Making Fun of Mother Nature …

It is apparent that some politicians don’t take Mother Nature seriously — and she does not like being dismissed so  lightly.

Case in point number one …

Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana, famously mocked volcano monitoring in his response to President Obama’s State of the Union speech. Jindal  did not take red-hot lava spewing from the caldera of an erupting volcano as seriously as, say, hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico sending gale-force winds and rain into his state.

In what feels like a direct response to the Louisiana Governor’s mockery, Mount Redoubt in Alaska stirred to life and started belching ash high into the atmosphere and  sending lahars, pyroclastic flows of mud, melted snow and lava, down its flanks.  Ashfalls were reported in Anchorage and other towns.

However, it is the Chevron “tank farm” on Cook Inlet at the base of Mount Redoubt which is the focus of concern.  As much as six and a half million gallons of crude oil were stored in the tank farm when the eruption started but around half  of that has been since drained.  There is still enough oil left in the tanks to seriously threaten the wildlife and rich salmon fisheries of Cook Inlet.  If the tanks are breached by volcanic flows, the Exxon Valdez would look like small potatoes.   But Bobby Jindal doesn’t take this threat seriously — and thinks volcano monitoring is a joke.   It looks like Mother Nature is getting the last laugh on this one.

Case in point number two …

Another type of scientific monitoring  that Karl Rove and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)  thought was frivolous was pandemic flu preparation.  $870 million was stripped out of the Stimulus bill that was earmarked for that purpose.  Now we are confronted with a swine flu epidemic on a global scale — the very definition of a pandemic.   But no money set aside to deal with it.  Are you still laughing, Senator Collins?  Last time I looked at the map, Senator,  yours is a state with a long shared border with Canada where there are confirmed cases of swine flu.   Do you feel safer now?   Hope Maine has  lots of Tamiflu on hand now that we have a real pandemic facing us.

It’s not nice to make fun of Mother Nature.

The best we can do is prepare ourselves to  deal with such acts of  Nature as erupting volcanoes and mutating swine flu viruses.  Not a laughing matter but something to be taken seriously.

That being said, I hold out faint hope that certain politicians have learned their lesson.

Note:  More information about the dangers of the eruption at Mount Redoubt can be found at the following links

http://www.inletkeeper.org/

http://www.avo.alaska.edu/activity/Redoubt.php

http://www.divasblueoasis.com/

Additional information about Susan Collins’ and Karl Rove’s attitude toward pandemic preparedness can be found at

http://www.americablog.com/2009/04/karl-rove-conservative-republicans-and.html

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