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.

February 1, 2016

On Coal, ICP Asks UNFCCC's Figueres Of Funding by Banks in Global Compact

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 28 -- When Christiana Figueres of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change came with three others to take questions on green investment on January 27, Inner City Press asked her about banks continuing to fund coal -- including banks who are members of the UN Global Compact -- and about murky supply chains. Video here.

  Figueres responded on coal, saying it is on the way out in the US due in part to shale gas (or hydro-fracking); she said unabated coal has no place in the energy system. So, again, what are these banks funding it? We'll have more on this - especially the UN Global Compact members.

 Appearing with Figueres on January 27 were Thomas DiNapoli, New York State Comptroller; ; Michael Liebreich of the Advisory Board, Bloomberg New Energy Finance and Philippe Defosses, CEO, public pension fund for French civil servants (ERAFP).

January 25, 2016

At UN, Fake Recycling Can Mixes Glass, Paper & Waste, Ban & Press Say Nothing

By Matthew Russell Lee, Expose

UNITED NATIONS, January 22 -- While the UN purported to be recycling, its garbage cans with separately holes for glass, paper and waste in fact have a single bag behind them: nothing is separated. Video here.

 On January 22, Inner City Press tweeted a phototweeted a photograph of the faux-recycling garbage can on the UN's third floor.

Photo: At the #UN right now, garbage cans pretend to separate for recycling - but it is all one bag pic.twitter.com/1Vp8mIlFTM

— Inner City Press (@innercitypress) January 23, 2016

Then after interaction, Inner City Press broadcast the garbage can live on Periscope, preserved on YouTube here.


Isn't this hypocrisy? Why didn't the media using this scam garbage can -- CBS, Voice of America, Foreign Policy, Reuters and AFP from down the hall, the UN Correspondents Association right next door -- say anything about this?

  Inner City Press, aware of UNCA's and these media's attempts to censor and even through the investigative Press out of the UN, filmed it and puts it online here.

Amid self-congratulations about the Paris Agreement on climate change, several environmental groups even inside the conference site on December 12 were critical. But when UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon took three softball questions from correspondents at the UN on December 14, it was another stage in Ban and his enablers' use of the UN to campaign for a Nobel Prize. The first question was, by CBS, to ask Ban about his legacy.

The next, by the outgoing vice president of the UN Correspondents Association -- selling seats with Ban for $6000 on Wall Street -- was, There is criticism, what is your response? But not a single criticism was listed: the easiest question possible. The last was, from UNCA's earlier in the day question, was What should be do?

  Inner City Press asked loudly about corpses dumped in the streets over the weekend in Burundi, where several UN member states are warning of a new genocide, and on which Ban and his office have yet to comment. Ban had no response - he returned to say he will brief the General Assembly; his spokesman said he will take more questions on December 16: also pre-selected?

  Later in the day, Ban and his UN Censorship Alliance which sells access with him will be reviving and re-establishing UN corruption in the wake of the indictments of former President of the General Assembly John Ash, Sheri Yan, the founder of South South News and Ng Lap Seng. Watch this site.

January 18, 2016

The draft USDA Environmental Justice Strategic Plan is available here: USDA Environmental Strategic Plan.

Comments on the Plan may be submitted via email to EJStrategy@usda.gov beginning January 15, 2016. Comments are due by February 14, 2016.

January 11, 2016

 Look at how Michigan declared an emergency about Flint's poisonous water - after have a role in it: http://www.michigan.gov/snyder/0,4668,7-277-57577_57657-372653--,00.html
January 4, 2016

EJ hotspot in Denver: Globeville, Swansea and Elyria neighborhoods, and the Mousetrap...

December 28, 2015

Per the City of New York Department of Sanitation, there are 20 waste transfer stations in Brooklyn, handling 10,551 tons of waste daily. Williamsburg and Greenpoint host 15 transfer stations, and handle between 30 and 40 percent of the waste of the five boroughs. ...

December 21, 2015

Headline of the week, from IndyBay: "Jerry Brown grandstands in Paris but fails to protect Latino children from fracking."

December 14, 2015

On Paris Agreement on Climate, Grumbles Even at COP 21, of TPP and Ban's Travel

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 12 -- Amid self-congratulations about the Paris Agreement on climate change, several environmental groups even inside the conference site were critical. An NGO from the United States pointed out that President Barack Obama is pushing the Trans Pacific Partnership, which will undercut climate change efforts; Obama's “climate change hiatus” after the failure of the Waxman Markey bill failed in 2009.

  An NGO from the Philippines called the agreement less concrete than in the past; another called it a “huge disappointment” on human rights. But there was Ban Ki-moon, talking about all his travel in the past nine years (and, one surmised, campaigning of a Nobel Peace Prize, with an eye on the Korean peninsula). A stream of press releases ensued; we'll have more on this.

  Back on November 20 in the run-up to the talks, Inner City Press asked UN official Janos Pasztor if commitments on adaptation funding will be increased, about corporations making sometimes dubious pledges in connection with CoP21 and specifically about requests that the Green Climate Fund not accredit HSBC or Credit Agricole, given their track records.

December 7, 2015

Anything for a hotel, EJ be damned: "The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) has determined that the cleanup requirements to address contamination related to the 2477 Third Avenue Property site (“site”) located at 2477 Third Avenue, Bronx, NY under New York State's Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP) have been or will be met."November 30, 2015

Baltimore Sun: "Baltimore, where 63.1 percent of the population is black. Baltimore currently has three times the national rate of lead poisoning among children. The effects of lead exposure can be severe, leading many times to behavioral problems such as aggressive tendencies, lack of impulse control and ADHD, among other learning disabilities. Exposure to high doses, while uncommon, can even lead to death. Lead poisoning is highly preventable; however, Baltimore's neglect of its deteriorating housing stock makes it difficult to address the issue. While rates of poisoning have steadily declined overall, black families are still suffering the burden of this legacy."

 We'll be covering Paris...

November 23, 2015

On Climate Change, ICP Asks UN's Pasztor of Adaptation, GCF & HSBC

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 20 -- In the run-up the the climate change talks in Paris, Inner City Press asked UN official Janos Pasztor on November 20 if commitments on adaptation funding will be increased, about corporations making sometimes dubious pledges in connection with CoP21 and specifically about requests that the Green Climate Fund not accredit HSBC or Credit Agricole, given their track records.

  Pasztor earnestly answered the questions, though he said he was unaware of the request to the GCF about the two banks (see here); he also said that while the march planned in Paris for November 29 has been canceled by the government, marches can be held elsewhere - in other countries.

   Agence France Presse, before other journalists got even one question, cut in with repeated “follow-ups.” France is branding CoP21, while now limited civil society participation - except for corporations.

  Relatedly, when the UNFCCC held a press conference in Bonn earlier in the week, the corporate media in the room had no questions, then few questions. But the selection of questions submitted by social media trended toward Thomson Reuters Foundation and the Climate Group; press questions submitted by Twitter and email were never answered. We'll have more on this.

November 16, 2015

New York City Councilman Ben Kallow is pushing legislation to require tests to make sure New Yorkers aren't ingesting toxins near the city's marine waste transfer stations, not only the one proposed as Asphalt Green but alsoMidtown, Greenwich Village, Gowanus and Gravesend, Brooklyn, and College Point, Queens...

November 9, 2015

Staying with Pennsylvia: The regulatory process surrounding Keystone Sanitary Landfill’s expansion plan illustrates how Pennsylvania’s 1980s-era waste-management laws need an overhaul, a member of Friends of Lackawanna told the state Environmental Justice Advisory Board on Thursday. The state Department of Environmental Protection designated a low-income part of Dunmore near the Dunham Drive landfill as an environmental justice community, which triggered a process designed to give people who live there more education about the proposal and a voice in the review.

November 2, 2015

So Pennsylvania's EJ director is... Carl E. Jones Jr., an attorney in the Tucker Law Group LLC, in Philadelphia for the last two years, has been appointed to head the state Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Environmental Justice. DEP Secretary John Quigley announced the appointment of Mr. Jones, 33, last week to head the office, which has not been staffed by a director or any employees for more than two months.

According to Neil Shader, a DEP spokesman, Mr. Jones was offered the job just before a state government hiring freeze necessitated by the budget impasse took effect.
October 26, 2015

The Pennsylvania Office of Environmental Justice is belatedly getting a new director, and fracking for natural gas will be on the agenda. The Department of Environmental Protection says gas-drilling permit applications once again will trigger extra notification and community involvement - but can fracking be denied?

October 19, 2015

On Climate Change, ICP Asks UN's Pasztor of Carbon Tax, Critiques of OECD

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 13 -- In the run-up the the climate change talks in Paris in December, Inner City Press on October 13 asked the UN's Janos Pasztor about criticism of the OECD's claims about developed countries' progress toward $100 billion in 2020, and about the IMF's or Christine Lagarde's call for a carbon tax. Video here.

  Pasztor replied that at the meeting in Peru, finance ministers had raised questions about the OECD's methodology, which he said the OECD Secretary General had responded to. He called Lagarde's proposals “an important way that countries can address this issue.”

  Back on September 21 the 2015 Equator Prize winners were announced at a UN press conference featuring Alec Baldwin and Hilaria Baldwin, UNDP's Helen Clark and UNFCCC's Christiana Figueres, about whose 3 degree Celsius prediction Inner City Press asked last week.

October 12, 2015

In Sri Lanka, a court directed the Attorney General that the documents pertaining to the Colombo Port City including the government's stance on the project be submitted in Court on November 17...

October 5, 2015

After Rousseff Lays Out Brazil's INDC, ICP Asks of Deforestation, Livestock

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 27 -- After President Dilma Rousseff announced Brazil's Intended Nationally Determined Contribution on September 27, Inner City Press -- having fought from being excluded -- asked her how the INDC proposes to offset for continued deforestation and subsidies to the livestock industry. Video here.

September 28, 2015

ICP Asked Peru's Humala If TPP Investors' Rights Provision Undercut  Environment

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 27 -- When Peru's President Ollanta Humala Tasso held a UN stakeout to present his country's climate change Intended Nationally Determined Contribution document to UNFCCC chief Figueres, Inner City Press asked Humala about the impact on the INDC of the pending Trans Pacific Partnership, particularly corporate suing of government provision. Video here.

  Humala said TPP is 90% finished, and that Peru is committed to the environment. But what about corporations suing regulations that “hinder” them? This wasn't answered.


 And the next day, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon when on a podium with Humala and French President Hollande told the Press that Humala regretted not being there. But he WAS there. Respect.

September 21, 2015

On Climate Change, ICP Asks Pasztor of 3 Degrees C, Murky Climate Finance

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 18, more here -- In the run up the climate change events during UN General Assembly week, Inner City Press on September 17 asked UN's Assistant Secretary-General on Climate Change Janos Pasztor whether INDCs to date would raised temperatures by 3 degrees Celsuis, as Christiana Figueres has said, or 2.5 degree as the Guardian has an unnamed UK official saying. Video here.

  Pasztor's answer to Inner City Press included "3.5 degrees;" Figueres' spokesperson chimes in this is the difference between frying and cooking. But who was the Guardian's anonymous "merely warming" source?

  Amina Mohammed, Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on Post-2015 Development Planning, spoke about financing issues, on which Inner City Press asked about how to count if the $100 billion goal is reached by 2020.

Back on August 11 after the climate change announcement of Australia, Inner City Press on August 11 asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric about it, video here

September 14, 2015

In Madison, Wisc., residents are concerned about health and environmental impacts and want to delay the coming demolition of the state’s sprawling, century-old Central Services Facility on the Near East Side....

September 7, 2015

Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of the Inspector General has that continued delays in issuing or finalizing environmental justice guidance limits the EPA’s ability to consider the principles during the rule-making process and puts affected communities at risk. According to a report issued by the OIG, the EPA was three years behind schedule in issuing the final "Environmental Justice in Rulemaking Guide," which was finalized in May. Also, the draft "EJ Technical Guidance" — planned to be a technical complement to the rule-making guide — is not projected to be final until 2016...

August 31, 2015

Good review: the Climate Justice Convergence at Dillard University marking the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, part of the #GulfSouthRising commemorative events...

August 24, 2015

Here's a devastating series on EPA and environmental justice

on which EPA offered... no comment. August 17, 2015

A California firm has filed a lawsuit alleging that the U.S. government has deprived “future generations” of their constitutional rights by allowing climate change to occur, having known since 1965 about the health dangers of carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels...

August 10, 2015

  Here's the lack of seriousness in enforcement of environmental justice: "Deborah Reade got a certified letter from the Environmental Protection Agency that was nearly a decade in the making. 'During the course of the EPA’s investigation, it was determined that additional information is needed to clarify this allegation.' Her original complaint to the EPA’s Office of Civil Rights, in 2002...

August 3, 2015

We've been following: FERC's environmental scoping on Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co.’s proposed Northeast Energy Direct project...
July 27, 2015

We're following the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York that aims to require the EPA to better regulate facilities over hazardous-substance spills. It cites the need to protect low-income communities and areas with a high percentage of people of color: environmental justice.
July 20, 2015

 The US government reports that, in recent years, more and more crude oil is being transported across the country on railways. This past year, 493,140 carloads of crude oil traveled over railways in this country, according to Ed Greenberg, spokesman for the Washington, D.C.-based Association of American Railroads. The year before, in 2013, crude oil was transported in 407,761 train freight cars. Even though those carloads represent about 1.6 percent of the total rail traffic for those years, crude-oil transport by rail has experienced a 4,000 percent increase, according to industry watchers..

July 13, 2015

Thirty years ago, the Greenpeace ship "Rainbow Warrior" was sunk by a French secret agent...

July 6, 2015

ICP Asks UN of Climate Finance Shortfall & the Pope, No TPP to Redford

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 29, more here -- Alongside the UN's “high level meeting on climate change” on June 29, Inner City Press asked Janos Pasztor and Amina Mohammed of the UN about the critique by Brazil, South Africa, India and China (BASIC) that the developed world is not moving toward $100 billion a year in climate finance by 2020. Also, Inner City Press asked the Cardinal on the panel, what does the Pope think of it?

  Pasztor said the key is credible measuring of financing, and that Ban Ki-moon has spoken to the G-7. The Cardinal said the Pope's two principles are solidarity and subsidiarity. The SDG connection will become clear when the UN uploads the briefing video.

  But -- this press conference at least was substantive. Two hours later, the UN presented Robert Redford, solo, taking questions ranging from his movies to Obama and called it climate change. The UN Correspondents Assocation, which didn't even have a question for Ban on climate change earlier in the day, was given the first question to Redford; it was sloppily asked and is almost sure not to be written up. No one asked, or was permitted to ask, about fracking or the Trans Pacific Partnership. And so it goes at the UN.

  Back on June 18 when the UN gave a climate change briefing by UNDP's Cassie Flynn, and Jo Scheuer, on June 18 Inner City Press asked about the under-funding of the Least Development Countries Fund, and if South Korea is backsliding in its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions. Video here.

  The answers, on film, were to promote other funding vehicles, and to say that South Korea has still yet to file its INDC.

June 29, 2015

 Last week's decision by the Supreme Court upholding disparate impact theory for fair housing may have implications for environmental justice. For now, here's the final paragraph of the majority decision:

"Much progress remains to be made in our Nation’s continuing struggle against racial isolation. In striving to achieve our “historic commitment to creating an integrated society,” Parents Involved, supra, at 797 (KENNEDY, J.,concurring in part and concurring in judgment), we must remain wary of policies that reduce homeowners to nothing more than their race. But since the passage of the Fair Housing Act in 1968 and against the backdrop of disparate-impact liability in nearly every jurisdiction, many cities have become more diverse. The FHA must play an important part in avoiding the Kerner Commission’s grim prophecy that “[o]ur Nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal.” Kerner Commission Report 1. The Court acknowledges the Fair Housing Act’s continuing role in moving the Nation toward a more integrated society. "

June 22, 2015

On Climate, ICP Asks UN of LDC Fund Under-Funded, S. Korea Backsliding

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 18, more here -- When the UN gave a climate change briefing by UNDP's Cassie Flynn, and Jo Scheuer, on June 18 Inner City Press asked about the under-funding of the Least Development Countries Fund, and if South Korea is backsliding in its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions. Video here.

  The answers, on film, were to promote other funding vehicles, and to say that South Korea has still yet to file its INDC.

June 15, 2015

So EPA has released a new mapping and screening tool called EJSCREEN. EPA says allowing users “high resolution access to environmental and demographic information”

June 8, 2015

ICP Asks UN Why Of CDM's UNspent Funds, South Korea Backsliding

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 June 4, Inner City Press asked him about unspent funds at the Clean Development Mechanism in Bonn, and about reported backsliding by South Korea on its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions on greenhouse gas reduction.

  Pasztor said that the CDM is still needed; he said country have committed not to backslide. Video here. (South Korea has yet to submit its INDCs, it seems). Inner City Press asked Pasztor to provide a comment, if he has one, once South Korea's filing is made.

  The Pope's encyclical, he said, is due on June 18...

Back 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

June 1, 2015

In South Africa, ArcelorMittal SA has been asked why it has resisted releasing the company’s internal study into environmental issues Vanderbijlpark despite an application under the Promotion of Access to Information Act....

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