore through Slidell, Louisiana “like a sonic boom.”

A building on Old Spanish Trail in Slidell was heavily damaged on Wednesday, April 10, 2024 after what Slidell officials said was a tornado. Credit: Scott Threlkeld

That same fossil-fueled storm front is headed for eastern Ohio and West Virginia today.

House finch on a cactus in Joshua Tree National Park

I normally make a point not to quote from Fox News, but it seems apt to let them report on how the U.S. Senate is managing the transition to a clean-energy future:

The Senate on Wednesday afternoon voted in favor of passing a bill reversing the Biden administration's actions mandating states to track and set reduction goals for greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles on highways.

The chamber approved the resolution in a 53-47 vote in which Sens. Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz.; Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio; Jon Tester, D-Mont.; and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., joined every Republican voting in the affirmative.

After West Virginia put Citi, HSBC, TD Bank, and the Northern Trust Co on a climate blacklist for doing business with the state, the banks issued public statements about how much they love fossil-fuel companies.


A resident attempts to pump underground water from a dried reservoir in Vietnam's central Ninh Thuan province during a heat wave and drought on April 6, 2024.

Sweltering heat is back in Southeast Asia, from Malaysia to Vietnam to Thailand to the Philippines, with greater than 100-degree heat at the start of April.

Who cares about old-fashioned animals like the “black bear” and the “bumblebee”? We can give you a snake with a human penis!

Hearings on the Hill:

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