Peregrines, Long Island Sound and Rachel Carson's Centenary
To me, it's noteworthy for two things.
First, the story says the Throgs Neck Bridge is at the intersection of the East River and Long Island Sound. This is tiresome but ... a "sound" is a relatively narrow strip of water between an island and the mainland. Therefore Long Island Sound is the strip of water between Long Island and the Bronx, Westchester and Connecticut. Since Queens is on Long Island, the strip of water between Queens and the Bronx is Long Island Sound. It is not the East River. The East River separates Queens and Brooklyn from Manhattan, and it ends at Hell Gate (not Hell's Gate). As I've said before, I think this partially explains why people in Queens and the Bronx don't care that much about Long Island Sound -- because they're continually told that they live not near the Sound but near the East River. Oy.
Second, the story (which is so inconsequential it's apparently not even on the Times website, hence no link) refers to the connection between DDT and the decline of peregines, which reminds me that Sunday is the 100th anniversary of Rachel Carson's birth and also reminds me to link to this commentary about Carson and the Bush administration that Elizabeth Kolbert wrote in the current New Yorker:
As much as any book can, “Silent Spring” changed the world by describing it. An immediate best-seller, the book launched the modern environmental movement, which, in turn, led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, the passage of the Clean Air, the Clean Water, and the Endangered Species Acts, and the banning of a long list of pesticides, including dieldrin. Depending on how you look at it, Carson’s centenary couldn’t come at a better time—or a worse one.
Six years into the Bush Administration, it’s basically the ant wars all over again. At key agencies, a disregard for inconvenient evidence seems today to be a prerequisite. A memo prepared by the Democratic staff of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in mid-March, for example, revealed that officials of the White House Council on Environmental Quality had made more than a hundred and eighty changes to a status report on global warming, virtually all of which had the effect of exaggerating scientific uncertainties and minimizing certainties. (The official responsible for most of the changes, Philip Cooney, had come to the White House from the American Petroleum Institute and now works for Exxon Mobil.) A second report issued in March—this one by the Inspector General for the Department of the Interior—chronicled numerous instances in which a high-ranking department official, Julie MacDonald, had pressured government scientists to alter findings on threatened species. MacDonald, the report pointedly noted, had “no formal educational background in natural sciences, such as biology.” (MacDonald has since resigned.) As it happened, the report on MacDonald was released the same day that the former second-in-command at the Interior Department, J. Steven Griles, pleaded guilty to lying to Congress.
Meanwhile, the Administration has done its best to gut the safeguards put in place after “Silent Spring.” When, for instance, the E.P.A. proposed new rules on mercury emissions from power plants, the proposal turned out to contain several paragraphs lifted, virtually verbatim, from an industry lobbyist’s memos. (With minor changes, those regulations are now in effect.) Just last month, the Administration proposed new rules on the retrofitting of old power plants. The more or less explicit purpose of the rules is to accommodate a power company, Duke Energy, that the E.P.A. had itself sued for violating the Clean Air Act. Also last month, the E.P.A. announced that it would once again delay taking action on two drinking-water contaminants, perchlorate, an ingredient of rocket fuel, and M.T.B.E., a fuel additive.