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PostPosted: June 20 19, 12:44 pm 
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pioneer98 wrote:
An Australian think tank says civilization may end around 2050.

https://www.cntraveller.in/story/world- ... GoUAE1Uc1w

I love my kids more than I even thought possible, and I'm regretting having them. I don't want their adult lives to be spent in some Hunger Games style dystopia where they have to kill for their drinking water. Ugh. The thought just makes me want to Thanos the planet.


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PostPosted: June 24 19, 2:01 pm 
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This seems interesting, paying farmers to capture carbon. Any of our farm country peeps want to comment on this idea?

What if We Paid Farmers to Fight Global Warming?

Quote:
How we address an expanding list of crises related to global warming is the most demanding question of our day. So far, our approaches have been piecemeal, enormously costly and largely unsuccessful.

A common denominator for many of these crises is in how we use the land, and that is where we will find the solution. A simple, cheap and relatively quick fix is to pay farmers and ranchers for environmental services. Not traditional government cost-share programs; we mean cut them a check when they provide measurable environmental services. It would cost Americans pennies per meal.

We already provide enormous taxpayer support for farmers to stabilize our food supply. The Trump administration’s trade bailouts for farmers to the tune of $28 billion in 2018 and 2019 are examples. Unfortunately, right now, farmers who invest in conservation practices are at a competitive disadvantage to those who don’t. Government programs like the current farm bill pit production against conservation, and doing the right thing for the environment is a considerable drain on a farmer’s bank account, especially when so many of them are losing money to low commodity prices and President Trump’s tariffs.

But even a small percentage of the billions in play can be directed to incentivize capturing carbon, among other environmental services. Farmers would focus on five categories of practices to do this and generate collateral environmental and social benefits: conservation tillage; keeping roots in the ground all year (like using cover crops); using livestock for environmental services like managed grazing; adding crops into rotations; and producing renewable energy.

Such a program might work like this. The Department of Agriculture could partner with the National Institute for Food and Agriculture (generally the land grant institutions) to set up the mechanisms to measure and reward carbon capture on farms. A small farmer in, say, Iowa would enroll with the Agriculture Department, which would offer payments for carbon pulled from the atmosphere and locked up by being put to work in the soil.

The value of that carbon would be determined in real time by governments and markets. But the carbon markets on their own aren’t enough. Markets are risky, and should they no longer bring profit to farmers, other payments need to fill the gap to profitability to keep the farmer in business and serving the public.

It will take agricultural economists, government officials and farmers to knock out a budget for a successful program, but we suggest $16 billion a year — which matches President Trump’s most recent tariff bailout. It will scale over time. The Environmental Defense Fund says the current social cost of carbon is about $40 per ton.

The more that Iowa farm innovates by stacking the production-based conservation practices, the more carbon it is likely to store. And if it adds renewable energy, that’s an additional bonus. So let’s say it raised soybeans. Instead of just growing that one crop, it grows three additional crops: corn, oats and hay. It adds cover crops during the fallow season and integrated livestock for grazing back the cover, feeding the hay and adding nutrients to the soil. By focusing on the biological activity in the soil, it can increase organic matter and thus store carbon. It’s an exponential feedback loop.

In its least productive areas, farmers could shift acres from growing a crop to storing carbon by establishing a wetland, planting trees or creating pollinator habitat.

We think small and midsize farms should be compensated at a higher level. Larger farms are important because of scale and because they are great at adapting technology for efficiency, but smaller farms are more capable of innovation, as groups like Practical Farmers of Iowa have proved. Provide smaller, midsize family farms incentives that reward innovation, and they will creatively stack multiple practices in ways larger farms are not capable of doing.

Nearly all of these smaller farms have both on-farm and off-farm income — i.e., someone has a job in town. These multiple income streams create resilience and an ability to innovate. These farms exist in nearly every county in America.

By utilizing public policy to reward innovation focused on ecological solutions, we create an additional source of income for farmers. Our small and midsize farms in particular are disappearing from rural America, and with them our small towns are toppling like dominoes.

Paying farmers like this would create numerous collateral benefits: improved water quality, increased biological diversity, the need to use fewer pesticides and herbicides, and rural economic development (carbon farming requires higher levels of management and labor).

We’re not the first to bring this up. A small but growing number of farmers, agriculture scientists and farm organizations believe a voluntary solution where farmers are compensated is the key. Once incentivized, American farmers will lead the way in protecting ecosystems as they produce our food and fiber. It might also offer a global model as the world develops land management strategies to fight the climate crisis.

Current federal efforts are just the opposite of what’s needed, like bailouts instead of investments. Several of the Democratic presidential candidates we have spoken with recognize that paying farmers is a key to the solution. In a recent visit to Coyote Run Farm, Beto O’Rourke advocated paying farmers for environmental services. We have also discussed the idea with Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand and Tim Ryan.

But we don’t see this as a partisan proposal. We want everyone — Democrats, Republicans and independents — to see it as a realistic and pragmatic solution to a daunting global challenge. It’s an idea that cuts against old narratives about rural America that no longer serve family farmers, rural communities and the needs of our country.

Critics will argue that government isn’t the answer, and that markets are better at solving problems. Markets will play an important role, as will private investment. But government is already a big part of American agriculture. We have the opportunity to use smart public policy to empower farmers to be a critical part of the solution to our climate challenge.


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PostPosted: June 24 19, 2:29 pm 
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That's very interesting


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PostPosted: June 24 19, 10:18 pm 
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G. Keenan wrote:
This seems interesting, paying farmers to capture carbon. Any of our farm country peeps want to comment on this idea?

Spoiler: show
What if We Paid Farmers to Fight Global Warming?

Quote:
How we address an expanding list of crises related to global warming is the most demanding question of our day. So far, our approaches have been piecemeal, enormously costly and largely unsuccessful.

A common denominator for many of these crises is in how we use the land, and that is where we will find the solution. A simple, cheap and relatively quick fix is to pay farmers and ranchers for environmental services. Not traditional government cost-share programs; we mean cut them a check when they provide measurable environmental services. It would cost Americans pennies per meal.

We already provide enormous taxpayer support for farmers to stabilize our food supply. The Trump administration’s trade bailouts for farmers to the tune of $28 billion in 2018 and 2019 are examples. Unfortunately, right now, farmers who invest in conservation practices are at a competitive disadvantage to those who don’t. Government programs like the current farm bill pit production against conservation, and doing the right thing for the environment is a considerable drain on a farmer’s bank account, especially when so many of them are losing money to low commodity prices and President Trump’s tariffs.

But even a small percentage of the billions in play can be directed to incentivize capturing carbon, among other environmental services. Farmers would focus on five categories of practices to do this and generate collateral environmental and social benefits: conservation tillage; keeping roots in the ground all year (like using cover crops); using livestock for environmental services like managed grazing; adding crops into rotations; and producing renewable energy.

Such a program might work like this. The Department of Agriculture could partner with the National Institute for Food and Agriculture (generally the land grant institutions) to set up the mechanisms to measure and reward carbon capture on farms. A small farmer in, say, Iowa would enroll with the Agriculture Department, which would offer payments for carbon pulled from the atmosphere and locked up by being put to work in the soil.

The value of that carbon would be determined in real time by governments and markets. But the carbon markets on their own aren’t enough. Markets are risky, and should they no longer bring profit to farmers, other payments need to fill the gap to profitability to keep the farmer in business and serving the public.

It will take agricultural economists, government officials and farmers to knock out a budget for a successful program, but we suggest $16 billion a year — which matches President Trump’s most recent tariff bailout. It will scale over time. The Environmental Defense Fund says the current social cost of carbon is about $40 per ton.

The more that Iowa farm innovates by stacking the production-based conservation practices, the more carbon it is likely to store. And if it adds renewable energy, that’s an additional bonus. So let’s say it raised soybeans. Instead of just growing that one crop, it grows three additional crops: corn, oats and hay. It adds cover crops during the fallow season and integrated livestock for grazing back the cover, feeding the hay and adding nutrients to the soil. By focusing on the biological activity in the soil, it can increase organic matter and thus store carbon. It’s an exponential feedback loop.

In its least productive areas, farmers could shift acres from growing a crop to storing carbon by establishing a wetland, planting trees or creating pollinator habitat.

We think small and midsize farms should be compensated at a higher level. Larger farms are important because of scale and because they are great at adapting technology for efficiency, but smaller farms are more capable of innovation, as groups like Practical Farmers of Iowa have proved. Provide smaller, midsize family farms incentives that reward innovation, and they will creatively stack multiple practices in ways larger farms are not capable of doing.

Nearly all of these smaller farms have both on-farm and off-farm income — i.e., someone has a job in town. These multiple income streams create resilience and an ability to innovate. These farms exist in nearly every county in America.

By utilizing public policy to reward innovation focused on ecological solutions, we create an additional source of income for farmers. Our small and midsize farms in particular are disappearing from rural America, and with them our small towns are toppling like dominoes.

Paying farmers like this would create numerous collateral benefits: improved water quality, increased biological diversity, the need to use fewer pesticides and herbicides, and rural economic development (carbon farming requires higher levels of management and labor).

We’re not the first to bring this up. A small but growing number of farmers, agriculture scientists and farm organizations believe a voluntary solution where farmers are compensated is the key. Once incentivized, American farmers will lead the way in protecting ecosystems as they produce our food and fiber. It might also offer a global model as the world develops land management strategies to fight the climate crisis.

Current federal efforts are just the opposite of what’s needed, like bailouts instead of investments. Several of the Democratic presidential candidates we have spoken with recognize that paying farmers is a key to the solution. In a recent visit to Coyote Run Farm, Beto O’Rourke advocated paying farmers for environmental services. We have also discussed the idea with Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand and Tim Ryan.

But we don’t see this as a partisan proposal. We want everyone — Democrats, Republicans and independents — to see it as a realistic and pragmatic solution to a daunting global challenge. It’s an idea that cuts against old narratives about rural America that no longer serve family farmers, rural communities and the needs of our country.

Critics will argue that government isn’t the answer, and that markets are better at solving problems. Markets will play an important role, as will private investment. But government is already a big part of American agriculture. We have the opportunity to use smart public policy to empower farmers to be a critical part of the solution to our climate challenge.



I will try and keep this short, but it won't be. The bailout Trump is giving farmers is garbage. It's going to amount to around $100 a farm. Just doing some quick math, harvest costs me about $6000 dollars a day to operate so this is less than a half hours work for us. Thanks Trump!

The article talks about paying us to do things we basically do already. Believe it or not but farming has become incredible green friendly. We use cover crops, our tractors have Tier IV final engines, our shop runs on solar, and GPS technology means there is less waste in seed, spray, and fuel than ever. Most farmers have also done extensive work to improve water ways, reduce soil loss, etc. I obviously can't speak for everyone but we've loaned out several parcels of ground around our farm for local bee keepers to set up and we also put milk weed in some of our water ways to help the monarch butterflies. We did this because it helps reduce chemical run off as well as soil erosion. Again if they want to pay us for all this great, but that 16 billion isn't going to go far when you consider how many farms are in America. 2.2 million farms btw.

The last thing I'd like to address, and to me this shows the author of that article is fairly clueless is how he talks about using less herbicide and pesticides. We already use significantly less per acre than just ten years ago, let alone 25 years ago. They are also safer to use. They have also led to a significant increase in yield and productivity. Lastly, the old way which meant a lot more cultivation, was way less environmentally friendly. Basically it meant being in the fields all year long. Plowing in the winter, field cultivate in the spring, row cultivate in the summer. This meant big soil erosion, loss of soil quality and water content, and increased pollution from running a tractor basically every day.

I absolutely agree, ag can do better, but ag has been leading the way now for a couple decades actually.


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PostPosted: June 25 19, 7:39 am 
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An issue the Times article doesn't really address and that I'm not sure if there is an answer readily available is how do you calculate captured carbon. There are estimates, like trees will absorb 50 lbs of carbon a year. But, isn't some/most of that carbon released back into the atmosphere when the tree dies. And, it requires energy to plant that tree and transport it to where it will be planted, and to plant the seed and raise it to the point it can be planted. Obviously, you can get rid of some of that energy by having the farmers plant the seeds and use vegetation more efficient than trees. However, in Iowa as the Times focused on, are there not times when the ground is covered by snow for weeks/months on end that would kill any vegetation?

All in all, it's a cool idea but doesn't seem very pragmatic at this point.


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PostPosted: June 25 19, 8:03 am 
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After watching the series Chernobyl and kind of trying to read a bit more about nuclear energy, I have been meaning to start a thread in the Social forum to discuss. But, I was surprised at how much positive energy there is from the climate scientists towards nuclear because it releases little/no CO2 to make energy. Some arguments for nuclear that consistently come up are as follows:
1. It's the safest form of energy production according to the World Health Organization, British Medical Journal, etc by quite a bit. I think they say deaths are somewhere in the 0.04 people per Terawatt Hour of energy produced. Comparatively, coal is somewhere in the 150 deaths per TWH. Wind and solar are somewhere around 12, iirc.

2. Radiation is widely misunderstood and vilified. (Not sure I agree with this part) But, nuclear power plants release so little during normal operations it can be ignored. Obviously that's not the problem, it's the accidents that people worry about. This is where everyone will focus their attention; but climate scientists seem to pretty consistently argue that the risk, of which there is almost none (see point 1), are dwarfed by the rewards. One thing I found pretty interesting was that if the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that monitors radioactivity at nuclear plants was in charge of fossil fuel plants, all the fossil fuel plants would be shut down for emitting too much radiation.

3. There's a lot of discussion over my head about advanced technology, including molten salt reactors that use thorium (which has a much shorter decay time) and apparently are fail safe in their design. Apparently there was a commission 50 years ago or so that discovered this but for whatever reason the technology was ignored until somewhat recently. I think Bill Gates is pushing this technolgy in China and India or somewhere.

4. Regarding environmental impacts to wildlife, nuclear is the most condense footprint that kills/displaces the least amount of animals/habitat. Wind is killing birds of prey (owls, hawks, eagles, etc) Vast arrays of solar is displacing wildlife and typically occurs in undeveloped land where wildlife is plentiful.

5. Nuclear provides a base load that wind and solar simply can't and the ability to store energy (batteries) is woefully inefficient.

6. They all like to compare France (70% nuclear) to Germany (huge push to go renewable with wind and solar while phasing out nuclear which was only 20%) and note that France is emitting less CO2 while Germany despite hundreds of billions spent on renewables is emitting more CO2 (see point 5).

https://medium.com/third-way/france-ger ... b65090fc96

Quote:
Implemented in 2010, Germany’s Energiewende, or “energy transition” is a strategy to develop a low-carbon economy. The plan seeks to increase the use of carbon-free power by promoting wind and solar while simultaneously closing another carbon-free energy source: the nuclear plants that as recently as the early 2000s accounted for nearly 30% of German electricity generation. The result has been clear — more emissions and some of the highest electricity prices in Western Europe. After receiving roughly $220 billion in government incentives since 2010, Germany’s wind and solar generation has increased — just not nearly enough to fill-in the demand gap left by shuttered nuclear plants. Germany has turned to coal plants to keep the lights on, relying primarily on lignite, which is a particularly dirty and energy-inefficient form of coal.
By essentially replacing zero-carbon nuclear power with coal, German emissions actually increased in 2013, 2015, and 2016. Just last week, German leaders acknowledged that the nation will miss its 2020 emissions target by a wide margin and is several years behind schedule at best. Without the nuclear phase-out, Germany would have likely met or surpassed this target. In the end, Germany sacrificed its climate agenda in order to fulfill its anti-nuclear agenda.

France, like Germany, also experienced a surge in anti-nuclear sentiment following the 2011 Fukushima Daichi incident. After his election in 2017, French President Emmanuel Macron intended to scale back nuclear in his country to 50% by 2025 — by replacing nuclear power plants with wind and solar power. However, after assessing the impact of this action on emissions and electricity prices, it became clear that renewables could not be deployed fast enough to offset the rapid nuclear phase out in France. In fact, emissions would actually increase as natural gas plants provided electricity in the interim and electricity prices would go up to pay for their deployment. In response to these findings, France has extended phase out target dates to the 2030–2035 period to allow more time for the deployment of renewables required in its 2015 Energy Transition for Green Growth Act.


Which brings us back to the accidents and safety of nuclear power, a risk where I think there is a wide division between what the medical and scientific community has said and what general perception is.....but that's a post for another day and, frankly, much more difficult to write intelligently about and why I haven't posted this topic in Social.


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PostPosted: June 25 19, 9:23 am 
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AWvsCBsteeeerike3 wrote:
After watching the series Chernobyl and kind of trying to read a bit more about nuclear energy, I have been meaning to start a thread in the Social forum to discuss. But, I was surprised at how much positive energy there is from the climate scientists towards nuclear because it releases little/no CO2 to make energy. Some arguments for nuclear that consistently come up are as follows:
1. It's the safest form of energy production according to the World Health Organization, British Medical Journal, etc by quite a bit. I think they say deaths are somewhere in the 0.04 people per Terawatt Hour of energy produced. Comparatively, coal is somewhere in the 150 deaths per TWH. Wind and solar are somewhere around 12, iirc.

2. Radiation is widely misunderstood and vilified. (Not sure I agree with this part) But, nuclear power plants release so little during normal operations it can be ignored. Obviously that's not the problem, it's the accidents that people worry about. This is where everyone will focus their attention; but climate scientists seem to pretty consistently argue that the risk, of which there is almost none (see point 1), are dwarfed by the rewards. One thing I found pretty interesting was that if the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that monitors radioactivity at nuclear plants was in charge of fossil fuel plants, all the fossil fuel plants would be shut down for emitting too much radiation.

3. There's a lot of discussion over my head about advanced technology, including molten salt reactors that use thorium (which has a much shorter decay time) and apparently are fail safe in their design. Apparently there was a commission 50 years ago or so that discovered this but for whatever reason the technology was ignored until somewhat recently. I think Bill Gates is pushing this technolgy in China and India or somewhere.

4. Regarding environmental impacts to wildlife, nuclear is the most condense footprint that kills/displaces the least amount of animals/habitat. Wind is killing birds of prey (owls, hawks, eagles, etc) Vast arrays of solar is displacing wildlife and typically occurs in undeveloped land where wildlife is plentiful.

5. Nuclear provides a base load that wind and solar simply can't and the ability to store energy (batteries) is woefully inefficient.

6. They all like to compare France (70% nuclear) to Germany (huge push to go renewable with wind and solar while phasing out nuclear which was only 20%) and note that France is emitting less CO2 while Germany despite hundreds of billions spent on renewables is emitting more CO2 (see point 5).

https://medium.com/third-way/france-ger ... b65090fc96

Quote:
Implemented in 2010, Germany’s Energiewende, or “energy transition” is a strategy to develop a low-carbon economy. The plan seeks to increase the use of carbon-free power by promoting wind and solar while simultaneously closing another carbon-free energy source: the nuclear plants that as recently as the early 2000s accounted for nearly 30% of German electricity generation. The result has been clear — more emissions and some of the highest electricity prices in Western Europe. After receiving roughly $220 billion in government incentives since 2010, Germany’s wind and solar generation has increased — just not nearly enough to fill-in the demand gap left by shuttered nuclear plants. Germany has turned to coal plants to keep the lights on, relying primarily on lignite, which is a particularly dirty and energy-inefficient form of coal.
By essentially replacing zero-carbon nuclear power with coal, German emissions actually increased in 2013, 2015, and 2016. Just last week, German leaders acknowledged that the nation will miss its 2020 emissions target by a wide margin and is several years behind schedule at best. Without the nuclear phase-out, Germany would have likely met or surpassed this target. In the end, Germany sacrificed its climate agenda in order to fulfill its anti-nuclear agenda.

France, like Germany, also experienced a surge in anti-nuclear sentiment following the 2011 Fukushima Daichi incident. After his election in 2017, French President Emmanuel Macron intended to scale back nuclear in his country to 50% by 2025 — by replacing nuclear power plants with wind and solar power. However, after assessing the impact of this action on emissions and electricity prices, it became clear that renewables could not be deployed fast enough to offset the rapid nuclear phase out in France. In fact, emissions would actually increase as natural gas plants provided electricity in the interim and electricity prices would go up to pay for their deployment. In response to these findings, France has extended phase out target dates to the 2030–2035 period to allow more time for the deployment of renewables required in its 2015 Energy Transition for Green Growth Act.


Which brings us back to the accidents and safety of nuclear power, a risk where I think there is a wide division between what the medical and scientific community has said and what general perception is.....but that's a post for another day and, frankly, much more difficult to write intelligently about and why I haven't posted this topic in Social.

Great post, AW.
I was surprised to see Germany France steer away from nuclear energy, considering their space limitations for power generation and these facilities are already built. It probably costs [expletive] tons to decommission and make the former site safe.article about this process.

Doubtful we see new nuclear plants in western nations. They have a major physical footprint and the NIMBY factor. But as part of the energy mix -seems like it makes sense to keep/use/improve existing sites.

Personal Anectdote: the ugh factor for seeing nuclear power plant is big. Passing by Calloway plant while on MO river, sort of blights the view for many miles. Also one south of South Haven MI (Van Buren St Pk where we've camped) -big foot print.

Though come to think of it, I don't care for the Labadie mo coal plant smokestack, and whatever that is across and up from Alton. Proximity to waterways probably a necessity for various forms of power plants, but damn the aspect of major freshwater source pollution is scary

I type this from TVA hydroelectric central Chattanooga-which also has trade-offs physically (and aesthetically for people like me).

Lastly, good podcast series about tradeoffs in Canada hydroelectricity
http://outsideinradio.org/shows/powerlinepartone


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PostPosted: June 25 19, 9:51 am 
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One of my biggest pet peeves that has turned into a full on conspiracy theory of mine is when I read articles about co2 rates and there's an accompanying picture of a looming nuclear power plant. It's like they're trying to associate nuclear power with carbon emissions when nuclear power is just about the only thing we've done right post ww2 in regards to decreasing emissions.


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PostPosted: June 25 19, 10:25 am 
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thrill wrote:
One of my biggest pet peeves that has turned into a full on conspiracy theory of mine is when I read articles about co2 rates and there's an accompanying picture of a looming nuclear power plant. It's like they're trying to associate nuclear power with carbon emissions when nuclear power is just about the only thing we've done right post ww2 in regards to decreasing emissions.


The steam coming out of the cooling tower is impressive though. Doesn’t matter that it is water vapor.


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PostPosted: June 25 19, 10:32 am 
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thrill wrote:
One of my biggest pet peeves that has turned into a full on conspiracy theory of mine is when I read articles about co2 rates and there's an accompanying picture of a looming nuclear power plant. It's like they're trying to associate nuclear power with carbon emissions when nuclear power is just about the only thing we've done right post ww2 in regards to decreasing emissions.

The human race, as a whole, can be very stupid.

Not fun fact, I knew a couple people that lived directly across from the Sioux Power Plant that freed alluded to on the Mississippi in West Alton that died from cancer.


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