Biofuel Potential for Loudoun County

April 30, 2010 by Tony Noerpel Columns, Sustainable Planet Be the first to comment

The recent Green Energy Partners’ power plant application and the County Energy Strategy recently adopted provide excellent stimuli for us all to begin thinking about Loudoun’s energy future. A few weeks ago, several members of the business (including GEP), agricultural, and environmental community pooled their efforts to write a briefing on the subject of bio-fuels. We have submitted it to the Board of Supervisors as a “Friend of the Board” submission [Sustainable Loudoun].

Bio-fuels have received a lot of attention in recent years, but the discussions are usually about corn-based ethanol, mid-western farmers, or massive industrial concerns like Archer-Daniels-Midland. The briefing our team submitted to the Board addresses the economic, agricultural, technical and environmental considerations of using bio-fuels as a potential component of our energy supply right here in Loudoun.

Some readers may object to the concept of using plants as a source of energy assuming it is not technically possible, or is not economically competitive with regular fossil fuels. But within a few years that may no longer be the case.

Plants are hydrocarbons, just like fossil fuels. Our coal resources were once plants which for the most part lived about 300 million years ago during the Carboniferous Period. Our petroleum resources were marine diatoms and coccolithophores and other phytoplankton. There are several maturing technologies for converting plants into diesel fuel, gas, lubricants, and even plastic. Some plants, such as algae, are nearly 70 percent oil by weight. Another plant that can be made into bio-fuels is switchgrass. Switchgrass looks a lot like hay, and is planted, grown, harvested, and stored just like hay – using the very same equipment, and the same types of land, and the same rainfall pattern – and less fertilizer.

There is one difference between using fossil fuels and bio-fuels: bio-fuels recycle CO2 back to the atmosphere where the plants harvested it in the first place, instead of creating new atmospheric CO2 which happens when fossil fuels are burned. If Loudoun County used bio-fuels to generate all of our electricity, our CO2 creation would drop by about 29 percent.

From an economic and agricultural perspective, the new power plant will spend nearly $140 million per year on fuel at today’s prices. If that fuel was bio-fuel instead of fossil fuel, much of that $140 million per year would go to Loudoun’s farmers. It’s worth noting that Loudoun still has 140,000 acres of highly productive farmland, of which about 40,000 acres are devoted to hay production. That may be enough farmland to provide for all of Loudoun’s current electricity consumption. We should easily make up for future demand with conservation and efficiency improvements.

In addition to fueling the power plant biofuels could be used to run our cars, our school busses, our commuter busses, and our tractors and heat our homes.

The briefing we submitted to the Board of Supervisors can be downloaded from the Sustainable Loudoun website at . Hopefully, you will find it entertaining reading and well-researched. Our paper discusses the pluses and minuses including most importantly the energy recovered as a function of the energy that would need to be invested, i.e., the energy cost of the fuel. We have identified the most conservative estimates as our baseline.

In a 2005 study conducted by Pimental and Patzek [Pimentel], switchgrass production was analyzed for energy recovered over energy invested (EROEI), with these results:

The average energy input per hectare for switchgrass production is only about 3.8 billion calories per year. With an excellent yield of 10 tons per hectare per year, this suggests for each one thousand calories invested as fossil energy the return is 11,000 calories — an excellent return.

If the energy recovered over the energy invested is about 11:1 for switchgrass this is promising. The next question, of course, is how much energy it takes to convert that switchgrass to fuel and to distribute that fuel to the end-user. The task of making the conversion and distribution functions cost-competitive with fossil fuels is the subject of considerable research and development at the moment [DEP, 1].

The Department of Energy is soliciting public input on proposed USDA energy plans including the use of biofuels so this is the right time for us to educate ourselves on this promising set of technologies. And President Obama gave an important speech on the subject recently [Obama].

Of course we must also consider competing uses of our farm land such as growing food and biofuels, without wind and solar, will not solve all of our energy needs and are not a substitute for conservation.

The bio-fuels briefing we prepared provides a readable, short, and very informative survey of the potential for a new bio-fuel economy here in Loudoun. You may be surprised by what you read, and get inspired to discuss it with other members of the Loudoun business, agricultural, and environmental communities. To join our list-serve e-mail discussion system, just send an e-mail to Please include the word “help” in the subject line, and we’ll send you instructions to join the list. To download the briefing from our website, just point your browser to

Tom Pfotzer, Will Stewart and Tony Noerpel

[Sustainable Loudoun]

[Pimentel] Ethanol Production Using Corn, Switchgrass, and Wood; Biodiesel Production Using Soybean and Sunflower. Pimental and Patzek, January 2005.

[DEP, 1]U.S. Department of Energy briefing on BioFuel technology methods and trends.

[DEP, 2]


WAGE is Back

April 29, 2010 by Blue Ridge Leader Dear Editor, Opinion Be the first to comment

WAGE Radio was first established in 1958 and served as Loudoun County’s only licensed radio station. After more than 50 years the station suspended its operations and “went dark” Sunday morning, August 2, 2009. I had always been an avid WAGE listener since my family moved into the county in 1993 after I learned that WAGE broadcasted the Virginia Tech football games each Saturday. Later I recognized that WAGE provided opportunities to raise monies for charities and local causes and promoted awareness of religious activities and local events.

I often contacted WAGE News Director Tim Jon to address my concerns for the homeless and destitute living in Loudoun and for the need to create shelters and food pantries in our community. Ten years ago most Loudoun residents were unaware how many poor were living among us. Tim Jon’s Good Morning Loudoun, Loudoun Newsbeat and one-hour interviews called Loudoun Clear came across the airwaves with distinction and gave every charitable group a chance to receive worthy media coverage and periodically free air time to engage the public about their specific issues and concerns.

I could not begin to count the times WAGE covered the Good Shepherd Alliance’s plea for financial assistance and request for volunteers during a time when the homeless ministry was struggling to make ends meet. Every year WAGE informed their listeners about the LINK Food Pantry’s Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday events where literally thousands received food, clothes and toys in Sterling and Herndon. WAGE also covered the Loudoun Board of Supervisor meetings and gave special attention to the monthly public comment sessions where anyone could voice their opinion and be heard by our local elected officials. WAGE was also a free source of available local information accessible to everyone.

I recently learned that WAGE may be back on the air as early as October 2010. I look forward to dialing in on WAGE radio on my morning commute and possibly hearing some of the old personalities that were once the voice of Loudoun County.

Mark Gunderman
GSA Board Chair
Sterling Park

It’s Time for Change

April 29, 2010 by Contributor View From the Ridge Be the first to comment

Submitted By Kelli Grim, Candidate for Town Council

Abraham Lincoln, once said that nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power. Our sixteenth president was an ardent believer in that messy, creaking process we call democracy, both in its capacity to improve the human condition and also to improve the human. Selecting candidates, voting, abiding by the results, are an important part of the process, to be sure. Lincoln thought that the greatest virtue of democracy is that it calls all of us to be better human beings, or, at least, use the process we call democracy to move us farther along on that road. Sometimes, in the rough process of electioneering, amidst all the rhetoric, hoopla, and, yes, the lies and distortions, there is a goal often missed, an arrow that falls far short of its mark. Yet, it is a lofty goal, to both set public policy, even on a stage as small as Purcellville’s, to be a good steward of the people’s money, to set decent, responsible, and compassionate policy, and still to aim for something greater: to become a better human being and to instill in others a respect for the human condition and its vast God-given potential.

So much has passed since the time of Lincoln, some of it good, such as the end of slavery, and some of it bad, two world wars, for example. Someone else said that people get the government they deserve, a proposition I have never agreed with. Why good people do bad things or why good people tolerate people who do bad things is a question I will leave to theologians and residents of Purcellville.

One thing, however, is certain: Lincoln distrusted power, and what it could do to people. And, Lincoln himself had to exercise great power. Leadership is a great part of power, and we touch and influence many lives every single day. Leaders do not have the right to serve only those that agree with them. A good leader is always open to new ideas and never degrades anyone for their own. As a leader, one must respect everyone’s opinions, and embrace, as opposed to belittle, those involved and listening.

The problem in Purcellville is not only that the Town is immersed in debt, but, that its managers are engaged in a shell game with the Town’s finances. Not only are major decisions constantly made behind closed doors, its leaders are impervious to any view but their own, and find it acceptable to ignore citizens requests for explanations. How many lost lawsuits, for example, does it take to drive the point home to the Town’s leaders that you cannot sue your way out of bad decisions. The battle with the County has hurt us all. The battle with the Browns over the Southern Connector Road has diminished all of us as individuals, and as taxpayers. The Town’s childlike attempts to lay at a couple of individuals’ feet the blame for the road delays is erroneous and absurd, with bad consequences for us all.

It is time for a change in the way Purcellville deals with its problems and time for a change in the way Purcellville deals with its citizens, and it is time for a change in the way Purcellville sees itself and in the way it deals with its neighbors. Democracy is a messy, often terrible, often agonizing process, and not immune to outside pressure. That’s why the voting is secret. Because, it is only in a democracy, and in the privacy of the voting booth, where voters do not have to walk the line between pressure and intimidation. There, they can vote their consciences.

Davenport Report on Current and Future Status of Town Funds Delayed

April 29, 2010 by Contributor News, Our Towns Be the first to comment

Submitted By Ryan Cool

Peel back the layers of the front page news of an “equalized tax rate” a bit more and some of the realities of the Town’s Financial situation come into view. The Town employs Davenport and Company, LLC to evaluate the current and future status of the Town’s General Fund and Utility Enterprise Funds Capital Plans. Here are some … Continue Reading

Voters Toolbox

April 29, 2010 by Blue Ridge Leader News, Our Towns, Uncategorized Be the first to comment

When: Tuesday, May 4, 2010, 6:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Where: Emerick Elementary School, 440 South Nursery Ave., Purcellville, VA 20132
Absentee Voting: Absentee in-person voting begins approximately 45 days prior to a general election (30 days for primaries) and ends at 5:00 p.m. this Saturday (May 1, 2010). Obtain Absentee … Continue Reading

Town Snubs Cole Farm Appeal

April 29, 2010 by Blue Ridge Leader News, Our Towns Be the first to comment

If Sam Brown is elected to the Town Council, he would not be the first town Council Member to sue the Town over a land-use issue. Jim Wiley, a current Council Member, up for re-election, sued, as did former Member Eric Lyles. … Continue Reading

Strong, Prudent Fiscal Management?

April 29, 2010 by Valerie Joyner News, Our Towns, Uncategorized Be the first to comment

Purcellville Mayor Bob Lazaro has been quoted in recent newspapers touting the Town’s $622K surplus. As a recent Town press release notes:“With strong, prudent fiscal management, the Town has been able to grow its rainy day fund from $2.2 million to $3.8 million over the past 3 years while adopting a tax rate that has cut or held the line on property tax for the average … Continue Reading

New Blood Needed

April 28, 2010 by Blue Ridge Leader Dear Editor, Opinion Be the first to comment

In this election, I believe voters in Purcellville have a clear choice to make: continue the policies of the current Council or vote to bring new, fresh thinking and – frankly – some dissension to our Town Council.

Under the current Council, our debt has risen to a staggering $61.5 million while our population has hardly increased at all over the same time period. Some examples of the spending practices of this Council include the purchase of an 80 year old church with a flooding basement and mold to become the new Town Hall with a total cost projected to reach upwards of $8 million. The town also approved the building of a new maintenance building at a cost of $5 million.

The town takes credit for good financial stewardship on the basis of awards for budget presentation (note: not actual financial performance). They claim a surplus each year, despite an unprecedented growth in Purcellville’s outstanding debt. The Mayor and Council continue to pass an equalized tax rate year after year while shoving off to future Councils and generations the fiscal responsibility for repayment of the debt they have accumulated. This makes perfect political sense: it makes the incumbents look good and, should they lose, those future representatives will be left holding the bag and the bills.

This year the Council has changed their budget format to hide the full cost of capital improvement projects (CIP) by not including the “out” years. This means you and I, the taxpayers, do not see the true cost. For example, instead of the real cost of the Main/Maple intersection improvement of over $9 million, the cost shown in this year’s budget shows a mere $1.9 million. And now the Council has delayed the scheduled budget meeting of April 28 to a date after the election.

The choice seems apparent to me: vote for the current fiscal policies that have spent millions and run up our debt for which we all must somehow pay or, vote in new, fresh thinking that will counterbalance some of these decisions and enable some alternative ideas to spend, borrow and spend more. Let’s reestablish democracy in action within the Council. We need representatives on the Council that have full access to all of the information and discussions that the council members have and who can raise the concerns that many share to curb spending. I endorse Sam Brown, Kelli Grim and Keith Melton to represent the cause of true fiscal conservatism and responsibility.

Chris Bledsoe

Blue Ridge Leader News – April 25, 2010

If you only read one story today, Read This One

April showers, spring flowers, and all the rest of Nature’s abundance is certainly gearing up for the outdoor play season; one thing to remember in these here parts, though is the danger of disease from those disgusting, little, blood-sucking ticks. Their mere behavior makes my skin crawl, but you want to do your best to protect your family from these things: they are very proficient at spreading … Continue Reading

Heartland Institute Part 2

April 24, 2010 by Tony Noerpel Columns, Sustainable Planet 1 comment

“To talk about global cooling at the end of the hottest decade the planet has experienced in many thousands of years is ridiculous.” Ken Caldeira, Climate Scientist [1]

“The Climategate scientists, for example, falsified temperature data to keep the warming scare alive” Diane Carol Bast, Heartland Institute [2]

“We wish to solve this equation for m. To do this we first use the mathematical trick…” Richard Feynman, Lectures in Physics, p15-10.

“The scientific basis for the Greenhouse Effect and the potential impact of human emissions of greenhouse gases such as CO2 on climate is well established and cannot be denied.” Internal technical report of industry disinformation group Global Climate Coalition, 1996 [11].

In response to my March 3 column, Scotus [3], Diane Blas of Heartland Institute suggested that we should focus on the science of anthropogenic global warming in her letter to the editor [2]. I agree. But first it is relevant to note Bast’s unchristian, uncharitable and unequivocally false rush-to-judgment of climate scientist Phil Jones and other climate scientists over the so-called climate-gate controversy, if only because if one visits the Heartland Institute web site looking for any science, one is forced to wade through these ignorant and unjustified personal attacks, which all look rather foolish now. Since her letter Jones has been vindicated, twice [4-5]. If Bast was at all concerned for personal liberty as she claims in her letter, she will gladly apologize not only to Dr. Jones but to all the rest of us for spreading disinformation, but I’m not holding my breath.

With respect to science, each year Heartland Institute hosts a global warming denier conference. On March 2, 2008, prominent denier Pat Michaels was their keynote speaker. The focus of Michaels’ talk was the disingenuousness of the global warming denier canard that the Earth stopped warming and is now cooling. He said, addressing the room full of deniers: “You’ve all seen articles saying that global warming stopped in 1998. With all due respect, that’s being a little bit unfair to the data.” He then went on to describe why. I include a reference to the amusing and informative youtube video [6] by Peter Sinclair so you can see for yourselves.

Michaels concludes “Make an argument that you can get killed on and you kill us all.” His meaning was that if deniers make an argument that is easily debunked all global warming deniers will lose their credibility. He added: “Global warming is real and the warming in the second half of the twentieth century, people had something to do with it.”

Yet on the Heartland website [7] there is a list of denier arguments leading with:

“Temperatures have been cooling since 2002, even as carbon dioxide has continued to rise”.[7]

Why would the folks at Heartland post an argument that they were informed at their own conference by their own keynote speaker was not true? It is not surprising to find “denier” Pat Michaels and “alarmist” Ken Caldeira in agreement. We observe that Bast does not even listen to her own experts let alone real climate scientists. Peter Sinclair does a respectable job of explaining the science in his little video.

None of the talking points on Heartland’s list is supported by any reference to any science, sound or otherwise, and so from a skeptic’s perspective they are not useful since they cannot be validated or confirmed. There is no understanding or information in a list of talking points. Another argument on the Heartland list is exemplary of the kind of easy mistake a gullible ideologue might make [7].

Reconstruction of paleoclimatological CO2 concentrations demonstrates that carbon dioxide concentration today is near its lowest level since the Cambrian Era some 550 million years ago, when there was almost 20 times as much CO2 in the atmosphere as there is today without causing a “runaway greenhouse effect.”

That sounds like a clincher argument for the denier but it leaves some very important science out. Carbon dioxide levels were indeed higher during the early Phanerozoic [see for example Berner, 2004], but any curious person can find out easily enough that the sun was less luminous as well. This is explained in my article titled Climate Factors [8] and is discussed in every Earth sciences text book [see for example Lunine, 2000 and Kump, 2004] with which I’m familiar, so only an unreliable and uninformed person would make this argument. Briefly, the sun was cooler 550 million years ago and the Earth required much more carbon dioxide in order to maintain a suitable climate to support liquid water and life. This is not an argument against Svante Arrhenius’ anthropogenic global warming theory as erroneously portrayed by deniers but an argument in support of it. Atmospheric carbon dioxide at those levels is the only way the planet would have been habitable by complex life forms. Any skeptic reading this will get one of the books I reference to confirm this. And she will not do so simply because she wants to be convinced but also out of curiosity and the joy of learning something new.

We see straight off that two of heartland’s top arguments are specifically false, not just misleading. The rest of the arguments on their list are dubious as well. Without reference to any data or analysis all the arguments are unverifiable. The onus is on the Heartland Institute to salvage what arguments they might from the list, defend only those and drop the others. A little apology for the attempt to mislead us would be appropriate.

The Heartland institute web site contains what they claim to be three lists of peer-reviewed journal articles. I was thrilled to find these lists, even as I noted that they are just lists with no text or explanation. The references are not cross linked to the list of denier talking points [7], for example. Certainly for a denier the presumed existence of such a list is sufficient since he is not interested in the science anyway. But a skeptical person wants to actually read the articles and understand why they might support the denier view and here is where the editors at Heartland run into trouble. I have a subscription to the Journal Nature and can download those articles for free. Twelve of the references are from this journal. Obviously I did not cherry picked these twelve as my criteria was completely independent of any assumption on my part about them. Four of the twelve references are correspondences or letters to the editor [Slingo, 2007, Wunsch, 2004, Ladle, 2004, Gordon, 1996]. These in fact are opinion and are not peer-reviewed so they do not belong on this list at all. Further, there is nothing in these letters which contradicts the consensus view. Ladle’s letter, which is the only entry in Heartland’s “species extinction” category, criticizes the main stream media for misinterpreting the conclusions from a previously published peer-reviewed article [Thomas, 2004]. Thomas (and this is peer-reviewed) concludes:

“We predict, on the basis of mid-range climate-warming scenarios for 2050, that 15-37 percent of species in our sample of regions and taxa will be ‘committed to extinction’.”

This conclusion pointedly does not support denial. If it is the purpose of Heartland Institute to criticize main stream media why not just fill up their web site with links to clips from “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”? Nobody does that better than him.

Three of the Twelve Nature references are commentary; one of a paper by Emanuel and two are commentary on policy. These are not peer reviewed either and in any event do not contain science which supports or contradicts global warming. Prins, for example, writes [Prins, 2007]

“Kyoto has failed in several ways, not just in its lack of success in slowing global warming, but also because it has stifled discussion of alternative policy approaches that could both combat climate change and adapt to its unavoidable consequences.”

Please note that Prins completely contradicts the denier claim that global warming stopped in 1998 or 2002 or whatever, in agreement with Michaels and Caldeira and every other climate scientist. Prins commentary is opinion on policy. It is not peer-reviewed science. In any event, the commentary does not dispute in the least the science of anthropogenic global warming. Prins simply voices the opinion that there may be better ways to address the problem than the Kyoto process. We can honestly have that discussion without spreading disinformation.

Roger Pielke’s commentary on policy [Pielke, 2007] does not dispute AGW theory either but argues for adaptation in lieu of mitigation. Well that’s a reasonable discussion too, but it is not peer-reviewed science and does not belong on a list advertizing “peer-reviewed” science.

One of the five peer-reviewed journal articles starts:

“Between 34 and 15 million years (Myr) ago, when planetary temperatures were 3-4 oC warmer than at present and atmospheric CO2 concentrations were twice as high as today…” [Naish, 2001]

Just to be clear, this is actually at the high range of the consensus view which estimates equilibrium climate sensitivity (the amount the Earth would warm with a doubling a atmospheric carbon dioxide) to be between 2 to 4.5 oC. How in the world did this paper make a list of papers supposedly supporting the denier view? As I pointed out in my article titled Anjia Eichler [9], this technique is common among deniers but what else are they going to do? Deniers like Bast make a pretense of adhering to solid science so they must occasionally, albeit reluctantly, reference it and thus apparently have no choice but to contradict themselves.

Another peer-reviewed article doesn’t support the denier view either and is in fact unrelated to the discussion [Braun, 2005]. Interestingly, one of the authors is Stefan Rahmstorf, who contributes to Real Climate, perhaps the best on-line source for global warming science. In fact I cite one of Rahmstorf’s paper’s [Rahmstorf, 2008] in my Anjia Eichler article [9]. The 2008 paper is a great summary of the science behind Arrhenius’ anthropomorphic global warming theory. I recommend this paper for any skeptically minded person who wants to understand global warming and would prefer sound information and solid scientific explanation.

In another peer-reviewed paper which Heartland cites, Moberg et al,[Moberg, 2005] concludes

“We find no evidence for any earlier periods in the last two millennia with warmer conditions than the post-1990 period—in agreement with previous similar studies (my note: they are referring to agreement with Mann et al which deniers claim has been debunct, obviously not.). The main implication of our study, however, is that natural multicentennial climate variability may be larger than commonly thought, and that much of this variability could result from a response to natural changes in radiative forcings. This does not imply that the global warming in the last few decades has been caused by natural forcing factors alone, as model experiments that use natural-only forcings fail to reproduce this warming. Nevertheless, our findings underscore a need to improve scenarios for future climate change by also including forced natural variability—which could either amplify or attenuate anthropogenic climate change significantly.”

This actually is quite alarming. The authors find evidence of forced natural variability which might amplify or attenuate climate change significantly. The authors do not speculate of course but leave open the possibility that warming could be much worse. This is in agreement with a more recent paper by Swanson et al, 2009 which concludes

“If the role of internal variability in the climate system is as large as this analysis would seem to suggest, warming over the 21st century may well be larger than that predicted by the current generation of models, given the propensity of those models to underestimate climate internal variability.” [Swanson, 2009]

Interestingly this paper was cited by the Cato institute as supporting denial as I pointed out in my Anjia Eichler [9] article. Another Swanson and Tsonas paper did make the Heartland list but I don’t have access to it. Swanson once wrote on the Real Climate web site that he is completely mystified that deniers should misinterpret his research [10]. In this article, Swanson explains his research and why it suggests that global warming might be much worse than the consensus view.

A skeptic is left to conclude that Heartland’s list of peer-reviewed papers is a deception. There are 180 papers listed and I sampled 12 or 7.5 percent. While I recognize that this is a small sample size most articles cited were not peer-reviewed journal articles, 7 of 12. And all 12 either contradict the denial view or at best are neutral. Not one of these citations supports denial. A denier sees a long list and accepts the Heartland conclusions unquestioningly. A skeptic does the homework. Ever the skeptic, myself, I view the list as a resource and will be trying to get as many of the papers as I can, certainly out of curiosity.

I’m familiar with several other references on the Heartland list such as to a paper by Lindzen [Lindzen, 1990]. This is an interesting paper, by the way, and one of perhaps a very small number which might actually be said to support the denier view. Of this paper, though, the technical team for the now-defunct industry funded misinformation group Global Climate Coalition concluded in their 1996 report [11]:

“Lindzen’s hypothesis that any warming would create more rain which would cool and dry the upper troposphere did offer a mechanism for balancing the effect of increased greenhouse gases. However, the data supporting this hypothesis is weak, and even Lindzen has stopped presenting it as an alternative to the conventional model of climate change.”

This may be the most solid science supporting denial on their list and we note that “the data supporting this hypothesis is weak”. In his paper, Lindzen points out another problem with emissions of CO2:

“…admittedly leaving us with the problem of fossil fuel depletion;” and

“It is entirely legitimate to ask whether we should be worried about increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. (The depletion of fossil fuels is another matter.)”

Lindzen recognizes as early as 1990 that we may have a more serious or acute problem if we do not reduce our consumption of fossil fuels and convert our society to alternative energy sources as soon as possible. We note that both problems: fossil fuel depletion and global warming, have the same solution. So a skeptic might be inclined to ask “why do deniers care so much about global warming to the point of making stuff up if we have to address this problem anyway?”

I do not for a minute discount the usefulness or validity of resources such as letters-to-the-editor or commentary but these references are not in fact peer-reviewed and should not be included in a list of “peer-reviewed” resources. That in itself constitutes misinformation. They could have titled the list “references that support the denier view” or some such. But even that is misleading since many of these references do not support their view.

Unfortunately, an uncritical reader of their web site would accept the “existence” of the list as “proof” that the denier view has scientific support which it doesn’t have or that there is a legitimate scientific controversy regards the IPCC consensus view which does not exist. In this regard I think the list may constitute fraud.

There are a few articles which do support the denier view, which I recognize because I’ve read them. Somebody at Heartland Institute should remove the references which are not peer-reviewed and read the remainder and eliminate the ones which don’t actually support their position. But I suspect that then heartland would be left with perhaps a dozen disputed or debunked papers supporting their view, and that list would look rather flimsy.

As to the talking points, Heartland Institute should eliminate the points which are not true or otherwise indefensible and attempt to defend the remainder. I conclude there isn’t much in the way of solid science at this web site which disputes the consensus view on anthropogenic global warming.

I recommend a video of a speech given by one of the climate-gate scientists at last year’s AGU meeting. Richard Alley does an exceptionally good job of explaining climate science [12]. This is a great resource for Bast to consider linking to on the Heartland Institute web site.

Tony Noerpel

Berner, Robert, The Phanerozoic Carbon Cycle, Oxford University Press, 2004.

Kump, L. R., Kastings, J. F., and Crane, R. G., The Earth System, 2004.

Lunine, J. I., Earth, Evolution of a Habitable World, 2000.

Dangers of crying wolf over risk of extinctions (Nature 428, 799, 22 April 2004) – Richard J. Ladle, Paul Jepson, Miguel B. Araújo & Robert J. Whittaker – correspondence

Gulf Stream safe if wind blows and Earth turns (Nature 428, 601, 8 April 2004) – Carl Wunsch – correspondence

Is global warming climate change? (Nature 380, 478, 11 April 1996) – Adrian H. Gordon, John A. T. Bye, Roland A. D. Byron-Scott – correspondence

Sea-ice decline due to more than warming alone (Nature 450, 27, 1 November 2007) – Julia Slingo, Rowan Sutton – correspondence

Naish TR, Woolfe KJ, Barrett PJ, Wilson GS, Atkins C, Bohaty SM, Bücker CJ, Claps M, Davey FJ, Dunbar GB, Dunn AG, Fielding CR, Florindo F, Hannah MJ, Harwood DM, Henrys SA, Krissek LA, Lavelle M, van Der Meer J, McIntosh WC, Niessen F, Passchier S, Powell RD, Roberts AP, Sagnotti L, Scherer RP, Strong CP, Talarico F, Verosub KL, Villa G, Watkins DK, Webb PN, Wonik T, Orbitally induced oscillations in the East Antarctic ice sheet at the Oligocene/Miocene boundary (Nature 413, 719-723, October 2001) -

Rahmstorf, S., 2008: Anthropogenic Climate Change: Revisiting the Facts. In: Global Warming: Looking Beyond Kyoto., E. Zedillo, Ed., Brookings Institution Press, Washington, pp. 34-53

A Millennium Scale Sunspot Reconstruction: Evidence for an Unusually Active Sun Since the 1940s (Physical Review Letters 91, 2003) – Ilya G. Usoskin, Sami K. Solanki, Manfred Schüssler, Kalevi Mursula, Katja Alanko

Wang, Y.-M., J. L. Lean, J. L., and Sheeley, N. R. Jr , Modeling the sun’s magnetic field and irradiance since 1713, The Astrophysical Journal, 625:522–538, May 20, 2005
Krivova, N. A., Balmaceda, L., and Solanki, S. K., Reconstruction of solar total irradiance since 1700 from the surface magnetic flux, Astronomy and Astrophysics, Volume 467, Number 1, May III 2007, 335 – 346.

A 150,000-year climatic record from Antarctic ice (Nature 316, 591 – 596, 15 August 1985) – C. Lorius, C. Ritz, J. Jouzel, L. Merlivat, N. I. Barkov

Possible solar origin of the 1,470-year glacial climate cycle demonstrated in a coupled model (Nature 438, 208-211, 10 November 2005) – Holger Braun, Marcus Christl, Stefan Rahmstorf, Andrey Ganopolski, Augusto Mangini, Claudia Kubatzki, Kurt Roth, Bernd Kromet

Highly variable Northern Hemisphere temperatures reconstructed from low- and high-resolution proxy data (Nature 433, 613-617, February 2005) – Anders Moberg, Dmitry M. Sonechkin, Karin Holmgren, Nina M. Datsenko and Wibjörn Karlén

Are there trends in hurricane destruction? (Nature 438, E11, 22 December 2005) – Roger A. Pielke, Jr. – brief communications – commentary on a paper by K. Emanuel – the Emanuel paper is not included in the Heartland list.

Time to ditch Kyoto (Nature 449, 973-975, 25 October 2007) – Gwyn Prins, Steve Rayner – commentary

Climate change 2007: Lifting the taboo on adaptation (Nature 445, 597-598, 8 February 2007) – Roger Pielke Jr., Gwyn Prins, Steve Rayner, Daniel Sarewitz – commentary

No upward trends in the occurrence of extreme floods in central Europe (Nature 425, 166-169, 11 September 2003) – Manfred Mudelsee, Michael Börngen, Gerd Tetzlaff, Uwe Grünewald

Trenberth, K. E., 2009: An imperative for adapting to climate change: Tracking Earth’s global energy. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 1, 19-27. DOI 10.1016/j.cosust.2009.06.001.

Lindzen, R. S., “Some Coolness Concerning Global Warming”, American Meteorological Society, Vol. 71, No. 3, March 1990.

[1] Ken Caldeira

[2] Diane Carol Bast, letter-to-the-editor, Blue Ridge Leader,

[3] Scotus,

[4] House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, “The disclosure of climate data from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia” Eighth Report of Session 2009–10

[5] Joe Romm, Climate Progress,

[6] Sinclair


[8] Noerpel,

[9] Noerpel,

[10] Swanson,

[11] Global Climate Coalition see and

[12] Alley, 2009,

Vote Now!

April 24, 2010 by Blue Ridge Leader Dear Editor, Opinion Be the first to comment

Every two years Leesburg, Middleburg, Purcellville and the other Loudoun County towns hold municipal elections. The election this year is set for May 4.

These elections involve voting for individuals who will determine the town’s philosophy toward the budget, land use planning, utilities, police and parks/recreation. These are services that impact the citizens most directly! If you believe that we don’t have enough police, you need to vote. If you think we have enough police, you need to vote. If you think the town is growing too fast, you need to vote. If you think we need more growth, you need to vote. If you think taxes are too high or too low, you need to vote.

In other words, all registered town citizens need to vote.

The County Supervisor, State General Assembly and National Congressional elections will not have as dramatic an impact on town citizens as the local town elections will.

Yet every year the number of individuals voting in the town election is stunningly low. In the last elections only eight percent of the registered voters bothered to go to the polls and vote.

Everyone living in the town needs to get informed, get involved and get out and vote. Don’t let others decide what it important for you.

May 4 is an important date for all of us. So this year let’s participate in the process, exercise your privilege, and make a difference in your community. VOTE!

Kelly Burk
Leesburg District Supervisor
Loudoun Board of Supervisors

enGAUGE IT 2010

April 22, 2010 by Blue Ridge Leader News Be the first to comment

Kaitlin Bledsoe, a senior at LVHS, is the student lead for an event in partnership with the Newton-Marasco Foundation on Friday April 23 from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. at Loudoun Valley Shopping Center, Giant, and Rite Aid.

The event is called enGAUGE It and this is the second … Continue Reading

Local Bed and Breakfast Open House

April 20, 2010 by Contributor Business, Loudoun County Be the first to comment

The Loudoun Bed & Breakfast Guild Annual Open House Tour on 4/25 is a FREE event suitable for the whole family. Take a self-guided tour along some of the most scenic roads in Western Loudoun and visit the NINE charming and historic B&Bs and one event facility participating in the tour. Local wineries, restaurants, and caterers will be providing tastings at the various B&Bs and event venues.

Loudoun County is located about 30 miles west of Washington DC in the heart of Virginia’s Horse and Wine Country. The area is also known as DC’s Wine Country, Loudoun County, and now boast 25 wineries, historic towns and villages, civil war history and interesting attractions.

The participating B&Bs include:

Briar Patch Bed & Breakfast, Middleburg (

The Red Fox Inn, Middleburg (

J. Patrick House Bed & Breakfast, Philomont (

Montrose Farm B&B, Purcellville (

Silverbook Farm B&B, Purcellville (

Oakland Green Farm, Leesburg (

Georges Mill Bed & Breakfast, Lovettsville (

Stone Manor Vineyard & Orchard B&B, Lovettsville (

Zion Springs Bed & Breakfast, Hamilton ( – this B&B is NEW and is not included on the tour map

Special event venue, and Loudoun Bed & Breakfast Guild member, Rose Hill Manor ( in Leesburg is hosting a Bridal tasting with Celebrations Catering and Sunset Hills Vineyard that afternoon.

Visitors will have a chance to enter special drawings to win overnight stays, restaurant certificates, packages from Great Country Farms and Bluemont Vineyard, etc. at many of the B&Bs.

For more information and to download a tour map for the event, visit

Start at any point on the map and spend an enjoyable afternoon.

Call 866-771-2597 or email for more information.

For media inquiries, please contact Chris Geno at or 703 203 0543.

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Sustainable Planet

Pungent Curry

9 Apr 2014


The latest version of the IPCC report is published and once again it will go unread by the great masses of climate science deniers and unreported by the media. So it might be useful to revisit the fundamental physical realities …

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Ask Dr. Mike

Understanding Teen Suicide

1 Apr 2014


By Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D. Northern Virginia has recently experienced several teen suicides. Last month, two Langley High School students took their own lives just a day apart from one another, and this month it appears two students at Woodson High …

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Virginia Gardening

Spring Is Coming

4 Mar 2014


By Donna Williamson March is an in-between month – some cold and the return of glorious warmth now and then. One way to bring some delight inside is forcing spring-blooming branches. You can cut branches of forsythia, cherry, crabapple, kerria, …

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Sushi's Corner

An Easter Swim

1 Apr 2014

Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 11.10.56 AM

I felt like a silly nim “cow” poop with these Easter bows in our hair. Okay Nelly, maybe you didn’t because you’re a girl. But me, a Mighty Cairn Terrier male? – PLEASE! Pleasing Mrs. B for Easter pictures was …

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Amy V. Smith's Money Talks

What Baseball Can Teach You About Financial Planning

1 Apr 2014

Amy Smith-BRL

Spring training is a tradition that baseball teams and baseball fans look forward to every year. No matter how they did last year, teams in spring training are full of hope that a new season will bring a fresh start. …

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Go Take a Hike

Blandy Experimental Farm

6 Jun 2012


By Molly Pinson Simoneau It’s no secret that I love a challenging hike. I’ve written here about hiking sections of the Appalachian Trail and Shenandoah National Park. I’ve taken vacations with my family to Colorado where I’ve attempted to conquer a “fourteener” (a summit that is higher than 14,000 feet), …


Real Estate Ticker

A Buying Opportunity?

6 Nov 2013

Carl Fischer headshot

By Carl Fischer As a direct result of the uncertainty that has arisen from national and regional politics, with its unsettling effect on the Northern Virginia area, for the past two months there has been a market slowdown which has …

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From the Farm

From the Farm

5 Jul 2012

From the Farm

When the heat index reaches 110 degrees, as it has been doing recently, I try to keep in the shade, or stay indoors. But my lavender, about halfway from full bloom, seems to thrive in it. Hot and dry, I …

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April 2014
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: Art Gallery Reception for Featured Artists -- Abstract painter Evelyn Lopez de Guzman and contemporary painter Sandra Iafrate


April 12, 2014N/A

Meet Evelyn and Sandra and other gallery artists during a free, open to the public reception for this month's Featured Artists' exhibit "Living Color,” showcasing two accomplished painters Evelyn Lopez de Guzman and Sandra Iafrate, in a vivid and dynamic presentation of color, shape and our surroundings.

Evelyn Lopez de Guzman’s vibrant paintings awaken the viewer to connect with nature and the modern world through an interplay of shape, color, and textural materials.

Sandra Iafrate’s combination of realistic and surrealist interpretation of flowers, foliage and landscapes on spacious canvases convey a sense of movement and playfulness.

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Easter at "The Park"


April 19, 2014

Celebrate Easter at historic Morven Park with crafts for kids, an egg hunt in the formal gardens plus a traditional egg roll on the Davis Mansion lawn. Have a family photo taken with the Easter Bunny. Children should bring a basket for the hunt and a large spoon for the egg roll. $10/participating child (ages 2-12), $3/adult. Register at

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VAL's Pals Kids Club


April 30, 2014

Join Inova Loudoun Hospital as the present their Beamer the Dog Program.

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May 4, 2014

Scouting for Bricks is an exhibit showing the Love for everything LEGO® . Come see amazing LEGO® creations by Fans of LEGO®, LEGO® trains, Mindstorms robots. We will also have live Star Wars Stormtroopers and an interactive play area with over 100,000 LEGO bricks. Scouting for Bricks is fun for the Whole Family! Visit us at

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View From the Ridge

Rural Loudoun Is Different, and We Say Dark Skies Do Matter

4 Mar 2014


In February of this year a sell out crowd gathered at the county public seat in Leesburg to provide feedback to the Loudoun County Planning Commission on the idea of adding additional sports lights to the upper athletic fields at Franklin Park. Franklin Park includes a really wonderful performing arts …



Steady and Nobull

4 Mar 2014

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Park and Ride Lots for Western Loudoun

4 Mar 2014


In 2003, the county purchased 22 commuter buses to serve a growing demand for bus service to Washington D.C. The demand has grown exponentially ever since. The county now owns or leases 65 large commuter buses (with plush seats and on board restrooms) and more are being added every year. The buses are often filled to standing room only as …



Sadie’s Race 5K and Fun Run Scheduled for Sunday May 18

9 Apr 2014


Sadie Smile Foundation is putting on the third annual Sadie’s Race/Walk and Kids Fun Run to Benefit Smile Train in Purcellville Sunday, May 18th this year. The race starts at 8:00 a.m. at the train station at 200 N 21st Street in Purcellville. Sign up at When Sara Ablard lost her five year-old daughter, Sadie, two years ago, she …

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Dr. Joseph Rogers Dies at Family Farm

1 Apr 2014

Dr. Joseph Megeath Rogers, 90, died on Saturday March 8, 2014 at his Hillbrook Farm near Hamilton following a stroke. Physician, farmer, businessman, rural land conservationist, philanthropist and expert horseman, Dr. Rogers was a tireless advocate and practitioner of country living whose contributions in a broad range of interests were made quietly and with little fanfare. His public persona was …

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Zoldos Presented Citizen of the Year Award

1 Apr 2014


At the biweekly March meeting of the Lovettsville Town Council, Mayor Bobby Zoldos was presented the 2013 Citizen of the Year from the Lovettsville Waterford Ruritans. Presenting the award was Rick Adams, current president along with Board Member Peter Mullally and  Vice President Jeff Boogaard. Adams said, “On behalf of the Lovettsville Waterford Ruritans, we would like to present the …

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Around Virginia

Wolf Won’t Seek Re-election


Rep. Frank Wolf (R-10th) today announced that he would not seek election to an 18th term in 2014. He released the following statement announcing his decision: “I have decided not to seek re-election to the U.S. Congress in 2014. It has been an honor to serve the people of northern …

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Virginia Can and Should Work Harder to Combat Hunger


By Congressman Frank Wolf Last year, the USDA reported a record number of Americans are struggling to put food on their tables. Across the nation, 49 million people – including 17 million children and six million seniors – are going hungry, a number that has grown substantially over the last …

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Kaine Statement on Navy Yard Shooting


U.S. Senator Tim Kaine released the following statement on today’s shooting at the Washington Navy Yard: “My thoughts and prayers are with everyone impacted by today’s tragic shooting at the Washington Navy Yard. As we learn more about the horrific events that unfolded this morning, my deepest sympathies go out …

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Nominate Your Hometown Hero

9 Apr 2014


Upper Loudoun Little League’s Hometown Heroes scholarship closes on April 21, 2014. The application is available online at The scholarship is open to all graduating seniors who played baseball for ULLL at some point in their growing up years.

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Lady Vikings Give Back

10 Feb 2014

The Loudoun Valley Girls basketball team held an event on Friday, February 7 at LVHS. The Lady Vikings celebrated “Pink Night” by honoring those who are battling breast cancer or have been affected by breast cancer. The event was held in conjunction with an event held at Woodgrove earlier this …

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Medicaid Expansion Battle Heating Up

4 Mar 2014


Did you know that there’s a very real possibility that a DC-style budget battle and government shutdown could come to Virginia? The Medicaid expansion battle …

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Endorsing for Profit Businesses?

4 Mar 2014

town of purcellville sign

I recently received an automated email message from the Town of Purcellville soliciting nominations for volunteer award recipients in cooperation with the Purcellville Business Association …


Another Vote To Overrule Purcellville’s Board of Architectural Review

4 Mar 2014

town of purcellville sign

The Purcellville Town Council, foolishly, in the view of many and perhaps most, has overruled its Board of Architectural Review and approved Mark Nelis’s and …



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