Monday, September 13, 2021

Off topic (sort of)


I don't know much about shared e-scooters, but apparently they're a thing in Louisville. A study published in an academic journal studied the effects of shared e-scooters in that city on transit bus ridership. The conclusion: not much.

Another study that came up in a routine search deals with "The Social Life of the 'Forever Chemical': PFAS Pollution Legacies and Toxic Events" that appeared in Environment and Society: Advances i Research 12 (2021). There a couple of paragraphs related to events at a factory along the Ohio River below Parkersburg, West Virginia:

Beginning in 1999, Rob Bilott led a series of lawsuits against DuPont that helped reveal the extent of PFOA contamination around Parkersburg as well as how the company dodged regulation. His book Exposure (2019) details how DuPont covered up in-house occupational health and toxicity studies, the emissions from its Washington Works plant, and ongoing leaching from illegally dumped hazardous waste. DuPont spent years buying up contaminated wells and land adjacent to the plant for in situ emissions and dumping, but the waste leached into nearby creeks, rivers, and other wells, eventually contaminating the drinking water of tens of thousands of people in West Virginia and Ohio. As scrutiny increased, DuPont followed the familiar playbook of other twentieth-century hazardous industries (Markowitz and Rosner 2002; Oreskes and Conway 2010). Their lawyers and representatives destroyed documents, threatened lawsuits and gag orders, engaged in smear campaigns, stifl ed whistleblowers, deployed sophisticated public relations campaigns to defend its corporate image, partnered with politicians and regulators to undermine oversight, labeled the results of independent scientifi c studies as “junk science,” and fought and dragged out litigation for nearly two decades (Bilott 2019; Lyons 2007; Lerner 2015).

Bilott denounces the revolving door between government regulators and industry, in one example describing collusion in forming a joint investigative panel to deflect further inquiry. An EPA investigation into the mysterious deaths of dozens of cows on the Tennant farm near Parkersburg—the case that served as the detonator of the PFOA/C8 scandal—revealed no company wrongdoing. Flexing its political muscle, DuPont negotiated who would serve on the Cattle Team panel, which subsequently did not test specifically for PFOA as it was not a registered substance dumped at the nearby Dry Run landfill, even though internal company documents later revealed full cognizance of toxic dumping at that site (Bilott 2019; Lerner 2015).

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Nice light for the M/V West Virginia

 I wasn't planning on getting any river picrtures today, but when I saw this light on this boat and these barges, what could I do?

Sunday, September 5, 2021

A busy night at the mouth of the Big Sandy

I went down to the boat ramp at the mouth of the Big Sandy yesterday evening before dark so I could get out of the house for a while. I got a few photos of boats. I knew a couple of boats were heading my way, but it was getting dark. I decided to stay anyway to see what I could get. This is one photo that I got last night.

So, yeah, things were busy at Catlettsburg, Kentucky, Kenova, West Virginia and South Point, Ohio.

A threatened species


Another species of mussel is in danger of disappearing from the Ohio River. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed protecting the pyramid pigtoe mussel as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

From the supporting documentation, it appears some of the most vulnerable remaining populations of the pyramid pigtoe mussel are in Ohio River tributaries instead of the big river itself. The culprits this native mussel must contend with the usual ones: invasive species such as the zebra mussel, black carp and Asian clam; development of rivers for navigation and transportation; and pollution from human activities.

Saturday, September 4, 2021

One sternwheeler, four variations


The Tribute to the River festival at Point Pleasant WV was canceled this year because of high water. I was up that way Sunday evening and saw this sternwheeler and a couple of others had already arrived. The sun was setting, so I got off a few shots of the sun behind the M/V Kanawha.

I picked one to see how it would look under different edits.

First, the baseline version with the color of the sky enhanced to compensate for how the sun treated the exposure meter.

Next, partially desaturated color to mute some of the extremes.

And then the full black and white.

Finally, I took the first version and went full HDR (high dynamic range) to see how it would look.

Who won? You decide.

I had thought about writing a long post detailing how I did these variations and why. If you all want to read something like that, let me know. Otherwise I'll save such thoughts for another time and another photo.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Fishing on the Big Sandy

Thursday evening I needed some time out in this heat so I headed down to the river. The mouth of the Big Sandy River at Catlettsburg seemed like the best place to be.

I had been waiting for the M/V West Virginia of Amherst Madison to come by, which it did. Before it got to where I was, I had noticed a boat coming down the Big Sandy with a barge. It was the Blessey Marine Services boat M/V Pat Voss. It must have waited until the West Virginia passed by, because it seemed to have stopped. After the West Virginia passed, the Pat Voss came down, but not before two guys in a fishing boat decided to try their luck on the Big Sandy.

As you can see, the two guys wisely yielded the right of way to the bigger boat.

The Pat Voss took this empty barge over to the Marathon Petroleum fleeting area at South Point, Ohio.

Here's a photo of it on the Ohio as night fell.

I learned a lot about twilight photography and my equipment that evening. It was a very good evening.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

M/V Deana Woosley at Maysville

 Going under the bridge as the sun sets.

Nice bridge. I need to get down there and get more photos on a day when I don't have a schedule to keep.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

M/V Joe S heading to its new home

This evening after work I went down to the boat ramp at Ironton, Ohio, to see the sternwheeler Joe S (formerly Columbia) tied up to the port side of the M/V Andrew Antrainer. C.R. Neale from up at Vienna, WV, is bringing his new boat home. The 968-mile journey started Aug. 10 down on the Tennessee River under the sternwheeler's own power. A day or so after it got out on the Ohio, it hitched a ride with the Andrew Antrainer.

Here the two boats are as they approach beautiful downtown Ironton ...

... accompanied by a guy on a Sea-Doo who decided to enjoy the Antrainer's prop wash a time or two.

The light wasn't the best this evening, thanks to the light rain.

And here the boats are passing by and heading under the Ironton-Russell bridge.

I was thinking about getting more pictures at South Point, Ohio, as the boats passed the mouth of the Big Sandy River, but that would be a wait of about 90 minutes to two hours in weather that could get worse or could get better, so I went home and had dinner with the family.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

A turtleback and a Viking

 It was almost like 1981 all over again with the motor vessels Robert E. Wagenblast and Show Me State coming down the Ohio River today.

Other than names, the difference was that those barges weren't loaded with coal.