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.

November 18, 2019

HR 5120, authored by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), is the “Safe, Accountable, Fair and Environmentally Responsible (SAFER) Pipelines Act of 2019.” The bill will give the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) (part of the Department of Transportation) strong direction to act in the safety interests of citizens living in both urban and rural areas, including by requiring new rules to prevent, detect, stop and report methane emissions.
November 11, 2019

  "Thousands of companies around the world are now reporting climate-related financial exposures to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) under the guidelines of the Financial Stability Board (FSB) Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures." That's Lael Brainart; in other news, no follow through on ensuring that FOIA requests related to mergers are ruled on before the Fed closes comment periods. Also, problems with HMDA availability from CFPB: isn't this as much in the Fed's wheelhouse and area of responsibility?

November 4, 2019

 One thing we can say is that Antonio Guterres' brand of "climate action" is a fraud that when questions, is not or cannot be defended, see here.

October 28, 2019

A group of scientists selected by the EPA to advise it on air pollution standards couldn’t reach consensus on whether the standards should be tightened or stay  the same, a development that may complicate ongoing effort to update them.  The Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee was examining the current environmental rules for fine particulate matter, akaPM2.5, during a two-day meeting that ended Oct. 25. Four of the committee’s six members said the current rules are acceptable, while two others said they should be lowered to better protect public health.

October 21, 2019
 
  So why isn't The Bronx, or even NYC, at least as of October 19, 2019 on
https://insights.sustainability.google/?

October 14, 2019

MN: Twin Cities residents interested in the air quality of their neighborhoods can now find out with the click of a mouse on a state website.  The new mapping tool is part of an urban air-quality monitoring project at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) aimed at understanding the relationship between common air contaminants and public health effects, such as asthma and early deaths, broadening the state’s effort to tackle the issue known as health equity. 

October 7, 2019

The shipping industry is yet another industry where the burden put on the environment is not being reduced as much as it’s being shifted and concealed. Experts warn this could have a terrible, devastating effect on wildlife in British waters — and, remember, water goes everywhere.  Global shipping companies are rigging vessels with “cheat devices,” even to the tune of billions of dollars, to create a false impression. By circumventing new environmental legislation, they are simply dumping pollution into the sea to protect the air. Seems a case of cutting off one’s foot instead of one’s hand, metaphorically

September 30, 2019

Environment and the courts: A settlement in the Hawaii linchpin case that was to anchor a U.S. Supreme Court review of whether the federal Clean Water Act mandates cleanup of pollution carried via groundwater to regulated water bodies now could leave the dispute out of what justices will consider....

September 23, 2019

UN Guterres Leers At Youth Climate Summit While Covers Up Child Rapes and Flies to Lisbon Censoring Press

By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR PFT Video

UN GATE, September 21 -- Who gets to decide which media can enter the United Nations to cover this week's United Nations General Assembly meeting, for example the September 21 "Youth Climate Summit"? It's Antonio Guterres, who as Secretary General has covered up child rapes by UN peacekeepers and his many jet flights to his real home in Lisbon, and has banned Inner City Press which asks about both for 445 days now.

 On September 21Guterres sat leering in the UN Trusteeship Council Chamber, trying to co-opt the youth energy against corporate polluters.  His Climate Envoy Luis Alfonso de Alba was lurking around the UN at midnight smoking a cigarette and joining in Guterres' censorship of Press. His Youth Envoy is not young, and partners with Saudi Prince MBS who had journalist Jamal Khashoggi killed. Guterres is killing the UN.

September 16, 2019

UN Guterres Flies To Bahamas Noting Haitians Whom He Cheats After UN Cholera Killed 10000

By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR PFT Video

UN GATE, Sept 14 -- Who gets to decide which media can enter the United Nations to cover this month's United Nations General Assembly high level week?

  The answer in today's UN, not unlike in any dictatorship whether China or Cameroon, is one man and his small circle of yes-men and a yes-women, with no due process, no right to appeal, no judicial oversight.   

  In this case the man is Antonio Guterres, and the new yes-woman is Melissa Fleming. She previously served as his spokesperson during his tenure at the UN refugee agency UNHCR. Guterres parlayed that into the top UN job by showing great deference to China on its refoulement to North Korea for torture.

 And what does Guterres do as Secretary General, beyond seeking a second term include by censoring the Press? He flew down to the Bahamas and said this: "it's important to say I just visited a reception center in which the overwhelming majority of the population is not Bahamian it’s Haitian."

  So he flew all those miles at cost to the public and the environment and noted people from Haiti whom he has ensured receive not a penny after the UN killed 10,000 of them with cholera, citing the same immunity / impunity he uses to have the Press roughed up and banned. His empty statements are issued by Stephane "French Whine" Dujarric lamenting summer wines while Haitians like the Anglophones in Cameroon are ignored, abused and used by the UN.  Dujarric too in a censor. And Lowcock for some reason hasn't made even the cursory financial disclosure the system of which Guterres is destroying for his own (Gulbenkian) reasons.

September 9, 2019

Hurricane Dorian Garners UNSG Guterres Empty Statement While He Bans Press From UNGA

By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR PFT Video

UN GATE, September 2 -- Who gets to decide which media can enter the United Nations to cover this month's United Nations General Assembly high level week?

  The answer in today's UN, not unlike in any dictatorship whether China or Cameroon, is one man and his small circle of yes-men and a yes-women, with no due process, no right to appeal, no judicial oversight.   

  In this case the man is Antonio Guterres, and the new yes-woman is Melissa Fleming. She previously served as his spokesperson during his tenure at the UN refugee agency UNHCR. Guterres parlayed that into the top UN job by showing great deference to China on its refoulement to North Korea for torture.

 And what does Guterres do as Secretary General, beyond seeking a second term include by censoring the Press? He issues empty statements about storms, like this one: "Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General – on Hurricane Dorian     The Secretary-General is deeply saddened by the terrible devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian, which is still impacting the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.      The Secretary-General expresses solidarity with the people and the Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.     The United Nations will continue supporting the Government-led ongoing rescue and relief efforts.   Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General  New York, 2 September 2019." Dujarric too in a censor.

  Guterres took money from Lisbon-based Gulbenkian Foundation during the year after he left UNHCR. Then once despite his feminist rhetoric Guterres shouldered out women candidates to take over the UN with China's support, Guterres omitted these Gulbenkian payments from the UN public financial disclosure he filed covering 2016.  

  When Inner City Press which while reporting daily from inside the UN also covered the UN bribery trial of CEFC China Energy's Patrick Ho in the federal courthouse in lower Manhattan asked Guterres about that case, Guterres refused to answer.    

   Worse, Guterres pretended through his spokesman Stephane Dujarric to not have even heard Inner City Press' question when called on at the UN Security Council stakeout about Cameroon and his closeness with 37 year president Paul Biya.   

September 2, 2019

Siemens Refuses To Pay To Ship 177 Wind Turbine Blades From China To Texas And Gets Sued

By Matthew Russell Lee

SDNY COURTHOUSE, August 29 – To ship 513 wind turbine generator blades from Shanghai to Corpus Christi, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy said it would pay BBC Chartering Carriers $2.7 million. Then after having paid for only 336 blades, Siemens stopped paying. BBC Chartering Carriers sued and appeared on August 29 before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Gregory H. Woods.

   Judge Woods asked each side what law should apply. The two lawyers said they had both worked in maritime law for some time; Siemens said it wants to file a motion to dismiss. Judge Woods set a schedule and said he was looking forward to construing the contract.

August 26, 2019

Children living in a central Zambian mining town are still exposed to high levels of toxic lead 25 years after the mine closed... Decades of lead mining have left Kabwe, around 150km  north of Lusaka, severely polluted, with serious health implications for residents..

August 19, 2019

UN Climate Corruption Includes Antonio Guterres And UNDP Global Environment Facility Felony

By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR Letter PFTracker  Q&A

UNITED NATIONS GATE, July 29 – The corruption in the UN system under UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres ranges from impunity for sexual abuse and harassment to lack of financial disclosures and audits to outright double-dipping of benefits, whistleblower UN staff have repeatedly complained to Inner City Press.

A fish rots from the head, and it is Guterres (now missing without explanation for two weeks) who is responsible. But why then is Guterres given a pass in an increasingly rare selective take-down of part of the UN climate scam by Foreign Policy, a publication whose UN embed UNchecked by headquarters never wrote a word as investigative Inner City Press would evicted from its UN office, then roughed up and banned now 408 days? In terms of their recent piece, the scam of the Global Environmental Fund goes further back than they say, reported exclusively by Inner City Press for example here, regarding Tatiata Gorlatch and others.

  And now consider this, from March: Rastislav Vrbensky just left UNDP having allowed his wife to earn over a million dollars in contracts from UNDP offices that report to him in the Istanbul Regional Office of UNDP in breach of UNDP's Ethics Rules. And it looks like there is more. All staff have been too scared to report for past 2 1/2 years.   He is a senior UNDP official and Deputy Director of UNDP in Europe in CIS region. He left the organization with no official announcement from the Adminstrator (Achim Steiner), no official announcement from the Europe & CIS Bureau Bureau Director (Mirjana Spoljaric Egger) and no official announcement from anybody in UNDP.  Vrbesnky reported to Spoljaric who reports to Steiner.  Out through the back door ...

Back door Tony. We'll have more on this.

August 12, 2019

  The elitism of the environmentalism, so called, of UN Sec-Gen Antonio Guterres is exemplified by his robo-celebrating while flying to parts unknown of the luxury yacht trip: Greta Thunberg · Jul 29 Good news! I’ll be joining the UN Climate Action Summit in New York, COP25 in Santiago and other events along the way. I’ve been offered a ride on the 60ft racing boat Malizia II." Who else can afford this? Guterres is a fraud...

August 5, 2019

An environmental study graded conditions at over 204 beaches that touch the Long Island Sound, including North Shore beaches. Beaches in both NY & Connecticut  received high marks for water quality, welcome news to beachgoers.     Save the Sound, a bi-state organization dedicated to protecting the waters and shorelines of the Long Island Sound, released the report on Friday. They have offices in Mamaroneck, NY and New Haven, CT.     Among the top ten beaches in New York State on the Long Island Sound were Northport’s Hobart Beach, Port Jefferson’s East and West Beach and nearby Belle Terre Beach, and Iron Pier Beach and Mattituck Breakwater Beach, both in Riverhead.

July 29, 2019

There are no fewer that four big oil cases pending against the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The cases involve arbitration awards and various oil fields; a backdrop includes longstanding human rights abuses by and allegations of corruption in Nigeria's oil sector.   

Back on July 16 Inner City Press sought to attend and cover a status confernce in one of the cases, Statoil and Texaco v. NNPC, 18-cv-02392 before SDNY Judge Richard M. Berman. But the matter was put over until July 23 at noon.    When Inner City Press arrived at noon, both the plaintiffs and defendants tables were full; the courtroom was otherwise empty.   

The law firm for Texaco and Statoil, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer US LLP quickly told Judge Berman that the proceeding should be off the record and "in camera."   

Judge Berman said "we have a member of the press in the courtroom, a blogger," and asked the parties to say what they could in open court. The request, in essence, was for a stay of the proceedings, such as similar cases before SDNY Judges Stanton and Kaplan have been stayed. (SDNY Judge William Pauley has pushed one of the four cases forward, on which we intend to report more.)   

  The Freshfields counsel told Judge Berman that a six months stay would avoid for the court "the burden of heavy discovery and motion practice."  

 Judge Berman replied, "That's why we're here, it's not really a burden for us."   

The law firm for the Nigerian state oil company, Chaffetz Lindsey LLP, repeated the argument for secrecy. In a July 18 letter to Judge Berman marked "MEMO ENDORSED" the firm wrote "on behalf of all parties to respectfully request that the status conference scheduled for next Tuesday, July 23, take place in camera and that any transcript of the proceedings be placed under seal."   

Judge Berman to his credit declined to taken things off the record. He told the parties that he was granting their request for a stay, until January 14, 2020 at 11 AM but that it is "very likely there will be no further stay."    

Will the same apply to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation cases before SDNY Judges Stanton and Kaplan? Watch this site. The full case name is Statoil (Nigeria) Limited and Texaco Nigeria Outer Shelf Limited v. Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, 18-cv-02392 (RMB).
July 22, 2019

Officials in the Kurdistan Region's province of Duhok warned on Thursday that electric generators, industrial facilities, and the increasing number of vehicles pose a serious threat to both the environment and residents' health.  "In comparison to the previous four years, Duhok's environment this year has seen increasing amounts of pollution," Mohammed Taher, the director of Duhok's Environment Protection Department said...

July 15, 2019

DC's big rains have led to high bacteria levels in the Potomac River, Anacostia River and Rock Creek...

July 8, 2019

In China, large demonstrations against construction of a polluting waste incinerator plant have rocked Wuhan, central China.  A week of large street protests began in Yangluo, an outer sub-district of Wuhan, on June 28, when around 10,000 local residents marched against construction of the Chenjiachong waste-to-energy plant (incinerator) which has sparked widespread safety concerns. Yangluo has a population of over 300,000.  Marchers chanted “give us back the green mountains and clear waters” and “garbage burning plant get lost from Yangluo.”

July 1, 2019

In the UK, Drivers who leave their engines running while stationary will face £100 fines.  The penalties could be even higher for parents who leave their motors ticking over while parked outside schools.   Transport Secretary Chris Grayling is launching a consultation this summer as figures show vehicle idling causes the equivalent of 150 balloons filling with harmful chemicals including cyanide each minute.

But at the UN, Antonio Guterres leaves 7 limousines idling outside his mansion for hours. Disgusting hypocrisy.

June 24, 2019

Barbados stands to suffer severe consequences if there is no improvement soon in the declining coral reef stock in the region.  In addition, local authorities have expressed grave concern about overfishing, littering and indiscriminate dumping, which they say could cause further damage to an already fragile ecosystem.  The issue of protecting the underwater ecosystem and the general environs came up for discussion on Friday as officials gathered at the UN House in Christ Church for the Barbados Ridge to Reef Assembly 2019 under the theme Challenges, Interactions and Opportunities for the Green and Blue Economies.

June 17, 2019

Goa Environment Minister Nilesh Cabral Friday ruled out shutting down offshore casinos mounted on vessels, but assured to conduct a study to find out if there is any water contamination by these ships which are parked in the Mandovi river.

June 10, 2019

Egypt, Turkey, and Italy are the biggest sources of plastic in the Mediterranean, while the coastline of Cilicia in south-east Turkey has the highest plastic pollution in the Mediterranean..

June 3, 2019

Askaoun is  a small village in southwestern Morocco In 2014, a Canadian mining company called Maya Gold and Silver began work on the nearby Zgounder mine, creating jobs for some locals and bringing hope that the area would be developed.  But residents, fed up with constant noise and pollution from the mining operations, are now asserting their claims to the land and demanding that the company cease site activities. They say the company has appropriated a water source, leading to water shortages, and has been operating without their consent...

May 27, 2019

Hong Kong air pollution and the deadly impact of shipping and cruise industries A single cruise liner berthed at a passenger terminal emits as much sulphur dioxide as 25,000 diesel buses As the waters of the Greater Bay Area get ever busier, is enough being done to clean the emissions of ocean-going vessels? No...

May 20, 2019

Authorities ordered Mexico City schools closed Thursday and Friday and urged people to stay indoors, as the photochemical miasma enveloping the metropolitan area, home to more than 20 million, failed to disperse

May 13, 2019

  In Nigeria they are blaming International Oil Companies (IOCs) for degrading the predominantly swampy Niger Delta environment through oil and gas exploration and production - but that's not what UN DSG Amina J Mohammed says, or does....

May 6, 2019

   On April 29, after covering the SDNY court all day, Inner City Press went to an event at Pace nearly about plastics, video here (mentioning JPMorgan Chase, too).

April 29, 2019

The American Lung Association listed Birmingham as No. 14 on its list of U.S. cities with the highest levels of year-round particulate air pollution.  The Lung Association’s “State of the Air" report was released this week, compiling air quality data from 2015-2017 from state, federal and local environmental agencies tasked with regulating air pollution.

April 22, 2019

In Jacksonville, Florida, a developer behind a string of downtown Jacksonville building projects is spearheading a plan to open a classics-based charter school on land at the center of a decades-long environmental cleanup.  Vestcor Companies Chairman John Rood is asking the Duval County School Board to approve startup of the Jacksonville Classical Academy on property facing McCoys Creek adjacent to downtown’s Brooklyn area...
April 15, 2019

In India, clashes broke out between locals in Delhi's Mayapuri and police officials during a drive to seal illegal scrap factories following an NGT order. In a video shared by ANI, security forces can be seen chasing down protesters and throwing stones and bricks at the men running on a road in the area.  Ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) retweeted the video to slam the action against protesters to say, "Horrifying!!! General Dyer Modi's police brutally pelting stones on the citizens in Mayapuri, Delhi."  The tweet is in reference to General Dyer famous for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in which the British general ordered firing on unarmed Indians gathered at a public park in Amritsar in 1919. Hundreds of peaceful protesters were killed in the firing.   According to ANI, MCD officials started to seal the polluting scrap factories on Saturday morning following the National Green Tribunal's order to seal nearly 850 such factories
.

April 8, 2019

The entire populations of India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, China, Nigeria, Indonesia and Mexico are exposed to levels of PM2.5 pollution that exceed World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines and about 75% of people in the EU live in areas with above WHO PM2.5 levels.  The findings come from a new report ranking PM2.5 and ozone pollution across the world, published by the Health Effects Institute, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation and scientists from the University of British Columbia.  PM2.5 means particles smaller than 2.5 micrometres and it can be produced by burning liquid and solid fuels, including coal.

April 1, 2019

In SDNY Liver Cancer Concealment Defended By Bronx Junk Car Depot After Shackled Defendant Cites Present Pain

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video

SDNY COURTHOUSE, March 26 -- Whether an insured should have disclosed his cancer was the issue before Judge John G. Koeltl in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on March 26. Laywers for an insurance company trashed the deceased for material representation; a junior lawyer for the policy's beneficiary, Bronx Junk Car Depot, said all facts would be contested. The whole thing was put off for months, with an eye toward a trial in May... 2020. The case is NATIONAL LIFE INSUR COMPANY, v BRONX JUNK CAR DEPOT, LLC and GET JUNKED.COM, LLC. Moments before when defendant Calvin Burnett was led into the same courtroom, he was limping on a cane. After registering a change of plea and setting a new hearing, his lawyer Anthony Ricco told Judge Koeltl that Burnett's right leg is inflamed, as is his groin area which he examined in the cell just outside the courtroom. Judge Koetlt asked if Burnett had been in the MDC during the power outage - he had not - and ordered the Bureau of Prisons to response in 24 hours. The underlying indictment, as it happens, involved conspiracy to distribute oxycodon. Two women were in the courtroom, along with three unrelated men in suits who were waiting for a subsequent insurance case. Inner City Press was the only media there, on the back bench, taking notes. March 25, 2019

33 global banks have provided $1.9 trillion to fossil fuel companies since the adoption of the Paris climate accord at the end of 2015. The amount of financing has risen in each of the past two years.

March 18, 2019

UN Guterres Uses Two 4x4s and 5 Guards Arriving At Publicly Funded Mansion Hypocrisy of Sustainability Like His Censorship

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive, CJR Letter PFTracker

UNITED NATIONS GATE, March 16 – Before Inner City Press was roughed up by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' Security on June 22 and July 3, 2018 and banned since then, it insistently asked for disclosure of how many of Guterres' publicly funded trips took him through his real home, Lisbon. The questions are not been answered by Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, who on 2 November 2019 simply bicycled away as Inner City Press asked about Guterres' failure in Cameroon and attempt to get even Park East Synagogue to oust Inner City Press from covering his October 31 speech about tolerance.  Now on Saturday 16 March 2019, the supposedly environmentalist UNSG Antonio Guterres arrived at the $15 million publicly funded mansion in which he lives alone in not one but two large four by four vehicles, with six guards. Video here. What a waste, what hypocrisy. This was two days after Guterres guards physically pushed Inner City Press out of the line for a press freedom event in the UN it was invited to and had a ticket for, then refused to provide the banned-by-Guterres list they said was the basis of their action. Totally corrupt.

March 11, 2019

Erie Coke is situated in what the DEP has labeled an environmental justice area because of the number of low-income and minority residents living nearby. Erie Coke must perform additional public outreach in order to get a new permit. The number of employees at the plant has been unavailable.... Erie Coke’s sister plant outside Buffalo, Tonawanda Coke, shut down in October less than a week after filing for bankruptcy protection. Twenty lawsuits have been filed against Tonawanda Coke.

March 4, 2019:

  Online: takeover of an #HSBC branch in Cambridge last week. Groups from Reclaim the Power, Extinction Rebellion and FOE calling out the banks investments in #fracking, tar sands and arms companies.

February 25, 2019

One of the US' biggest seafood companies has agreed to spend up to $23 million to fix serious air pollution issues with its vessels and land-based facilities. Trident Seafoods will also pay a $900,000 fine for Clean Air Act violations under a settlement agreement filed Tuesday in federal court in Alaska...

February 18, 2019

In the NYC subways, "the diesel fumes come from MTA work trains, which spew so much soot that subway platforms contain about twice as much carbon diesel pollution as the air above ground" (DN)

February 11, 2019

Around 90 percent of Dhaka city residents are affected by severe air pollution, speakers at a human chain program said last week. They said that dust pollution tended to increase alarmingly in the dry season. At this time of the year, brickfields run their operation in full swing and the civic bodies and the utility service providers are engaged in repair works.

February 4, 2019
 In Colombo in Sri Lanka,  the real Real-time Air Quality Index (AQI) is 153, ranked Unhealthy.  A spike in the number of vehicles in the city and industrial pollutants are some of the bigger contributors to the increase of Air Pollution in Colombo...

January 28, 2019

South Korea last week sent aircraft over the Yellow Sea to carry out cloud-seeding experiments in an effort to tackle air pollution many South Koreans blame on China. Air quality in South Korea is generally better than in its giant neighbour, the world’s biggest polluter, which is periodically affected by choking bouts of filthy air and according to the International Energy Agency uses coal to generate around three quarters of its energy.

January 21, 2019

Something we'll be looking into:  the festival on 27 April 2019 timed to coincide with the annual ‘Sailing Week’, in Antigua and Barbuda. "The initiative is meant to raise awareness, celebrate successes, and push forward progress to address plastic pollution."

January 14, 2019

Mining Project in French Guiana Called Out for Hypocrisy and No Consent from Indigenous

By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR PFT

UNITED NATIONS GATE, January 10 – You know France has gone too far when even a committee of the UN, which France games including to gain support for its still colonial projects in Cameroon and beyond, criticizes the country. But consider this: "A gold mining project envisaged on the territory of indigenous peoples in French Guiana is sparking substantial criticism. In a rare move, a UN committee is now requesting France to secure the consent of affected indigenous communities or suspend the project.  The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has just adopted an 'early warning' asking France to secure the consent of the indigenous communities affected by the 'Montagne d'Or' mining project or suspend it. In a confidential decision adopted on 14 December and released today, the Committee calls on France to 'ensure the right to consultation and free, prior and informed consent to all indigenous peoples affected by the Montagne d’Or project' and 'to consider the suspension' of the project until such consent is obtained.  The move was prompted by a complaint lodged by the Organization of the Native Nations of Guiana (ONAG) with support from the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR). According to ONAG’s representative Alexandre Sommer-Schaechtele, the Committee's decision constitutes a major step forward. 'UN mechanisms and UN member States have taken note of France’s attitude on this matter. France has pledged to "make the planet great again", yet it is prepared to proceed with projects of that sort. We indigenous peoples have expressed our opposition to this project as it directly affects our environment. Without our consent, the Montagne d'Or project must be withdrawn.'  This early warning is the first ever adopted by the Committee concerning a situation in France. Traditional and customary indigenous authorities in French Guiana have voiced their opposition and concerns with the direct and indirect impacts of the project on their environment. The mine would cover an area of ​​more than 800 hectares in the heart of pre-Columbian remains considered sacred by indigenous peoples." January 7, 2019

And now, the censorship: "A day after a US based journalist was questioned by police for interviewing people at Tuticorin over the Sterlite plant issue, authorities are exploring legal options, including filing a case and deporting him for alleged violation of visa rules."

December 31, 2018

More from Tamil Nadu: A petrochemicals firm was instructed by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to shut down one of its plants in Manali on Tuesday. The company was served a notice on December 17 for abnormal levels in the treated effluent water discharged by the plant.

According to a report in The Times of India, Manali Petrochemicals Limited, in a letter, told the Bombay Stock Exchange that that it received a notice from CPCB under section 5 of the Environmental Protection Act, 1985, that asked the firm to stop operations at its Ponneri High Road plant.


December 24, 2018

Not over? Vedanta Ltd. said it will move the Supreme Court to implement the National Green Tribunal’s order to restart its copper smelter in Tamil Nadu, which accounts for nearly half of India’s output, after the Madras High Court restrained the company from taking any steps to reopen the unit.

December 17, 2018

What's in a name? In India the so-called National Green Tribunal has ordered the Sterlite plan to be re-opened in Tamil Nadu...

December 10, 2018

Since January 2016, 235 commercial banks provided over US$ 101 billion in direct loans to the 120 top coal plant developers. The largest lenders to coal plant developers are the Japanese banks Mizuho Financial and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial with US$ 12.8 billion and US$ 9.9 billion respectively.

December 3, 2018

The UN praised the "Blue Economy" conference in Nairobi- which was full of single-use plastic including water bottles...
November 26, 2018

UN Guterres Told Solheim to Pull Himself For Travel Spending No Worse Than His Own Per Aftenposten

By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR PFT

UNITED NATIONS GATE, November 24 – Even on the environment, the UN's last refuge as it fails under Antonio Guterres on conflict prevention and anti-corruption, the UN is in decay. After Erik Solheim of UNEP's travel spending reported by Inner City Press and others earlier this year, Solheim on November 20 resigned, effective November 22. Inner City Press which asked repeated about UNEP, Solheim's MoBike and China trip favoritism for his son, Guterres own travel waste and UNdisclosed business of son Pedro Guimarães e Melo De Oliveira Guterres and continues to ask and film (here and here) amid its now 143 day retaliatory ban from the UN by Guterres, linked Solheim's departure to Guterres' own sins. And now Aftenposten nails it, or at least part of it: "Monday, 19 November is far from a normal day for the former Minister for the Environment and Development. This day, in fact, a letter from António Guterres, the UN's own Secretary-General, is written. The wording of the letter is referred to as "powerful" and "very clear" by people who have seen it and as Aftenposten has talked to. The message is this: You have to pull yourself. Now." Some ask, and what did Guterres mean -- better you than me? Guterres has spent public funds on fully 16 trips to his home in Lisbon, refusing to disclose how much it costs and roughing up and banning Inner City Press which asks? Now Guterres is gone yet again, without disclosing where. Guterres apparently thinks that firing a person doing what he does gives him additional immunity, and that no one can hand him a letter saying, You have to pull yourself, now. Aftenpost's three authors bylined on story, Kristoffer Rønneberg, Helene Skjeggestad and Inger Lise Hammerstrøm report Guterres lined up Norway against Solheim before dropping the hammer. Why are Guterres' sleazy firing reported so differently than Trump's? And what of the China angle, and Guterres' actual role? We'll have more on this. In the briefing room, Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric gave the first question - of only four - to Al Jazeera which conveniently asked only about Solheim's travel, not Guterres. This is a pattern. Even banned, Inner City Press has asked in writing: "November 20-2: Confirm or deny that UNEP's Erik Solheim is resigning and either way, state when the OIOS report into his travel will be made public, and state how much the SG has spend on his 16 trips to Lisbon, including 2 UN Security each time." And here is all that Guterres' spokesmen sent back: "On your second question, we have the following note: The Secretary-General has accepted the resignation of Erik Solheim, the Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
Mr. Solheim’s resignation is effective Thursday, 22 November.
The Secretary-General is grateful for Mr. Solheim’s service and recognizes that he has been a leading voice in drawing the world’s attention to critical environmental challenges, including plastics pollution and circularity; climate action; the rights of environmental defenders; biodiversity; and environmental security.
He has led advocacy at the highest levels of government, business and civil society to drive the transformational change needed to make a real difference in the lives of people and promote the cause of the environment.
The Deputy Executive Director of UNEP, Ms. Joyce Msuya of Tanzania, will be appointed as the Acting Executive Director while the Secretary-General launches a recruitment process, in consultation with Member States, to find a successor to Mr. Solheim. Ms. Msuya will be granted all the necessary support to ensure a smooth transition. New York, 20 November 2018." Nothing on Guterres' spending. We'll have more on this. Here was the fourth in Inner City Press' exclusive series on corruption in UN Environment, the re-branded UNEP, under Erik Solheim of Norway. After publishing three, Guterres had Inner City Press roughed up on June 22 and July 3, 2018 and banned since. It is pure censorship. But still our reporting, and that of our sources outraged at what Guterres is doing and others scrutinizing the UN if only their home country officials, see below, continues. On September 17, Inner City Press exclusively published the first in a series on travel waste in UNDP, starting with the bribery-used Office of South South Cooperation, here. This while Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric refuses to answer questions about the public costs of travel, of Guterres or Solheim, preferring to dissemble about why and on what basis Guterres and Alison Smale have banned Inner City Press. On August 27 Dujarric said it was for creating a "hostile environment for diplomats." Vine video here. On September 17 he said, to the contrary, it was all Guterres' Secretariat and there were not "any inputs from any member states." Video here. Which is it?
November 17, 2018

For the first time, Australia’s pollution has been mapped by postcode in a report titled The Dirty Truth by the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF).

Some of the areas identified as being the most polluted in Australia’s capital cities include:

Botany Bay in Sydney
Altona in Melbourne
Port of Brisbane
Parmelia near Perth

November 12, 2018

From India: "'There are no non-smokers in India,' says doctor who installed artificial lungs in Delhi to create awareness on air pollution.

In New York City, small three or two seat bus stops are no place for smoking...

November 5, 2018

On UK bonfire night: "Be it power stations, steel works, or waste incineration – they all have to invest a lot to clean these metals and other pollutants. But yet on fireworks night we just throw a load of it into our urban air without controls."

October 29, 2018

For more than two decades, residents of Melbourne's inner west have been fighting a losing battle to get trucks off their streets. So the thought that Melbourne's freight load could triple by 2050 is, quite simply, horrifying to them. "I can't imagine what the streets would be like around here if we had a massive increase in the truck numbers," said Martin Wurt from the Maribyrnong Transport Action Group. "We have got some of the worst health statistics in Australia because of the diesel pollution we are experiencing now."

October 22, 2018

UNlike the UN, Pearl Jam is investing in a carbon offset project in Alaska managed by ClimeCo, The American Land Conservancy, and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to be ‘accountable’ for pollution they created on their 2018 tour. It is the first of its kind in the region. The project will help to protect the coastal temperate rainforest area of Afognak Island and to preserve the habitat for many important animal species.

“As a band, it’s important for us to be accountable for the pollution we create. Since 2004 we’ve invested in projects around the world to mitigate the CO2 emissions caused by our tours” said Pearl Jam’s Stone Gossard, who manages the band’s carbon mitigation program.

October 15, 2018

Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Nestle are among the companies that contribute most to ocean pollution with single-use plastics, according to a study presented on Tuesday by the "Break Free from Plastic" initiative.
The environmental movement, launched in 2016, has helped clear the coasts of 42 countries around the world of discarded plastics.

October 8, 2018

THE ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre’s (ASMC’s) review and outlook of the weather and smoke haze situation for the entire region has stated that major climate centres forecast a 70 per cent chance of weak El Nino conditions developing toward the end of the year, while current conditions remained neutral (neither El Nino nor La Nina).
October 1, 2018

Headline: "Norway announces $200 million boost to anti-ocean plastic efforts" - while Norway's Eric Solheim wastes UN Environment funds flying for personal reasons...
September 24 , 2019

At UN Environment Solheim Blames His Travel Abuse On His Staff In Email Leaked to Banned Inner City Press

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive, CJR PFT

UNITED NATIONS GATE, September 18 – Even on the environment, the UN's last refuge as it fails under Antonio Guterres on conflict prevention and anti-corruption, the UN is in decay. This article is the fourth in Inner City Press' exclusive series on corruption in UN Environment, the re-branded UNEP, under Erik Solheim of Norway. After publishing three, Guterres had Inner City Press roughed up on June 22 and July 3, 2018 and banned since. It is pure censorship. But still our reporting, and that of our sources outraged at what Guterres is doing and others scrutinizing the UN if only their home country officials, see below, continues. On September 17, Inner City Press exclusively published the first in a series on travel waste in UNDP, starting with the bribery-used Office of South South Cooperation, here. This while Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric refuses to answer questions about the public costs of travel, of Guterres or Solheim, preferring to dissemble about why and on what basis Guterres and Alison Smale have banned Inner City Press. On August 27 Dujarric said it was for creating a "hostile environment for diplomats." Vine video here. On September 17 he said, to the contrary, it was all Guterres' Secretariat and there were not "any inputs from any member states." Video here. Which is it? This is today's UN pattern of decision, replicated from Guterres' 38th floor to UNEP, see Solheim's September 17 internal mem, below. First, from the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services draft audit of Solheim: "Some of the trips to Oslo and Paris were called 'bilateral meetings,' even though they took place during weekends or the Christmas holidays... On one occasion he made an eight hour flight from Washington DC for a weekend in Paris, before he boarded another flight for New York." This is what Guterres has been doing -- 15 times -- including this coming weekend in Lisbon. And Guterres spokesmen refuse to answer Inner City Press repeated questions about the costs, choosing instead to work for Inner City Press' roughing up and banning from the UN, then to intimidate remaining correspondents who attempt to ask about it. But who will audit Guterres? Inner City Press has provided extensive information to OIOS whose Ben Swanson has to his credit confirmed receipt. Now what? The draft OIOS audit of Solheim continues: "The UNEP and UN’s Nairobi office should reclaim from these employees (1) all travel expenses and the related working hours which have not been accounted for; and (2) all additional costs incurred by the UNEP as a consequence of uneconomic and inefficient decisions by the management." So who will Guterres be returning money to? And who will hold him accountable for the retaliatory roughing up of the only journalist who asked about his use of funds to travel to Lisbon, and dared to document by Periscope broadcast on Sutton Place the many times Guterres has been out of New York without disclosure? The use of UN Security to threat Inner City Press against filming on a New York City sidewalk - across the street from Guterres' publicly funded mansion - and subsequent 3 July 2018 assault outside the UN Budget Committee meeting including tearing of shirt, damaging of laptop computer and twisting of arm? Aftenpost runs this quote too: The two other senior staffers were allegedly given permission by Erik Solheim to work out of Paris, in spite of being formally assigned to Nairobi. One of them allegedly received more than 165 000 NOK (20 000 dollars) in a special security allowance for Nairobi, in spite of being relocated to Paris. Permitting these leaders to work in Paris is a direct violation of UN’s regulations, according to the draft report. 'Such arrangements will set the presedent [sic] for other employees who wish to work out of a place of their own choice, and probably lead to speculations about unfair treatment or claims when such request are being rejected.'"  Inner City Press' September 13 question to Guterres' spokesmen has gone entirely unanswered, despite the written promises of Alison Smale. But here's from Erik Solheim, leaked nearly immediately to Inner City Press: "From: Erik Solheim
Date: 17 September 2018 at 16:42:10 CEST
To: unon.org
Subject: Update: ongoing audit of UN Environment’s travel
Dear Colleagues,
I hope this email finds you well. As many of you are aware, in recent days, several media articles have referred to preliminary findings of an ongoing audit of mission-related travel within UN Environment.
I am writing to personally address these reports and update you all on the current standing of this audit.
First, I welcome a transparent and fact-seeking audit of any part of our activities. When this audit by the United Nations Office of Internal Oversight Services has come to term, I am certain the findings will help us in our endeavor to continuously improve our work.
If the audit shows that we have made any mistakes, we are committed to take immediate action and rectify every one of them, with no exception. We will admit to any mistakes that may have occurred. Where administrative shortcomings have been clearly identified, we are already starting to take steps to improve processes and procedural controls, particularly as it relates to travel costs.
On this point allow me to state it clearly and to avoid confusion. The Office of Internal Oversight Services earlier this year investigated all my travels in great detail and found three instances of oversight out of all of them. The money was refunded immediately. Better administrative control systems would have helped avoid these mistakes in the first place.
I believe this audit – which is not an investigation but an audit of UN Environment travel processes - will provide us with an opportunity to revise and improve our systems. Rest assured that this will be done in a transparent and efficient manner.
In my two years, as Executive Director of UN Environment, I have been proud to lead teams of dedicated professionals working on the most urgent environmental challenges of our time. This requires global commitment to unprecedented action, driven by new levels of personal action and political will. During my tenure, I have worked tirelessly to deliver such action and mobilize that will for the success of our work together.
Making good on this type of global agenda demands engagement with the world and indeed an expanded approach to our work. I am therefore determined to continue to focus on our mandate – to create real results for real people with real impact on the ground. These necessary results can only be obtained in close dialogue with Member States, businesses and civil society. This is in line with the Secretary-General’s vision for a more impactful United Nations in the 21th century.
At the same time, I want to reassure you that all travel decisions are made with a focus on maximizing the effectiveness of this organization and meeting the urgent environmental challenges we are facing together, everywhere. If in pursuit of that goal, administrative rules are found to have been overlooked, I accept personal responsibility and offer my strong commitment to immediately refine this process going forward.
The leaked preliminary findings, on which these media reports are based, were draft notes as a starting point for consultations between the Office of Internal Oversight Services and UN Environment. As such it may, by its very nature, contain misunderstandings or inaccuracies. As a part of this process, we have provided extensive follow-up information to the Office of Internal Oversight Services. I ask that you keep in mind that many of the findings are in the process of validation.  We are now awaiting a first draft of the report for our comments prior to the report being finalized.
Once the Office of Internal Oversight Services completes its final report, it will be public on its website, as is standard practice. We will then work diligently to implement the auditor’s recommendations.
I look forward to discussing this with you tomorrow at the Townhall.\
Warm wishes,
Erik Solheim
Head of UN Environment

UN Environment." So Solheim blames his administrative staff, while imposing on UNEP staff more bureaucratic restrictions than UN rules require. As with Guterres - and others at the top of the UN, more on UNDP coming - it's a case of "Do as I say, not as I do." Here's just one of Inner City Press' questions to Guterres spokesmen, entirely unanswered after five days: "September 13-2: Regarding the UN system's rules for use of UN funds for personal travel, and in light of the OIOS criticism of Erik Solheim at UNEP (below), what is the SG's comment and action, will be ensure that the OIOS audit be released to the public in its entirety and that his own travel be subject to an independent audit? See, “"Some of the trips to Oslo and Paris were called 'bilateral meetings,' even though they took place during weekends or the Christmas holidays... On one occasion he made an eight hour flight from Washington DC for a weekend in Paris, before he boarded another flight for New York." Has the SG done anything similar since Jan 1, 2017?

"The UNEP and UN’s Nairobi office should reclaim from these employees (1) all travel expenses and the related working hours which have not been accounted for; and (2) all additional costs incurred by the UNEP as a consequence of uneconomic and inefficient decisions by the management." Should the money be returned, does the SG think?

Finally, confirm that the two others at UNEP subject to OIOS criticism are Anne Lemore and Lisa Svensson, or state why you will not do so, given the allegations of waste of public funds, and when you would release the names." We'll have more on this. Guterres' USG Alison Smale twice promised that questions will be answered, but like so much else she has said and written, this is false. To continue reporting we ask questions at the UN Delegates Entrance, or seemingly in the "High Level" Week on Second Avenue and 46th Street - and Smale says this creates a "hostile environment for diplomats." These people are censors and it must all be reversed. They are further killing the UN, and have assaulted press freedom. We will have more on all this.
September 17, 2018

"A strange mist blew into one town, residents said. There and elsewhere, people noticed that metal items like children’s swings were rusting, and they felt a shortness of breath. Fields turned black. Ecologists and doctors say the culprit was a significant release of industrial pollution, but the ecological disaster, which began in August, has an added complication. The pollution has been blowing across the de facto border between Russian-controlled Crimea and mainland Ukraine..."

September 10, 2018

In Tamil Nadu in India, "the State government has rejected the study report of the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) on the groundwater contamination in Thoothukudi, which appears to support Sterlite Copper. The law and order situation in and around Thoothukudi has returned to normality (after the police firing in which 13 people died) and an unscientific report would aggravate the situation, Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan said, in a letter to the Secretary, Union Ministry of Water Resources."

September 3, 2018

Cairo ranked as the most polluted city on earth, according to a recent study by Eco Experts. The study classified world cities based on various types of obstruction, including air, light, and noise pollution, followed by Delhi, Beijing, Moscow, Istanbul, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Buenos Aires, Paris, and Los Angeles.  As on press freedom, good job, Sisi - not.

August 27, 2018

In Australia, Sydney Water is investigating ways to clean up sewage pollution on Coogee Beach, and will release its findings...

August 20, 2018

CANZ in action: Newcastle couple buy New Zealand navy ship to fight ocean pollution Newcastle