Tibbar Energy ????  

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Alana33
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October 9, 2014 11:13 pm  

Ask Carlton Dowe of our port authority. He's another one to watch like a hawk. I may be wrong but think they got some money from port authority/ grants.


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Chuck C
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November 19, 2014 2:49 am  

It is interesting that this site removed my comments? Nothing I wrote was anything but the truth regarding Aaron and Tania the owners of Tibbar Energy. It looks like Miss Justice was removed as well. I suspect that Tania Rabbit and Aaron Rabbit complained, but I stand by what the internet and the federal government has verified: Aaron is a convicted Felon for crimes against the environment, he has no experience or education with the anaerobic digestion or the construction of a power plant. Nothing but facts here! In terms of Tania the CEO of Rabbit Tibbar, she has NO education or any experience in AD or power plant construction. The company Tibbar has NEVER done an AD project, they sell electrical components like light bulbs (see their web site projects for 2014). She has a link to her past which indicates she was a travel agent prior to her stint working for Aaron in a construction company which failed miserably! I am not saying this, these are the facts!
I believe they are way over their heads and are taking money from investors with little chance of paying them back or finding funding for their project. I wish the facts are not what the are, but a little research turns up the facts. If this site takes down this post, then they are in Tibbars pockets as well as others!


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Alana33
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November 19, 2014 3:25 am  

Let's not mention that king grass is an invasive species!
So how's that project going anyway?
Strangely silent since GERS turned them down for a loan!
At least they had good sense.

How deep are Carlton Does a pockets?


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vicanuck
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November 19, 2014 11:17 am  

They appear to be trying to raise their profile in the community through sponsorship of non profit events. I've been hearing their name on the radio in conjunction with a few recent events.


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LiquidFluoride
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November 19, 2014 2:25 pm  

They appear to be trying to raise their profile in the community through sponsorship of non profit events. I've been hearing their name on the radio in conjunction with a few recent events.

how horrible of them!

There was a [URL="http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/abinazir/2011/06/15/what-are-chances-you-would-be-born/"]1: 400,000,000,000,000[/URL] chance of you being born: what have you done with your miraculous life today?


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Alana33
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November 23, 2014 12:13 am  

Tibbar Energy wants 60 percent of the groundwater available on St. Croix for 'renewable power' project

BY JOY BLACKBURN (DAILY NEWS STAFF)
Published: November 21, 2014
ST. CROIX - A company's plan to take a significant portion of St. Croix's available groundwater, tapping into it using 22 wells to be drilled in different spots around the island, has sparked some public debate.

Tibbar Energy - a company that plans to grow Giant King Grass and other varieties of grass around the island, harvest it, truck it to a planned biogas facility near the airport and convert it to energy to sell to WAPA - has applied for a groundwater appropriation of approximately 520,000 gallons per day, amounting to 60 percent of the estimated available groundwater on the island.

Available groundwater is figured by subtracting all of the withdrawals from all the wells in an area from the estimated recharge. Recharge occurs when surface water sinks into the ground and reaches aquifers to become groundwater.

Tibbar plans to use the groundwater appropriation it is requesting to irrigate "an energy crop grown for renewable power feedstock," the application says. The company plans to grow the grasses on more than 1,500 acres located around the island. The plan is for the grass to be anaerobically digested to produce biogas to generate electricity.

According to Tibbar, the power it plans to generate and sell to WAPA would deliver savings of 4 to 5 percent for WAPA consumers over liquid petroleum gas.

Public hearing

Tibbar's groundwater application is pending at the Department of Planning and Natural Resources, and those who would like to provide input during the public comment period can do so until Wednesday. The Tibbar groundwater application is available for review and comment at DPNR's offices in Mars Hill.

A public hearing earlier this month generated significant discussion, comments and questions, according to those who were there.

The background of one of the Tibbar's consultants - a guilty plea to an environmental crime under the federal Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act almost 15 years ago - also has raised questions in the community.

Tibbar president and chief executive officer Tania Tomyn said the hearing Nov. 13 had been "quite interactive."

"It taught me I need to do a little more outreach," Tomyn said.

St. Croix resident Judith Carroll, a self-described "foodie" who has been a farmer in the past, said she has some concerns about the amount of groundwater the company wants to use and the potential impact of removing that water.

"My concern is that it's a lot of water," Carroll said. "We now know that taking water out of the ground can be detrimental to the earth. Half a million gallons a day is a lot of water to exhume from the earth."

Groundwater science

Paul Chakroff, who Tibbar hired as a private environmental consultant, spoke in support of the project at the hearing.

Chakroff told The Daily News he had used the most conservative numbers and the best available science to come up with available groundwater estimates and had considered the take from wells that have permits from DPNR - as well as illegal wells with permits that have long been expired - when the company considered available groundwater.

"Is there enough water? The quick answer is yes," he said.

Chakroff, the former director of the St. Croix Environmental Association, said the company developed its estimates by using "good science" based on studies from the United States Geological Survey, respected scientists who worked for SEA, and the head of the Texas A&M Agronomy Department. "Our numbers were conservative to start with, and then DPNR advised us that they wanted an additional 40 percent cushion, and so the numbers applied for appropriation are 60 percent of available water for new development," he said.

As a condition of the permit, the company would be required to monitor its wells to detect changes in the water and potential problems - and would be providing the information to DPNR, Chakroff said.

Overuse of groundwater

Longtime St. Croix resident Mike Walsh said he has some concerns, although he was not at the hearing.

"I think it's reasonable that everyone on St. Croix, farmer or not, is going to be affected by the groundwater situation," Walsh said. Walsh said he thinks the proposed groundwater appropriation "has to be looked at very carefully." He noted that a potential danger with overuse of groundwater on an island is the possibility of saltwater incursion "that would ruin the aquifer permanently and overuse also - because of salts and minerals in well water - would ruin the soil."

He said he believes some questions need to be raised.

"I think DPNR understands the fragility of the resource and understands the magnitude of the request, and I think they will make the right decision," Walsh said.

Chakroff pointed to the electronic monitoring the company would be required to do with its wells, and said it is in Tibbar's interest not to take too much groundwater.

"If they're taking too much water, they'd start to see a buildup of salinity, and it would kill their plants. They'd lose their product. They'd lose their money," he said.

The company also has plans to use catchment ponds, and effluent water from the V.I. Waste Management Authority to meet its water needs, according to Chakroff.

Possible benefits

NebKaRa Herishetapaheru, who was formerly known as Carl Christopher, said he had lots of questions for Tibbar officials at the hearing, but after learning more, he said he now supports the project.

"The only concern I have is whether they can fulfill what they say they desire to fulfill," Herishetapaheru said. "The way I'm looking at it is sort of a revolutionary idea which will help to jumpstart and stimulate organic and sustainable agriculture on a large scale in the Virgin Islands."

Herishetapaheru said he thinks it is a win-win situation for farmers.

He said the company plans to utilize unused pastures to manufacture a "biodegradable product that will be used for energy" and "the byproduct of it, in terms of the waste of it, will actually be a very high nutritional organic fertilizer."

The St. Croix Chamber of Commerce spoke in favor of the permit at the hearing. Tibbar said it anticipates creating 150 jobs during construction of the biogas facility and 35 to 40 permanent jobs.

Consultant's criminal past

Some community members have raised questions about the background of Aaron Smith, who is now the husband of Tomyn, Tibbar's CEO, and is a consultant for Tibbar. Tomyn said the company is a family business.

According to information from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Smith was sentenced in August 2001 to 33 months in prison and fines after pleading guilty to violating the RICO Act in Michigan.

In addition, Smith's company, Hi-Po, Inc., an environmental consulting firm, pleaded guilty to twice violating the Clean Water Act, according to EPA.

"Hi-Po admitted intentionally releasing diesel fuel into a storm sewer and a pond in Ann Arbor in order to fraudulently claim the cleanup of illegal releases and to fraudulently receive cleanup payment from the University of Michigan and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality," an EPA press release from 2001 said.

Smith's RICO plea covered the underlying act of illegal money laundering, mail fraud and bribery of a public official.

Tomyn said Friday that Smith was in his 20s when it happened - long before they married - and that he regrets it, served his time, and has reformed.

"He lives with the regret every day of what he did and the mistake he made as a young man," she said.

Tomyn said Smith consults on various aspects of the company and has a background in farming.

Anyone who wants to comment on Tibbar's groundwater appropriation application can do so by submitting written comments to Magdalene Morancie, acting director of DPNR's Division of Environmental Protection, 45 Mars Hill, Frederiksted, VI 00840. The deadline to do so is Wednesday.

(I might add that Chakroff is a sellout when it comes to protecting the environment. IMO.)

This is an extremely invasive grass that other communities have had major problems with eradicating once it has taken hold. I'll post more on this when I have the time.


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Alana33
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November 23, 2014 12:27 am  

Napier, or Elephant Grass (Pennisetum purpureum) and its Invasive Potential in the VI

Gary Ray, Ph.D., Virgin Forest Restorations, 9901 Emmaus, St. John, VI 00830

Summary:
I was asked to provide my professional judgment as a plant ecologist and VI floristic expert of the risks involved in introducing a known noxious pest to the VI as a target species to produce bioenergy. In my professional opinion, there is a high likelihood that Elephant grass will become a widespread nuisance at least, or agricultural nightmare at most, once introduced here. Plant ecologists in Florida would surely corroborate this opinion.

Introduction
Napier grass, also known as Elephant grass, Giant king grass, and other monikers (Pennisetum purpureum), is a clump-forming grass that can reach 12-15 feet in height, particularly near shorelines (UFL Center of Exotic and Invasive Plants 2013; HEAR 2004). The species was introduced from Africa to Florida in the early 20th century as a
forage grass. This species is presently one of Florida’s most noxious weedy pests.

Invasive Potential
Managers of waterways in Florida are losing the battle to control or eradicate this weed in canal banks, agricultural settings, and other disturbed areas from wet to dry soils. Once established the plant self propagates vegetatively by rhizomes, stem fragments and root
crown divisions (Global Compendium of Weeds; FAO Weed Management). It has a deep fibrous root system that allows it to resist drought. In agricultural areas the plant is known to reduce yields, increase agricultural production costs, and can become a massive problems for home gardeners seeking to supplement their food budget. As the plant spreads, it can block roadside culverts, impeding channelized water flow.

Invasiveness of this species is well known in Florida, but it has only recently been seen in Puerto Rico, and plans exist to introduce it to St. Croix to produce bioenergy. Details of dispersal, establishment and ecological impacts can only be predicted Therefore, it is an “incipient” invasive exotic, with extraordinary potential to become a widespread noxious weed – its windborne seeds certain to germinate in every roadside culvert and depression with standing water across the island, then spread to other islands by any of several typical invasion pathways. Once highly invasive plant species are introduced,
there are few options for subsequent eradication as the plant spreads to unintended locations.

References:
http://plants.ifas.ufl.edu/node/599
http://plants.ifas.ufl.edu/manage/why-manage-plants/floridas-most-invasiveplants/napier-grass

Parsons, W.T. and Cuthbertson, E.G. (1992). Noxious Weeds of Australia. Inkata Press, Melbourne & Sydney
Information Sources:

1. Identification and Biology of Nonnative Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas –
Second Edition, by K.A. Langeland, H.M. Cherry, et al. University of Florida-IFAS Publication # SP 257. 2008.

2. Strangers in Paradise, Impact and Management of Nonindigenous Species in Florida, Gary Ray, Ph.D., Virgin Forest Restorations, 9901 Emmaus, St. John, VI 00830
Chapter 2: Florida’s Invasion by Nonindigenous Plants: History, Screening, and Regulation, by D.R. Gordon and K.P. Thomas, pp. 21-37. Island Press, Washington, DC,
1997.

3. Integrated Management of Nonnative Plants in Natural Areas of Florida, by K. A. Langeland, J. A. Ferrell, B. Sellers, G. E. MacDonald, and R. K. Stocker. University of Florida-IFAS Publication # SP 242. 2011.

Exotic Plant Lists:
Florida Exotic Plant Pest Council – lists this species among non-native and invasive exotic plants for this region
Global Invasive Species Database – four close relatives on this list
Hawaii Ecosystems at Risk (HEAR) – listed this species as problematic in Hawaii

Gary Ray, Ph.D., Virgin Forest Restorations, 9901 Emmaus, St. John, VI 00830


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Alana33
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November 23, 2014 12:36 am  

Open Letter to VI Legislature:

November 22, 2014

Subject: Open Letter to Legislators of the 30th Legislature concerning Tibbar Energy request for approval a land lease from the VI Department of Agriculture

Dear Senators,

I understand that Tibbar Energy LLC is requesting your approval next month of a lease of land from the VI Department of Agriculture.

A year or so ago the Tibbar Energy “crops to energy” proposal was appropriately dubbed "Feed the Beast 2" (with "Feed the Beast 1" referring to Alpine Energy Group's now dead proposal). This proposal involves leasing land to grow "Giant King Grass" to feed "the beast". Let's look at how much energy that Giant King Grass might theoretically produce.

Based on operating history / data for U.S. waste-to-energy projects (projects built by companies with actual experience in the industry), and information from the Giant King Grass marketing info. (VIASPACE)), each dry ton of Giant King Grass grown should be able to produce between 0.03 and 0.04 Megawatts of power. The VIASPACE website information suggests that in one years time, 400 acres should be able to produce 18,000 dry tons of Giant King Grass.

Doing the math on energy production from that, 18,000 dry tons per year would only be enough to power a plant rated at between 1 and 2 Megawatts. Keep in mind that this is based on marketing information, so be assured these are optimal conditions and figures. Production of 6 to 8 Megawatts of power would require steady production from 2000 acres of Giant Kind Grass.

Experts have however cautioned against such assumptions due to inevitable hurricanes and other disruptions to achieving those efficiencies.

Comparing that potential energy production from biomass with ground-mounted solar arrays, at about 1 Megawatt per 5 acres for such PV arrays, based on actual solar projects, just 100 acres of PV array would produce about 20 Megawatts of power.

If our local power utility continue carrying out the power grid modernization and stabilization steps that experts have long been urging them to do along with energy storage systems, our local power costs would come down steeply, not to mention the favorable environmental benefits of producing clean energy. At current power costs in the VI, building-mounted solar arrays have a payback period of only about 3 to 4 years.

Producing biofuel cost-effectively, even using the best of technologies and optimal biological /floral species, requires thousands of acres. Island settings like the USVI simply don't have the land mass to do that and produce locally grown foods so that food costs can come down. Further, a local ecologist and native plant expert – Dr. Gary Ray – has provided the attached summarizing information about giant king grass with cautionary notes I hope all of you will take to heart.

The people of the Virgin Islands also deserve to see a listing of Tibbar Energy's, or Tibbar
Construction Services, Inc.'s, already built energy projects, along with backgrounds of all those involved in this project. I feel certain that those government retirees and future retirees who stayinformed and are concerned about their retirement funds investments were glad the GERS opted in September not to proceed with a loan to this project.

Please do your part on behalf of the VI public in conducting serious and credible vetting of potential contractors, projects and concepts.

Best regards,
Susan Parten, P.E.


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ms411
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November 23, 2014 12:48 am  

Thanks for positing that letter, Alana. Hope the author is a registered voter!


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Pdmargie
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November 23, 2014 12:13 pm  

It seems obvious that in a region, such as the tropics, solar power would be the way to go. Wind power too. Biomass to energy works in theory but usually ends up using more energy to produce than it provides,....like ethanol for fuel.


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ms411
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November 23, 2014 12:36 pm  

They are trying to diversify energy sources for flexibility. They are building solar farms and there are existing solar installations in addition to LNG. Wind turbines are planned.

Some hotels, condos, housing developments are using at least some solar some of which were funded with Reinvestment Act money.

Converting to solar is not cheap, and now that LNG is so plentiful and affordable, it now makes economic sense. Most of the Caribbean is powered by fossil fuels, and they, too, are making conversions.


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Alana33
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November 23, 2014 1:38 pm  

As you all know, I am not a fan of this project.

You have principals that have no experience, history or track record in this type of project, you have one of the principals having the distinction of being one of the only persons tried and convicted of environmental crimes, you have an invasive species of grass being introduced into our environment where it can easily thrive and spread and cause major problems, you have a project that requires the use of 60% of St. Croix' s ground water/aquifer table while producing very little energy in return.

Given the fact that STX depends on their aquifers due to not having fresh water to rivers, has periods of severe drought and we are experiencing a changing climate, is it wise to allow 60% of that
extremely valuable resource to be used for this project?
If it's damaged, contaminated or depleted, what then?
60%, in my mind, is an unacceptable amount.

A solar array system in the same land mass area would provide more energy, be 100% less invasive, not deplete the valuable water resources and provide a return on its investment, faster.

Taken individually, all TIBBAR' s issues raise a giant red flag.
Taken collectively, it's a disaster in the making, if permitted.


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Pdmargie
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November 23, 2014 11:10 pm  

This is a REALLY bad idea on sooooo many levels. Introducing a non native, invasive species AND using 60% of available ground water reserves to propagate said invasive species. This is a recipe for disaster and will never work!


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CruzanIron
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November 24, 2014 10:36 am  

I though all the wells were full of oil from Hovensa?
Are they planning to water the grass with polluted water?


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MissJustice
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November 24, 2014 11:17 am  

I am a bigger fan of using ground water to grow something we can eat. #1

The fact that the principals are unreliable is reason #3.

Reason #2 is that I would have preferred renewable energy anyway.


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Pdmargie
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November 24, 2014 1:01 pm  

I though all the wells were full of oil from Hovensa?
Are they planning to water the grass with polluted water?

Irrigating with the polluted water will give the king grass a higher BTU content! ; )
I read somewhere that they are retrofitting the elecrical generating turbine to burn propane to save money. Are they kidding ??? Pro"pain" cost more than fuel oil on a BTU per BTU basis. Do they really mean liquified natural gas for power production? That would make more sense.


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CruzanIron
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November 24, 2014 1:15 pm  

I though all the wells were full of oil from Hovensa?
Are they planning to water the grass with polluted water?

Irrigating with the polluted water will give the king grass a higher BTU content! ; )
I read somewhere that they are retrofitting the elecrical generating turbine to burn propane to save money. Are they kidding ??? Pro"pain" cost more than fuel oil on a BTU per BTU basis. Do they really mean liquified natural gas for power production? That would make more sense.

Nope, they mean propane.


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Alana33
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November 24, 2014 1:51 pm  

I called CZM this morning to find out who to email my objections to this project. I was told it is not a CZM matter at this point but to send my comments to EPA.

If you wish to have your voice heard then you must contact
Director Magdalene Morancie at magdalene.morancie@dpnr.vi.gov
Cc to Syed Syedali: syed.syedali@dpnr.vi.gov

They couldn't tell me when the comment period ends so best to send you comment letters, ASAP.


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IslandHops
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November 24, 2014 6:43 pm  

Do they really mean liquified natural gas for power production? That would make more sense.

WAPA make sense? Yea Right.
63mil over budget on the 100mil propane conversion project. It makes me sick. What a circus.


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heavyd
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November 27, 2014 4:13 am  

The Solar Array out here in California is not producing no where near as much energy as predicted due weather, such as cloudy weather or overcast days.Check it out.


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Rowdy802
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December 22, 2014 11:58 am  

For those following TIBBAR... With the HOVENSA/ABR flop grabbing the headlines, this probably got overlooked.

"Senate nixes TIBBAR grass fields lease...."

http://virginislandsdailynews.com/news/senate-nixes-tibbar-grass-fields-lease-oks-water-island-hotel-lease-1.1805875

They did get approved, then on a second roll call got nixed...


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OldTart
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December 22, 2014 12:01 pm  

After doing some research on the grass, I was delighted to read that news!


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Alana33
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December 22, 2014 1:05 pm  

Thanks for posting the link. I'd heard it got shot down but missed the reading article. 😀


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Rowdy802
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December 22, 2014 1:18 pm  

I was watching the streaming on my computer and it was very troubling to hear senator after senator talking about how "wonderful" this technology is... Mr. Bashinger was probably its #1 fan...

I was not one bit amused. Since day one of TIBBAR I did quite a bit of research and what immediately caught my attention was the amount of water needed to mantain the crop. Then they were given the south side where it rains less on an island where you kill for one drop of water...


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OldTart
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December 22, 2014 1:35 pm  

Mechanically depleting groundwater is a growing and very real concern throughout the world while that, combined with the introduction of a non-indigenous and highly invasive grass, was just plain stupid. It's gratifying that the legislative body finally did some research ...


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