Inner City
        Press' Environmental Justice Reporter

         Click here for Inner City Press' weekday news reports, from the United Nations and elsewhere.   Click here to Search This Site

  ICP has published a (double) book about a variety of inner city-relevant topics, including racism, environmental and otherwise - click here for sample chapters, here for an interactive maphere for fast ordering and delivery, and here for other ordering information.   CBS MarketWatch of April 23, 2004, says the the novel has "some very funny moments," and that the non-fiction mixes "global statistics and first-person accounts."  The Washington Post of March 15, 2004, calls Predatory Bender: America in the Aughts "the first novel about predatory lending;" the London Times of April 15, 2004, "A Novel Approach," said it "has a cast of colorful characters."  See also, "City Lit: Roman a Klepto [Review of ‘Predatory Bender’]," by Matt Pacenza, City Limits, Sept.-Oct. 2004. The Pittsburgh City Paper says the 100-page afterword makes the "indispensable point that predatory lending is now being aggressively exported to the rest of the globe," and opines that that the "novel Predatory Bender: A Story of Subprime Finance may, in fact, be the first great American lending malfeasance novel" including "low-level loan sharks, class-action lawyers, corporate bigwigs, hired muscle, corrupt politicians, Iraq War veterans, Wall Street analysts, reporters and one watchdog with a Web site."  And environmental justice too!  Click here for that review; for or with more information, contact us.

May 25, 2015

Ok, we'll do a PSA: http://www2.epa.gov/communities

May 18, 2015

 President of the Philippines Benigno Aquino 3rd claims his government is seriously pursuing charges against the importer and customs agents who allowed the entry of hazardous wastes from Canada. Philippine-based importer Chronic Plastics for smuggling in the garbage, which was misdeclared as “plastic scraps” intended for recycling. Although he admitted that the waste shipment poses a risk to public health, Aquino said the trash will not be returned to Canada but will be incinerated or buried in a landfill. The illegal shipment is an international crime under the Basel Convention, to which Canada and the Philippines are parties.

May 11, 2015

ICP Asks UN Why Green Climate Fund Will Finance Coal, Of Pension Fund

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 5, more here -- When the UN's Assistant Secretary-General on Climate Change Janos Pasztor held a press conference on May 5, Inner City Press asked him about criticism of the Green Climate Fund, including at the recent Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Video here and embedded below.

  Specifically, why will the "Green" Climate Fund provide financial for coal-powered plants? Pasztor replied that some felt that an exclusion for coal would have been divisive. On statements at the PFII that the UN is helping to "monetize" nature, Pasztor replied that most states feel differently. But what about the indigenous?
  
  Pasztor in his opening statement had praised the UN Pension Fund for now investing in "green equities" and "green bonds." Since the UN has responded to Press questions about irregularities alleged at the Pension Fund by emphasizing how separate and independent it is, Inner City Press asked Pazstor if the UN Secretariat had brought about this Pension Fund decision.

 Pazstor replied that the Pension Fund answers to the Secretary General and that "she" - Carolyn Boykin, presumably - had made this decision. We'll have more on this, after noting Pasztor by no means the least responsive UN official...

May 4, 2015

This, we like: Bushwick Campus’ four high schools celebrated Earth Week with EcoStation:NY with tours of the Bushwick Campus Farm and Greenhouse, cooking demonstrations, food tastings, compost workshops, hydroponic and aquaponic workshops in the greenhouse as well as musical, dance and spoken word performances. “We wanted to see better food in the neighborhood,” said EcoStation:NY.

 So do we.

April 27, 2015

On Chevron: "Faced with endless legal costs, one of the plaintiffs’ funders, a lobbying firm and a technical consulting firm have jumped ship.

The government of Ecuador has not, despite the fact that Chevron reportedly lobbied successfully to terminate valuable trade preferences the country had in U.S. markets. Donzinger, who has devoted 20 years to this case, has been demonized in the media by Chevron’s unrelenting and lavishly financed public relations campaign. But he’s not giving up, nor are Amazon Watch, the Amazon Defense Coalition and other environmental groups that know that Chevron is guilty of a major environmental crime."

April 20, 2015

The Environmental Protection Agency is asking for public comment on the draft EJ 2020 Action Agenda (EJ 2020) framework, the EPA’s next overarching strategic plan for environmental justice.
EJ 2020 is a strategy to advance environmental justice through EPA’s programs, policies and activities, and will support the cross-agency strategy on making a visible difference in environmentally overburdened, underserved, and economically-distressed communities. Stakeholders and the general public can review the framework and submit comments, starting today through June 15, 2015, by visiting www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/ej2020/.

April 13, 2015

Seems Pope Francis is writing an encyclical in the run-up to the UN Climate Summit in September, and the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) to be held in Paris in December...

April 6, 2015

Including on EJ grounds, Sunset Park groups are raising concerns about Jamestown Properties' $1 billion dollar redevelopment and rezoning proposal for Industry City...

March 30, 2015

In Houston, 66 some to 200 Bakken oil train cars go through every week, per the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Chron. The rail lines that carry them run from northwest Houston right through downtown and then split into multiple tracks in the East End before reaching the Houston Ship Channel and refinery district. “Living in Houston is like sitting on top of an oil-train time-bomb, and all it takes is a drive along the freight-train tracks to see that.”

March 23, 2015

This, we like: the Environmental Justice atlas: https://ejatlas.org/

March 16, 2015

So today the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council, which advises the EPA, will hold a public meeting to discuss—among other rulemaking and policy issues—the Clean Power Plan rule...

March 9, 2015

The law: On December 29, 2014, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina held that the plaintiffs in a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act ("RCRA")/Clean Water Act (CWA) Citizens Suit against the owners and operator of a swine farm had the right to have the case tried before a jury. The case is North Carolina Environmental Justice Network, et al., v. Taylor, et al., 2014 WL 7384970. It is alleged that the defendants illegally dumped swine waste into the waters and onto the lands surrounding the swine farm. The defendants challenged the demand for a jury trial, and both sides argued that a 1987 Supreme Court decision, Tull v. U.S., 481 U. S. 412, supported their positions. After reviewing the Tull case and other precedents, the court held that the Tull decision, which discussed the right to a jury trial when the federal government was seeking civil penalties, was a Seventh Amendment right available to either side in a Citizen Suit case.

March 2, 2015

NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio's administration is promising to expand community outreach and agency participation in its April update to PlaNYC, a sprawling assessment of the city's infrastructure and detailed game plan for how New York will address climate change.The de Blasio administration will roll out the plan on April 22, Earth Day. We'll have more on this.

February 23, 2015

News from the border: Alamar Creek on Tijuana’s eastern side, "under a federal flood control project launched in 2011, the entire creek was to be turned into a concrete channel.Now, after a four-year campaign to preserve this small riparian corridor, local residents and environmental activists are celebrating partial success. Mexico’s National Water Commission, or Conagua, has agreed to work with them on an alternative channeling plan for a two-mile stretch of the creek."
February 16, 2015

Hey - the 20th Annual Summit on Environmental Law and Policy to be held on February 27-28th, 2015 at Tulane University Law School in New Orleans will have Grégor Trumel, Consul General of France -- “Appointed by decree of the President of the French Republic, Mr. Grégor Trumel (1975) assumed his duties of Consul General of France in New Orleans in August 2014. He previously was First Counsellor, Press Counsellor and Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of France in Denmark. Joining the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Le Quai d’Orsay) in 2000, Grégor Trumel focused his career on European diplomacy, especially during the Danish Presidency of the EU in 2012. He also specialized in Human Resources Management and was in charge in Paris of the Executives Management”...

February 9, 2015

We support the anti-fracking march through Oakland, this is needed elsewhere...

February 2, 2015

We note the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit’s August 2014 decision in Center for Community Action & Environmental Justice v. BNSF Railway holding that air emissions do not constitute a “disposal” under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)[3] because, as the definition is written, it does not specifically include “emitting,” and instead “includes only conduct that results in the placement of solid waste ‘into or on any land or water.’ That placement, in turn, must be ‘so that such solid waste . . . may enter the environment or be emitted into the air, or discharged into any waters.’ . . . [T]herefore ‘disposal’ occurs where the solid waste is first placed ‘into or on any land or water’ and is thereafter ‘emitted into the air....

January 26, 2015

VOCs in the Bronx: “The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) has determined that the cleanup requirements to address contamination related to the Former Nessen Lamps (aka PS 51X) site (“site”) located at 3200 Jerome Avenue in the Bronx under New York State's Brownfield Cleanup Program have been or will be met. The cleanup activities were performed by The Rinzler Family Limited Partnership ("Volunteer") with oversight provided by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). NYSDEC has approved a Final Engineering Report and issued a Certificate of Completion for the site.... Injection of chemical oxidant into the groundwater table to treat volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in groundwater (known as in-situ chemical oxidation); Construction and maintenance of a cover system consisting of the existing building slab and the restored building slab in all excavated areas...

January 19, 2015

In San Francisco, h/t Bay View: “We have sought and received input from the community and our partner, the city,” acknowledged Lennar San Francisco President Kofi Bonner in a statement cited by columnists Matier & Ross in the Chronicle. As a result, Bonner added, “Lennar intends to withdraw its request to implode the stadium.”

January 12, 2015

From the always excellent Grist:

For Brent Newell, legal director of the Oakland, Calif.-based Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment, progress has as much to do with historic civil rights as it does with present-day policies around regulating greenhouse gases:

During 2014, the intersection between climate change and environmental justice came to the forefront as Gina McCarthy advanced her most important rule and the centerpiece of President Obama’s climate policy: the Clean Power Plan. National progress on environmental justice in 2015 will ultimately be measured by what happens with the Clean Power Plan. Though EPA touted public health benefits in its media strategy, the proposed rule seeks to allow states to use pollution trading schemes like “cap and trade,” which allows power plants to avoid on-site pollution reductions by purchasing “offsets,” or pollution reductions from somewhere else (e.g. a tree planting operation in Brazil). EJ communities already suffer disproportionately from the effects of climate change, they should not also suffer from the impacts of climate policy. Whether environmental justice will progress at the national level in 2015 will depend on whether McCarthy will use her existing authority under the Clean Air Act and Civil Rights Act to protect communities. And also, whether the big green groups will change their positions by opposing cap and trade.”

January 5, 2015

In Pennsylvania, the Chester Residents Concerned for Quality Living sued the DEP under the Civil Rights Act. The U.S. Supreme Court dismissed the case in 1998. But the DEP created an Office of Environmental Advocate and developed policies on how to handle environmental justice areas. And now?

December 29, 2014

In Bayview Hunters Point in San Francisco, they're talking about blowing up Candlestick Park. But what about the particulate matter?

December 22, 2014

RIP to EJ hero Daymon Morgan, who served as chairperson of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth in 1990-91 and received the Berea College Service Award in 2010, was a plainspoken farmer and forester, who counted what he called "the true cost of coal" in lost drinking water, timber, wildlife habitat and plant species....

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2014/12/17/3599211/daymon-morgan-defender-of-kentuckys.html#storylink=cpy

December 15, 2014

 From Peru, this report: "The U.N. insists that all NGOs accredited to attend the talks clear any public actions ahead of time; if they don’t, the groups can be banned from the conference site and lose access to future U.N. summits. There are regulations governing what the groups can and can’t do, but the U.N. hasn’t been very forthcoming about them."  UN and censorship? We've seen it before, and will have more.

December 8, 2014

From Philly [.com] a profile of Betty Reid who still remembers the excitement from the late 1970s as she and her husband were moving into a newly built brick-and-siding rowhouse on a leafy, almost suburban street at the edge of Eastwick - the city's southwestern fringe, in the shadow of jumbo jets landing at nearby Philadelphia International Airport. The now-81-year-old retiree recalls a brochure for the new Eastwick community from the developer Korman Homes that showed kids playing and sliding down the steep hill in back of the development, pushing "how much fun it would be for the children." But it wasn't long after moving in that the Reids weren't able to open their window on a warm night because of the noxious odor of burning garbage - and they realized the fumes were coming from that hillside in the cheerful brochure, a disposal site that the locals called Heller's Dump but was officially known as the Clearview Landfill. (Today the southwest section of Eastwick encompassing the landfill is called simply Clearview.)

  That is environmental (in)justice...

December 1, 2014

In South Africa, “ArcelorMittal lost a court appeal to keep secret its environmental plans for an area polluted by the company’s biggest steel-producing plant. The Supreme Court of Appeal upheld a ruling that Amsa, as the unit of the world’s largest steelmaker is known, must hand over documents detailing its environmental-protection plan for the Vanderbijlpark plant in Gauteng.”

Secret environmental plans?

November 24, 2014

It's worth noting, from an environmental justice perspective, that US EPA had a representative at the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) meeting in Geneva, and an October 7, 2014 meeting in Berkeley about environmental issues that will come up in the 2015 UPR...

November 17, 2014

In LA the Board of Supervisors has voted to have county attorneys evaluate options to force a shutdown of the Exide battery recycling plant in Vernon and the clean-up of contamination in nearby neighborhoods. In September, Brown signed a bill requiring the Department of Toxic Substances Control to either issue a permanent permit or shut the plant down by the end of 2015. The Exide plant has been closed since mid-March while management works to upgrade pollution controls and meet other regulatory requirements. State regulators announced an enforcement order last week that requires Exide to spend $9 million to clean up contamination in Boyle Heights and Maywood and set aside more than $38 million to cover the cost of potentially closing the plant. Regulators said today the $9 million will be enough to pay to clean up 215 homes and that the order is binding, even if Exide is liquidated...

November 10, 2014

In Ecuador, activists are urging Roberta Jacobson from the U.S. State Department to demand Chevron “abide by the rule of law and pay its $9.5 billion Ecuador pollution liability when she makes a surprise visit to the Andean nation’s capital this week. The villagers are also demanding that the official,, reject the State Department’s longstanding practice of lobbying top Ecuadorian government officials on Chevron’s behalf, said Pablo Fajardo, the lead lawyer for dozens of rainforest communities who won the judgment against the oil company. Jacobsen is the Assistant Secretary of State overseeing U.S. foreign policy in the Western Hemisphere.”

November 3, 2014

Look - a group in Williamsburg, Brooklyn is seeking “unpaid interns to assist their Environmental Community Organizer with implementing a NYSDEC Environmental Justice grant.” Who does this exclude?

October 27, 2014

Looking south: "According to a new ranking published by the Environmental Justice Atlas, Peru is the tenth most environmentally conflicted country in the world.India, with 112 conflicts, far outpaces even the second-place country, Colombia, where there are 72 environmental conflicts. Rounding out the top ten are Brazil and Nigeria with 58, Ecuador with 48, Turkey with 45, the United States with 34, Spain with 33, Argentina with 32, and Peru with 31. Chile is close behind in 11th place, with 30 conflicts recorded by the Environmental Justice Atlas." We'll have more on this.

October 20, 2014

 This week: illegal fishing: "EU to ban fish from Sri Lanka, saying lax on illegal fishing

The European Commission proposed a ban on imports of fish from Sri Lanka for not tackling illegal fishing properly.. 'Our policy of resolute cooperation is yielding results,' EU Maritime Affairs Commissioner Maria Damanaki said in a statement. 'Five countries receive today our appreciation for getting serious on illegal fishing. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for Sri Lanka.' Since 2010 the EU has taken action against countries that do not follow international standards to prevent over-fishing, such as policing their waters for unlicensed fishing vessels and imposing sanctions to ensure adherence to rules against illegal fishing. Damanaki said Sri Lanka did not even have proper legislation in place to prevent and fight illegal fishing, which led the Commission to put forward the import ban."

 But what about the EU's fishing off of Western Sahara? We'll have more on this.


October 13, 2014

In Connecticut last week in a 17-1 vote with the presence of Mayor Bill Finch, the Bridgeport City Council overwhelmingly approved a resolution calling for the "retirement" of the Bridgeport Harbor Station coal plant...

October 6, 2014

So far, the Obama administration continues to allow the fossil fuel industry to undermine efforts to address climate change by mining and drilling for coal, oil, and gas from our public lands and waters, unlocking huge quantities of carbon pollution,” says Greenpeace USA...

September 29, 2014

At People's Climate March, Bronx Floats & BofA Ban Ki-moon, UN's 2bl Game

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 21, more here -- When the People's Climate March assembled at Manhattan's Columbus Circle on September 21, there were anti-corporate puppets in front of the Trump International Hotel and Tower, speeches by coal miners and from the Marshall Islands.

   Many called on the UN to do better. But UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon joined the march mid-way, at Radio City Musical Hall with New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. Senator Chuck Schumer was on hand, walking by a Bronx contingent chanting how Fresh Direct has broken its promises.

  Inner City Press' 90 second video of the march is here.

  The UN's or "BKM" (Ban Ki-moon) Climate Summit will feature Cargill and Walmart, Credit Agricole and Bank of America. The last of these is the first, in terms of funding mountain top coal removal. These are the contradiction. Inner City Press tweeted photos on @InnerCityPress. More to follow.

  The night before the People's Climate March, the UN buildings on First Avenue lit up with photos and footage of trees and fish and written messages. It is called "illUmiNations." Inner City Press video here.

September 22, 2014

For People's Climate March, UN a Backdrop for Corporations, illUmiNations

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 20 -- The night before the People's Climate March, the UN buildings on First Avenue will be lit up with photos and footage of trees and fish and, it seems, written messages. It is called "illUmiNations."

Photo: Closer-up of #ClimateMarch message pre-screened on #UN: the currency is not money, it's life pic.twitter.com/Nhn1m1gfgK

— Inner City Press (@innercitypress) September 20, 2014

Photo: at #UN, late night preview / trial of #ClimateMarch messages in advance of illumiNATIONS pic.twitter.com/Owxcrt1iEB

— Inner City Press (@innercitypress) September 20, 2014

   Inner City Press late on September 19, after covering the Ukraine, Iraq, Ebola and Iran nuclear meetings inside the UN, went out and found a sort of trial run for the screening taking place on First Avenue, already lined with NYPD cement blocks. Photo here.

Photo: also at #UN, along with #ClimateMarch messages: huge #NYPD cement blocks. #UNlearningFear pic.twitter.com/C67dfiRv7I

— Inner City Press (@innercitypress) September 20, 2014

   Looking back at the UN's press release for the upcoming "VIP Press Screening" -- hard to know how they could exclude non-VIPs from it, or why they would want to -- there were laudatory quotes about UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and:

Obscura Digital has staged similar large-scale architectural mapping projection events on the Sydney Opera House, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. For examples of previous work, please visit the following link http://wdrv.it/1tx7Emd.

 In that video compilation, well worth watching, there are also corporate projects for Coca-Cola and YouTube owned by Google, with history at the UN.

  A message Inner City Press photographed on September 19, here,  was "In nature's economy, the currency is not money but life." Is this true of Coca-Cola?

   There are questions about the UN's UNcritical approach to corporations and corporate "partnerships."

   In the run up to the UN's September 23 Climate Summit, the UN put out a media advisory promoting the participation of 14 corporations ranging from Saudi Aramco through Cargill, McDonald's and Walmart to Bank of America and Credit Agricole.

  Inner City Press on September 16 asked Summit promoter Robert Orr how these 14 were selected for listing in the media advisory, and if the UN had reviewed their wider record. For example, the recent court decision involving Cargill and child slavery in Cote d'Ivoire, or Saudi Aramco not allowing employees in Saudi Arabia to protest.

   Orr mentioned a luncheon during the summit about carbon pricing and the UN Global Compact, a branch of the UN which repeatedly says it does not enforce substantive standards, only encourages reporting and dialogue.  Well, Saudi Aramco did not respond to the complaint about “employees allegedly dismissed after being detained for participation in civil rights protests in Saudi Arabia.”

   And what of the environment? Bank of America has been the number one funder of mountain-top removal coal mining, but Ban Ki-moon made it chairman the chief of his Sustainable Energy for All initiative.

  On behalf of the Free UN Coalition for Access, Inner City Press asked that those making commitments, like the 14 corporations named, hold question and answer sessions during the summit. We'll see.

September 15, 2014

A new study of Northern Indiana's Gary, East Chicago and Hammond says they have the highest concentration of heavy industrial activity than anywhere else in the state: worst air quality and highly contaminated waters and elevated cancer and asthma rate...

September 8, 2014

In Malaysia, Natalie Lowrey was stopped by immigration department officials at KLIA on grounds she was blacklisted from entering Malaysia. She was not told of the reason for her being blacklisted and was sent back to Bali where she flew in from. Lowrey is an Australia-based environmental justice activist who has been campaigning for the closure of Australian company, Lynas Corporation Ltd’s rare earth plant in Kuantan, Pahang...

September 1, 2014

In a SeafoodSource.com webinar a month ago, Daniel Murphy of the Environmental Justice Foundation said half of Thai seafood workers have reported seeing murder on the job and worker suicide is not uncommon. TruthOut: the US imports 90 percent of the seafood it consumes. Most comes from Asia. China is the largest supplier of tilapia to the United States. Vietnam is our nation's largest supplier of the cheap, white fish pangasius (basa, tra and swai) and Thailand is a major supplier of shrimp, as is Malaysia. Asia-Pacific nations reap $52 billion in illegal profits each year from forced labor in the private sector, says the ILO. Some in Congress are raising questions about the human rights and economic impacts of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership regional free trade agreement...

August 25, 2014

Restriction on environmental documents we disagree with :

U.S. District Judge Phil Gilbert of Benton properly blocked the access of environmental groups to irrelevant documents that St. Louis lawyer Stephen Tillery filed in a suit against Syngenta Corporation, Seventh District judges ruled on Aug. 20.

They affirmed Gilbert’s decision to preserve seals on documents that Tillery had not cited in his pleadings.

Chief Justice Diane Wood wrote that Gilbert “explicitly declined to consider them after plaintiffs failed to offer a justification for their filing.”

The public has no right to access these documents, which cannot conceivably aid the understanding of judicial decision making,” Wood wrote

She wrote that “the presumption of public access turns on what the judge did, not on what the parties filed.”

The civil suit itself ended two years ago, after Tillery and Syngenta settled it for $105 million.”

Bogus...

August 18, 2014

So the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals today struck down an illegal permit that would have allowed Avenal Power to build a new gas-fired power plant in Avenal, California..

August 11, 2014

Environmental Protection Agency’s new policy on working with Native American tribes became official on July 24, as the Policy on Environmental Justice for Working with Federally Recognized Tribes and Indigenous Peoples.

August 4, 2014

Get ready: The People’s Climate March — scheduled for September 21 — will occur in NYC two days before the United Nations summit; it was discussed at a Times Square press conference last week. We'll have more on this.

July 28, 2014

So EPA has released a “preview of its Request for Information (RFI) on revisions to its Risk Management Program, which tracks information and requires disaster prevention plans from potentially risky chemical facilities. The request represents the next step in the federal process to improve the safety of our nation's chemical plants,” here.

July 21, 2014

Chicago's “data portal is great, but by no means comprehensive, especially in certain areas. Since GreenScore was released to the public at the beginning of the month, Greenhaw said, community groups have been contacting him to complain that it misses a few resources, particularly community gardens that aren't in the city's official list.”

July 14, 2014

In California, air quality regulators have reached an agreement with Exide Technologies that would bar its battery recycling plant in Vernon from resuming operations until it installs new controls on arsenic emissions that pose a health risk to surrounding communities. The South Coast Air Quality Management District is asking its hearing board this week to approve two enforcement actions that have been agreed to by Exide, one of the world’s largest battery recyclers.

July 7, 2014

Ohio residents have filed a complaint with the Environmental Protection Agency against the Kovach enhanced recovery injection well at 9795-9899 Coit Road in Mantua, Shalersville Township. The complaint states that the well has received millions of gallons of waste illegally for years, and asks for an immediate “cease and desist” order to stop further dumping, stating that “injection wells are dumps for oil and gas hazardous waste.”

June 30, 2014

From New Mexico: A draft environmental review of the Four Corners Power Plant and Navajo Mine Energy Project ignores the devastating danger it poses to the climate, people and wildlife, according to comments submitted by environmental groups. The “draft environmental impact statement” for the project, located on Navajo Nation land in northwestern New Mexico, is also riddled with significant flaws and ignores any possibility of shutting down the plant, one of the most polluting in the United States, in favor of cleaner energy.

June 23, 2014

The new bill that passed the NY State Senate Wednesday would direct the New York State Department of Health to study and prepare a plan for dealing with the high incidents of asthma in the Bronx. It now moves to the State Assembly for a vote...

June 16, 2014

In Wasco, California, a local ordinance has approved the expansion of a railroad coal depot next to a Latino neighborhood. The terminal would receive 1.5 million tons of coal annually for a proposed coal-powered plant known as Hydrogen Energy California in neighboring Kern County...

June 9, 2014

This, we like: in Troy, NY “members of the community are transforming the neighborhood one lot at a time. NATURE Lab stands, loosely, for North Troy Art, Technology, Urban Research and Ecology, which suggests the range of activities going on here. At this point, it's not a literal laboratory — although there are plans for that — but a collection of projects such as Collard City Growers, a garden and composting project on a vacant lot on the block.” Right on.

June 2, 2014

The lead California and federal agencies for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels just announced that the public comment period for the draft plan and BDCP draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement has been extended, from June 13 to July 29. The agencies have released the draft Implementing Agreement for the BDCP. The agreement is available here: http://baydeltaconservationplan.com/Libraries/Dynamic_Document_Library/Draft_Implementing_Agreement_5-30-14.sflb.ashx

May 26, 2014

Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice is involved in “blight-removal work” and wants “to make certain that demolition strategies address the dangers of dealing with dust from lead paint.” Hmm.

May 19, 2014

 The nurses’ union had joined residents marching miles from the petcoke piles to the BP oil refinery in Whiting, Indiana, that produces most of the petcoke stored in Chicago. And they will be with the struggle for the long haul, they said, in keeping with their national opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline and the growth of tar sands refining – which produces large amounts of the waste material...

May 12, 2014

Using EPA data and U.S. Census information, we found that populations near facilities – who live every day in danger – have lower average incomes and are more likely to be Black or Latino than the population of the whole U.S,” says Paul Orum, co-author of the report by EJHA, CEG, and Coming Clean.

May 5, 2014

Gina McCarthy of EPA said, "EPA engineers and scientists have found a way to develop and analyze data from inexpensive fence-line air monitoring technology, giving us the potential to provide much more up to date data. These data help us and our industries ensure compliance. And more importantly, they help families living in the shadow of large industries sleep better at night. That's what I call environmental justice. Does that mean we don't need EPA boots on the ground? No way. But it does mean that electronic data and new technologies expand our ability to hold polluters accountable, and to engage more diverse communities in our collective effort to protect public health and the environment."

April 28, 2014

Chevron Corp. plans to run higher- sulfur Alaskan and Middle Eastern crudes when it completes work at Northern California’s largest refinery in 2016, not Bakken oil... Richmond imports mostly light, sour crudes from Saudi Arabia, government data show. It will use the same sources after the work, Barber said. The U.S. supplied 86 percent of its own energy needs last year as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, unlocked supplies from shale formations such as North Dakota’s Bakken and Texas’s Eagle Ford. Imports also climbed from Canada’s tar sands.

April 21, 2014

Now Lisa Garcia, previously of NY then EPA, is going to Earthjustice....

April 14, 2014

  Over 20,000 people submitted comments in response to action alerts by public interest, labor, environmental justice and environmental organizations calling for the federal government to require facilities to use safer chemicals...

April 7, 2014

Here's a question: what are the environmental justice implications of moving the auto shops from Queens to Hunts Point in the South Bronx? The City says, "the relocation of the Sunrise Co-op to their new facility is an as-of-right transaction between two private parties." But what about EJ? Watch this site.

March 31, 2014

In Cali, "environmental justice groups have filed a federal lawsuit against the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and energy company Kinder Morgan after learning that the company has quietly been receiving crude oil by rail at its Richmond facility with the district's approval."

March 24, 2014

Lead paint in Sri Lanka: 97 paint samples from 57 brands were analyzed. Key Nation findings include:

59 of the 94 (63%) paints analyzed had lead levels above 90 parts per million (ppm) and would not be permitted for sale in most industrialized countries. Overall, more than three-quarters of the paints analyzed in all seven countries had lead levels above 90 ppm.

24 of 94 samples (25%) contained extremely dangerous levels of lead above 10,000 ppm. Overall, at least a quarter of all paints from all countries had lead content above 10,000 ppm.

Overall, brightly colored paints (green, red and yellow) contained the highest lead levels.

Some of the major paint brands that had high levels of lead in previously conducted studies in these same countries now have levels below 90 ppm.

Paints with low levels of lead were available in all markets at prices comparable to the leaded products, suggesting that the technology exists to produce cost effective, lead-safe products.

None of the paint cans containing lead stated this on the label or explained the hazards associated with lead.



March 17, 2014

Now Albany, NY County Executive Dan McCoy has halted the expansion of crude oil processing at the Hudson River Port of Albany, hub for rail shipments of volatile North Dakota crude to coastal refineries in the last two years. The order requires a health impact study by the county before Mass.-based Global Partners is permitted to add facilities to heat rail cars to liquefy thick crude like that mined in western Canada's tar sands.

March 10, 2014

Thou doth protest too much? The EPA's Gina McCarthy on March 3 defended the Obama administration's record on environmental justice, saying that new vehicle-emission limits will raise the standard of living for residents of heavily trafficked areas. "Millions of Americans still suffer from the health impacts of poor air quality, especially those in urban areas along high-traffic corridors," McCarthy said during a press call. "By reducing these pollutants we're really addressing an environmental-justice issue. Communities that live near major roadways often live, work, and play right along that roadway, and they're disproportionately harmed by air pollution."

March 3, 2014

In the US Congress, Progressive Caucus Cochairs Keith Ellison and Raul Grijalva have requested in a letter to be sent to Obama "that the Climate Action Plan explicitly address the unique environmental justice concerns of low-income, minority, indigenous, and Native American communities across the country... Climate change compounds existing inequities. Droughts, floods, wildfires, and extreme weather events increase the vulnerability of people living in areas with limited climate resiliency—communities with poor air quality, unsafe housing, and insufficient resources to plan, prepare and recover from extreme weather."

February 24, 2014

Buffalo-ed: The US General Services Administration is under fire for quashing an August 2012 investigation into the high childhood asthma rate in Buffalo’s West Side, while also conducting a cursory environmental review of a Peace Bridge project. We're following this, as we are Buffalo based M&T and its branch closing plans. Environmental justice and CRA: two sides of the same coin of injustice.

February 17, 2014

In Texas, a protest at Port San Antonio about neighborhood health, environmental and safety concerns they say stem from the increased truck traffic serving the Eagle Ford Shale energy boom. Formerly the Kelly AFB, the inland port and its clients have become a focal point for residents and environmental justice activists who want to keep the trucks out of neighborhoods in the Quintana Road area...

February 10, 2014

In Albany, NY, the state DEC reversed itself and will now make owners of a crude oil terminal seeking to expand at the Port of Albany prepare a way of the predominantly poor and minority South End neighborhood of the plans...

February 3, 2014

Speaking on EJ at Bowdoin on Feb 8 is Angela Park of Diversity Matters (soon to be Mission Critical)...

January 27, 2014

In the city fighting for eminent domain to save under-water mortgaged homes: In August 2012, the Chevron Richmond Refinery in Richmond, California suffered a fire that sent upwards of 15,000 residents to local hospitals complaining of respiratory problems. If the fire had spread to the tanks of anhydrous ammonia at the plant, it could have spelled catastrophe, including potentially fatal exposures, for the 160,000 people who live within the five-mile dispersion zone surrounding the facility....

January 20, 2014

This week: abuse in Bangladesh's shrimp industry: http://www.ejfoundation.org/shrimp/impossiblycheapfilm

January 13, 2014

West Virginia: "a 48,000-gallon storage tank, Tom Aluise, a spokesman for West Virginia’s department of environmental protection, said, 'all we know is that they discovered a hole in the tank, and material was leaking. How that hole got there, we don’t know. The Freedom Industries plant is on the river, a mile from a water treatment facility where the chemical contaminated the tap water, Aluise said. It wasn’t clear how much of the chemical had leaked...

January 6, 2014

While Inner City Press is also focused on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement's threat to globalize the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act circumvention of freedom of the press, exemplified by a August 14, 2013 bad faith DMCA complaint by Reuters UN bureau chief to get a document leaked to Inner City Press banned from Google's search, TPP presents major threats to environmental protection. Bills to allow it to be considered under "Fast Track" may be introduced as early as January 7 in Congress. Watch this site.

December 30, 2013

In The Bronx, New York, 753 Melrose Avenue: "The site was historically operated as a dry cleaner in the 1950's, and had solvent tanks in the rear of the property. Soil vapor and groundwater at the site are contaminated with chlorinated solvents, primarily tetrachloroethene (PCE) and its breakdown products. Due to the concentrations of PCE detected in groundwater and soil vapor, in conjunction with the proximity of occupied buildings to the site, further investigation to evaluate the nature and extent of contamination and the potential for exposures to contamination from the site is warranted."

December 23, 2013

Critique of Obama's climate plan - it should

"Establish a policy that requires all climate change strategies to improve the economic conditions of environmental justice communities. Environmental justice communities suffer a wealth gap as a result of limited economic opportunities, lowered property values, and a degraded quality of life brought on by undesirable land uses that contribute to climate change. This wealth gap sets back the capacity of environmental justice communities to recover from the effects of climate change."

December 16, 2013

In Texas an agreement with Koch Industries’ Flint Hills Resources concerning its planned expansion at its Corpus Christi West Refinery has the company:

reducing the permitted limits of smog-causing nitrogen oxides by 25 percent and install continuous real-time monitors to ensure these limits are in compliance;

reducing volatile organic compound emissions from storage tanks by 154 tons per year;

reducing sulfur dioxide emissions;

and cap and monitor greenhouse gas emissions from new heaters that will be built as part of the expansion project.

We'll see.

December 9, 2013

At UNEP's United National Environmental Assembly next June in Nairobi, Kenya will be the policy director at Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice (DWEJ), who was in DC for UNEP’s North American Major Groups and Stakeholders Consultation to plan for the June event. US to UN - but is it real?

December 2, 2013

So there's been a settlement in the US Supreme Court case of "Mount Holly Citizens in Action v. Township of Mount Holly," which was scheduled for oral arguments before the Court in December. So disparate impact continues to be... the law of the land, as it should be.

November 25, 2013

In Warsaw, Amid Dispute on Loss & Damage, Ban Says It's Up to (Some?) States

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 20 -- After the developing countries in the Group of 77 walked out of the climate change talks in Warsaw on the issue of "loss and damage," Inner City Press on Wednesday in New York asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson Farhan Haq what Ban would like to see happen, since this along with Darfur now Syria are his main issues.

Haq replied that "the Secretary-General has made it clear that that’s an issue to be resolved by the States who are attending these talks. And we are leaving that decision there, in their hands."

  To some this approach seems strange. On Syria, when resolutions were vetoed Ban expressed disappointment. Before Ban even saw Ake Sellstrom's report on chemical weapons he called it overwhelming and said Assad had committed many crimes against humanity.

  After being nearly silent during the slaughter of 40,000 civilians in Sri Lanka in 2009, Ban has come out with, if not issued, a "Rights Up Front" plan which says his Secretariat will take leadership positions. But not on this?

  Some point at the smaller but more powerful -- read, richer -- roster of countries who don't want to deal with "loss and damage" before 2015, and wonder whether "the member states" means SOME member states.

  There was more to Haq's answer, and so in fairness we run this from the UN's transcript, cleaning up the choppiness the UN leaves or inserts we're told at direction to undermine the questions:

Inner City Press: From the climate talks in Warsaw it is reported that a block of developing nations are very angry and walking out due to the failure to address who should pay for damages like the typhoon in the Philippines under the loss and damage provision damage, and that Australia said it should only be discussed after 2015. Given the importance of this issue to so many countries and to the issue of climate change, does the Secretary-General have any view of whether this issue of compensation for damages caused by climate change should be dealt with now, or should be put back beyond 2015?

Acting Deputy Spokesperson Haq: Yes, while he has been speaking in Warsaw, the Secretary-General has made it clear that that’s an issue to be resolved by the States who are attending these talks. And we are leaving that decision there, in their hands.

But, he has been very clear about the need for nations to come together at these talks; he wants the Conference of Parties that is under way in Warsaw to be a useful stepping stone in this process.

And one of the things he said is I agree that we are all in this together. We need to work together. We need to be united and we need to have solidarity among all the people around the world.

No single country, no single organization, can address this problem on its own. Yet, every single country can benefit from climate action at the global level. So, he is urging a unified stance, and let’s see how that develops.

Yeah, let's see. Watch this site.

November 18, 2013

Dry eyes in the City : "Residents of major cities with high levels of air pollution have an increased risk of dry eye syndrome, according to a study presented at the world's largest ophthalmic conference, the 117th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, in New Orleans. Study subjects in and around Chicago and New York City were found to be three to four times more likely to be diagnosed with dry eye syndrome compared to less urban areas with relatively little air pollution."

November 11, 2013

California dreaming? Bakersfield, Merced and Fresno top the American Lung Association's list of cities with the most persistant air pollution in the country in 2013....

November 4, 2013

Mobil and Nigeria: Eket, Akwa Ibom State coincided with widespread community protests against the unpaid N26 Billion Naira compensation for the environmental atrocities committed by Mobil Producing Nigeria (MPN) Unlimited in the state. The aggrieved host communities: Eket, Ibeno, Ona and Esit-Eket are demanding compensation for the numerous oil spills within the state, especially the November 2012 spills which had destructive and deleterious effects on the environment and adversely affected the socio-economic development of the inhabitants of the areas of impact.

October 28, 2013

From Power Shift: In late 2010, Pittsburgh became the first city in the U.S. to ban drilling for natural gas within city limits in response to the health and environmental threats posed by fracking. This unanimous decision of the Pittsburgh City Council followed the May 2010 decision of the Delaware River Basin Commission to enact a moratorium on fracking within the basin, which supplies drinking water for 15 million people in four states.

October 21, 2013

Here's something those at Power Shift 2013 in Pittsburgh might want to consider:

When asked about fracking on Friday, the response of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon ignored the impacts on drinking water and instead said that "natural gas had an important role to play as we transition to lower-carbon sources."

The question by Inner City Press came in the context of Canadian authorities arresting and pepper spraying members of the Elsipogtog First Nation as they protested fracking. From the UN's online transcript of its October 18 noon briefing, to which it appended Ban's answer before sending the answer to Inner City Press:

Inner City Press: the Elsipogtog First Nation in Canada yesterday were arrested and pepper-sprayed as they protested fracking or shale gas extraction near their land. So, I wanted to know if the Secretariat is aware of this, if there is any comment on Canada's response. I also wanted to know, the Secretary-General, since he is big in this field of green energy and various kinds of energy, does he have any view of this fracking which many environmental and other activists say is destructive, trying to get the last rinds out of the earth in terms of hydrocarbons?

Spokesperson Martin Nesirky: Well, first of all, we are obviously aware of the reports from Canada, but I don’t have any comment on that at the moment. And with regard to the broader question of fracking, I will have to have to look and see what I can tell you on that, but I don’t have anything at the moment, okay.

If Ban's Spokesperson's office gets an answer in the hours after the noon briefing, they have been asked to e-mail it to the questioner, for use in the reporting the question was asked for. But often Nesirky's office chooses to withhold answers to Inner City Press' questions until they can be given to all at once, put in the transcript or sometimes even given to other media, not Inner City Press, before that. The Free UN Coalition for Access protests this practice, as applies to all correspondents. But it continues. After 8 pm on October 18, this arrived:

From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at] UN.org
Date: Fri, Oct 18, 2013 at 8:05 PM
Subject: Question
To: Matthew.Lee [at] innercitypress.com

This was added to today's transcript after your question on fracking:

[The Spokesperson later said that natural gas had an important role to play as we transition to lower-carbon sources but that we must be aware that it cannot meet all our needs. He added that we must ensure that development of gas resources should go hand in hand with promoting clean energy solutions.]

So that's Ban Ki-moon's answer on and understanding of fracking? It'd be like asking about animal cruelty in the industrial production of poultry, and Ban saying, chicken is good, but so are other future foods.

Ban heads to Denmark on October 21 to discuss green energy -- with institutional investors. Is this what the UN has become?

October 14, 2013

Now in South Korea: the arrival of illegally caught fish transported by a Dutch cargo that was recently detected. The illegal cargo of fish is to arrive in the Korean port of Busan in about three weeks’ time, where it will then be sold at the seafood market in Asia. Korean vessel Kum Woong 101 had conducted illegal fishing activities between the 18th and 19th of September,off the coast of Sierra Leone’s Inshore Exclusion Zone (IEZ), which is off limits to foreign fishing ships. The fish was then transferred on to a Dutch cargo boat, the Holland Klipper, off the coast of Guinea. So why doesn't the Netherlands prove if the Holland Klipper was involved in any illegal fishing activities and issue the appropriate sanctions? We'll see.

October 7, 2013

DN: The oil giant BP is back in court for the April 2010 accident that caused the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history, killing 11 workers and leaking almost five million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. On Monday, the second phase of the trial began with lawyers accusing the oil company of lying about how much oil was leaking..

September 30, 2013

Joan Martínez Alier, from the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, says these goals are best achieved by fostering collaboration on environmental health monitoring, legal strategies and evaluation of environmental services. "Academically, this project is pushing the field of statistical political ecology," explains Alier. "In social terms, it makes environmental conflicts more visible. Environmental justice is a major force in making the global economy more sustainable."

September 23, 2013

So: "We don’t need less regulation. Less regulation and looking the other way will give us disaster," said Dr. Robert Bullard at Texas Southern University where he’s the dean of the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs. "The environmental justice movement has been advocating for more than three decades we need stronger regulations, we need stronger enforcement, we need a strong EPA,” Bullard said... With the drilling boom in Texas and the expansion of refineries and petrochemical plants along the Gulf Coast, Bullard foresees more Texans becoming aware that there’s a potential downside...

September 16, 2013

In South Africa the High Court in Johannesburg has ordered steel giant ArcelorMittal SA to hand over its environmental records to the Vaal Environmental Justice Alliance. VEJA had been seeking the documents since 2011. The documents contained Amsa's environmental master plan, which had details about the pollution levels at its plants...

September 9, 2013

Here's a nice case: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/09/07/18742863.php against Avenal Power Plant, a proposed 600-megawatt facility that would emit hundreds of tons of air pollution in the San Joaquin Valley in California.

September 2, 2013

From the Bangkok Post: "A decision by the National Environment Board (NEB) not to appeal a Phitsanulok Administrative Court order _which called for three tambons in Tak province to be declared environmental protection zones...."

August 26, 2013

EPA's “Draft Technical Guidance for Assessing Environmental Justice in Regulatory Analysis,” is open for public comment until Sept 6, 2013. - See more at https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/07/01/2013-15736/technical-guidance-for-assessing-environmental-justice-in-regulatory-analysis

August 19, 2013

Is this environmental justice? The New York State DEC is "going paperless." Ok for some - but what about the digital divide?

August 12, 2013

Well, alright: Gina McCarthy, the new administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, said: “I have no intention of leaving behind the environmental justice communities. Those are exactly the same communities that will bear the brunt of a changing climate. We can't just rely on national rules to get the average up. We need to look at who is not winning in this equation." Come on down.

August 5, 2013

Sounds like a CRA officer: "Waste Management... published our 2012 sustainability report, we were able to show that operations associated with recycling and production of renewable and alternative energy increased from 49 percent in 2007 to 57 percent in 2011....This evolution in business focus reflects the importance of sustainability as a business model for our sector – and for any other. Customers seeking environmental services want to be able to demonstrate concrete environmental benefits and resource conservation. Communities know that a sustainable business operates as a good and respectful neighbor. Environmental justice must be a core element of any company’s social responsibility initiatives. --Sue Briggum is Vice President, Federal Public Affairs at Waste Management"

Is it real? We'll see.

July 29, 2013

Since the signing of Executive Order 12898 in 1994, many programs to improve communities focus on small issues like bike paths, parks and sidewalks, but we still plan to send hundreds of coal export trains through low income communities and site landfills in them. (Well said, Triple.) As Bullard says, “there is always the other side of the tracks” for the elderly, the poor, the disabled, the homeless and those without access to cars or to transit systems. Poor communities wind up with a “disproportionate share of the bad stuff and a shortage of libraries, sidewalks, parks and greenspace."

July 22, 2013

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on ways to improve access to justice in the field of the environment. Access to justice – the right to challenge decisions or omissions by public bodies that are suspected of not complying with environmental law – is an international obligation under a UN Convention ratified by the EU in 2005.Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik said: "It is very important that citizens and NGOs are able to play an active role in defending the environment. In the words of Advocate General Eleanor Sharpston: 'the fish cannot go to court.'"

They've got that right...

July 15, 2013

Advocates headed to Brussels hoping to end illegal and unreported fishing by the EU fleet, targetting Gabriel Mato MEP, Chairman of the European Parliament's Fisheries Committee, Struan Stevenson, Senior Vice Chair of the Fisheries Committee, and delivering their new report to the 49 members of the Fisheries Committee. EJF will present their findings to the Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Maria Damanaki's office and other key departments in the European Commission.

July 8, 2013

We recommend: environmental justice comic, Mayah's Lot -- download it here

July 1, 2013

In March 2014, it'll be the 20-year anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 12898, requiring the federal government to address “the environmental and human health conditions in minority communities and low-income communities with the goal of achieving environmental justice.” We'll be there.

June 24, 2013

Haze from fires in Indonesia blanketing Singapore could persist for weeks or longer, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Thursday, as the smoke drove air quality to "hazardous" levels and disrupted business and travel in the region. Illegal burning of forests and other land on Indonesia's Sumatra island to clear space for palm oil plantations is a chronic problem during the June to September dry season...

June 17, 2013

Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA Administrator is required to review and (if necessary) revise the emissions factors used to estimate emissions of carbon monoxide (CO), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) from emission sources at least once every three years. However, according to a notice of intent preceding a lawsuit, “EPA has not reviewed emission factors for flares since 1991,” for wastewater treatment systems since 1998, and emission equations for tanks since 2006.

June 10, 2013

Welcome to Buffalo’s West Side, where heavy car and truck traffic crossing the Peace Bridge has led to high rates of cancer and miscarriage, among other ill effects; and the Town of Tonawanda, where a heavily industrial section produces the highest levels of airborne benzene in the state and where Tonawanda Coke recently was found guilty of violating the federal Clean Air Act and its environmental control officer was convicted of obstructing justice. UB

June 3, 2013

In Lebanon, Suez Environnment has collaborated with contracting company, Al-Jihad for Commerce and Contracting to cover up the huge Siada dump site -- what could go wrong?

May 27, 2013

EPA has put out two publications describing how it is integrating environmental justice provisions into its permitting processes. 78 Fed. Reg. 27,220 (5/9/13). Titled “Actions that EPA Regional Offices Are Taking to Promote Meaningful Engagement in the Permitting Process by Overburdened Communities” and “Promising Practices for Permit Applicants Seeking EPA Issued Permits: Ways to Engage Neighboring Communities in the Permitting Process,” they're part of EPA’s “Plan EJ 2014,” which established the goal of including environmental justice considerations into all EPA issued permit processes. We'll see.

May 20, 2013

The owners of a Pennsylvania power plant -- GenOn Power Generation, GenOn REMA, and Dynegy –have agreed to stop burning coal in two generating units and to provide $1 million towards environmental mitigation in Connecticut and New Jersey as part of a clean air settlement outlined in a consent decree filed Wednesday, May 15 in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia. The settlement stems from a lawsuit filed by New Jersey in 2007 over the greenhouse gases sent downwind from the Portland Generating Station in eastern Pennsylvania. Connecticut intervened in the lawsuit in 2008.

May 13, 2013

The Los Angeles City Council has approved BNSF’s Southern California International Gateway railyard project, 11-2. Uh, disproportionate impacts on low income communities of color...

May 6, 2013

Community groups in Texas and Louisiana have sued to force the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to review archaic and inaccurate formulas used for reporting the levels of toxic emissions from refineries and chemical plants.

April 29, 2013

Manchester, a Houston neighborhoods, is ringed a Rhodia chemical plant; a car crushing facility; a water treatment plant; a train yard for hazardous cargo; a Goodyear synthetic rubber plant; oil refineries belonging to Lyondell Basell, Valero, and Texas Petro-Chemicals... The refineries around Houston have been called the “keystone to Keystone” because they’re expected to process 90 percent of tar sands crude from Alberta if the controversial Keystone XL pipeline is completed....

April 22, 2013

EJ comes to Buffalo: SUNY Buffalo Law School is hosting a housing seminar at the end of the month about sustainable living. "Green and Healthy Homes and Communities in Greater Buffalo: An Environmental Justice Forum," is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., April 26 at the UB Buffalo Clinical and Translational Research Center, 875 Ellicott St., Buffalo. Speakers will include Matthew Tejada, director of the Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Environmental Justice...

April 15, 2013

In New Hampshire, a jury found Exxon Mobil liable last week in a lawsuit over groundwater contamination by the gasoline additive MTBE, and ordered the polluter to pay $236 million...

April 8, 2013

RIP Emelda West, who died on Saturday, March 30, 2013, activist of Convent, Louisiana and the Lower Mississippi River...

April 1, 2013

In India, the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) on Saturday ordered closure of Sterlite Industries' copper smelter unit, located in Tuticorin, with immediate effect owing to leaks of noxious gas. The TNPCB, under instructions from district collector Ashish Kumar, issued a notice, directing the Vedanta group company to close the plant.

March 25, 2013

To see TD Bank challenged for funding the Keystone XL pipeline does good for the soul.

March 18, 2013

In Nigeria, the governor of Rivers State Chibuike Amaechi has threatened to sue the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation for indiscriminate pollution of Okrika environment. The governor noted that the UNEP report on Ogoniland which discloses high level of Benzene which causes cancer in underground water.

March 11, 2013

Recently near Philadelphia, Crystal Lameman of the Beaver Lake Cree nation in Alberta, Canada talked about the negative impact of the exploitation of tar sands in her people’s ancestral lands.

March 4, 2013

  Before the Obama administration green-lighted the Keystone SL tar sands pipeline "an estimated 40,000 people gathered on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. for theForward on Climate Rally in the hopes of urging President Obama to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Issues of climate injustice are of particular importance to marginalized communities. Indigenous people, people of color and low-income communities are disproportionately threatened by environmental hazards. A Commission for Racial Justice study found race to be the most potent variable in predicting where toxic and hazardous facilities would be located—more powerful than poverty, land values, and home ownership."

February 25, 2013

A gloss on EJ: “The environmental justice movement was born in September 1982 when a group of poor residents of rural Warren County, North Carolina laid down in front of trucks transporting waste containing toxic PCBs to a nearby landfill. Those primarily African American activists eventually lost their battle to keep toxic waste out of the area, but their actions eventually led to an executive order by President Clinton in 1996.” And?

February 18, 2013

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has given hundreds of permits for Marcellus Shale gas development in Pennsylvania's low income communities of color. But none of those permits has triggered intervention by DEP's Office of Environmental Advocate to inform residents of those communities about potential health and environmental impacts from proposed industrial developments.

That's because Marcellus Shale gas facilities are not included on the list of "trigger permits" the DEP uses to determine when to provide enhanced notification, information and public participation opportunities in those "environmental justice" communities. Holly Cairns, new director of DEP's Office of Environmental Advocate, said that's fine. "[Marcellus permit proposals] were not recognized as a trigger permit at the time this program was developed," she said. "And they're not something that's on the table for consideration at this time."

February 11, 2013

As Fashion week begins in New York, we have this: six leading fashion brands rejected a recent survey which asked about their supply chains, on toxic water pollution and deforestation. Dolce&Gabbana, Chanel, Hermès, Prada, Alberta Ferretti and Trussardi refused to disclose information for the survey....

February 4, 2013

On January 30 the district court in The Hague, The Netherlands, ruled that Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria has to pay compensation to plaintiff Friday Alfred Akpan, a resident of the Nigerian village of Ikot Ada Udo in Akwa Ibom State in the Niger Delta. Applying Nigerian law, the Dutch court found that Shell Nigeria had breached its duty of care and had committed negligence by failing to take sufficient measures to prevent sabotage by third persons to Shell Nigeria’s submerged pipelines near the Nigerian village...

January 28, 2013

Incoming at EPA's Office of EJ, Tejada was asked and said "Tejada: Since Lisa Jackson has been administrator of the EPA, they have systematically gone through what environmental justice means within the agency, and also what environmental justice means outside of the agency, and tried to fill in some very important gaps, whether it be permitting or enforcement or different sorts of rule-making, to make sure environmental justice had its requisite chair at the table. I see it as my job to get in there and make use of these new rules."

But what are his views of Jackson's evasion of FOIA? Will he commit to stop it?

January 21, 2013

"As she prepares to step down as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Lisa P. Jackson says one of the 'prouder moments' of her tenure was President Obama's agreement to have the federal government take the lead in trying to ramp up the lagging Chesapeake Bay restoration effort."

What about the fake e-mail accounts to evade FOIA?

January 14, 2013

The Environmental Protection Agency has tapped a Texan to help integrate the concept of environmental justice into the agency's everyday decision-making. Matthew Tejada, who has led Air Alliance Houston for five years, will start as director of the Office of Environmental Justice in Washington in March, the EPA said Friday.

January 14, 2013

Ranking 378 coal-fired power plants on the basis of toxic emissions and demographic factors, the NAACP has found that more than two-thirds of African Americans live within 30 miles of a coal-fired plant. Of the four million people living within three miles of the nation’s 75 "failing plants" – which account for the highest levels of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides – 53 percent are minorities, while more than three quarters of the people living near the 12 "worst offending plants" are people of color.

December 31, 2012

So Lisa Jackson is out from EPA, perhaps for the right reasons. But her decision to use scam email accounts to evade the Freedom of Information Act, we cannot support. Click here for Inner City Press' FOIA work on the Federal Reserve.

December 24, 2012

EPA's agency’s inspector general has announced plans to begin an audit of “electronic records management practices.... Our objective is to determine whether EPA follows applicable laws and regulations when using private and alias email accounts to conduct official business." The question is whther the agency promoted or encouraged the use of private or alias email accounts to conduct official business and whether employees comply with federal records management requirements pertaining to electronic records from private or alias email accounts. Jackson appeared to use the name Richard Windsor on an official account that she utilized to conduct agency business. The researcher figured it out because he dug up an EPA memo indicating that alias email accounts were created by a former agency head and it appeared that this was common practice at the agency. Now it's in front of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

December 17, 2012

From FirstMerit's submission to the Federal Reserve about Citizens Republic, the entire "Environmental Matters" section is blacked out, in response to Inner City Press' FOIA request...

December 10, 2012

DOJ brags a Liberian corporation was ordered to pay a $500,000 penalty after pleading guilty to violating a federal pollution law. U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan handed down the sentence last week against Tyana Navigation Limited. The case involved a cargo ship owned by the company. The ship dumped engine room sludge directly overboard from late September 2011 until late July 2012, including time when it was in United States waters....

What about Trafigura?

December 3, 2012

The NAACP studied the 378 coal plants in the United States by combining emissions of pollutants – particularly sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide – the population within three miles of the plants, and the median income and percentage of minorities living nearby. In this view, 75 plants were identified as having a "disproportionate and considerable impact on people of color and low-income people."

November 26, 2012

What an absurdly low fine of Trafigura Beheer BV for illegally exporting waste to Cote d'Ivoire in 2006. The company's chairman bargained its way to a piddling fine of 67, 000 Euros, barely a slap on the wrist for owner Claude Dauphin. Where is accountability?

November 19, 2012

Ruling: New York City violated State environmental law when it built a Bronx school complex on contaminated land without making public a detailed long-term monitoring plan before construction, the state’s Court of Appeals has ruled, against the City’s Education Department and School Construction Authority. If the city wants to build a school on a polluted site, state law requires it to present in-depth remediation and monitoring plans to the public during the initial environmental review process....

November 12, 2012

  From 1985 through 2000, more than 1200 cases of cancer were reported in Ecuador's oil-producing regions, including Sucumbios, Orellana, Napo, and Pastaza -- this per Ecuador’s National Cancer Registry...

November 5, 2012

HSBC has bankrolled logging companies causing widespread environmental destruction and human rights abuses in Sarawak, Malaysia, violating its sustainability policies and earning around US$130 million in the process, a Global Witness investigation reveals today. The bank is also providing financial services to companies widely suspected of systematic bribery and corruption. Malaysia’s Sarawak region exports more tropical timber than South America and Africa combined and now has just five per cent of its forests left intact following decades of industrial-scale logging and plantation development. The Global Witness report, “In the Future There Will Be No Forests Left”, identifies loans and services to seven of the region’s largest logging conglomerates that would have generated HSBC an estimated US$130 million in interest and fees.

October 29, 2012

In the southwest Detroit neighborhood of Delray the population is now under 3,000 people, down from 30,000 in 1930. Now, the New International Trade Crossing bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, should it get built, would land squarely in the Delray neighborhood. Debate, it's said, is focused too much on Manuel "Matty" Moroun (the Ambassador Bridge owner and financier of a campaign calling the NITC project into question) and Gov. Rick Snyder. We hope to have more on this.

October 22, 2012

At U of Tennessee last week, Robert D. Bullard, was scheduled in the University Center Auditorium. Hosted by the UT Amnesty International chapter, the lecture focused on how environmental justice, racism and corporate accountability relate to human rights. Right on!

October 15, 2012

In Texas, an appeals court on October 12 vacated a sanctions award Wells Fargo Bank Minnesota NA had won against an Austin appraisal district that refused to grant it a property tax break for its pollution control measures, holding the bank didn’t follow tax protest procedures. The case revolves around a former landfill site owned by Wells Fargo that now houses an apartment building and qualified for a pollution control tax break based on the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s determination the land has a "positive use"...

Wells Fargo scamming? We've seen it before.

October 8, 2012

In Alaska, "the long dormant Healy Clean Coal Plant, a $300 million state-owned fiasco that shut its doors soon after they were opened, may get a second lease on life, thanks to a commitment by the Golden Valley Electric Association (GVEA) to spend tens of millions of dollars to reduce pollution at the plant if it fires up again. Utility officials believe that bringing the plant back to life will reduce oil-dependent energy costs in the Interior, according to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. In a deal stuck with the Environmental Protection Agency and the state, the utility has agreed to pay the state $50 million for the 50-megawatt plant and plunk down more than $40 million on pollution-reduction measures. The utility must also take other steps, including speeding up installation of a $5 million pollution-control system at another coal plant the utility operates."

October 1, 2012

Which way forward? U Mich is asking about the "legacy and future of the environmental justice field" at the Ann Arbor Sheraton Hotel, and celebrating the work (and retirement) of Bunyan Bryant. New era in EJ?

September 24, 2012

Ah, Illinois: "Ameren Corp. will get more time to meet tougher state pollution-control rules that company executives claimed would have cost hundreds of jobs at downstate power plants. The Illinois Pollution Control Board, meeting in Chicago, voted 4-0 to grant the company's request for a five-year delay, to 2020, of new standards for sulfur dioxide emissions from coal plants."

September 17, 2012

The Scotts Miracle-Gro is subject to $4 million in fines after pleading guilty to the illegal application of insecticides to wild bird seed. It's the largest fine in history under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. Hear FIFRA roar!

September 10, 2012

We are watching: "The draft California Communities Environmental Health Screening Tool would use nvironmental, health & socioeconomic data to assign scores to areas by ZIP code. It would consider ozone pollution, traffic density, pesticide use, the number of hazardous waste dumps and cleanup sites, cancer and asthma rates, and the number of childrens and seniors." How would, for example, The Bronx come out?

September 3, 2012

In Hanford, California, opponents of the California High-Speed Rail Authority project now argue the route violates environmental justice laws. The argument came at a meeting at the Hanford Fraternal Hall to take official public comment on the Fresno-to-Bakersfield draft environmental impact report. The deadline for official comment is Oct. 19, an extension of 30 days over the original deadline of Sept. 20. Game on.

August 27, 2012

In the Philippines, environmentally-minded Associate Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno has been picked the new Chief Justice to replace Renato Corona, who was ousted in May. The EcoWaste Coalition said, "under her watch she will revitalize the green courts to serve as bastions of environmental justice upholding our people's constitutional right to a healthful and balanced ecology." We'll see.

August 20, 2012

  In Louisiana, residents near Baton Rouge’s ExxonMobil Chemical Plant last week spoke out against the June 14 spill of naphtha. What’s in the air? How to clear the air? Supposedly there a community dialogue with ExxonMobil... We'll see.

August 13, 2012

The California Supreme Court has ruled that the state can recover money from its insurance carriers part of the cost of cleaning up the Stringfellow acid pits in Jurupa Valley, where 35 million gallons of toxic industrial waste was dumped. The dispute now returns to the trial court to determine the amount the state will receive. A group of 16 insurers, including Lloyd's of London, settled in 2005 for $93 million...

August 6, 2012

In Toronto on July 30, more 150 people showed up to hear two indigenous leaders and two delegates to the People's Summit Rio +20. on Contested Futures: Tar Sands and Environmental Justice....

July 30, 2012

In North Carolina, Taylor Finishing Inc. is being sued in federal court alleging the concentrated animal feeding operation illegally dumped pig waste and pollutants near the coastal plain of the Neuse River Basin...

July 23, 2012

Enviros want North Carolina regulators to force a full clean-up of PCBs in a waterway near the closed Alcoa Inc. aluminum smelter. Alcoa proposes covering a three-acre section of the Badin Lake bottom near the smelter it operated for 90 years to keep PCBs there from moving.

July 16, 2012

The city of Los Angeles has charged 4 Los Angeles-area scrap metal recyclers with criminal misdemeanor charges for environmental violations. Central Metal Inc. and its president Jong Uk Byun were charged with three violations of waste discharge requirements of the company's permit by allegedly allowing the discharge of stormwater containing toxic chemicals, such as copper, lead and zinc, and failing to implement best management practices designed to prevent releases of toxic chemicals by allowing lead pipes and aluminum to be stored on the ground, allowing bins containing metal scrap to remain open and peeling, allowing sediment to seep onto a nearby street and causing an oil spill; five violations for failing to label hazardous waste containers; and failing to maintain the facility to prevent spills or releases of hazardous waste.

July 9, 2012

Last on Rio, from the People's Summit / side event to Rio+20. It drew about 15,000 people a day: indigenous groups, environmental activists, unions, land rights groups and others opposing the timidity of proposals coming out of the official convention. Beyond timidity...

July 2, 2012

NY's environmental regulator last week adopted regulations requiring new and expanding power plants to meet stricter carbon dioxide limits and to conduct environmental justice reviews to mitigate pollution in poor communities. The New York Department of Environmental Conservation’s rule, proposed in January, will take effect July 12 and will apply to all new generating facilities greater than 25 megawatts and expansions greater than 25 megawatts at existing facilities. The rule limits carbon dioxide emissions from new and expanded fossil fuel-fired power plants to 925 pounds...

June 25, 2012

As noted from Rio , the word "reaffirm" is used 59 times in the 49-page document titled "The Future We Want." They reaffirm the need to achieve sustainable development (but not mandating how); reaffirm commitment to strengthening international cooperation (just not right now); and reaffirm the need to achieve economic stability (with no new funding for the poorest nations). And involved? Wal-Mart, Coca Cola and Unilever...

June 18, 2012

From Rio, Nikhil Seth, director of the U.N.'s Division for Sustainable Development, said on June 15 that consensus has been reached on just 28 percent of the Rio+20 outcome document. An estimated 130 heads of state are expected in Rio for the summit's three final days from June 20-22, culminating in the signing of some final document. Among the attendees? Some who are accused of war crimes...

June 11, 2012

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, whom Inner City Press has interviewed at the UN, went to Detroit ostensibly to support the M-1 light rail project. But the outcome is the cash-strapped and environmentally challenged city may have to wait two months longer for a federal verdict. Thanks, Ray....

June 4, 2012

Mexico's National Congress has given the Ministry of the Environment (SEMARNAT) 15 days to report on actions surrounding the environmental impact approvals granted to the controversial Cabo Cortés mega-tourism project. The Congress also urged the Ministry to consider canceling the project’s permits all together. The Cabo Cortés project is proposed by the local subsidiary of Spanish developer Hansa Urbana on land neighboring Cabo Pulmo National Park – a critical marine reserve in Baja California Sur that protects one of the region's most important coral reefs...

May 29, 2012

From a statement by Nnimmo Bassey and Laura Livoti: "Since the end of Biafra and the civil war in Nigeria, another war has been raging here and continues unabated. It is an ecological war. International oil companies are the source of the conflict, with Chevron playing a leading role. The latest front occurred on January 16, 2012 when an explosion rocked a gas well drilling rig at Chevron’s Apoi North field. That explosion killed two workers. This is the same Chevron that made oil rig safety the theme of its last shareholder meeting in May 2011. Following the explosion, Chevron offered initial information and updates on the incident, assuring that steps were being taken to contain and mitigate the disaster. This clearly was a half-hearted public relations gesture." And so: 99! 99!

May 21, 2012

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on May 20 announced the release of the New York City Wetlands Strategy... "The protection and preservation of wetlands is a critical component of the City’s strategy to improve water quality," said Environmental Protection Commissioner Carter Strickland. "The ability of wetlands to clean water is exemplified by our award-winning Bluebelt program which, from Staten Island to Queens, and soon the Bronx" --

What? Why does The Bronx come after?

May 14, 2012

In Newark, protests were rejected last week when the city's planning board approved a 655-megawatt natural gas power plant to be built in the East Ward. "The proposed new Hess natural gas power plant … will utilize the best available technologies and be one of the cleanest fossil fuel power plants ever constructed," said Adam Zipkin, Newark’s deputy mayor of economic development. Ah, Cory Booker...

May 7, 2012

At UN, Right to Info Stripped from Rio + 20, Extra Week Set, Indigenous Silenced?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 4 -- In the run up to the Rio + 20 conference, on Friday evening at the UN yet another week of negotiations was arranged, for May 29 to June 2.

  Four hundred paragraphs remain without agreement; Inner City Press asked about those dealing with the "right to information," switched by the US to "legitimate access" to information, limited by trade secrets, patents and copyright.

  After Friday night's deferral, the nine "Major Groups" were given two minutes each to speak. The Indigenous group, which started speaking in Spanish about la Madre Tierra or Pachamama, was cut off by the chair and told to speak in English. Ultimately this was translated by the Local Authorities group.

  Still the Groups hit hard, with Farmers criticizing the mention of the World Trade Organization in the agriculture section, and the Youth group denouncing greenwashing (if not Blue-washing, in a week where Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in Myanmar congratulated a company involved in spying technology, as exposed by Inner City Press.)

  At the front of the room was outgoing DESA chief Sha Zukang, urging that at least 90% of the text be agreed before Rio begins. China has put in two names to replace Sha, but Brazil is pushing hard now for the DESA post, as Inner City Press exclusively reported yesterday.

Now, this update: China might accept the top post at the Department of General Assembly and Conference Affairs as long as it also got the Number Two post in DESA, at the Assistant Secretary General level.

  But then what would sub Saharan Africa get? The Department of Public Information has, as Inner City Press reported, been promised to a European. And so it goes at the UN.

At a press conference Friday afternoon, Inner City Press asked about the right to information that was in Rio Principle 10. The response, from Neth Dano of the ETC Group of the Philippines, was that "one delegation" pushed to limited the right to only "legitimate" information.

Inner City Press asked her to name that delegation, but she declined. Afterward she said it was the US, "from the State Department." Meanwhile, the US was expected to make a statement on Friday night about no more funding - will that now come on June 2? Will Obama go to Rio? Watch this site.


April 30, 2012

Welcome to "Southwest Detroit's 48217 zip code area which a study by University of Michigan Professor Paul Mohai concluded was the most polluted in the state of Michigan and third most in all of the United States. Now, the struggle of some 13 residents caught between the near simultaneous erection of Marathon's multi-billion dollar tar sands oil refinery expansion and the city's Waste Water Treatment plant in 2008."

April 23, 2012

In Texas, they haven't had chlorinated drinking water since October of last year and now arsenic has been found in the water. Those are just two of the issues facing one of Nueces County's Colonias. Last week, those issues got a first hand look by a group of people representing several environmental agencies. It was billed as an opportunity for residents of the Cyndie Park Colonias, located about 10 miles North of Banquette, to talk to folks from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U. S. Environmental Justice Interagency Working Group.

And what will come of it?

April 16, 2012

The owner of rental properties in Bridgeport is facing up to $127,150 in Environmental Protection Agency penalties for violating federal lead paint disclosure rules. According to a complaint filed by EPA's New England office, Juan Hernandez allegedly violated lead-based paint disclosure requirements seven times when he rented apartment units in Bridgeport between 2008 and 2010. During the EPA's investigation, all of the apartment buildings owned by Hernandez were located in potential environmental justice areas.

April 9, 2012

The World Bank says it will showcase new initiatives on oceans and the valuation of ecosystem services at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, or Rio+20, in Brazil in late June, but is attracting criticism from civil society groups for its approach to ‘green growth’. We'll see.

April 2, 2012

A Corpus Christi, Texas group is calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to require Citgo to quit storing and using hydrofluoric acid and to switch to a safer alternative. In the letter to EPA Regional Administrator Al Armendariz, Citizens for Environmental Justice executive director Suzie Canales writes that hydrofluoric acid could kill thousands of people. "Citgo has repeatedly shown that it cannot be trusted to use HF and must be made to switch to a safer alternative for the sake of its employees and the community," the letter states. Could this have something to do with Citgo's ownership?

March 26, 2012

Enviros say President Barack Obama has decided to ignore the environmental devastation associated with tar sands mining and its disproportionate impact on global climate change, and the unconscionable contributions to local air pollution in Port Arthur, Texas. Port Arthur is one of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “Environmental Justice Showcase Communities” due to a concentration of environmental health risks that disproportionally burden minority communities. They say Keystone XL also poses another risk – a risk to U.S. consumers and the fragile economic recovery. Analysts and economists agree that building the southern leg of this pipeline will alleviate a glut of oil in Cushing, Okla., and allow more oil products to be exported to other countries, thereby reducing domestic supply and raising gas prices.

The southern leg of this pipeline does not bring oil into the country (a goal our organization does not endorse), but does create a clear path to get oil out to export markets. Since refined oil products are now the largest export commodity in the U.S., it seems obvious that pushing more oil to the Gulf Coast will result in more export activity and less supply for Americans....

March 19, 2012

" In response to the State Assembly's budget proposal to sweep up to $200 million in ratepayer-funded clean energy and energy efficiency programs administered by the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority, more than 20 environmental, energy and community groups sent a letter to Governor Cuomo, the State Senate, and the Assembly opposing the the use of clean energy funds for non-energy related purposes." Sounds like the states which are trying to put their portion of the $25 billion mortgage settlement into their General Funds...

March 12, 2012

In El Salvador, 14 years have passed since the Environment Law was approved, establishing the creation for agro-environmental courts to hear cases involving contamination and environmental damage, but so far, this has not happened. The Supreme Court, which would be responsible for creating the new chambers, has failed to create them....

March 5, 2012

In New Bedford, Lisa Garcia, EPA's associate assistant administrator for environmental justice, and Curt Spalding, EPA Region 1 administrator, will host a meeting on March 6 at Keith Middle School. EPA says they've heard "a lot of reactions from the community as far as environmental justice concerns." EPA staff working on the Parker Street Waste Site and New Bedford Harbor projects will be at the meeting in order to answer specific questions on those projects...

February 27, 2012

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson now says hydraulic fracturing can be done safely: "I think that fracking as a technology is perfectly capable of being clean. I do. But it requires people who are doing it and innovators who use the technology to take some time to make sure that it's done right. And it requires smart regulation, smart rules of the road," Jackson said at Richard Stockton College in Galloway, New Jersey. Hmm...

February 20, 2012

On Rio + 20: "Twenty years ago, the UN played an important role in calling attention to the dangers that human and nonhuman life runs if the myth of endless economic growth goes on dominating economic policies... Unfortunately, this moment of reflection and hope soon disappeared" -- as did positive UN role. So, alongside the UN Conference, civil society is organizing the Peoples Summit in Rio. We'll have more on this.

February 13, 2012

With the focus on the Canadian government's push to export tar sands bitumen via the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline to Kitimat, and from there by ship to China, the British Colombia government reclaimed some attention on the energy file when it released a strateg. Rabble says: "The short of it is that shale gas from B.C.'s Northeast is to be pipelined to Kitimat and loaded onto tankers in liquid form (LNG) to be exported to China. But while the Enbridge pipeline has huge swaths of B.C. up in arms, particularly First Nations and "environmentalists, the LNG plans, which already have been approved and have an export permit, have not." Until now...

February 6, 2012

"The indisputable health care and humanitarian crises from mountaintop removal coal mining should place it at the forefront of any litmus on President Obama’s commitment to health care, clean energy and dealing with climate change. Dr. Michael Hendryx of West Virginia University released a study that should have headlined every newspaper in the country—and launched an all-out national campaign on the level of the anti-tobacco campaigns of the past. Hendryx concluded: “Living in a mountaintop mining area was a bigger risk for birth defects than smoking.”

January 30, 2012

News from Ohio last week: FirstEnergy is closing units at six of the dirtiest coal plants in the nation. FirstEnergy temporarily idled its Lake Shore plant near Cleveland in 2010 because of lower regional power demand and the increasing costs of running a plant built in 1916 still using a 50 year old boiler. The plant was grandfathered in under the Clean Air Act and the company had avoided putting major new environmental controls on it for decades, even as it emitted a horrific plume of toxins and particulate matter on the surrounding community. The facility a target of the environmental justice movement for years because of its outsized impact on the African American community.

FirstEnergy’s nearly-60-year-old Bay Shore plant shares many of Lake Shore’s problems. But in addition to spewing toxic air pollution and climate changing-CO2 the facility is also one of the nation’s most efficient fish-killing machines. Located at the confluence of the Maumee River and Lake Erie, the plant sits astride one of the world’s most prolific fish spawning areas. Its water intake system and scalding water kill 46 million fish and 2 billion fish larvae annually, taking a significant bite out of the region’s $1.4 billion recreational and commercial fishing economy. Just to put the numbers into perspective, the State of Ohio says that the plant’s aquatic annihilation totals more fish than all the other plants in the state combined. h/t NRDC

January 23, 2012

South Bronx clean up of

"The site lies on the Hunts Point peninsula in the South Bronx. It was the former location of the Con Edison Hunts Point Manufactured Gas Plant (MGP), also known as the Hunts Point Coking Station. The initial coke oven plant at the facility was constructed over the period from 1924 through 1926 and had a capacity of 20 million cubic feet of gas per day. The gas produced was used as a primary source of energy for lighting and heating. Another battery of coke ovens was installed in 1931, increasing gas production capacity by 10 million cubic feet per day. The MGP included 46 buildings or structures and was devoted entirely to the manufacture of gas and its associated by- products, including coal tars, cyanide-contaminated purifier waste, sludge, and oils. The structures included two gas holders. The MGP operated into the 1950s."

January 16, 2012

It was only last month we received a notice from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (“NYSDEC”) Brownfield Cleanup Program (“BCP”), specifically about its draft Final Engineering Report (FER) for the remedial actions performed at the 1800 Southern Boulevard Site....The Site is currently being developed with a new ten (10) story mixed-use building that will provide affordable housing to 68 moderate income households, as well as 12,579 square feet of commercial space and 4,922 square feet of community facility space. Historically the Site has been used as a filling station, auto repair facility and car wash beginning sometime between 1927 and 1940. The car wash operation closed in 1993 and the service station closed in 2003. BP-Amoco was operating the station at the time of closure in 2003.Removal of (17) 550-gallon underground storage tanks

Unstated was that this is where the gas was bought for the Happy Land Social Club mass murder... And now, dated January 13, comes a DEC announcement "that cleanup requirements have been achieved to address contamination related to the 1800 Southern Boulevard Site #C203046 (Bronx), under New York's Brownfield Cleanup Program." That was fast... 

January 9, 2012

NRC in Florida:

The environmental justice impact analysis evaluates the potential for disproportionately high and adverse human health and environmental effects on minority and low-income populations that could result from activities associated with the proposed EPU at St. Lucie Nuclear Plant... The NRC considered the demographic composition of the area within a 50-mi (80.5-km) radius of St. Lucie Units 1 and 2 to determine the location of minority and low-income populations and whether the proposed action may affect them.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau (USCB) data for 2000 on minority populations in the vicinity of St. Lucie Units 1 and 2, an estimated 1.2 million people live within a 50-mi (80.5-km) radius of the plant located within parts of nine counties. Minority populations within 50 mi (80.5 km) comprise 27 percent (274,500 persons). The largest minority group was African-American (approximately 135,250 persons or 13.3 percent), followed by Hispanic or Latino (approximately 111,000 persons or 11 percent). The 2000 census block groups containing minority populations were concentrated in Gifford (Indian River County), Fort Pierce (St. Lucie County), Pahokee (Palm Beach County near Lake Okeechobee), the agricultural areas around Lake Okeechobee, and Hobe Sound (Martin County).

Noise and dust impacts would be temporary and limited to onsite activities. Minority and low-income populations residing along site access roads could experience increased commuter vehicle traffic during shift changes. Increased demand for inexpensive rental housing during the EPU-related plant modifications could disproportionately affect low-income populations; however, due to the short duration of the EPU-related work and the availability of housing properties, impacts to minority and low-income populations would be of short duration and limited.

Oh really? For comment by February 6... http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-01-06/html/2012-32.htm

January 2, 2012

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Atomic Safety and Licensing Board is getting petitions opposing Entergy's application to re-license the Indian Point nuclear power plants for another 20 years. Last summer the Atomic Safety Licensing Board accepted an Environmental Justice contention; there's a "potential for disproportionate impact" on inmates at Sing Sing state prison: "the ability of prisoners to respond to emergencies is completely different to that of the general population."

December 26, 2011

In the NY City Council two new bills on polychlorinated biphenyl will inform parents and school employees of contamination by PCBs, which was banned it in 1979 for its toxicity. Bill 563 makes the Department of Education to notify parents and employees of PCB testing results or if the school uses T12 fluorescents, an outdated type of lamp that often leaks PCB. Bill 566 asks for detailed reports from the DOE on their progress and plan eradicating PCB from schools. Nearly 800 city schools — built between the 1950s and late 1970s — are likely contaminated.

And how many are in The Bronx?

December 19, 2011

   For planning purposes: "July 1-7, 2012, Location to be announced when the time is right., Marcellus Shale Earth First! is working side by side with many local groups, attending meetings, offering workshops and trainings, and helping to build a campaign of direct action that is putting increasing pressure on the drillers, to show all of those fighting fracking that there is effective resistance growing in rural areas."

 From iWatch, "A March 2011 review of OCR by Deloitte Consulting, commissioned by the EPA, found that the office “has drifted in focus and struggled to perform fundamental tasks.” In its partially redacted report, Deloitte criticized OCR for focusing too much on “minor responsibilities” and “not enough on the critical cases affecting … disadvantaged communities.”

The Deloitte report suggested that Jackson and her predecessors were partly to blame for the office’s ineffectiveness. “The Director of OCR has a direct line reporting relationship to the EPA Administrator and takes administrative direction from the Chief of Staff or Deputy Chief of Staff on a day-to-day basis,” the consulting firm found.

In December 2010, Jackson chose Rafael DeLeon to lead the office. He manages an annual budget of $2.3 million and a staff of 38, nine of whom work on Title VI cases, according to the EPA spokeswoman.

In the wake of the damning Deloitte evaluation, DeLeon, who also headed OCR for a time during the Clinton administration, came under fire. The National Whistleblowers Center called for his ouster, alleging that he made disparaging remarks about former EPA whistleblowers and has had “numerous” discrimination complaints filed against him by female staffers.

“We call on you to make a clean break from the past,” Richard Renner, the center’s legal director, wrote in an April letter to Jackson. “We call on you to make a decision that visibly rejects discrimination, retaliation, and intimidation … We need your decisive leadership to end the paralysis of silence.”

December 12, 2011

When an eardrum piercing noise awoke residents of Roosevelt Island and Astoria and Long Island City, Queens last week, no one knew what it was. It can from a power plant run by TransCanada, which refused to answer press inquiries. TransCanada is the owner of the proposed XL Pipeline -- this should be another strike against them...

December 5, 2011

This is about the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (“NYSDEC”) Brownfield Cleanup Program (“BCP”), specifically its draft Final Engineering Report (FER) for the remedial actions performed at the 1800 Southern Boulevard Site....The Site is currently being developed with a new ten (10) story mixed-use building that will provide affordable housing to 68 moderate income households, as well as 12,579 square feet of commercial space and 4,922 square feet of community facility space. Historically the Site has been used as a filling station, auto repair facility and car wash beginning sometime between 1927 and 1940. The car wash operation closed in 1993 and the service station closed in 2003. BP-Amoco was operating the station at the time of closure in 2003.

Removal of (17) 550-gallon underground storage tanks; and

Unstated: this is where the gas was bought for the Happy Land Social Club mass murder...

November 28, 2011

On reports that the US and Saudi Arabia won't sign on to the Green Climate Fund, Inner City Press asked for the UN Ban Ki-moon's view. Spokesman Martin Nesirky said that beyond the Green Climate Fund, Durban's discussions will include other topics, "we need to wait and see." That is, unlike even the UK, no criticism of the Obama administration's positions...

November 21, 2011

The EPA has promulgated Plan EJ 2014 as its implementation of Executive Order 12898:

Plan EJ 2014 is not a rule or regulation. It is a strategy to help integrate environmental justice into EPA’s day to day activities.

Here is its plan document:

This implementation plan outlines a process by which the workgroup will research, solicit ideas for, prioritize, and then develop a suite of tools to better enable overburdened communities to have full and meaningful access to the permitting process and for permits to address environmental justice issues to the greatest extent practicable. For the first year, our activities will focus on developing a cohesive suite of tools most applicable to EPA-issued permits, and also collecting a larger set of tools for a public database.

Watch this site.

November 14, 2011

While one school under-participated, the Delaware County Alliance for Environmental Justice (DelCo Alliance) and the Chester Green youth group recently hosted Chester city’s first Environmental Justice collective during the last weekend in October during which they offered a tour pointing out all the polluters in Chester. The tour included stops at a coal power plant, two major natural gas burning power plants, a paper mill, the nation’s largest trash incinerator, a sewage sludge incinerator, two oil refineries, and various chemical plants and toxic waste sites. The paper mill, Kimberly Clark, burns waste coal and petroleum coke. It also produces six times more mercury than normal coal...

November 7, 2011

Of Keystone XL, Clayton Thomas-Muller of the Pukatawagan Cree Nation has said, "we were all overcome and awash with inspiration and positive emotion with the election of President Obama. Some of the things he said were very enchanting - that this would be the generation that our grandchildren would look back on and say that's when they took action on climate change. But through the continuation of deep sea exploration in the Gulf of Mexico, the permitting of Shell to drill for offshore oil resources in Bristol Bay in the outer continental shelf of Alaska, with the expansion of the fracking industry and now with the consideration of the Keystone XL pipeline, we know that Obama hasn't been able to meet his commitments to social movements in America that helped get him elected."

October 31, 2011

In Queens, NY until 1996, Jamaica Water Supply pumped millions of gallons of water out of the ground daily. When the City Department of Environmental Protection took over, DEP started bringing water from upstate, leaving the excess water underground with no place to go. In 15 years, the standing ground water level in Southeast Queens has risen to 30 feet, leaving many homeowners to deal with saturated basements each time there is heavy rainfall.

Now they should investigate...

October 24, 2011

The Aarhus Convention provides that environmental challenges should not be “prohibitively expensive." The UK system of “loser pays the costs” violates this. So the Ministry of Justice is proposing "that costs protection should be provided via codification of the rules concerning Protective Costs Orders. That means that a claimant in any public interest case may ask the court for a PCO, to “cap” his liability to pay the other side’s costs to such a figure as does not deter him from bringing those proceedings." We'll see.

October 17, 2011

 Bank of America Protested, including on Mountain Top Coal Removal, on Occupied Wall Street

By Matthew Russell Lee

WALL STREET, October 12 -- New York City police threatened to arrest protesters and the Press in front of a Bank of America branch on lower Broadway Tuesday at dusk, a block from Zuccotti Park which some now call Liberty Plaza. Click here for video by Inner City Press.

  At dusk a non-violent group long concerned with Bank of America funding of mountain-top removal coal mining crossed Broadway from the park. Inner City Press was among them. White suited Reverend Billy began an "exorcism," preaching how Bank of America finances wars -- then the police moved in.

  Other signs in the crowd spoke of Capital One, which in applying to buy ING DIRECT could become the fifth largest bank in the United States. It has sought to evade the protests against the Big Four -- Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and JP Morgan Chase -- by means of comedic advertisements featuring such liberal icons as Alec Baldwin and Jimmy Fallon. Baldwin has yet to respond to mounting requests by NCRC and others that he distance himself from Capital One.


October 10, 2011

In (Occupy) Chicago there's been a call for the closure of the city's coal-fired power plants: Fisk Generating Station, 1111 W. Cermak Rd.—right across from the park—and Crawford Generating Station, 3501 S. Pulaski Rd. in Little Village. Both are owned by Midwest Generation...

September 26, 2011

Activists charges that the World Bank’s promotion of the controversial forest-carbon scheme called REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) harms both forests and forest dependent communities in developing countries, while encouraging continued pollution in vulnerable communities in developed countries like the USA. This follows the announcement of a new sub-national REDD agreement between the states of California, USA, Chiapas, Mexico and Acre, Brazil during the UN Climate Conference in Cancun last December. In Chiapas the REDD project claims to create carbon offset credits by quantifying the carbon stored by trees in the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve in the Lacandon Jungle. The World Bank has been involved in the global forest/climate program known as REDD through its Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, announced by World Bank President Robet Zoellick, during the 2007 UN Climate Conference in Bali, Indonesia. The announcement met with strong popular protest, and the World Bank continues to draw criticism for its role in promoting schemes that displace forest dependent communities and promote large-scale industrial tree plantations that could potentially include socially and ecologically dangerous genetically engineered trees.

September 19, 2011

In San Fran / Oakland, the Superior Court has blocked the proposed early transfer of the toxic parcels of the Hunters Point Superfund site. “The court finds that the EIR does not adequately inform the public that the developer proposes to remediate portions of the shipyard instead of the Navy under an early transfer agreement. … Therefore, the court orders that the development of a parcel at the shipyard site may not proceed until the CERCLA remediation process for the parcel is complete and approved by regulating agencies as safe for human health and development, unless an early transfer is approved after completion of environmental review in compliance with CEQA,” according to the judge’s ruling. H/t Bayview.

September 12, 2011

The Keystone XL pipeline protest arrests took place in front of a White House without solar panels, that activists note the Obama Administration had promised to install by this spring....

September 5, 2011

Whither -- or wither -- Obama on the environment? He dropped the ozone regulations, just after calling for Congress to extend Bush-era funding for highway projects, and late August's go-ahead from the Obama State Department to construct an oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast. Will there be a Democratic Party primary challenge to Obama, on this or other issues? Watch this site.

August 29, 2011

Last week, the US State Department released its  for the proposed Keystone XL tar sands  pipeline, predictably finding that there will be no Final Environmental  Impact Statement (FEIS)  significant environmental impact to most resources. Activists say Secretary of State Clinton did not keep her promise to “leave no stone unturned” and the State Department’s pledge to do a “thorough and objective” assessment: the State Department is rushing this project.

August 22, 2011

In Los Angeles, we note the "MTA Cuts to Bus Service Lifelines" event begins at Immanuel Presbyterian in Koreatown about the impact that recent bus service cuts and fare hikes have had. Yes, it's an environmental justice issue...

August 15, 2011

In Kentucky, American Synthetic Rubber in western Louisville says it's "making plans to phase out the use of the moderately toxic chemical toluene. The plant has long used toluene to produce rubber, and it used to emit great quantities of it — as much as 4.7 million pounds in 1991, for example. That compares to 408,000 pounds of toluene emissions in 2009, the most recent year for which U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data is available. The company, which makes rubber for tires, is exploring the change because two replacement chemicals are considered safer and more useful, said Lynn Mann, a spokeswoman for Michelin North America, which owns the plant. It’s seeking a permit from the Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District, which is accepting public comment through Aug. 30."

August 8, 2011

In California, a Jurupa Valley-based environmental group has filed a lawsuit seeking to set aside Riverside County's approval of an industrial project that would put warehouses next door to a Mira Loma housing tract, contending that Riverside County and developers of the proposed Mira Loma Commerce Center project violated the California Environmental Quality Act by preparing an environmental study that failed to analyze the project's impacts on air quality and traffic. It asks the court to set aside the certification of the environmental impact report and order a new one. A status conference on the lawsuit is set for August 18...

August 1, 2011

In Connecticut the Bridgeport Harbor Station (owned by New Jersey based Public Service Enterprise Group or PSEG) is among the worst polluters, according to an algorithm combining levels of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions together with demographic factors to calculate the score for the 431 coal-fired power plants in the United States. So - will it be shut down?

July 25, 2011

New Hampshire, too, is a toxic state for coal plants. The TRI fingers PSHN's Merrimack Station as the worst...

July 18, 2011

In Indiana, in addition to the Hammond plant owned by Dominion Resources, Duke Energy’s R. Gallagher Generating Station in New Albany ranked seventh and a plant in Michigan City also received a failing grade...

July 11, 2011

In Michigan a new study gives Holland’s James De Young coal-fired plant a environmental justice grade of ‘F.’ Detroit’s River Rouge Power Plant is ranked as 9th-most harmful in the nation. Other failing plants include Eckert (Lansing); B.C. Cobb (Muskegon); Monroe (Monroe); Trenton Channel (Trenton) and Presque Isle ...

July 4, 2011

Sleazy is as sleazy does: now the Upper East Side of Manhattan is arguing that IT is a environmental justice community, because it has a housing project:

'I have nightmares just thinking that there’s a possibility that they might come back,' said Ms. Johnson, 66, a disabled resident of the Stanley M. Isaacs Houses, at 94th Street and First Avenue. The proximity of public housing figures prominently in a battle by Upper East Side residents to derail a city plan to reactivate a waste transfer station on the East River at 91st Street. In lawsuits, rallies and lobbying in the State Legislature, they argue that economically disadvantaged residents, already struggling, should not be saddled with additional problems. 'How can you ignore the fact that the closest community is 80 percent minority?' said Anthony Ard, president of the Gracie Point Community Council, a neighborhood group that was founded to fight the plan.”

This argument is made in order to jam the waste transfer station back to the South Bronx. For shame.

June 27, 2011

Union Pacific Corp. and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway got letters last week warning to prepare for a federal lawsuit under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act if they don't undertake measures to clean up hazardous waste their facilities emit into the air from diesel engines in 16 California rail yards. NRDC argues that minute particles in diesel air pollution, which include lead, cadmium, nickel and other toxic elements, are solid waste. If successful, such a suit could open the door for legal action against similar air pollution sources such as ports, airports or anywhere with a lot of diesel equipment.

June 20, 2011

In Puerto Rico, the owner of the Ponce Municipal Landfill has had to enter a settlement that will reduce water pollution from the landfill into a local stream. Allied Waste of Ponce, Inc. will spend at least $200,000 to build a new sewer line from the Ponce Municipal Landfill through the Barrio La Cotorra community located south of the landfill, which will then connect to the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority wastewater treatment plant in Ponce.

June 13, 2011

In New York City, those opposing a waste transfer station on East 91st Street and the East River need to ask themselves: where else should it go? The South Bronx is full of such facilities. It's only fair...

June 6, 2011

Brazil Says Advocate Against Dam to Displace 12,000 Could've Come to UN “on Vacation”

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 2 -- During the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York last month, the absence of Brazil's Azelene Kaingang was much noted. She was scheduled to speak on a panel as an advocate against that country's Belo Monte dam project. But she did not come.

On June 2, Inner City Press asked Brazil's Permanent Representative and Mission to the UN about Ms. Kaingang's abence and was told that she was not allowed to come as a government employee, but that she could have come if she had “taken vacation days.”

Brazil's Mission provided a vigorous defense of the dam, saying it would displace “only twelve thousand people” in a poor area “without electricity or running water... not indigenous land.” The defense included deriding those concerned about the displacement as “ladies from Stockholm and Mayfair who need to keep their NGOs going.” One of these NGOs, it should be noted, is Amnesty International.

More substantively, it was argued that after the nuclear power accident in Japan, and the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, hydro-power is the only way for Brazil to go. But what about the 12,000 people the government acknowledges it would displace? We will continue to follow this.

Footnote: during the Permanent Forum, Inner City Press was told of the existence of a blacklist administered by the UN, at the request of governments, of indigenous activists who are not to be allowed to attend in this or future years. This, we are looking into.

May 30, 2011

The EPA has been petitioned about the the Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, asking for field hearings along the right of way. There is draft legislation that would speed up the process for making a decision on Keystone XL even further than the State Department’s planned needlessly fast-paced timeline.

The Keystone XL pipeline would threaten communities from Alberta to Texas. It would put communities at risk in Alberta, where the tar sands are extracted and where communities downstream are already experiencing high rates of cancers. Along the pipeline route, the extra corrosive diluted bitumen it would carry could cause a rupture into the vital Ogallala Aquifer, which could be even more devastating and difficult to clean up than last year’s Enbridge tar sands pipeline spill into the Kalamazoo River. And in Texas communities such as Port Arthur, already named by EPA as an environmental justice showcase community, additional refinery pollution from the tar sands that would be refined would exacerbate already serious health and social justice issues.

May 23, 2011

The European Union in 2005 established a forest law enforcement, governance and trade plan. A 2008 regulation implemented the plan, while the individual voluntary partnership agreements attended to the legal contexts of each individual country. All six agreements apply to both exports and domestic markets, while checks are also intended to assure that the licensing system won't be based on corrupt existing systems. But this doesn't cover indirect trade...

May 16, 2011

Good news: environmental groups in Germany have the right to challenge in court projects that may have a significant impact on protected areas, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled last week...

As UNEP Prepares Award for Calderon, Drug War Protests, LG Pollution

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 5 -- When the UN Environment Program teased its May 10 “Champions of the Earth” ceremony by saying that an unnamed “Head of State from the Latin American region” would be given its “flagship environmental award,” many assumed that it would be Evo Morales of Bolivia, loud proponent of La Madre Tierra, Pachamama or Mother Earth.

  But inquiries by Inner City Press have found that UNEP's mystery guest will be Felipe Calderon Hinojosa of Mexico. The New York ceremony will come days after a protest of Calderon's drug war in Mexico. While the streets run red with blood, quipped one skeptic, Calderon drapes himself in green and UN blue.

  UNEP's event is sponsored by South Korea based LG Group, which is charged for business in China with Changzhou Hongdu Electronics Co. and heavy metal pollution.

  To be fair, particularly since it is Cinco de Mayo, some of Mexico's pollution has been reduced under Calderon. Click here for Inner City Press coverage of Cancun.

  But even on the environment, “critics suggest that the Mexican president and the Congress are not doing enough to promote renewable energy. A strong effort is important, they say, because Mexico is far behind other countries in implementing the technologies that will make a major difference in reducing pollution and ensuring Mexico’s energy security.”

  Another telltale sign, beyond Inner City Press' first hand reporting, that he is UNEP's May 10 awardee is the announcement that he will appear in Washington DC on May 11 for yet another award.

(At the UN, Mexico's departure from the Security Council is felt, on protection of civilians and, as the most recent example, the unqualified celebration of the killing of Osama bin Laden in a Presidential Statement on May 2. Mexico might, probably would, have voted for it, but would probably have asked for some changes.)

In any event, for this event, fleeing protests in Mexico, Calderon comes to the UN in New York. Many embattled leaders have done it. But sometimes their sojourn at the UN has hurt rather than helped them. How will it be for Calderon? Watch this site.

May 2, 2011

Politico reported last week: “a letter [has been sent] to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson on Wednesday demanding the immediate dismissal of Rafael DeLeon, director of the agency’s Office of Civil Rights. ...

Marsha Coleman-Adebayo was one of the subjects of the disparaging remarks. She has been described by Time Magazine as "a former EPA employee whose complaints of a 'racially toxic' environment there led to the signing of the Notification and Federal Employee Anti-Discrimination and Retaliation Act of 2001." She is currently working on a book "No Fear: A Whistleblower's Triumph Over Corruption and Retaliation at the EPA."

The legal director of the National Whistleblowers Center has said, "Dr. Coleman-Adebayo is an environmental whistleblower who raised concerns about the dangers of vanadium mining in South Africa. When her concerns focused on the role of U.S. companies in apartheid South Africa she became the victim of a hostile work environment. Ms. [Susan] Morris [another woman apparently disparaged by Mr. DeLeon] raised concerns about EPA's compliance with the Civil Rights Act and then suffered a removal from her supervisory position."

EPA head Jackson has recently been told: "The Office of Civil Rights under your administration has failed. As its name suggests, OCR should be at the forefront of eliminating discrimination and advancing civil rights and liberties within the Agency. Instead of taking positive actions to correct the endemic problems, your newly appointed director, Rafael DeLeon, has exemplified a continuation of the old mode of denying that any problems exist and defending management. The recent Deloitte Consultant Report on the civil rights program described OCR as essentially dysfunctional.

April 25, 2011

Bullard's predictions coming true: “Although people of color make up about 26 percent of the coastal counties in Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, and Louisiana, the government approved most of the BP oil waste to be trucked to these communities. On July 15, 2010--the earliest reporting period--39,399 tons of BP waste went to nine landfills of which 21,867 tons (55.4 percent) were disposed in communities of color and 30,338 tons (77.0 percent) of oil waste went to communities where the percent people of color was greater than the percent people of color in the host county.

As of April 10, 2011--the latest reporting period--106,409 tons of BP waste went to 11 landfills, of which 45,032 tons (42.3 percent) went to landfills in majority people of color communities, and 90,554 tons (85.1 percent) went to landfills located in communities whose percent people of color population exceeded the county's percent people of color.”

April 18, 2011

New York City mayor Bloomberg's proposed budget would delay funding for several key Solid Waste Management Plan facilities:

East 91st St. Marine Transfer Station (from FY 11 to FY 16)

West 59th St. Marine Transfer Station (from FY 14 to FY 19)

Gansevoort Marine Transfer Station for recyclables (from FY 13 to FY 18)

SW Brooklyn Marine Transfer Station (from FY 11 to FY 16)

And thus keep the negative impact in The Bronx and elsewhere...

April 11, 2011

In Sri Lanka, the paints sold contain alarming levels of lead surpassing the accepted rate by over 1526 times. This has prompted the Supreme Court to proceed with an application and urge the Consumer Affairs Authority to respond with necessary measures. “We have come to know that 68% of enamel and emulsion paints sold here have tested positive for very high levels of lead. One particular paint manufacturer contained 137,325 parts per million (ppm) (14%), 1526 times greater than the US limit of 90ppm and 226 times greater than the SL limit, which is a health hazard,” said a lawyer in the case “The FR application is seeking the Consumer Affairs Authority and others to produce suitable regulations to compel manufacturers and distributors to conform to the international standards of lead in paints considering its serious health hazards... Even the World Health Organization has recognized lead as a prime toxin.” Yeah, even the UN system's WHO.....

April 4, 2011

Brownfields as (dirty) business: “Philadelphia will host the 14th national brownfields conference April 3-5 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. It is the largest, most comprehensive conference in the nation focused on cleaning up and redeveloping abandoned, underutilized, and potentially contaminated properties. Brownfields 2011 will feature EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson as keynote speaker on Monday at 9:45 a.m. Cosponsored by EPA and the International City/County Management Association” - hmm

March 28, 2011

What a scam: NYC Mayor Bloomberg's proposed budget calls for postponing the construction of new marine transfer stations in Manhattan and Brooklyn until 2016-19 -- leaving the burden on the South Bronx. Some environmental (in) justice...

March 21, 2011

A set back by DC: in Maryland, “a bill that would create an 'environmental justice' review process on top of the regular permit application process was withdrawn after business opposition.”

March 14, 2011

On December 17th, 2009 at the UN Copenhagen Climate Summit, activists were arrested for politely and peacefully calling on some 120 heads of state attending a royal banquet to take urgent climate action. It has taken until this week for the prosecutor to levy charges against eleven activists, for trespass, falsification of documents, and impersonating a public official. The eleven are also facing the obscure charge of having committed an offence against Denmark’s Queen. The justice minister is required to personally approved its use - amazing...

March 7, 2011

Laughable is EPA's recent waste rule defining when industrial energy units are subject to strict air toxics rules for incinerators or less-stringent boiler requirements. EPA ruled that just 88 of about 200,000 boilers qualify for strict air toxics controls under the agency's incinerator rules. This leaves many small units with no emission controls to protect the public from hazardous pollution. Great...

February 28, 2011

In late January, West Dallas activist Otis Fagan turned up at City Hall with 20 or so other members of the Clean Association for Environmental Justice, asking the city council to help them get medical benefits he said they're guaranteed by a court decision years ago over pollution from the old West Dallas RSR lead smelter. He said, "The survivors are here because we have actual documentation the court had ordered for us to get medical treatment, and we have not received that.”

For more 60 years, the RSR lead smelter in West Dallas polluted the surrounding community and sickened its residents. Blood tests used to detect lead in the bloodstream were provided by the RSR Corporation, but Fagan says that is a far cry from the medical screenings and compensation guaranteed by the court order. "Parkland will give them treatment, but will not pay their bills," Fagan said at the City Council meeting. "It's not right for them to have to pay the bill for someone else's contamination that was forced upon them."

February 21, 2011

Vitriol from the IBD: “An Ecuador court's finding of Chevron liable for $8.64 billion over jungle drilling is a bogus case showing how easy it is for lawyers to manipulate banana republic systems. Hailing the ruling as a strike for 'environmental justice,' plaintiffs known as the Amazon Defense Front and their lawyers successfully convinced a judge in Lago Agrio, an Ecuadorean jungle town locally known as a supplying station for Colombia's FARC terrorists, that mighty Chevron, whose Texaco subsidiary drilled the rain forest from 1964 to 1990, irreparably polluted the rain forest with its drilling operations. That entitled the activists to $8.64 billion. The verdict has been hailed as the biggest environmental court payout of all time, nearly tripling that for the Exxon-Valdez cleanup, and a ruling that will change the callous way in which Big Oil does business.”

Let's HOPE it changes how Big Oil does business...

February 14, 2011

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) announced last week that it will issue a license to Ontario's Bruce Power plant, authorizing it to ship 16 decommissioned generators, each one the size of a school bus and weighing 100 tons, to Sweden for recycling. The corporation has said that it has at least 64 contaminated generators it would eventually like to ship to Sweden. Licenses must still be granted by Transport Canada and the U.S. Department of Transportation for the shipments to get under way. Governments in the United Kingdom, Norway and Denmark must also grant approval for the generators to go through their territorial waters.

February 7, 2011

10,000 people have now submitted a petition for a Global Record on Fishing Vessels to the UN Food and Agriculture headquarters in Rome, to representatives of the Committee on Fisheries, and personally handed the signatures to the Director of the Fisheries Division. We'll see.

January 31, 2011

Good news from Canada: “Peterborough residents defeated the General Electric-Hitachi Corporation of Canada (GE) at the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission... permission for GE's secretive plans to process enriched uranium downtown were officially revoked. The tribunal decision stated, 'the issued license does not authorize activities related to low-enriched uranium (LEU) or possession of the same.'”

January 24, 2011

Mauritius is now suing the United Kingdom in International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in Hamburg over the "Marine Protected Area" created around the Chagos Islands to deny the native Chagossians the right to return to their homeland. The UK Chagos Support Association (http://www.chagossupport.org.uk). "Chagos was hived off from Mauritius to create an air base when the country won its independence in the 1960s, and it has always insisted that it should have sovereignty over the islands”....

January 17, 2011

Of Chicago EJ activist Hazel Johnson, who died last week at 75, the Sun-Times writes that “Johnson, who was seen as the architect of the fight for environmental justice in Altgeld and Roseland was omitted from Obama’s book, Dreams from My Father, in which Obama traced his roots as a community activist in those communities.”

January 10, 2011

Lockheed Martin's clean up of Salina's Bloody Brook has stalled because more testing is needed, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Lockheed is supposed to excavate more than 39,000 tons of contaminated sediment and soil from the brook channel, side banks and residential areas from the Thruway to Onondaga Lake Parkway, said Myron Parkolap, manager for environmental safety and health at Lockheed Martin. More than 1,000 samples taken from 1994 to 2007 showed cadmium concentrations in the soil and sediment of the brook's west branch. According even to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry website, cadmium can cause kidney damage if swallowed. Thanks Lockheed...

January 3, 2011

In Connecticut, Mark Mitchell is leaving CCEJ, which worked with the New Haven Environmental Justice Network to prevent the recommissioning of the English Station power plant in the Fair Haven neighborhood. The plant would have burned fossil fuels to provide power during peak periods.m"Electricity would have been produced during times of the year when air quality was at its worst," Mitchell said. "The folks who would get the bulk of air pollution can't afford air conditioners, so they would have opened their windows." The state DEP denied the permit application filed by Quinnipiac Energy...

December 27, 2010

A new mine in the South Texas Uranium Belt received state approval last week, tut the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) still must agree with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) before the project can go forward. Locals say that nuclear energy poses a threat to the water supply in South Texas, where Uranium Energy Corp already has one active mine and where environmentalists are opposing the Goliad mine as well as a proposed nuclear reactor...

December 20, 2010

Jackson, Tennessee residents pleaded with state officials at hearing last week not to grant a permit approving construction of a Betty Manley Road landfill, but environmental officials said the matter may be out of their hands. The state has tentatively decided to issue Bill McMillen a permit to build a landfill at 677 Betty Manley Road, said Tommy Himes, a hearing officer with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation...

December 13, 2010

Last week the EPA's Office of Enforcement & Compliance Assurance released its FY10 enforcement results, confirming a drop in criminal cases opened and fines and restitution collected compared to FY09, from 387 cases opened last year to 346 opened this year, and from $96 million collected last year to $41 million in FY10. Good job, guys.

December 6, 2010

EPA Region IV Administrator Gwen Keyes-Fleming heard November 10 a request that EPA sue the Arrowhead Landfill near Uniontown, Alabama taking TVA coal ash waste as a way to sidestep the bankruptcy proceedings that could stall residents' lawsuit against the facility.TVA ash that was disposed of in the near an African-American community near, AL. The complaints are wider: EPA Region IV includes North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky. In the last three years activists have asked EPA to revoke permitting authority in states across the country, including Alaska, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and Maryland...

November 29, 2010

California -the 824-page environmental impact report prepared by Ventura-based Marine Research Specialists - is at the center of the debate over Ventura-based Matrix Oil Co.'s proposal to drill for oil in the Whittier hills. Opponents of drilling use the report to support their claims for killing the project while others say it shows why drilling for oil will do little harm and buoy city coffers to the tune of $6 million to $9 million annually. Matrix's original proposal had called for a new road - just north of homes on Lodosa Drive - from Colima Road to the main oil drilling site situated on about 7 acres. The report also calls for nearly 120 mitigation measures in many of the 16 areas of study to ease the impact of drilling. This report isn't final or even close to it. Supporters, opponents and many others have until Dec. 6 to make comments, ask questions or seek changes to the report. The city will hold a public comment meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Whittier Community Center gymnasium, 7630 Washington Ave. Marine Research Specialty will make a written response, which could lead to changes in the document, to every single comment in the report. The report, the comments and the responses will make up the final environmental impact report that will go to the Planning Commission in a public hearing expected to be held in March or April.

November 22, 2010

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has announced that it'll hold “a public hearing to accept comments on Eastern Metal Recycling Terminal LLC's plan to build and operate a metal shredding and processing facility in Eddystone Borough, Delaware County. The hearing will take place at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 14, at Union Hall, 1000 E. 4th St., Eddystone, PA 19022. Eastern Metal Recycling, a subsidiary of Camden Iron and Metal, has proposed relocating its Philadelphia car-crushing operation to Eddystone Borough, an environmental justice community. DEP requires permit applicants in environmental justice communities to provide residents with opportunities to hear about and to comment on the project. An environmental justice community is one in which 30 percent of residents are members of racial and ethnic minorities or 20 percent live in poverty.”

November 15, 2010

In Ireland, thirty-three pilot whales have recently been found dead along the coast of County Donegal, a tragedy being named one of the largest mass deaths of whales in the country's history. Scientists at the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group believe Royal Navy sonar may have affected the whales behaviors and ultimately led to their deaths...

November 8, 2010

The EPA has created a new post for environmental justice. Lisa Garcia proclaimed her new title as associate assistant administrator for environmental justice on a "community outreach" conference call last week. Garcia said that the move is "an effort to really capture the administrative priority and to make sure we integrate EJ into many programs at EPA. Garcia's first job is finishing for Plan EJ 2014 the guidance for a new database that will help EPA identify communities that have been unfairly impacted by environmental laws and development. We'll see.

November 1, 2010

In Oakland last week, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson boarded a hydrogen fuel cell bus accompanied by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Region 9 EPA Administrator Jared Blumenfeld, on her fifth environmental justice tour this year, after visits to South Carolina, Missouri, Mississippi and Georgia. Uh, heard of The Bronx?

October 18, 2010

In St. Louis last week at a public hearing on EPA's plan for Carter Carburetor, neighborhood residents wondered why it had taken so long to finally act. The EPA proposal has no date certain for removal of the old factory. Superfund — the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 — was created with former factories like Carter Carburetor in mind. The law allows federal officials to order the cleanup of polluted sites. When polluters fail to act, it gives the EPA the authority to intervene and clean up the site and bill the polluter for the costs. But in 1995, Congress refused to renew a tax on polluting industries that was used to pay for the cleanups. Slowly, the available money dwindled. In 2003, the special cleanup fund disappeared entirely. The EPA is soldiering on, using money from congressional appropriations. Just 19 sites were worked on last year, down from 89 in 1999. ACF Industries, which owned the Carter Carburetor plant from 1956 to 1985, is the responsible party. ACF paid for the study unveiled this week, but no decision has been reached about when money might be made available for the remediation. Earlier this year, President Barack Obama proposed reinstating the polluter tax. That’s a good idea, but doing it won’t be easy. And is there time? Watch this site.

October 11, 2010

Fair share in NYC: on November's ballot in New York City there is a proposed amendment to the 2010 Charter Revision Commission to address the loopholes in the city’s fair share review process: that solid waste and transportation public and private infrastructure be added to the atlas and accompanying map, that the city include environmental and public health data for each community district -- data that is already collected by the departments of health and environmental protection...

September 27, 2010

In Philadelphia, Eastern Metal Recycling Terminal LLC is planning to relocate its car crushing operation to the former Foamex site in Eddystone borough-- an “environmental justice community” per the PA DEC...

In Nigeria's Zamfara state, over 200 children have died of lead poisoning related to gold mining...

September 20, 2010

In Cleveland, a number of homes, some existing businesses, even a few small churches, would be leveled in the Slavic Village, Kinsman, Fairfax and Buckeye neighborhoods to make way for the proposed Opportunity Corridor road...

September 13, 2010

Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov's "multi-vector" foreign policy and desire to diversify routes to world markets for his country's considerable gas reserves... When the U.S. sent a delegation for talks this summer, oil and gas interests seemed to dominate and the State Department officials charged with raising the unwanted human rights topics appeared diminished... Berdymukhamedov is quickly building a cult of personality rivaling that of the previous “President for Life,” Niyazov, who died suddenly of a heart attack in December 2006.The country’s previous president deposited petroleum funds in a semi-private, off budget account in Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt. President Berdymukhamedov has made no reforms in this area, and a newly touted “Stabilization Fund,” into which oil and gas revenues would be placed, remains a mystery as there is no public documentation that such a fund actually exists. From Chevron's Annual shareholder Meeting in May 2010: “while the U.S. energy company is among direct sponsors of the Turkmen government's annual oil and gas conference and hopes to do business in this gas-rich Central Asian country, Chevron has robust human rights and corporate accountability policies amply indicated on its corporate website.
We'll be following this.

September 6, 2010

From a class in Arizona: “the environmental justice movement and literature about it have expanded over the years. This course offers a unique perspective by examining environmental justice struggles, such as those that have occurred in NOLA (New Orleans, LA), through the conceptual lenses of body politics and human rights. That is, the course begins with the assumption that all EJ struggles are intimately connected to the ways in which human bodies – especially racialized, gendered and classed bodies – are shaped, regulated, distorted and damaged by social structures and practices. NOLA has long been ‘EJ Central,’ with some of the major figures in the EJ movement based there. Also, the city has a unique set of factors that make it particularly susceptible to catastrophe: urban poverty, an eroding shoreline, ‘natural’ phenomena such as hurricanes, institutional and governmental racism, and a legacy of corruption. Any ‘natural’ disasters are part and parcel social disasters, too. Hurricane Katrina was the most visible indicator of this, and recently we’ve had the BP oil spill to add to the mix.”

August 30, 2010

Per EPA's most recent quarterly update of Title VI cases , in March 2010, the EPA accepted for investigation a complaint filed the previous December against the city of Rapid City, SD, and continues jurisdictional reviews of complaints filed between January and March of 2010 against St. Augustine, Florida; Salem, Oregeon; the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality; the state of California; a number of Alabama agencies and a number of Montana agencies...

August 23, 2010

ArcelorMittal South Africa has been in environmental skirmishes with the Green Scorpions and communities living near its mills. This year, its share price fell after executives neglected to apply to convert its share of mineral rights at Kumba Iron Ore's Sishen mine. A week ago, the steel maker announced a black economic empowerment (BEE) deal engineered solely to get the rights back. ArcelorMittal SA admits that the deal with the politically connected Ayigobi consortium is a "dispassionate" attempt to secure access to ore supplies on favorable terms...

August 16, 2010

In Biloxi, Mississippi last week, Beverly Banister, EPA deputy regional administrator, said “There are a lot of unanswered questions about the dispersants used to neutralize the oil spill’s toxic effects and we need people here to help us find the answers.We are grappling. This is a huge, huge issue. We have never dealt with an oil spill of this magnitude before and the EPA is reaching out.” Not enough...

August 9, 2010

They say: “Rather than directly confront environmental justice challenges, the Environmental Protection Agency has issued internal guidance that is so convoluted and vague that it will stymie effective action, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). At the same time, EPA is allowing affirmative approaches to relieving the air pollution burden on the urban poor to languish. In late July, EPA released its "Interim Guidance on Considering Environmental Justice During the Development of An Action" which proclaims that it "empowers decision-makers" to "integrate EJ [environmental justice] into the fabric of EPA's" actions. The actual guidance, however, lays out a stultifying multi-step process steeped in terms that seem designed to encourage inaction.”

August 2, 2010

Per Bullard, “as of July 15, more than 39,448 tons of BP oil spill waste was disposed in nine approved landfills in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Five of the nine the landfills receiving BP oil-spill solid waste are located in communities where people of color comprise a majority of residents living within a one-mile radius of the waste facilities. A significantly large share of the BP oil-spill waste, 24,071 tons out of 39,448 tons (61 percent),was dumped in people of color communities. This is not a small point since African Americans make up just 22 percent of the coastal counties in Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, and Louisiana”...

July 26, 2010

But what about the human rights and environmental issues surrounding Total? “HSBC Holdings PLC and French oil company Total SA have agreed to a partnership in energy trading, a link-up that aims to capitalize on Asia's fast-growing resource needs. The partnership will enable HSBC, already active in precious-metals markets, to dive into over-the-counter energy trading, where other global banks are already well-established. Total will gain a stronger foothold in Asia and other emerging markets, where HSBC has a strong presence. The alliance between HSBC and Total announced last week is the latest pairing of a financial institution with a company commanding the physical flow of commodities. Growing concerns about tougher regulations over derivatives trading, along with heated competition in the commodities business, are encouraging such business models. Earlier this month, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. completed its $1.6 billion acquisition of RBS Sempra Commodities's energy and metals business.”

July 19, 2010

The EPA's coal ash hearings will bypass Tennessee, site of the biggest coal ash disaster in history, Pittsburgh, where drinking water supplies are poisoned with coal ash and EJ hot spot Atlanta...

July 12, 2010

Canadian politicians from the government and opposition benches have mysteriously canceled an 18-month investigation into oil sands pollution in water and opted to destroy draft copies of their final report. The aborted investigation comes as new questions are being raised about the Harper government's decision to exempt a primary toxic pollutant found in oilsands tailings ponds from a regulatory agenda. The government is in the process of categorizing industry-produced substances that could either be toxic or harmful, but has excluded naphthenic acid — a toxin from oil sands operations — from the list, and left it off another list of substances that companies are required to track and report.

J uly 5, 2010

From West Virginia, "In approving the Pine Creek permit, the EPA has failed our community. Any more mountaintop removal mining in Logan County is going to further degrade the watershed, increase pollution-related health impacts and increase the likelihood of more flooding. As deforestation on the Arch Coal mine site would continue to dismantle an important global carbon sink, the mine itself would produce over 14 million tons of coal, which when burned in power plants, would contribute over 40 million tons of carbon dioxide greenhouse gas pollution to the planet's atmosphere.”

June 28, 2010

Protest against oil sands appeared in Toronto, at the G-20 meeting there...

June 21, 2010

Check out Detroit's zip code 48217

The decision of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) to ignite a new flare in Opolo-Epie, Bayelsa State, raises questions about all of the company's previous claims...

June 14, 2010

The largest shareholder in BP? JPMorgan Chase, they of mountain top removal mining...

June 7, 2010

Through the revolving door: Jaime Gorelick, former Clinton administration lawyer, has signed up to defend BP. Oily...


As Palau and Pew Fight To Save Sharks and Tuna, Japan Counters with Sushi and Conditional Aid

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 24 -- When nations and activists met this year about endangered species of sharks and Atlantic blue tuna, Japan lobbied against protections with conditional financial aid to small island states, and even sushi and shark fin soup receptions.

These stories were told Monday evening in the UN's new North Lawn building, as Jacques Cousteau's grandson spoke about seeing fewer and fewer sharks during his dives. . "We protect what we love," he quoted. But with sharks, given the perception of them as people killers, the phrase may not be helpful.

The event was sponsored by Palau, which had declared itself a shark sanctuary. A speech was given by its Permanent Representative to the UN, Stuart Beck, who is decidedly not from Palau. But as his deputy later explained to Inner City Press, he was Palau's lawyer even before it became independent.

Beck testified that Palau "championed adding four sharks to the CITES list of endangered species. Despite winning the majority of votes on all four, we could not overcome the obstructive super majority requirement."

Experts in the crowd uniformly trashed the role of Japan. It was ironic, as elsewhere in the North Lawn building Japan was presenting itself as an anti-nuclear hero. Janus face, forked tongue, one said.

Earlier on Monday, the Pew Environment Group held a press conference urging Regional Fisheries Management Organizations to do more about illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing. Inner City Press asked about such fishing off the coasts of Somalia and Western Sahara.


  Pew's Kristin Von Kistowski cautioned against excusing piracy in terms of illegal fishing. She added that international fleets harm coastal communities in Western Africa.

  Susan Lieberman of Pew said that European Union fleets are overfishing, and the the depletion of fish stock off Somalia may have played a role in driving former fishermen to piracy. Video here, from Minute 36.

  This stood in welcome contrast to the commander of the EUNAVFOR ships, who earlier this month was dismissive of Somali claims about illegal fishing. Click here for that.

Footnote: weeks ago, Inner City Press asked a spokesman accompanying Japanese Foreign Minister Okada to the UN a series of simple questions, and has twice been promised answered. But none have arrived. Watch this site -- or CITES.

May 24, 2010

 In Vermont, a mishap during a test at the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant last week allowed the water level to rise too high in the reactor, flowing through emergency valves that are typically about 8 feet above the water level and into pipes that normally carry steam to the turbine. David Lochbaum of the Union of Concerned Scientists and Diane Screnci of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said if water mixes with steam it can damage a plant's turbine...

Dutch oil trading firm Trafigura denied last week that it had paid witnesses to give false testimony about toxic waste dumped on public trash sites in Abidjan. Some men who said they had transported the toxic waste in 2006 told Dutch current affairs television program "Nova" yesterday that they had given false information in statements about the waste. Greenpeace said it has asked Dutch prosecutors to investigate the men's statements. Trafigura settled out of court in February 2007 over the dumps, paying the Ivorian government $225 million...

May 17, 2010

New Jersey regulators have ordered Exelon Corp .to cooperate with an investigation and clean up a leak of radioactive tritium at the company's Oyster Creek nuclear power plant. About 180,000 gallons of tritium-contaminated water is believed to have leaked from two pipes at the plant, and some of the water could have reached the Cohansey Aquifer..

Weird cooperation of the week: U.S. EPA will work with the Chinese environmental bureau to monitor the air quality at the World Expo in Shanghai. The two agencies will use an online system called AIRNow International to deliver real-time data and day-before forecasts of air quality. The Expo, which began May 1, is expected to attract 7 million people on top of the 20 million who live in Shanghai...

May 10, 2010

Bolivian President Evo Morales has announced that his government now controls 80 percent of the country's electricity production after nationalizing four utility companies. Among the utilities was Corani SA, a subsidiary of French utility GDF SuezSA. Morales, who has also nationalized Bolivia's oil and natural gas industries, said this weekend that he intends for the state to control all utilities..

In California, environmental groups have sued U.S. EPA over the agency's weak response to pollution in the San Joaquin Valley. The lawsuit says EPA could do more to force the California Air Resources Board and other local air quality boards to monitor the region...

May 3, 2010

In the week of focus on nuclear issues, in Nevada the Yucca Mountain site remained mired in delay. The NRC has given the US Department of Energy until June 1 to withdraw its contested application...

April 26, 2010

In New York, state environmental officials in New York announced that they will exclude the Catskills watershed from regulations authorizing hydraulic fracturing in the state's portion of the Marcellus Shale. Though the Department of Environmental Conservation did not explicitly ban natural gas drilling in the Catskills, the decision to exclude the region from the regulations creates daunting and costly bureaucratic hurdles for any companies that would want to drill there. Officials originally included the Catskills watershed in their regulations, but backed down after New York City raised concerns. "We acknowledge that there's a separate subset of issues that are independent of the safety of hydrofracking," said Stuart Gruskin, executive deputy commissioner at the department. "It's better to leave those issues out of it."

April 26, 2010 - click here for BloggingHeads.tv debate on Afghanistan cover up, Bhutto, Iran, Sudan and the UN's Love Boat in Haiti, by Inner City Press

April 19, 2010

In Texas, blood and urine tests of residents of the Denton County town Dish show they have the same toxic chemicals found in the community's air and water but not in elevated levels. State health officials cautioned that no one element was elevated and that residents should not jump to conclusions. Residents have complained for more than a year about the environmental impact of natural gas compressors and a natural gas well in their town...

A report last week found that the northern part of Sudan may have been hording oil revenues and owes South Sudan at least $700 million, in addition to the approximately $7 billion of oil money it has transferred to the south since striking a peace agreement five years ago that mandates sharing oil revenues. The watchdog group said oil production figures published by one of the biggest foreign companies producing oil in the country, the Chinese National Petroleum Co., indicate production levels that were 12 percent higher in Blue Nile state in 2009 than what the Sudanese government in Khartoum reported for the same time period...

April 12, 2010

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission will conduct additional inspections at the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant because of a recent radioactive tritium leak. Entergy Corp., which operates the plant, found and stopped the leak, and NRC said the contamination did not threaten the public or plant workers. The leak did prompt the Vermont Senate to vote not to renew the plant's license when it expires in 2012...

In Kenya, environmentalists successfully blocked a shipment of genetically modified maize from South Africa. Protestors said the maize developed by multinational firm Monsanto Co. had not been properly checked and could contaminate the soil. Several African countries have banned the import of genetically modified plants...

April 5, 2010

  Environmental justice as international human rights:

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) will hear a complaint filed by the New Orleans-based Advocates for Environmental Human Rights (AEHR) on behalf of the people of Mossville, La. An autonomous body of the Organization of American States, the IACHR along with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights comprise the inter-American system for promoting and protecting human rights.

Scheduled to take place some time in the next three months, the review will consider whether the U.S. government has violated the predominantly African-American community's residents' human rights to life, health, equality, freedom from racial discrimination, and "privacy as it relates to the inviolability of the home" by allowing numerous industrial facilities to locate there and emit millions of pounds of highly toxic chemicals every year.

Located near Lake Charles in southwestern Louisiana's Calcasieu Parish, the unincorporated rural community of Mossville is surrounded by 14 industrial facilities that each year spew more than 4 million pounds of highly toxic chemicals to the environment. The pollution includes known carcinogens including dioxin, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, solvents like xylene and toluene, and heavy metals such as lead and mercury.

March 29, 2010 --

Pachauri's Opaque Moonlighting Critiqued by Figueres, of 2 Costa Ricans and the Alba Group, UNFCCC

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 22 -- The embattled chairman of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, Rajendra Pachauri, refuses to disclose how much money he makes from his simultaneousconsultancies with Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse and other institutions. Now, a candidate to head the UN's Framework Convention on Climate Change, Christiana Figueres of Costa Rica, has announced she would cease all outside consulting if given the "full time and a half" post.

Inner City Press asked Ms. Figueres on Monday for her view of Pachauri's side business and other IPCC matters. "That would not be my choice," Ms. Figueres said, of Pachauri's side work for business. She also said diplomatically that "Doctor Pachauri I believe is at freedom to allocate his time as he sees fit." Video here, from Minute 27:18.

  But shouldn't Pachauri at least be required to formally disclose who he works for on the side, and how much he gets paid? He has resisted even this.

  Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon and his spokesman for the UN view on this lack of transparency. The answer was that the IPCC is not a UN body, and that Pachauri would answer the questions himself. But when he came to the UN, seeking to use Ban Ki-moon as a prop and character witness, neither took any questions from the press.

Ms. Figueres, the daughter of a former Costa Rican president, is viewed as a serious contender to replace Yvo de Boer, who is moving to KPMG (some are calling it cashing in). Inner City Press asked her if the recent appointment of another Costa Rican, Rebecca Grynspan, to the number two post at