Inner City
        Press' Environmental Justice Reporter

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

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

May 16, 2022

In a study published this week by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the journal "Science Advances," scientists said they found that a reduction in particulate air pollution over the past 40 years led to an increase in tropical cyclone activity in the Atlantic Ocean

May 9, 2022

A U.S. District Court Judge in Delaware has sentenced the owner and operator of a foreign-flag tanker to pay a $3 million criminal fine for obstructing justice and concealing deliberate pollution from the vessel.  U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Andrews for the District of Delaware sentenced Liquimar Tankers Management Services Inc. and Evridiki Navigation Inc. after they were convicted at trial on all charges, including violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, falsifying ships’ documents, obstructing a U.S. Coast Guard inspection and making false statements to U.S. Coast Guard inspectors

May 2, 2022

A new study finds thousands of older oil and gas wells that contribute just a fraction of the nation’s energy are responsible for a large portion of the country’s climate-warming methane pollution

April 25, 2022

See, ESSENTIAL UTILITIES, INC. et al v. SWISS RE GROUP et al, 22-cv-01559, Pennsylvania Eastern Two water utilities says Swiss Re insurer improperly denied excess insurance coverage for an underlying suit accusing one of the utilities of allowing lead in...

April 18, 2022

Groups have sued the Environmental Protection Agency saying it hasn’t lived up to its obligation to force states to reduce air pollution abd hasn’t enforced Regional Haze rules under the Clean Air Act. Those rules require states to submit plans to curb harmful emissions that create haze. But 34 states including Arizona, California and Nevada haven’t yet done so, despite a deadline last summer.  The coal-fired Coronado and Springerville generating stations in eastern Arizona are among the state’s biggest polluters and emit harmful sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. Environmentalists say coal plants are a major source of haze on public lands.

April 11, 2022

Hooper Pleads To Carbon Credits Fraud and Wright to Cyprus Wires So June 16 Sentencings

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Maxwell Book
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

SDNY Courtroom Exclusive, April 8 – Roger Ralston, Christopher Wright and Steven Hooper all faced a joint wire fraud conspiracy trial on May 12, 2022.

     On February 18, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Jed S. Rakoff held a lengthy in-person oral argument. Inner City Press went and covered it.  

 Among the issues raised is whether the trials should be severed. Hooper proffered to the US Attorney's Office for some 18 hours and almost got a cooperator's deal. Now, counsel for Ralston argues, Hooper's information could never be effectively "Bruton-ized" at trial. 

  [See, Bruton v. US, 391 U.S. 123 (1968)]

   Hooper's counsel countered, why not a bench trial for him, with stipulated facts? Judge Rakoff said it would not be a problem for him, but asked the government. Assistant US Attorney Jessica K. Feinstein said they will "take it under advisement."

 On March 15, severance was granted -- but not on the Brutonization grounds, but due to a serious health problem for Ralston due to a recent accident.

Hooper and Wright would be put on trial on April 25; Ralston to follow on September 12.

 On April 5, a change of plea (to guilty) was set for two of the defendants: "held on 4/5/2022 without transcription or recording. Melissa Kelley of Boies Schiller Flexner LLP for Defendant Wright and Shaelyn Gambino-Morrison of ChaudhryLaw PLLC for Defendant Hooper were present. A change of plea hearing concerning both defendants is set for 4/8/22 at 3:00 p.m."

Inner City Press went and covered the in-person guilty pleas, the only media in the courtroom. Both Wright and Hooper got sentencing ranges of 70 to 87 months, but 60 months is the cap. After Wright pled (allocuting to Cyprus to Saint Vincent wires) and left, it was said Hooper had been offered a cooperator's deal, and that the government at this sentencing on June 16 at noon will say he told the truth.

 His allocuation described fraudulent carbon credit, a scheme he withdrew from on this own.

 But when Hooper's counsel asked that he be allowed to travel back to the UK before sentencing, the AUSA opposed it and Judge Rakoff agreed, keeping the conditions of release including GPS bracelet, the same.

The case is  US v. Ralston, et al., 19-cr-774 (Rakoff)

April 4, 2022

Despite a noticeable drop in air pollution from road transport in 2020 due to COVID-19 lockdown measures, breaches of European air quality standards remain a common occurrence across the European Union (EU), according to the EEA briefing ‘Europe’s air quality status 2022.’

March 28, 2022

 The Environmental Protection Agency on Friday objected to the state’s proposed operating permit renewal for the Suncor oil refinery in Commerce City and expressed concerns about how pollution from the facility impacts its low-income and mostly minority neighbors.  The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, which submitted the 373-page permit for Suncor, has 90 days to respond to the EPA’s objections and then resubmit

March 21, 2022

more: "The scientists spent two years analyzing 2010 census demographics (the most recent data available at the time of the study) and air pollution levels for 202 cities across the United States. Per a statement, they looked at two pollutants: nitrogen dioxide and PM2.5, or tiny airborne particles found in smoke, dust and other substances. The team then compared this data with 1930s maps created by the federally backed Home Owners' Loan Corporation (HOLC) in the wake of the Great Depression.  The HOLC’s surveyors awarded an “A” grade to neighborhoods they considered the most desirable for mortgage lending—in other words, areas inhabited mostly by white residents. They gave a “D” grade to neighborhoods deemed the riskiest for home loans, denoting these areas (made up primarily by residents of color) by shading them red on maps"

March 14, 2022

. Atlanta neighborhoods that were subject to racist housing policies decades ago have higher levels of air pollution than other neighborhoods, according to a recent study that looked at the legacy of redlining in hundreds of American cities.  Experts say the study, published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters, shows that decisions made nearly 90 years ago still affect people’s lives unequally.  In the late-1930s, the federal government’s Home Owners’ Loan Corporation graded American neighborhoods for how risky it considered loans to be in those areas. Areas graded “A” were considered safer investments, and the scale went down to “D” grades, considered “hazardous.” Those “D” neighborhoods were shaded red on maps.

March 7, 2022

Oregon: Precision Castparts Corp. has agreed to pay $22.5 million to settle a class action lawsuit over air pollution coming from its metal parts manufacturing facility in Southeast Portland

February 28, 2022

The Supreme Court will hear arguments in a group of cases that could have an immediate impact on the American government’s ability to respond to the climate emergency.  The consequences could be even more substantial, however, reaching deep into the Biden administration’s authority to govern.  The court will be considering the 2015 Clean Power Plan

February 21, 2022

The administration is calling on residents to use a “beta version” of its Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool over the next 60 days to upload data that will reveal communities with multiple pollution sources and health threats such as tainted water, poor air quality, dirty roadways and nearby Superfund sites.

February 14, 2022

Several conservation and tribal groups plan to sue the Environmental Protection Agency. They say the EPA hasn’t lived up to its obligation to require states to reduce air pollution.  The groups say the EPA hasn’t enforced the latest round of regional haze rules under the Clean Air Act. It requires states to submit a draft plan to reduce air pollution. But the organizations say 39 US states didn’t do so by last summer’s deadline

February 7, 2022

A federal judge has approved a $65 million settlement in a class action lawsuit with three companies over chemical contamination of the water supply in an upstate New York village.  The ruling Friday by U.S. District Senior Judge Lawrence E. Kahn sets off a 30-day period for an appeal to be filed challenging the settlement. Kahn had previously ruled the settlement was “fair, reasonable and adequate.”  Under the settlement, Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics, Honeywell International and 3M will compensate plaintiffs who are current or former residents of Hoosick Falls, northwest of Albany, for their exposure to PFOA, a chemical once used in certain industrial processes

January 31, 2022

Louisiana: Denka installed fenceline monitors to identify sources of emissions at its facility in St. John the Baptist Parish following an EPA order. Regan sent them a letter pressing them to continue to cooperate with EPA efforts to monitor and lower pollution in the area.

January 22, 2022

Most of the people who participated in the San Diego County Air Pollution Control District’s virtual public meeting last week approved of its plans to create an after-hours complaint system for air quality.  William Jacques, chief of compliance for the district, said State Assembly Bill 423 requires the district to evaluate and propose enhancements to its current process for receiving and responding to air pollution complaints.

January 17, 2022

A second Permian Basin company is facing an SEC lawsuit for defrauding its investors, Earther reports. Just a week after the Securities and Exchange Commission sued Heartland Group Ventures LLC, a Permian fracking company, for defrauding its investors and running a Ponzi scheme, it filed a suit against Marco “Sully” Perez and his “company” for defrauding more than 265 investors out of more than $9 million. Perez allegedly used the Ponzi scheme to fund his “extravagant lifestyle,” spending cash on “luxury cars, a helicopter, private jet travel, Bahamian real estate, and jewelry” along with his wedding on the Queen Mary.  Federal regulators say the company crossed the line when it allegedly generated less than $500,000 in revenue after raising $122 million from more than 700 investors

January 10, 2022

Iowa is suing Sioux City over what it says was the city’s manipulation of wastewater testing results and dangerous pollution of the Missouri River in a scheme that saw the wastewater plant’s former supervisor sentenced to jail.

January 3, 2022

From Chicago-land:  One year ago, residents of French Island learned they were drinking water contaminated with high levels of PFAS, a man-made chemical that is toxic to the human body.  “It’s one of the scariest things that’s happened to me in my life,” said Jim Walker.  The fear of harming your loved ones, unknowingly.  “My friends, my relatives, my kids, everyone’s been drinking my contaminated water. How would you feel?” said Jim.  Their future unknown.  “Frustration is probably the first word I’d use and the second word is helplessness. That you can’t do anything about it,” said Jim.  Jim and Margie Walker live on French Island and they have been using bottled water to do everyday tasks. Every few weeks, the Walkers get water delivered to their front door.  “Give us four or five big jugs that we put in our cooler,” said Margie.  The Walkers have no choice. Their well is contaminated with PFAS, WISC-TV reported.  “This is probably one of the worst things that’s happened to us in so many ways,” said Jim.  PFAS is what’s called a forever chemical. It does not break down and can’t be removed using traditional water filtration methods.

December 27 2021

From East Oregon (or would that be, soon, Idaho?)   Portland General Electric’s request to increase pollution at its Boardman fracked gas power plant drew fierce opposition from public health and environmental advocates.  PGE’s proposal to significantly increase toxic emissions at Carty Generating Station had its final public hearing Dec. 17.  If the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality grants the request to modify emissions at the 440-megawatt, fracked-gas power facility in Boardman, carbon monoxide and volatile organic compound output will increase significantly

December 20, 2021

A new report says that Amazon generated an estimated 271 million kilograms of plastic packaging waste last year. This is a 29 per cent increase over Oceana’s 2019 estimates, with much of this plastic waste stemming from the billions of packages Amazon delivered during the COVID-19 pandemic.

December 13, 2021

Curb kicked: The port — which is actually two adjacent facilities, the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach — is the largest of its kind in the Western Hemisphere, a complex through which four out of ten shipping containers full of imported goods will pass on their way to U.S. households. It’s the reason that Los Angeles is shaped the way it is, with a narrow ribbon of trucking corridors dangling directly south from L.A.’s downtown to San Pedro Bay. In addition to being at a higher risk of cancer, residents near the port have some of the highest rates of asthma and related emergency-room visits in the state, making them particularly vulnerable when the air turns worse; for Golden, this means experiencing symptoms of persistent allergies and, on the worst days, nosebleeds. But during the pandemic, the public-health impacts of living adjacent to the port have become even more alarming. Golden points to a study by UCLA that broke down the neighborhood death rate for COVID-19, known to be exacerbated by exposure to particulate pollution. “In most communities in and around the port, it was 60 percent higher than the rest of Los Angeles County,” he says. “So who’s bearing the burden?”