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Archive for the ‘environment’ Category

The obvious question that no one asked (Keystone XL)

Posted by Charles II on April 19, 2014

State Dept. Briefing, 4/18:

MODERATOR: Good afternoon. Thank you for joining us. Today [Senior State Department Official One] will provide an update on the application – the presidential permit application review for the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline. [The official] will be referred to as Senior State Department Official One from here on out. We are also joined by [Senior State Department Official Two], who will be referred to as Senior State Department Official Number Two.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: Thank you very much. All of you have received a Media Note with the basic substance of the issue that we wanted to discuss today, so let me give some clarifying or complementary information.

Regarding the 2.5 million new public comments, they are indeed unprecedented. In response to the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement that the Department published in March of last year, we received 1.5 million comments. Usually on some form of a pipeline application there may be less than 100 comments. We are concentrating our resources to review the public comments that we receive. We are proceeding to ensure that we review those comments and appropriately reflect them in the draft Record of Decision, which will eventually result in recommendations.

As far as I can tell, the State Department did not list how the comments were running. But one can guess: despite the fact that a majority of Americans support the pipeline, almost certainly a majority of Americans who know what bitumen is are opposed. Fiercely. And so when the State Department says that they will “review and incorporate all of those,” they are lying.

And that would explain why two public officials, talking about a matter of public record, are so cowardly that they gave a press conference metaphorically from behind a curtain. A curtain provided for them by our free press.

Shame.

Posted in environment, Oil, State Department | Comments Off

Radically green

Posted by Charles II on January 22, 2014

Sydney Brownstone, Co-Exist

In the future, leather shoes won’t come from cows. They’ll be manifested out of petri dishes, or in green chemist Richard Wool’s vision, divined from chicken feathers, flax, and soybean oil.

Over the past two decades, Wool has figured out how to turn chicken feathers into computer processors and soybean oil into John Deere tractor parts. His latest project aims to capture the attention of catwalk watchers: Wool hopes to commercialize a new kind of breathable leather that’s made without the environmentally destructive chemicals.

The Blacksmith Institute, a nonprofit environmental think tank, regards pollution from leather tanneries in Hazaribagh, Bangladesh, as one of the top toxic threats in the world.

Posted in environment, Good Things | 1 Comment »

America’s Secret Fukushima: Abandoned Uranium Mines

Posted by Charles II on June 5, 2013

Margaret Flowers [of healthcare reform fame] and Kevin Zeese:

Early in the morning of July 16, 1979, a 20-foot section of the earthen dam blocking the waste pool for the Church Rock Uranium Mill in New Mexico caved in and released 95 million gallons of highly acidic fluid containing 1,100 tons of radioactive material. The fluid and waste flowed into the nearby Puerco River, traveling 80 miles downstream, leaving toxic puddles and backing up local sewers along the way.

There are currently 1200 abandoned uranium mines in the Navajo Nation and 500 of them require reclamation. The greatest amount of radioactive contamination on Navajo land comes from solid waste called “tailings,” which sits in large open piles, some as tall as 70 feet high, and was incorporated into materials used to build homes. Dust from these piles of waste blows throughout the land causing widespread contamination.

Charmaine White Face of Defenders of the Black Hills describes the situation in the Great Sioux Nation as “America’s Chernobyl.”

As White Face explains, “In an area of the USA that has been called ‘the Bread Basket of the World,’ more than 40 years of mining have released radioactive polluted dust and water runoff from the hundreds of abandoned open pit uranium mines, processing sites, underground nuclear power stations and waste dumps. Our grain supplies and our livestock production in this area have used the water and have been exposed to the remainders of this mining. We may be seeing global affects, not just localized affects, to the years of uranium mining.”

As if this weren’t bad enough, fracking also releases radioactives into groundwater. Mike Ludwig, Truthout:

As hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” has boomed in Ohio, Pennsylvania and nearby states in recent years, waste wells in Ohio have absorbed millions of barrels of liquid waste from oil-and-gas drilling operations in the region. Environmentalists and other observers are now calling Ohio a “dumping ground” for the fracking industry. Drillers now want to dump potentially radioactive waste mud, drill cuttings and frack sand from fracking operations in municipal landfills in the state, and environmentalists are up in arms.

Fracking also produces solid wastes such as drill cuttings, rocks, mud, dirt and used frack sand. These wastes can also be contaminated with radioactive material, especially if they come from Pennsylvania, where the Marcellus Shale formation at the heart of a fracking boom is known to contain considerable levels of radium-226 and other material. A truck carrying fracking waste was recently turned away from a landfill in Pennsylvania after setting off radiation alarms.

Basically, what we did to Iraq, we have done to much of our nation. Uranium may be poisoning our food supply. It is certainly poisoning many of our citizens.

Posted in environment | Comments Off

The Iraq War is not over

Posted by Charles II on May 26, 2013

John Pilger, The Guardian:

The dust in Iraq rolls down the long roads that are the desert’s fingers. It gets in your eyes and nose and throat; it swirls in markets and school playgrounds, consuming children kicking a ball; and it carries, according to Dr Jawad Al-Ali, “the seeds of our death”. An internationally respected cancer specialist at the Sadr teaching hospital in Basra, Dr Ali told me that in 1999, and today his warning is irrefutable. “Before the Gulf war,” he said, “we had two or three cancer patients a month. Now we have 30 to 35 dying every month. Our studies indicate that 40 to 48% of the population in this area will get cancer: in five years’ time to begin with, then long after. That’s almost half the population. Most of my own family have it, and we have no history of the disease. It is like Chernobyl here; the genetic effects are new to us; the mushrooms grow huge; even the grapes in my garden have mutated and can’t be eaten.”

Along the corridor, Dr Ginan Ghalib Hassen, a paediatrician, kept a photo album of the children she was trying to save. Many had neuroblastoma. “Before the war, we saw only one case of this unusual tumour in two years,” she said. “Now we have many cases, mostly with no family history. I have studied what happened in Hiroshima. The sudden increase of such congenital malformations is the same.”

A WHO report, the result of a landmark study conducted with the Iraqi ministry of health, has been “delayed”. Covering 10,800 households, it contains “damning evidence”, says a ministry official and, according to one of its researchers, remains “top secret”. The report says birth defects have risen to a “crisis” right across Iraqi society where depleted uranium and other toxic heavy metals were used by the US and Britain.

Posted in environment, Iraq war | 1 Comment »

The Koch’s coke

Posted by Charles II on May 17, 2013

A belated tip of the hat to Quentin Compson at Eschaton.

What is wrong with this picture? A major American city is becoming a dumping ground for toxic waste. Ian Austen, NYT:

WINDSOR, Ontario — Assumption Park gives residents of this city lovely views of the Ambassador Bridge and the Detroit skyline. Lately they’ve been treated to another sight: a three-story pile of petroleum coke covering an entire city block on the other side of the Detroit River.

Detroit’s ever-growing black mountain is the unloved, unwanted and long overlooked byproduct of Canada’s oil sands boom.

And no one knows quite what to do about it, except Koch Carbon, which owns it.

Coke, which is mainly carbon, is an essential ingredient in steelmaking as well as producing the electrical anodes used to make aluminum.

While there is high demand from both those industries, the small grains and high sulfur content of this petroleum coke make it largely unusable for those purposes, said Kerry Satterthwaite, a petroleum coke analyst at Roskill Information Services, a commodities analysis company based in London.

“It is worse than a byproduct,” Ms. Satterthwaite said.“It’s a waste byproduct that is costly and inconvenient to store, but effectively costs nothing to produce.”

and coincidentally, Detroit has been deprived of its municipal government by the emergency manager.

Posted in environment, koch brothers, Michigan, Oil | 4 Comments »

Scoring the Media on Coverage of the West Fertilizer Explosion

Posted by Charles II on April 28, 2013

All roads lead to Charles and David.

Hugh Kaufman of the EPA in an interview with FAIR

HK: I think the worst [coverage] was the New York Times. The New York Times claimed that the company notified EPA that they had 270 tons of this explosive ammonium nitrate, but they did not notify EPA of that. In fact, they told EPA that the facility posed no fire or explosion hazard. The New York Times did not say that, and I think that’s probably the biggest problem.

Interestingly, Texas is a Republican state — a red state — and in fact, many of the leaders want to secede from the union, and they despise EPA — they want the EPA abolished. And yet the Republican newspaper, the Dallas Morning News, has probably has the best environmental coverage of the case, which makes it very ironic to me.

CS: You also pointed to Reuters.

HK: Reuters did a piece where they implied and stated that EPA and OSHA do not have authority to regulate the facility or this ammonium nitrate, and that’s totally false. Again, you have the Reuters and the New York Times taking the public off the scent. Of course, MSNBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, Fox — none of the cable channels are covering the details. The only cable channel I’ve seen that mentioned the fact that this is law-breaking and they lied to EPA was on the Young Turks on YouTube.

CS: I think it’s still on Current TV too.

HK: Is it still on Current, yeah? And the Wall Street Journal has done very good coverage too. So you’ve got the Wall Street Journal on the right, Dallas Morning News on the right and Current on the left, doing the good coverage, and everybody in the middle doing no coverage or bad coverage. By the way, MSNBC did one good thing. They put on their website the sheet the company gave to the state of Texas that identified they did have 270 tons of the explosive material, so that was a good thing.

HK: Reuters did a piece where they implied and stated that EPA and OSHA do not have authority to regulate the facility or this ammonium nitrate, and that’s totally false. Again, you have the Reuters and the New York Times taking the public off the scent. Of course, MSNBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, Fox — none of the cable channels are covering the details. The only cable channel I’ve seen that mentioned the fact that this is law-breaking and they lied to EPA was on the Young Turks on YouTube.

CS: I think it’s still on Current TV too.

HK: … You know who the largest owner of fertilizer business in the world is?

CS: I think you’re going to tell me.

HK: The Koch brothers.

These are the guys who want to buy the LAT and the Chicago Trib, so that their voice can be heard.

Posted in corruption, environment, impunity, koch brothers | 1 Comment »

The de-leading of America

Posted by Charles II on January 3, 2013

Via Atrios, an article by Kevin Drum, MoJo.

The key takeaway:

A followup is here.

Posted in crimes, environment, science and medicine | 9 Comments »

Reckless geoengineering/profiteering

Posted by Charles II on October 17, 2012

Martin Lukacs, The Guardian

As controversy mounts over the Guardian’s revelations that an American businessman [Russ George] conducted a massive ocean fertilisation test, dumping around 100 tonnes of iron sulphate off Canada’s coast, it has emerged the Canadian government may have known about the geoengineering scheme and not stopped it.

The news combined, with Canadian obstructionism in negotiations over geoengineering at a United Nations biodiversity meeting in Hyderabad, India, has angered international civil society groups…

Why would anyone do such a thing? For money, of course. Martin Lukacs:

A controversial American businessman dumped around 100 tonnes of iron sulphate into the Pacific Ocean as part of a geoengineering scheme off the west coast of Canada in July, a Guardian investigation can reveal.

Lawyers, environmentalists and civil society groups are calling it a “blatant violation” of two international moratoria and the news is likely to spark outrage at a United Nations environmental summit taking place in India this week.

Satellite images appear to confirm the claim by Californian Russ George that the iron has spawned an artificial plankton bloom as large as 10,000 square kilometres. The intention is for the plankton to absorb carbon dioxide and then sink to the ocean bed – a geoengineering technique known as ocean fertilisation that he hopes will net lucrative carbon credits.

Scientists are debating whether iron fertilisation can lock carbon into the deep ocean over the long term, and have raised concerns that it can irreparably harm ocean ecosystems, produce toxic tides and lifeless waters, and worsen ocean acidification and global warming.

Hell is not hot enough.

Posted in capitalism as cancer, crimes, environment | 3 Comments »

Oops

Posted by Charles II on June 22, 2012

Abraham Lustgarten, ProPublica:

Over the past several decades, U.S. industries have injected more than 30 trillion gallons of toxic liquid deep into the earth, using broad expanses of the nation’s geology as an invisible dumping ground.

No company would be allowed to pour such dangerous chemicals into the rivers or onto the soil. But until recently, scientists and environmental officials have assumed that deep layers of rock beneath the earth would safely entomb the waste for millennia.

There are growing signs they were mistaken.

Posted in environment | 2 Comments »

“George W. Obama” a term of praise by global warming denialists?

Posted by Charles II on December 8, 2011

Ouch. That’s got to leave a mark. Democracy Now:

Democracy Now! caught up to Marc Morano, publisher of the Climate Depot, at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa. “They [the Obama administration] have kept the exact same principles and negotiating stance as President George Bush did for eight years,” Morano says. “Obama has carried on Bush’s legacy. So as skeptics, we tip our hat to President Obama in helping to crush and continuing to defeat the United Nations process. Obama has been a great friend of global warming skeptics at these conferences.”

Add to that the fact that Abigail Borah, who disrupted the plenary speech of US delegate Todd Stern by telling him that the US is the principal obstacle to effective negotiations got copious applause from the delegates, probably more than Stern got for his talk, plus the fact that the 12 big US environmental groups have said the same thing, and one can see that Obama is in serious trouble with his base.

Posted in environment, global warming, international | Comments Off

 
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