Category Archives: Down the drain

Marsh Devastation Redux

The City of Brunswick in Glynn County, Georgia, rather than admit it is wrong to butcher the vegetation along the side of the road, has doubled down. “See, it wasn’t wrong. And to prove it, we’re going to do it again. Besides, the Coastal Resources Division of the Department of Natural Resources has given us permission.”

So, predictably, our environmental advocate, James R. Holland, takes pictures, spreads the evidence around and registers complaints with the Mayor and the DNR:
8851---8-2-15 Marsh buffer destroyed and marsh not properly delineated
8864---8-2-15 Marsh buffer destroyed and marsh not properly delineated IMG_8853 IMG_8856

IMG_8859 IMG_8871 IMG_8899 8864---8-2-15 Marsh buffer destroyed and marsh not properly delineated
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Turds in the Surf

Even as late as the nineteen seventies, turds in the surf were a common sight on the beaches of Baja California. Clearly, the Mexican sewage disposal regimen wasn’t far advanced. Mother Nature was man’s toilet, even as his numbers swelled and that he was fouling his nest hadn’t fully registered. Besides, that was in another country, Mexico.
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Money laundering and Brainwashing.

Corporate contributions to the campaigns of federal officials, especially on the Congressional level, have long looked like nothing so much as a sophisticated money laundering operation. After all, since Congress is tasked with managing the distribution of the currency and the collection of revenue, if the applicants for public office need to be publicized to the electorate, why not just allocate an equitable fixed amount for that purpose from the public Treasury? Why rely on intermediary corporate donors to vet the allocation? So they can serve their special interests? It’s certainly not more efficient.
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Sandra Bland was taken into custody because she knew her rights.

The essay on Dailykos misses the point. Sandra Bland insisted on enumerating her rights to the Texas patrol officer, thereby intimidating the fellow and making it necessary for him to show her who’s boss. Besides, the cops are all being taught, and some on the SCOTUS agree, that a person’s rights only come into play AFTER an arrest. So, if Sandra Bland wanted her rights respected, she had to be formally arrested first. The officer’s conversation over the radio with his supervisor makes it clear that he was careful not to inform her of her arrest until she was in handcuffs and in his vehicle.

Why the law enforcement community refuses to understand that any stop or interference with a person’s transit is an arrest, I don’t know. Somehow, the requirement that individuals be “read their rights” after an arrest has morphed into meaning that a person isn’t arrested until read his rights. Strange.

The right to perambulate is, after all, the signal guarantor of liberty.

“Under Water,” on the Spit

After the crash of 2008 it was pretty well understood that “under water” referred to the situation in which households find themselves when they owe more dollars to the financiers than the house and lot on which it sits are worth. “Figurative language,” that’s what it is–a picture to make it easier to visualize where most people do not want to be. I supposed, in a sense, it’s a euphemism. “Drowning in debt” would be accurate and much more scary. Not to mention that it puts debt, the financiers’ steadfast friend, in a bad light. How can financiers get rich doing nothing, if there’s no debt?
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Jules et Jim went flying

Here’s what they saw. The LOGISTEC warehouses’ contents are going to have to be removed because, if they don’t dry out, the watered-down wood pellets are going to keep combusting. There’s a reason Pinova stores its wood chips in the open air.
8593---7-16-15 Burned Warehouses

8603---7-16-15 Burned Warehouses

8606---7-16-15 Burned Warehouses

8630---7-16-15 Ship churns up mud in Brunswick's East River

8637---7-16-15 Ship churns up mud in Brunswick's East River
Looks like the contamination is moving up-river with the tide. Perhaps that’s why the East River keeps silting up.
86267-16-15 Ship churns up mud in Brunswick's East River

The Sea Island Dilemma

Sea Island, Georgia is a 21st century plantation where segregation is manifest, not by restricting the residents, but by excluding the uninvited. Exclusivity, that’s the ticket! And the residents choose it!
Well, perhaps not all.

One third don’t care,
One third aren’t there,
The rest don’t dare
To yell “unfair.”

Though the island is a literal cesspool in the dunes, because aged septic tanks can’t keep up with the multiplication of bathrooms and the flood of spermicidal concoctions, and perhaps because being abused is a habit that’s hard to surrender and “misery loves company,” residents commiserate and even speculate who’s next up on the SIA skewer. If there’s nothing to be done, just pass it on!

Sea Island aims to define the issue.

In her critique of the proposed revisions to stream/marsh buffer rules and regulations being proposed by the Georgia Department of Environmental Protection subsequent to the passage of SB 101, Patricia Barmeyer, on behalf of SIA and other clients, aims to define the issue — i.e. the results she and her clients prefer — by just ever-so-slightly misinterpreting the intent of the legislation.


So, she begins with the assertion that:

“its purpose is to address erosion and sediment control from land-disturbing activities in the buffer along coastal marshlands.”

This is not quite correct. The purpose of erosion and sediment control is everywhere to prevent the pollution of waters of the state by mostly man-made chemicals. Erosion is a natural process. What we want to prevent is the transport of microscopic pollutants, which attach themselves to soil particles, migrating from the land into our water ways. Ms. Barmeyer presumes there will be land-disturbing activities in the buffers when, in fact, the buffers are to shield the marshes and streams from such behavior.

Since the first redefinition of the purpose of stream/marsh/wetland buffers is obviously lacking, Ms. Barmeyer gives it two more tries, ending up with the suggestion that, since marshes act as buffers by trapping sediment, setbacks should not be required at all. This reasoning not only ignores that the primary function of our coastal marshes is not to prevent or retard erosion, but to serve as a nursery for the critters that populate our streams and oceans, but sets the predicate for the rest of her argument that the whole regulatory regime should result in the issuance of variances wherever exceptions aren’t already provided for.


As an attorney well versed in Zoning law, Ms. Barmeyer must know that the variance procedure typically serves as a sort of “fail-safe” to compensate for rules that cannot be adhered to because of environmental constraints or because they serve no useful purpose in a particular situation. Expanding the category of exceptions by making them part of a variance routine or even by rule defeats the real purpose of the legislation. If it were just about preventing erosion, then the whole coastline could be paved over without detriment. Why stop at “hardscape of stone, concrete, wood, tile or other (impervious) materials”?

On the other hand, the argument that there should be “no requirement for ‘Documentation that the proposed activity will have minimal impact on the water quality and aquatic habitat of the adjacent marsh,'” because it is redundant, is both clever and deceptive — one last effort to deny the real objective of the legislation.

Finally, deferring to regulation by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, whose mission is to promote navigation and the maintenance of navigable waterways, is both consistent and disingenuous.

“The clear implication is that the General Assembly intended for Corps-permitted projects to receive favored consideration.”