Inner City
        Press' Environmental Justice Reporter

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

November 30, 2020

Utility giant Georgia Power has embarked on a buying spree. In 2016, it bought a veterinarian’s 5-acre lot in the rolling hills of northwest Georgia for roughly double the appraised value. The following year, it acquired 28 acres of flood-prone land in southwest Georgia’s Pecan Belt for nearly four times what the local tax assessor said it was worth. By the year after that, the utility giant had paid millions of dollars above the appraised value for hundreds of acres near a winding gravel road in a central Georgia town with no water lines and spotty cellphone service.  Two things united the properties: They were all near coal-fired power plants that generated toxic waste stored in unlined ponds at those sites. And they were all purchased after the Environmental Protection Agency finalized new regulations in 2014 governing the disposal of such waste, known as coal ash.

November 23, 2020

On November 19, 2020, U.S. EPA published its decision to remove Ohio’s air pollution nuisance rule from Ohio’s SIP in the Federal Register. The removal came at the request of Ohio EPA because the nuisance rule does not have a reasonable connection to the attainment of the NAAQS in Ohio, and U.S. EPA erred in approving it as part of Ohio’s SIP.

November 16, 2020

Smog levels reached hazardous levels on Friday as Faisalabad and Lahore topped the world’s most polluted cities index, followed by New Delhi.  The overall air quality of Lahore was recorded as 321 with a high concentration of PM2.5 of 270 microgrammes per cubic metre, which is the most damaging of the particulate matter in the air and is absorbed directly into the bloodstream and impacts organs. Faisalabad ranked even worse with 440 US air quality index (AQI).

November 9, 2020

To read: Jon Mitchel's “Poisoning the Pacific: The U.S. Military’s Dumping of Plutonium, Chemical Weapons, and Agent Orange,” based on thousands of pages of documents he obtained from the U.S. military through FOIA; they detail the widespread contamination of bases and the areas surrounding them with PFAS and other hazardous substances, including chemical weapons, Agent Orange, jet fuel, and PCBs.

November 2, 2020

Sri Lanka has recorded an abnormal drop in air quality levels from October 27 and the pollution is continuing to rise despite lower vehicle movement in urban areas cities, the National Building Research Organisation (NBRO) said.  According to NBRO's Air Quality Monitoring Center data, apart from the southern parts of the country, the particulate matter level in the atmosphere in Colombo, Kandy, Puttalam, Vavuniya, Jaffna and other places has increased

October 26, 2020

Researchers estimate that, on a given day, if all of China was exposed to a 100 μg/m³ increase in PM2.5 (as often happens in Beijing), 2.5 million more meals would be delivered, potentially using the same additional number of plastic bags or plastic containers.  “Our findings probably apply to other typically polluted developing-nation cities, such as in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia and Vietnam,” the researchers warn

October 19, 2020

Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board officer's premises raided, The Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) have seized huge amount of cash and gold jewellery from the residence of a senior officer of Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) located in Ranipet on Wednesday, sources said.  The raid at the residence was a follow-up action after a joint raid conducted by district inspection cell and DVAC at the officer’s ‘unofficial’ office building at Katpadi in Vellore district resulting in the seizure of Rs. 33.73 lakh from the building and a car.

October 12, 2020

Fracking as political football - discuss...

October 5, 2020

The Environmental Protection Agency will review a complaint that Missouri officials have allowed excessive air pollution in low-income and minority neighborhoods in south St. Louis.  The complaint, filed by the Great Rivers Environmental Law Center, alleges that the Missouri Department of Natural Resources violated Title Six of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the EPA’s own regulations, by renewing air pollution permits for Kinder Morgan Transmix, a gasoline and diesel fuel company, without input from residents.  It claims the operation affects the Dutchtown, Marine Villa, Gravois Park and Mount Pleasant neighborhoods.

September 28, 2020

Much of the coast of Senegal, a poor nation of some 16 million people, is polluted.  The government has made attempts to tackle the problem -- such as banning single-use plastics this year -- but the impact on the ground appears limited.   Bargny's trash problem is particularly severe. The town has a spotty garbage-collection service, but no rubbish bins or sewage system.

September 21, 2020

New Jersey signed into law Friday a measure giving state regulators power to deny development permits to businesses whose operations pollute predominantly minority communities. 

September 14, 2020

 In Minnesota, these incinerators also impact our communities of color—including the Hennepin Energy Recovery Center, or HERC, just blocks from north Minneapolis. Air pollution from HERC threatens the most vulnerable in communities around it, and taxpayers have subsidized HERC with millions of dollars over the years.

September 7, 2020

Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) launched a campaign on Saturday, September 5, to further raise awareness on air pollution and fuel emission control measures.   The awareness also involves mass testing of vehicle emissions. It is conducted in line with the ‘International    Air Quality Day is held every September 7, to educate the public on air pollution and control measures

August 31, 2020

The federal appeals court called Pennsylvania’s regulations for coal plant emissions too weak and ordered the state to revise them.  The decision was a victory for environmental groups, which sued the Department of Environmental Protection for writing the rules, and the federal EPA for accepting them.  The 2016 rules were put into place by the DEP to comply with federal mandates to curb ozone, or ground-level smog. The agency required coal-fired power plants to use pollution controls to lower their emissions of Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), which help form ozone when exposed to sunlight. But it gave plants the option of not using those controls when the plant’s emissions stream fell below 600 degrees fahrenheit, typically at times of reduced capacity.  The court held this temperature threshold was a “gaping loophole” in the ozone rule and threw the plan out.

August 24, 2020

Air Quality Impacts at an E‐Waste Site in Ghana Using Flexible, Moderate‐Cost and Quality‐Assured Measurements Lawrencia Kwarteng  Emmanuel Acquah Baiden  Julius Fobil  John Arko‐Mensah  Thomas Robins  Stuart Batterman First published: 07 July 2020 SECTIONSPDFPDFTOOLS SHARE Abstract Air quality information is scarce in low‐ and middle‐income countries. This study describes the application of moderate cost approaches that can provide spatial and temporal information on concentrations of particulate matter (PM) needed to assess community and occupational exposures. We evaluated PM levels at the Agbogbloshie e‐waste and scrap yard site in Accra, Ghana, and at upwind and downwind locations, obtaining both optical and gravimetric measurements, local meteorological data and satellite aerosol optical depth. Due to overload issues, the gravimetric 24‐hr samplers were modified for periodic sampling and some optical data were screened for quality assurance. Exceptionally high concentrations (e.g., 1‐hr average PM10 exceeding 2000 μg/m3) were sometimes encountered near combustion sources, including open fires at the e‐waste site and spoil piles. 24‐hr PM2.5 levels averaged 31, 88 and 57 μg/m3 at upwind, e‐waste and downwind sites, respectively, and PM10 averaged 145, 214 and 190 μg/m3, considerably exceeding air quality standards. Upwind levels likely reflected biomass burning that is prevalent in the surrounding informal settlements; levels at the e‐waste and downwind sites also reflected contributions from biomass combustion and traffic. The highest PM levels occurred in evenings, influenced by diurnal changes in emission rates, atmospheric dispersion and wind direction shifts. We demonstrate that moderate cost instrumentation, with some modifications, appropriate data cleaning protocols, and attention to understanding local sources and background levels, can be used to characterize spatial and temporal variation in PM levels in urban and industrial areas. Here.

August 17, 2020

European banks are financing the trade of controversial oil from the Amazon Sacred Headwaters region in Ecuador to international destinations in the U.S. such as California. The report also examines how these banks are actively complicit in the impacts of the oil industry on the Amazon rainforest — including oil spills, harm to Indigenous peoples, and climate destruction — despite making previous climate and human rights commitments. BNP Paribas (Suisse) SA and Deutsche Bank did not respond. 

August 10, 2020

From San Diego: At the rate of one trash truck full per minute all day long, every day, plastics mostly only used one time, then thrown away, are making their way into the ocean. They flow there via the Tijuana River, other rivers and estuaries, and storm drains. It happens all over the world, but the problem is worse in developing countries, the same places where we ship our plastic trash.  Developing countries lack the infrastructure to handle the sorting and disposal of these items properly. Surprisingly, despite that recycling symbol that leads us to believe otherwise, only around 9% of all plastics ever made over the past 70 years have been recycled.  Capt. Charles Moore, the discoverer of the North Pacific garbage patch, a researcher, educator, and author of “Plastic Ocean,” tells us there is no “away” with plastics.

August 3, 2020

Last week, a Kenyan Court awarded $1.3 billion Ksh (USD12 million) to residents of Owino Uhuru, a suburb of Mombasa, for damages related to pollution from a nearby lead smelter that recycled lead-acid batteries.

July 27, 2020

California is working on first-of-their-kind rules to limit emissions from ride-hail vehicles, which could force the companies to get about one-third of their drivers into electric vehicles by the end of 2030.
July 20, 2020

A federal judge late [Wednesday] reinstated the Bureau of Land Management’s 2016 methane waste rule, aimed at protecting people and the climate from methane waste and pollution from oil and gas extraction on public lands.

July 13, 2020

Nearly half of South Koreans viewed air pollution as the most pressing environmental concern last year, a government survey showed Sunday, amid a worsening level of fine dust in the country.  According to a survey conducted by the state-run Korea Environment Institute on 3,008 people around the country, 46.5 percent of respondents said "improving air quality" against such pollutants as fine dust and ozone was the most urgent environmental problem that needs to be solved.  Less than  22 percent cited climate change

July 6, 2020

In Portland, Maine, city officials are seeking a tougher federal crackdown on Sprague Resources LP for air pollution from heated petroleum storage tanks at its facilities in South Portland, Searsport and five other New England cities.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency filed a lawsuit against Sprague in May...

June 29, 2020

Monsanto has agreed to pay Washington state $95 million to settle a lawsuit that blamed it for pervasive pollution from PCBs

June 22, 2020

Even in New Zealand: Forest & Bird is calling on the Government to reinstate a freshwater nitrogen limit of 1.0 mg/l into its proposed freshwater reforms, after the organization obtained alarming readings of nitrate-nitrogen in public drinking water supplies...

June 15, 2020

In Tennessee, in the last five years, the Lawrenceburg Sewage Treatment Plant has had 128 violations.

June 8, 2020

NPR: Our analysis revealed that, in the vast majority of places, ozone pollution decreased by 15% or less, a clear indication that improving air quality will take much more than cleaning up tailpipes of passenger cars.  In cities such as Los Angeles, stubbornly poor air quality during the coronavirus lockdown underscored how vast fleets of trucks are a dominant source of pollution. In industrial cities like Houston, refineries and petrochemical plants spew considerable air pollution. And in Pittsburgh and across a swath of the eastern U.S., much of the air pollution still comes from burning coal.

June 1, 2020

As Pennsylvania Sues Exxon and BP Oil Companies Say No One In PA Hurt By MTBE

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - The Source

SDNY COURTHOUSE, May 28 – The state or Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is suing Exxon, BP, Chevron, Citgo (Venezuela), Conoco, Duke, Getty, Gulf, Lukoil, Phillips 66, Shell, Texaco, and Cumberland Farms.

On May 28 Inner City Press covered a conference before U.S. District Court for the Southern District Of York Magistrate Judge Debra Freeman. 

   Judge Freeman said, It's a long docket.  (She starts reading from 2016 motions.

White shoe law firms representing the oil companies in the case include King & Spalding, which in full disclosure Inner City Press has covered in connection with Turkey's Halkbank, Stroock, and Ballard Spahr, along others. 

 The companies' lawyers soon were mocking the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for wanting to test all water wells for MTBE, saying Pennsylvania doesn't point to anyone actually injured.

Judge Freeman said she will not agree to strike any pleadings - that would be up to District Judge Broderick - and that while she could impose discovery sanctions, she won't, this should be addressed on the merits. She notes discovery is delayed by Covid-19 in many cases. 

 Judge Freman told the parties if they want her to review disputed discovery documents "in camera," don't fax them - they'll just sit in unused chambers. She arranged other ways to get them.

The case is Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Exxon Mobil Corporation, et al., 14-cv-6228 (Broderick / Freeman).

May 25, 2020

Westmoreland Mining Holdings sued the EPA in federal court in Washington, D.C., on Friday over its Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) rule, which regulates the emission of mercury and other toxins emitted from power plants... The firm BakerHostetler, which is representing Westmoreland, has previously argued against what they view as “one-size-fits-all” standards in comments to the EPA...

May 18, 2020

... The agency was sued in the same court on April 16 by environmental groups seeking to require the EPA to determine when a company had stopped complying with environmental laws, and to immediately notify the public.  The states said in their lawsuit that the EPA is no longer requiring companies to monitor emissions of air and water pollution or to test storage tanks and other facilities that contain hazardous wastes. The new policy also suspends federal time limits for storage of hazardous wastes if the owner cites the coronavirus as a reason, the suit said.  The changes will lead to more chemical spills and “likely will result in increased air and water pollution,” endangering residents who live nearby, downwind or downstream, the suit said.  New York’s attorney general took the lead in the suit, which was joined by California, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Vermont and Virginia.