Go OutsideThe Rundown: January 23, 2013

The Rundown: January 23, 2013

Jack’s Boathouse has been renting kayaks for 40 years, but is in a life or death battle with the National Park Service.

POTUS Highlights Climate in Inaugural, Enviros Remain Skeptical

During his second Inaugural Address, President Obama made climate change and the environment a central policy issue in what many consider to be one of the most confrontational Inauguration speeches in recent memory. Along with calling for equal rights for the LGBT community and slight references to the ongoing gun control debate and GOP rhetoric in general, Obama used eight sentences – the most on any subject – to say a failure to address climate change would betray future generations of Americans. It was tough talk to begin his second term in office, but many in the environmental and conservation fields say they have heard it all before. They praised his words, but remain skeptical if any significant policy will be able to move through a decidedly contentious Congress. Many are waiting to see if the president follows through before heaping praise, but the Inaugural Address was a very good start.

Washington, D.C.’s Jack’s Boathouse, NPS Battle Heats Up

The ongoing saga of Jack’s Boathouse and National Park Service battle over the Georgetown waterfront lease is reaching a boiling point. The NPS is attempting to restructure the lease on the property, which has been occupied by Jack’s Boathouse for 40 years, and says Jack’s will need to enter a competitive bid like everyone else if it wants to stay. Jack’s owner Paul Simkin counters that the NPS no longer has jurisdiction over the property, that the land was reverted back to the city in 1985. That is the barebones explanation, anything more in depth may require a law degree or real estate license, or both. The bottom line is the NPS believes it is doing the right thing in the eyes of the law, and Simkin believes he is getting steamrolled in the name of the almighty dollar. Either way, this legal wrangling is sure to end up in court, with a Georgetown outdoor institution on the line.

PA Nuclear Power Plant Produces Snow

In one of the weirder side effects of nuclear power, the Beaver Valley Plant in southwest Pennsylvania generated a band of snow that has been credited with nearly one inch of snow in the area. Temper your fears of nuclear winter or a Godzilla/Yeti climbing out of Lake Erie, the phenomenon is basic science. Cold temperatures combined with the steam billowing from the plant’s cooling stacks produced a cloud which produced snow. Could we see nuclear power plants popping up in partnership with ski resorts? Could this be the future of snowmaking?


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