Tag Archives: Energy

Pipeline Across Iowa? | Why I Oppose It

An oil pipeline is proposed to bisect the entire state of Iowa from the northwest to the southeast corner. The route is superimposed over a map of our Iowa rivers. Public information meetings are scheduled. Iowa residents can express their opinions at those meetings. I plan to attend and voice my opposition to the proposal.


Click to embiggen

Some of the cities near the proposed route…


The proposed route would deliver crude oil to an existing pipeline at Pakota, Illinois. From there, it parallels and crosses the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers down to the gulf coast in Texas. The company also plans to ship crude by rail to the east coast.


Why Do I Oppose This Plan?

  • Fossil fuel use around the globe is driving increased Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere. That in turn is raising our average global temperatures. Global warming is an issue we should be doing more to combat. This pipeline would not reduce our dependency on fossil fuels. The pipeline would increase our dependency by making crude oil more available.
  • Instead of pouring money into a pipeline, we should be investing more in alternative and renewable sources of energy such as solar and wind. Our children and grandchildren deserve a future with clean air and normal climate. By building another pipeline, we are not investing in technology that will help secure a better future climate. We are continuing on the same path toward global warming and the resultant problems. Our children and grandchildren will pay for our mistakes and lack of action today.
  • I worked as a public school physics teacher for my career. I understand the technologies of both the current fossil fuel infrastructure and the emerging alternative energy sources. These were discussed at length in my classrooms. The dominant attitude shown by young people is that we can do better than continue the status quo of high fossil fuels consumption. They know their lives will be impacted negatively and want to see change for the better. We can make a positive difference for them.
  • Pipelines leak or burst and spoil large areas of environment and water supplies. The residents of Mayflower, Arkansas experienced that in 2013 when a pipe burst spilling thousands of barrels of crude oil into their neighborhood. Trains of tank cars derail and cause death and destruction as experienced in 2013 by the residents of Lac-Megantic, Quebec. Forty two people died. Half of the town center was destroyed. These are not isolated one-time events. Similar disasters could occur with this proposed pipeline.
  • As shown in the first graphic, this proposed pipeline crosses the Missouri River, Floyd, Little Sioux, and Maple which feed into the Missouri. It crosses the Raccoon and Des Moines Rivers. It parallels between the Skunk River and Des Moines River as they reach the Mississippi River where it crosses into Illinois. Pipeline leaks and bursts anywhere along the route has the potential to permanently damage the environment of major Iowa rivers and the ecology of the two largest rivers of this country. I am not willing to accept such risk.

For these and other reasons not mentioned, I urge that this proposed pipeline not be built. We are at a turning point. We can choose to take the path of less fossil fuel use. We can choose the path of renewable alternative energies and reap rewards for the economy, the environment, and our grandchildren.


Bird Surface to Volume Ratios

How I See It

The activity around bird feeders is very high during the winter. The birds are more challenged to keep their energy levels and internal temperatures high enough to survive. We are also challenged and are refilling the feeders more often. Why are those little birds so busy? Today, I offer you a simple science lesson to explain why they eat you out of house and home when it gets cold.

The smallest birds are the most active feeders. Little ones such as Fox sparrow and Chickadee are non-stop feeders. The activity level is less for birds with larger volume such as this Turkey. The big ones are more casual about their eating habits. It is an inverse relationship.

The behavior is related to the ratio of the surface area of the bird to the volume of the bird. The bigger birds have more of their mass and volume guarded internally from…

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