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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
of March 15, 2004, calls Predatory Bender: America in
the Aughts "the first novel about predatory lending;" the
Times of April 15, 2004, "A Novel Approach," said it "has
a cast of colorful characters." See
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
review; for or with more information, contact us.
that US EPA
in Geneva, and
an October 7,
will come up
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
"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
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
October 20, 2014
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."
October 13, 2014
last week in a 17-1 vote with
the presence of Mayor Bill
Finch, the Bridgeport City
approved a resolution calling
for the "retirement" of the
Bridgeport Harbor Station coal
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
People's Climate March, Bronx
Floats & BofA Ban Ki-moon,
UN's 2bl Game
By Matthew Russell Lee
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
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
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.
People's Climate March, UN a
Backdrop for Corporations,
By Matthew Russell Lee
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
Inner City Press late on
September 19, after covering the
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
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.
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
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
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.ashxMay 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
20,000 people submitted comments in
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.
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/impossiblycheapfilmJanuary 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
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:
UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply
Date: Fri, Oct 18, 2013 at 8:05 PM
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-analysisAugust 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 hereJuly 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. UBJune 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.
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....
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
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?
Matthew Russell Lee
May 4 -- In the run up to the Rio + 20 conference, on Friday
evening at the UN yet another week of negotiations was
arranged, for May 29 to June 2.
Four hundred paragraphs remain without agreement; Inner City Press asked about those dealing with the "right to information," switched by the US to "legitimate access" to information, limited by trade secrets, patents and copyright.
After Friday night's deferral, the nine "Major Groups" were given two minutes each to speak. The Indigenous group, which started speaking in Spanish about la Madre Tierra or Pachamama, was cut off by the chair and told to speak in English. Ultimately this was translated by the Local Authorities group.
Still the Groups hit hard, with Farmers criticizing the mention of the World Trade Organization in the agriculture section, and the Youth group denouncing greenwashing (if not Blue-washing, in a week where Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in Myanmar congratulated a company involved in spying technology, as exposed by Inner City Press.)
At the front of the room was outgoing DESA chief Sha Zukang, urging that at least 90% of the text be agreed before Rio begins. China has put in two names to replace Sha, but Brazil is pushing hard now for the DESA post, as Inner City Press exclusively reported yesterday.
Now, this update: China might accept the top post at the
Department of General Assembly and Conference Affairs as long
as it also got the Number Two post in DESA, at the Assistant
Secretary General level.
But then what would sub Saharan Africa get? The Department of Public Information has, as Inner City Press reported, been promised to a European. And so it goes at the UN.
At a press conference Friday afternoon, Inner City Press asked about the right to information that was in Rio Principle 10. The response, from Neth Dano of the ETC Group of the Philippines, was that "one delegation" pushed to limited the right to only "legitimate" information.
Inner City Press asked her to name that delegation, but she declined. Afterward she said it was the US, "from the State Department." Meanwhile, the US was expected to make a statement on Friday night about no more funding - will that now come on June 2? Will Obama go to Rio? Watch this site.
April 30, 2012
Welcome to "Southwest Detroit's 48217 zip code area which a study by University of Michigan Professor Paul Mohai concluded was the most polluted in the state of Michigan and third most in all of the United States. Now, the struggle of some 13 residents caught between the near simultaneous erection of Marathon's multi-billion dollar tar sands oil refinery expansion and the city's Waste Water Treatment plant in 2008."
April 23, 2012
In Texas, they haven't had chlorinated drinking
water since October of last year and now arsenic has
been found in the water. Those are just two of the
issues facing one of Nueces County's Colonias. Last
week, those issues got a first hand look by a group of
people representing several environmental agencies. It
was billed as an opportunity for residents of the Cyndie
Park Colonias, located about 10 miles North of
Banquette, to talk to folks from the Texas Commission on
Environmental Quality, the Environmental Protection
Agency and the U. S. Environmental Justice Interagency
And what will come of it?
April 16, 2012
The owner of rental properties in Bridgeport is facing up to $127,150 in Environmental Protection Agency penalties for violating federal lead paint disclosure rules. According to a complaint filed by EPA's New England office, Juan Hernandez allegedly violated lead-based paint disclosure requirements seven times when he rented apartment units in Bridgeport between 2008 and 2010. During the EPA's investigation, all of the apartment buildings owned by Hernandez were located in potential environmental justice areas.
April 9, 2012
The World Bank says it will showcase new initiatives on oceans and the valuation of ecosystem services at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, or Rio+20, in Brazil in late June, but is attracting criticism from civil society groups for its approach to ‘green growth’. We'll see.
April 2, 2012
A Corpus Christi, Texas group is calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to require Citgo to quit storing and using hydrofluoric acid and to switch to a safer alternative. In the letter to EPA Regional Administrator Al Armendariz, Citizens for Environmental Justice executive director Suzie Canales writes that hydrofluoric acid could kill thousands of people. "Citgo has repeatedly shown that it cannot be trusted to use HF and must be made to switch to a safer alternative for the sake of its employees and the community," the letter states. Could this have something to do with Citgo's ownership?
March 26, 2012
Enviros say President Barack Obama has decided to ignore the environmental devastation associated with tar sands mining and its disproportionate impact on global climate change, and the unconscionable contributions to local air pollution in Port Arthur, Texas. Port Arthur is one of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “Environmental Justice Showcase Communities” due to a concentration of environmental health risks that disproportionally burden minority communities. They say Keystone XL also poses another risk – a risk to U.S. consumers and the fragile economic recovery. Analysts and economists agree that building the southern leg of this pipeline will alleviate a glut of oil in Cushing, Okla., and allow more oil products to be exported to other countries, thereby reducing domestic supply and raising gas prices.
The southern leg of this pipeline does not bring oil into the country (a goal our organization does not endorse), but does create a clear path to get oil out to export markets. Since refined oil products are now the largest export commodity in the U.S., it seems obvious that pushing more oil to the Gulf Coast will result in more export activity and less supply for Americans....
March 19, 2012
" In response to the State Assembly's budget proposal to sweep up to $200 million in ratepayer-funded clean energy and energy efficiency programs administered by the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority, more than 20 environmental, energy and community groups sent a letter to Governor Cuomo, the State Senate, and the Assembly opposing the the use of clean energy funds for non-energy related purposes." Sounds like the states which are trying to put their portion of the $25 billion mortgage settlement into their General Funds...
March 12, 2012
In El Salvador, 14 years have passed since the Environment Law was approved, establishing the creation for agro-environmental courts to hear cases involving contamination and environmental damage, but so far, this has not happened. The Supreme Court, which would be responsible for creating the new chambers, has failed to create them....
March 5, 2012
In New Bedford, Lisa Garcia, EPA's associate assistant administrator for environmental justice, and Curt Spalding, EPA Region 1 administrator, will host a meeting on March 6 at Keith Middle School. EPA says they've heard "a lot of reactions from the community as far as environmental justice concerns." EPA staff working on the Parker Street Waste Site and New Bedford Harbor projects will be at the meeting in order to answer specific questions on those projects...
February 27, 2012
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson now says hydraulic fracturing can be done safely: "I think that fracking as a technology is perfectly capable of being clean. I do. But it requires people who are doing it and innovators who use the technology to take some time to make sure that it's done right. And it requires smart regulation, smart rules of the road," Jackson said at Richard Stockton College in Galloway, New Jersey. Hmm...
February 20, 2012
On Rio + 20: "Twenty years ago, the UN played an important role in calling attention to the dangers that human and nonhuman life runs if the myth of endless economic growth goes on dominating economic policies... Unfortunately, this moment of reflection and hope soon disappeared" -- as did positive UN role. So, alongside the UN Conference, civil society is organizing the Peoples Summit in Rio. We'll have more on this.
February 13, 2012
With the focus on the Canadian government's push to export tar sands bitumen via the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline to Kitimat, and from there by ship to China, the British Colombia government reclaimed some attention on the energy file when it released a strateg. Rabble says: "The short of it is that shale gas from B.C.'s Northeast is to be pipelined to Kitimat and loaded onto tankers in liquid form (LNG) to be exported to China. But while the Enbridge pipeline has huge swaths of B.C. up in arms, particularly First Nations and "environmentalists, the LNG plans, which already have been approved and have an export permit, have not." Until now...
February 6, 2012
"The indisputable health care and humanitarian crises from mountaintop removal coal mining should place it at the forefront of any litmus on President Obama’s commitment to health care, clean energy and dealing with climate change. Dr. Michael Hendryx of West Virginia University released a study that should have headlined every newspaper in the country—and launched an all-out national campaign on the level of the anti-tobacco campaigns of the past. Hendryx concluded: “Living in a mountaintop mining area was a bigger risk for birth defects than smoking.”
January 30, 2012
News from Ohio last week: FirstEnergy is closing units at six of the dirtiest coal plants in the nation. FirstEnergy temporarily idled its Lake Shore plant near Cleveland in 2010 because of lower regional power demand and the increasing costs of running a plant built in 1916 still using a 50 year old boiler. The plant was grandfathered in under the Clean Air Act and the company had avoided putting major new environmental controls on it for decades, even as it emitted a horrific plume of toxins and particulate matter on the surrounding community. The facility a target of the environmental justice movement for years because of its outsized impact on the African American community.
FirstEnergy’s nearly-60-year-old Bay Shore plant shares many of Lake Shore’s problems. But in addition to spewing toxic air pollution and climate changing-CO2 the facility is also one of the nation’s most efficient fish-killing machines. Located at the confluence of the Maumee River and Lake Erie, the plant sits astride one of the world’s most prolific fish spawning areas. Its water intake system and scalding water kill 46 million fish and 2 billion fish larvae annually, taking a significant bite out of the region’s $1.4 billion recreational and commercial fishing economy. Just to put the numbers into perspective, the State of Ohio says that the plant’s aquatic annihilation totals more fish than all the other plants in the state combined. h/t NRDC
January 23, 2012
South Bronx clean up of
"The site lies on the Hunts Point peninsula in the South Bronx. It was the former location of the Con Edison Hunts Point Manufactured Gas Plant (MGP), also known as the Hunts Point Coking Station. The initial coke oven plant at the facility was constructed over the period from 1924 through 1926 and had a capacity of 20 million cubic feet of gas per day. The gas produced was used as a primary source of energy for lighting and heating. Another battery of coke ovens was installed in 1931, increasing gas production capacity by 10 million cubic feet per day. The MGP included 46 buildings or structures and was devoted entirely to the manufacture of gas and its associated by- products, including coal tars, cyanide-contaminated purifier waste, sludge, and oils. The structures included two gas holders. The MGP operated into the 1950s."
January 16, 2012
It was only last month we received a notice from
the New York State Department of Environmental
Conservation’s (“NYSDEC”) Brownfield Cleanup Program
(“BCP”), specifically about its draft Final Engineering
Report (FER) for the remedial actions performed at the
1800 Southern Boulevard Site....The Site is currently
being developed with a new ten (10) story mixed-use
building that will provide affordable housing to 68
moderate income households, as well as 12,579 square
feet of commercial space and 4,922 square feet of
community facility space. Historically the Site has been
used as a filling station, auto repair facility and car
wash beginning sometime between 1927 and 1940. The car
wash operation closed in 1993 and the service station
closed in 2003. BP-Amoco was operating the station at
the time of closure in 2003.Removal
of (17) 550-gallon underground storage tanks
Unstated was that this is where the gas was bought for the Happy Land Social Club mass murder... And now, dated January 13, comes a DEC announcement "that cleanup requirements have been achieved to address contamination related to the 1800 Southern Boulevard Site #C203046 (Bronx), under New York's Brownfield Cleanup Program." That was fast...January 9, 2012
NRC in Florida:
The environmental justice impact analysis evaluates the potential for disproportionately high and adverse human health and environmental effects on minority and low-income populations that could result from activities associated with the proposed EPU at St. Lucie Nuclear Plant... The NRC considered the demographic composition of the area within a 50-mi (80.5-km) radius of St. Lucie Units 1 and 2 to determine the location of minority and low-income populations and whether the proposed action may affect them.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau (USCB) data for 2000 on minority populations in the vicinity of St. Lucie Units 1 and 2, an estimated 1.2 million people live within a 50-mi (80.5-km) radius of the plant located within parts of nine counties. Minority populations within 50 mi (80.5 km) comprise 27 percent (274,500 persons). The largest minority group was African-American (approximately 135,250 persons or 13.3 percent), followed by Hispanic or Latino (approximately 111,000 persons or 11 percent). The 2000 census block groups containing minority populations were concentrated in Gifford (Indian River County), Fort Pierce (St. Lucie County), Pahokee (Palm Beach County near Lake Okeechobee), the agricultural areas around Lake Okeechobee, and Hobe Sound (Martin County).
Noise and dust impacts would be temporary and limited to onsite activities. Minority and low-income populations residing along site access roads could experience increased commuter vehicle traffic during shift changes. Increased demand for inexpensive rental housing during the EPU-related plant modifications could disproportionately affect low-income populations; however, due to the short duration of the EPU-related work and the availability of housing properties, impacts to minority and low-income populations would be of short duration and limited.
Oh really? For comment by February 6... http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-01-06/html/2012-32.htm
January 2, 2012
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Atomic Safety and Licensing Board is getting petitions opposing Entergy's application to re-license the Indian Point nuclear power plants for another 20 years. Last summer the Atomic Safety Licensing Board accepted an Environmental Justice contention; there's a "potential for disproportionate impact" on inmates at Sing Sing state prison: "the ability of prisoners to respond to emergencies is completely different to that of the general population."
December 26, 2011
In the NY City Council two new bills on polychlorinated biphenyl will inform parents and school employees of contamination by PCBs, which was banned it in 1979 for its toxicity. Bill 563 makes the Department of Education to notify parents and employees of PCB testing results or if the school uses T12 fluorescents, an outdated type of lamp that often leaks PCB. Bill 566 asks for detailed reports from the DOE on their progress and plan eradicating PCB from schools. Nearly 800 city schools — built between the 1950s and late 1970s — are likely contaminated.
And how many are in The Bronx?
December 19, 2011
For planning purposes: "July
1-7, 2012, Location to be announced when the time is
right., Marcellus Shale Earth First! is working side by
side with many local groups, attending meetings,
offering workshops and trainings, and helping to build a
campaign of direct action that is putting increasing
pressure on the drillers, to show all of those fighting
fracking that there is effective resistance growing in
From iWatch, "A March 2011 review of OCR by Deloitte Consulting, commissioned by the EPA, found that the office “has drifted in focus and struggled to perform fundamental tasks.” In its partially redacted report, Deloitte criticized OCR for focusing too much on “minor responsibilities” and “not enough on the critical cases affecting … disadvantaged communities.”
The Deloitte report suggested that Jackson and her predecessors were partly to blame for the office’s ineffectiveness. “The Director of OCR has a direct line reporting relationship to the EPA Administrator and takes administrative direction from the Chief of Staff or Deputy Chief of Staff on a day-to-day basis,” the consulting firm found.
In December 2010, Jackson chose Rafael DeLeon to lead the office. He manages an annual budget of $2.3 million and a staff of 38, nine of whom work on Title VI cases, according to the EPA spokeswoman.
In the wake of the damning Deloitte evaluation, DeLeon, who also headed OCR for a time during the Clinton administration, came under fire. The National Whistleblowers Center called for his ouster, alleging that he made disparaging remarks about former EPA whistleblowers and has had “numerous” discrimination complaints filed against him by female staffers.
“We call on you to make a clean break from the past,” Richard Renner, the center’s legal director, wrote in an April letter to Jackson. “We call on you to make a decision that visibly rejects discrimination, retaliation, and intimidation … We need your decisive leadership to end the paralysis of silence.”
December 12, 2011
When an eardrum piercing noise awoke residents of Roosevelt Island and Astoria and Long Island City, Queens last week, no one knew what it was. It can from a power plant run by TransCanada, which refused to answer press inquiries. TransCanada is the owner of the proposed XL Pipeline -- this should be another strike against them...
December 5, 2011
This is about the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (“NYSDEC”) Brownfield Cleanup Program (“BCP”), specifically its draft Final Engineering Report (FER) for the remedial actions performed at the 1800 Southern Boulevard Site....The Site is currently being developed with a new ten (10) story mixed-use building that will provide affordable housing to 68 moderate income households, as well as 12,579 square feet of commercial space and 4,922 square feet of community facility space. Historically the Site has been used as a filling station, auto repair facility and car wash beginning sometime between 1927 and 1940. The car wash operation closed in 1993 and the service station closed in 2003. BP-Amoco was operating the station at the time of closure in 2003.
• Removal of (17) 550-gallon underground storage tanks; and
Unstated: this is where the gas was bought for the Happy Land Social Club mass murder...
November 28, 2011
On reports that the US and
Saudi Arabia won't sign on to the Green Climate Fund, Inner
City Press asked for the UN Ban Ki-moon's view. Spokesman
Martin Nesirky said that beyond the Green Climate Fund,
Durban's discussions will include other topics, "we need to
wait and see." That is, unlike even
the UK, no criticism of the Obama administration's
November 21, 2011
The EPA has promulgated Plan EJ 2014 as its implementation of Executive Order 12898:
Plan EJ 2014 is not a rule or regulation. It is a strategy to help integrate environmental justice into EPA’s day to day activities.
Here is its plan document:
This implementation plan outlines a process by which the workgroup will research, solicit ideas for, prioritize, and then develop a suite of tools to better enable overburdened communities to have full and meaningful access to the permitting process and for permits to address environmental justice issues to the greatest extent practicable. For the first year, our activities will focus on developing a cohesive suite of tools most applicable to EPA-issued permits, and also collecting a larger set of tools for a public database.
Watch this site.
November 14, 2011
While one school under-participated, the Delaware County Alliance for Environmental Justice (DelCo Alliance) and the Chester Green youth group recently hosted Chester city’s first Environmental Justice collective during the last weekend in October during which they offered a tour pointing out all the polluters in Chester. The tour included stops at a coal power plant, two major natural gas burning power plants, a paper mill, the nation’s largest trash incinerator, a sewage sludge incinerator, two oil refineries, and various chemical plants and toxic waste sites. The paper mill, Kimberly Clark, burns waste coal and petroleum coke. It also produces six times more mercury than normal coal...
November 7, 2011
Of Keystone XL, Clayton Thomas-Muller of the Pukatawagan Cree Nation has said, "we were all overcome and awash with inspiration and positive emotion with the election of President Obama. Some of the things he said were very enchanting - that this would be the generation that our grandchildren would look back on and say that's when they took action on climate change. But through the continuation of deep sea exploration in the Gulf of Mexico, the permitting of Shell to drill for offshore oil resources in Bristol Bay in the outer continental shelf of Alaska, with the expansion of the fracking industry and now with the consideration of the Keystone XL pipeline, we know that Obama hasn't been able to meet his commitments to social movements in America that helped get him elected."
October 31, 2011
In Queens, NY until 1996, Jamaica Water Supply pumped millions of gallons of water out of the ground daily. When the City Department of Environmental Protection took over, DEP started bringing water from upstate, leaving the excess water underground with no place to go. In 15 years, the standing ground water level in Southeast Queens has risen to 30 feet, leaving many homeowners to deal with saturated basements each time there is heavy rainfall.
Now they should investigate...
October 24, 2011
The Aarhus Convention provides that environmental challenges should not be “prohibitively expensive." The UK system of “loser pays the costs” violates this. So the Ministry of Justice is proposing "that costs protection should be provided via codification of the rules concerning Protective Costs Orders. That means that a claimant in any public interest case may ask the court for a PCO, to “cap” his liability to pay the other side’s costs to such a figure as does not deter him from bringing those proceedings." We'll see.
October 17, 2011
By Matthew Russell Lee
WALL STREET, October 12 -- New
York City police threatened to arrest protesters and the Press
in front of a Bank of
America branch on lower Broadway Tuesday at dusk, a
block from Zuccotti Park which some now call Liberty Plaza.
Click here for video
by Inner City Press.
At dusk a non-violent group long concerned with Bank of
America funding of mountain-top removal coal mining crossed
Broadway from the park. Inner City Press was among them. White
suited Reverend Billy began an "exorcism," preaching how Bank
of America finances wars -- then the police moved in.
Other signs in the crowd spoke of Capital One, which in applying to buy ING DIRECT could become the fifth largest bank in the United States. It has sought to evade the protests against the Big Four -- Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and JP Morgan Chase -- by means of comedic advertisements featuring such liberal icons as Alec Baldwin and Jimmy Fallon. Baldwin has yet to respond to mounting requests by NCRC and others that he distance himself from Capital One.
October 10, 2011
In (Occupy) Chicago there's been a call for the closure of the city's coal-fired power plants: Fisk Generating Station, 1111 W. Cermak Rd.—right across from the park—and Crawford Generating Station, 3501 S. Pulaski Rd. in Little Village. Both are owned by Midwest Generation...
September 26, 2011
Activists charges that the World Bank’s promotion of the controversial forest-carbon scheme called REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) harms both forests and forest dependent communities in developing countries, while encouraging continued pollution in vulnerable communities in developed countries like the USA. This follows the announcement of a new sub-national REDD agreement between the states of California, USA, Chiapas, Mexico and Acre, Brazil during the UN Climate Conference in Cancun last December. In Chiapas the REDD project claims to create carbon offset credits by quantifying the carbon stored by trees in the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve in the Lacandon Jungle. The World Bank has been involved in the global forest/climate program known as REDD through its Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, announced by World Bank President Robet Zoellick, during the 2007 UN Climate Conference in Bali, Indonesia. The announcement met with strong popular protest, and the World Bank continues to draw criticism for its role in promoting schemes that displace forest dependent communities and promote large-scale industrial tree plantations that could potentially include socially and ecologically dangerous genetically engineered trees.
September 19, 2011
In San Fran / Oakland, the Superior Court has blocked the proposed early transfer of the toxic parcels of the Hunters Point Superfund site. “The court finds that the EIR does not adequately inform the public that the developer proposes to remediate portions of the shipyard instead of the Navy under an early transfer agreement. … Therefore, the court orders that the development of a parcel at the shipyard site may not proceed until the CERCLA remediation process for the parcel is complete and approved by regulating agencies as safe for human health and development, unless an early transfer is approved after completion of environmental review in compliance with CEQA,” according to the judge’s ruling. H/t Bayview.
September 12, 2011
The Keystone XL pipeline protest arrests took place in front of a White House without solar panels, that activists note the Obama Administration had promised to install by this spring....
September 5, 2011
Whither -- or wither -- Obama on the environment? He dropped the ozone regulations, just after calling for Congress to extend Bush-era funding for highway projects, and late August's go-ahead from the Obama State Department to construct an oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast. Will there be a Democratic Party primary challenge to Obama, on this or other issues? Watch this site.
August 29, 2011
Last week, the US State Department released its for the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, predictably finding that there will be no Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) significant environmental impact to most resources. Activists say Secretary of State Clinton did not keep her promise to “leave no stone unturned” and the State Department’s pledge to do a “thorough and objective” assessment: the State Department is rushing this project.
August 22, 2011
In Los Angeles, we note the "MTA Cuts to Bus Service Lifelines" event begins at Immanuel Presbyterian in Koreatown about the impact that recent bus service cuts and fare hikes have had. Yes, it's an environmental justice issue...
August 15, 2011
In Kentucky, American Synthetic Rubber in western Louisville says it's "making plans to phase out the use of the moderately toxic chemical toluene. The plant has long used toluene to produce rubber, and it used to emit great quantities of it — as much as 4.7 million pounds in 1991, for example. That compares to 408,000 pounds of toluene emissions in 2009, the most recent year for which U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data is available. The company, which makes rubber for tires, is exploring the change because two replacement chemicals are considered safer and more useful, said Lynn Mann, a spokeswoman for Michelin North America, which owns the plant. It’s seeking a permit from the Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District, which is accepting public comment through Aug. 30."
August 8, 2011
In California, a Jurupa Valley-based environmental group has filed a lawsuit seeking to set aside Riverside County's approval of an industrial project that would put warehouses next door to a Mira Loma housing tract, contending that Riverside County and developers of the proposed Mira Loma Commerce Center project violated the California Environmental Quality Act by preparing an environmental study that failed to analyze the project's impacts on air quality and traffic. It asks the court to set aside the certification of the environmental impact report and order a new one. A status conference on the lawsuit is set for August 18...
August 1, 2011
In Connecticut the Bridgeport Harbor Station (owned by New Jersey based Public Service Enterprise Group or PSEG) is among the worst polluters, according to an algorithm combining levels of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions together with demographic factors to calculate the score for the 431 coal-fired power plants in the United States. So - will it be shut down?
Johnson, who was seen as the architect of the fight for environmental justice in Altgeld and Roseland was omitted from Obama’s book, Dreams from My Father, in which Obama traced his roots as a community activist in those communities.”
CCEJ, which worked with the New Haven Environmental Justice Network to prevent the recommissioning of the English Station power plant in the Fair Haven neighborhood. The plant would have burned fossil fuels to provide power during peak periods.m"Electricity would have been produced during times of the year when air quality was at its worst," Mitchell said. "The folks who would get the bulk of air pollution can't afford air conditioners, so they would have opened their windows." The state DEP denied the permit application filed by Quinnipiac Energy...
EPA Region IV includes North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky. In the last three years activists have asked EPA to revoke permitting authority in states across the country, including Alaska, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and Maryland...
As Palau and Pew Fight To Save Sharks and Tuna, Japan Counters with Sushi and Conditional Aid
UNITED NATIONS, May 24 -- When nations and activists met this year about endangered species of sharks and Atlantic blue tuna, Japan lobbied against protections with conditional financial aid to small island states, and even sushi and shark fin soup receptions.
These stories were told Monday evening in the UN's new North Lawn building, as Jacques Cousteau's grandson spoke about seeing fewer and fewer sharks during his dives. . "We protect what we love," he quoted. But with sharks, given the perception of them as people killers, the phrase may not be helpful.
The event was sponsored by Palau, which had declared itself a shark sanctuary. A speech was given by its Permanent Representative to the UN, Stuart Beck, who is decidedly not from Palau. But as his deputy later explained to Inner City Press, he was Palau's lawyer even before it became independent.
Beck testified that Palau "championed adding four sharks to the CITES list of endangered species. Despite winning the majority of votes on all four, we could not overcome the obstructive super majority requirement."
Experts in the crowd uniformly trashed the role of Japan. It was ironic, as elsewhere in the North Lawn building Japan was presenting itself as an anti-nuclear hero. Janus face, forked tongue, one said.
Monday, the Pew Environment Group held a press
conference urging Regional Fisheries Management
Organizations to do more about illegal,
unregulated and unreported fishing. Inner City
Press asked about such fishing off the coasts of
Somalia and Western Sahara.
Pew's Kristin Von Kistowski cautioned against excusing piracy in terms of illegal fishing. She added that international fleets harm coastal communities in Western Africa.
of Pew said that European Union fleets are
overfishing, and the the depletion of fish stock
off Somalia may have played a role in driving
former fishermen to piracy. Video here,
from Minute 36.
This stood in welcome contrast to the commander of
the EUNAVFOR ships, who earlier this month was
dismissive of Somali claims about illegal fishing.
May 24, 2010
In Vermont, a mishap during a test at the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant last week allowed the water level to rise too high in the reactor, flowing through emergency valves that are typically about 8 feet above the water level and into pipes that normally carry steam to the turbine. David Lochbaum of the Union of Concerned Scientists and Diane Screnci of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said if water mixes with steam it can damage a plant's turbine...
Dutch oil trading firm Trafigura denied last week that it had paid witnesses to give false testimony about toxic waste dumped on public trash sites in Abidjan. Some men who said they had transported the toxic waste in 2006 told Dutch current affairs television program "Nova" yesterday that they had given false information in statements about the waste. Greenpeace said it has asked Dutch prosecutors to investigate the men's statements. Trafigura settled out of court in February 2007 over the dumps, paying the Ivorian government $225 million...
May 17, 2010
New Jersey regulators have ordered Exelon Corp .to cooperate with an investigation and clean up a leak of radioactive tritium at the company's Oyster Creek nuclear power plant. About 180,000 gallons of tritium-contaminated water is believed to have leaked from two pipes at the plant, and some of the water could have reached the Cohansey Aquifer..
Weird cooperation of the week: U.S. EPA will work with the Chinese environmental bureau to monitor the air quality at the World Expo in Shanghai. The two agencies will use an online system called AIRNow International to deliver real-time data and day-before forecasts of air quality. The Expo, which began May 1, is expected to attract 7 million people on top of the 20 million who live in Shanghai...
May 10, 2010
Bolivian President Evo Morales has announced that his government now controls 80 percent of the country's electricity production after nationalizing four utility companies. Among the utilities was Corani SA, a subsidiary of French utility GDF SuezSA. Morales, who has also nationalized Bolivia's oil and natural gas industries, said this weekend that he intends for the state to control all utilities..
In California, environmental groups have sued U.S. EPA over the agency's weak response to pollution in the San Joaquin Valley. The lawsuit says EPA could do more to force the California Air Resources Board and other local air quality boards to monitor the region...
May 3, 2010
In the week of focus on nuclear issues, in Nevada the Yucca Mountain site remained mired in delay. The NRC has given the US Department of Energy until June 1 to withdraw its contested application...
April 26, 2010
York, state environmental officials in New York
announced that they will exclude the Catskills
watershed from regulations authorizing hydraulic
fracturing in the state's portion of the Marcellus
Shale. Though the Department of Environmental
Conservation did not explicitly ban natural gas
drilling in the Catskills, the decision to exclude the
region from the regulations creates daunting and
costly bureaucratic hurdles for any companies that
would want to drill there. Officials originally
included the Catskills watershed in their regulations,
but backed down after New York City raised concerns.
"We acknowledge that there's a separate subset of
issues that are independent of the safety of
hydrofracking," said Stuart Gruskin, executive deputy
commissioner at the department. "It's better to leave
those issues out of it."
April 26, 2010 - click here for BloggingHeads.tv debate on Afghanistan cover up, Bhutto, Iran, Sudan and the UN's Love Boat in Haiti, by Inner City Press
April 19, 2010
In Texas, blood and urine tests of residents of the Denton County town Dish show they have the same toxic chemicals found in the community's air and water but not in elevated levels. State health officials cautioned that no one element was elevated and that residents should not jump to conclusions. Residents have complained for more than a year about the environmental impact of natural gas compressors and a natural gas well in their town...
A report last week found that the northern part of Sudan may have been hording oil revenues and owes South Sudan at least $700 million, in addition to the approximately $7 billion of oil money it has transferred to the south since striking a peace agreement five years ago that mandates sharing oil revenues. The watchdog group said oil production figures published by one of the biggest foreign companies producing oil in the country, the Chinese National Petroleum Co., indicate production levels that were 12 percent higher in Blue Nile state in 2009 than what the Sudanese government in Khartoum reported for the same time period...
April 12, 2010
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission will conduct additional inspections at the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant because of a recent radioactive tritium leak. Entergy Corp., which operates the plant, found and stopped the leak, and NRC said the contamination did not threaten the public or plant workers. The leak did prompt the Vermont Senate to vote not to renew the plant's license when it expires in 2012...
In Kenya, environmentalists successfully blocked a shipment of genetically modified maize from South Africa. Protestors said the maize developed by multinational firm Monsanto Co. had not been properly checked and could contaminate the soil. Several African countries have banned the import of genetically modified plants...
Environmental justice as international human rights:
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) will hear a complaint filed by the New Orleans-based Advocates for Environmental Human Rights (AEHR) on behalf of the people of Mossville, La. An autonomous body of the Organization of American States, the IACHR along with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights comprise the inter-American system for promoting and protecting human rights.
Scheduled to take place some time in the next three months, the review will consider whether the U.S. government has violated the predominantly African-American community's residents' human rights to life, health, equality, freedom from racial discrimination, and "privacy as it relates to the inviolability of the home" by allowing numerous industrial facilities to locate there and emit millions of pounds of highly toxic chemicals every year.
Located near Lake Charles in southwestern Louisiana's Calcasieu Parish, the unincorporated rural community of Mossville is surrounded by 14 industrial facilities that each year spew more than 4 million pounds of highly toxic chemicals to the environment. The pollution includes known carcinogens including dioxin, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, solvents like xylene and toluene, and heavy metals such as lead and mercury.
29, 2010 --
Pachauri's Opaque Moonlighting
Critiqued by Figueres, of 2 Costa Ricans and the
Alba Group, UNFCCC
By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, March 22 -- The embattled chairman of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, Rajendra Pachauri, refuses to disclose how much money he makes from his simultaneousconsultancies with Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse and other institutions. Now, a candidate to head the UN's Framework Convention on Climate Change, Christiana Figueres of Costa Rica, has announced she would cease all outside consulting if given the "full time and a half" post.
Inner City Press asked Ms. Figueres on Monday for her view of Pachauri's side business and other IPCC matters. "That would not be my choice," Ms. Figueres said, of Pachauri's side work for business. She also said diplomatically that "Doctor Pachauri I believe is at freedom to allocate his time as he sees fit." Video here, from Minute 27:18.
shouldn't Pachauri at least be required to
formally disclose who he works for on the side,
and how much he gets paid? He has resisted even
Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon and his spokesman for the UN view on this lack of transparency. The answer was that the IPCC is not a UN body, and that Pachauri would answer the questions himself. But when he came to the UN, seeking to use Ban Ki-moon as a prop and character witness, neither took any questions from the press.
Figueres, the daughter of a former Costa Rican
president, is viewed as a serious contender to
replace Yvo de Boer, who is moving to KPMG (some
are calling it cashing in). Inner City Press asked
her if the recent appointment of another Costa
Rican, Rebecca Grynspan, to the number two post at
the UN Development Program might make it less
likely she will get this job.
"It may be a stretch," Ms. Figueres agreed, that a country of four million people could get two high posts. India's candidate is said to also have the support of China.
Inner City Press asked Ms. Figueres about the opposition to the Copenhagen process by the five Latin American countries in the Alba Group. Surprisingly to some, Ms. Figueres responded that the Alba Group was "correct in the moment," that all now agree with them. An Alba Group-er afterwards said skeptically to Inner City Press, "Costa Rica never gets along with the Alba Group." Hey -- climate change bring everyone together...
March 22, 2010
While more than 84,000 chemicals manufactured, used, or imported in the United States are currently listed on the TSCA Inventory. But EPA is unable to publicly identify nearly 17,000 of those chemicals because they have been claimed as confidential business information under TSCA by the manufacturers. Some database...
A review of OMB could revoke or revise Clinton's Executive Order 12866, which gives OIRA the power to review and edit agency regulations and makes cost-benefit analyses a significant factor in rulemaking. For major rules, OIRA and federal agencies use cost-benefit analysis to try to ensure that the benefits of regulations outweigh the costs. Environmentalists and regulatory watchdog groups -- many of which accused Bush's White House of using the regulatory review process to make rules more industry-friendly -- have called for a major overhaul of the review process, including scaling back the role of cost-benefit analysis and reducing the White House's influence in agency regulatory decisions. But some lawmakers and regulatory experts have argued that provisions included in the Clinton order are needed to protect against overly costly and burdensome regulations.
March 15, 2010
Sacharine politics in the Sunshine State: "The South Florida Water Management District voted unanimously today to keep the state's offer to buy 73,000 acres of land from United States Sugar Corp. for Everglades restoration on the table for six more months.
The extension until Sept. 30 will allow the deal to remain on hold as the Florida Supreme Court considers a challenge to the $536 million offer backed by Gov. Charlie Crist (R). Praised by environmentalists who see the land purchase as key for the protection of the Everglades, the extension was viewed cynically by critics who describe the deal as a taypayer-funded handout for a struggling sugar company. It would allow a decision on the controversial land deal to be put off until after Crist's primary contest against Marco Rubio, said Gaston Cantens, a spokesman for sugar competitor Florida Crystals Corp., which supports Rubio in the race."
March 8, 2010
In the court case against Syncrude Canada Ltd., an oil sands company accused of violating provincial and federal wildlife laws, environmentalists have rallied around images of birds trapped in sticky bitumen. During proceedings yesterday in Alberta, images of ravens eating a trapped duck alive were presented...
March 1, 2010
First Amendment rights burned like dirty coal: a federal judge extended an order that bans protests at the Massey Energy Co. coal mining facility. The temporary order bars protestors, agents, lawyers and Climate Ground Zero and Mountain Justice from their yearlong protests. Massey wants the ban extended to the duration of a lawsuit filed against five protesters arrested in the complex last month ...
February 22, 2009
In West Virginia, Massey Energy is asking a court to bar protesters of mountain top removal mining from any of its facilities in the southwestern part of the state...
Click here for Inner City Press' questions and answers last week with Guatemala's president about mining.
February 15, 2010
EPA Region IV, which has so far not agreed to activists' calls to investigate a history of inequitable decisions, has allowed minority and economically disadvantaged communities to bear the brunt of pollution problems in the area, most recently by allowing coal ash that spilled from a Tennessee power plant in 2008 to be disposed near an environmental justice community in Alabama...
February 8, 2010
Kentucky's former director of mine permits has filed a "whistleblower" lawsuit, contending he was fired for complaining that his superiors broke the law by approving certain permits. Ron Mills was fired in November without explanation. His suit charges that the administration of Gov. Ernie Fletcher (R) and Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Len Peters had implemented a policy to "improperly and unlawfully allow coal companies to obtain mining permits that would encompass land sites for which the coal companies had failed to obtain right of entry." Peters said in interviews that he fired Mills because he lacked the management skills required for the job
February 1, 2010
Last week saw the launch of the Congressional Coal Caucus, an organization dedicated to representing the embattled fossil fuel's role in national energy policy. Republican Reps. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Dennis Rehberg of Montana and John Shimkus of Illinois joined Democrats Jason Altmire and Tim Holden of Pennsylvania and John Salazar of Colorado in announcing the caucus and sent out a letter encouraging other members to join. Just what we need...
January 25, 2010
Chicagoans have resisted racially imbalanced
distribution of transportation services. There's
another battle on Feb. 7 when new CTA cuts will weigh
most heavily on predominantly African-American and
Latino neighborhoods. Out of the nine express bus
routes that the CTA plans to eliminate, seven cross
South and West Side neighborhoods that are typically
populated by minorities less likely to own cars.
And what about, in NYC, the MTA's cuts? Also in NYC the Board of Education, rather than closing ALL of Alfred E. Smith Career and Technical Education High School in the Bronx, is only phasing out carpentry, plumbing, electrical and other trade programs, leaving open only automotive... What was that about green jobs again?
January 11, 2010
EPA defends itself -- why are we not surprised? Despite protests to efforts to redevelop the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard which residents are being harmed by toxic dust from the project, U.S. EPA believes the project has effective safeguards to prevent asbestos exposure, according to a draft report. The agency's report bragged of "no reason to suspend or stop the construction project," saying it is effectively preventing "dust generation and limiting asbestos exposure." We'll see.
January 4, 2010
We step back from weekly news to note and mourn the loss in June 2009 of EJ activist Luke Cole, in a car crash in Uganda. He will be missed...
December 28, 2009
In the UK, H&M and Zara are two stores accused of using cotton suppliers in Bangladesh. It is thought many of their raw materials come from Uzbekistan, where children as young as 10 are forced to work in the fields. They are calling on retailers to ban the use of Uzbek cotton and implement "track and trace" systems to make sure the source of the material can be vouched for. H&M said it "does not accept" child labor and "seeks to avoid" using Uzbek cotton. But the company said it did "not have any reliable methods" to ensure Uzbek cotton did not end up in any of its products...
December 21, 2009
In Massachusetts, court documents filed at the Bristol County Superior Court last week show that Monsanto Co. and Cornell-Dubilier Electronics Inc. manufactured pesticides and electrical parts, respectively, which have been linked to PCB contaminations at three properties near Keith Middle School. The documents, filed in the ongoing lawsuit neighbors brought against the city of New Bedford, include photographs of PCB-containing electrical capacitors.December 14, 2009
Flies 700 Staff to Copenhagen, Coup
Leader Set to Speak, Major
By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, December 10 -- In the run up to the Copenhagen climate change conference, Inner City Press on December 4 asked UN climateer Janos Pasztor how many UN system staff, officials and consultants would be traveling to Denmark, with what carbon footprint. Pasztor said it wouldn't be known until the conference began.
On December 10, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky finally answered the question, or part of it. He said that the Copenhagen conference has among its participants 477 people from the UN Secretariat and 309 from 19 specialized agencies and related organizations. That is, 786 people from the UN. But does this include consultants? And what is the carbon footprint and will it be offset?
Nesirky did however answer two questions Inner City Press asked on December 10, after an ill attended noon briefing held at the same time as a media stakeout by U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice. Inner City Press asked if Ban Ki-moon is aware of the request that the coup leader of Madagascar not be allowed to participate in the Copenhagen conference, just as he was barred from speaking before the General Assembly in September.
for Madagascar, it is scheduled to speak on next
Wednesday 16 December, sometime after 6 p.m., so
they seem to have been invited." But what about the
request that, as at the UN General Debate in
September, they be disinvited?
On December 8, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon
Inner City Press: Has Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, has he indicated to you – we’ve heard that you’ve spoken to him weekly by videoconference – he represents the African Union. Is the $10 billion enough? They threatened to walk out if not sufficient funds were committed. What’s you stance on how that issue’s going to play out?
SG: As you know I, together with Prime Minister [Lars Løkke] Rasmussen [of Denmark], have been engaging in weekly videoconferences with major stakeholders on climate change - particularly the representatives of the most vulnerable countries, including the African Union and small island developing countries. We are going to continue to do that, as we did in Trinidad and Tobago. Now the idea of short-term fast-track financial support is supported by developing countries. We had a very in-depth discussion on this issue during our Commonwealth summit meeting in Trinidad and Tobago. As you know the 53-Member State Commonwealth adopted a consensus declaration where this financial support – fast-track support – was agreed by all the Member States, including a provision that 10% of this $10 billion will be provided to small island developing countries.
So the Commonweath agreed -- but has the African Union? Inner City Press asked Ban's top humanitarian John Holmes on December 10, but he said he hadn't been involved in setting the $10 billion figure. So who was?
Inner City Press also asking about the block on participation by Taiwan, which is a major industrial emitter. Nesirky answered only that "Taiwan is not a party to the UNFCCC." But why not? Would the UN want a major source of emission like Taiwan to participate?The answer, of course, in China, a senior diplomat of which told Inner City Press a good joke on Thursday. He noted that U.S.' Susan Rice had been harsh against Iran in that morning's Council meeting. She has to play to the electorate, he said, just as Iran's teetered regime tries to strengthen its power by being ever more hard-line. The Chinese diplomat said, "This is the problem with democracy." And then he laughed.
December 7, 2009
Even as cleanup efforts are still under way for a North Slope oil spill discovered Sunday, BP reported a leak from another pipeline it manages on Wednesday. BP discovered the new spill Wednesday afternoon and reported it to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Officials estimate 7,000 gallons of "produced water" -- water pumped with oil from wells and then separated from crude at processing centers -- are at the leak site. The leaky 6-inch pipeline was inside a manifold building where different pipes come together. BP estimated that about 5,040 gallons remained inside the building while the remaining produced waters spilled out onto the gravel production pad outside... Beyond Petroleum?
November 30, 2009
In Lagos last week, Ngeri Benibo, the director general and chief executive of Nigeria's National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency, argued that “Africa should be equitably compensated in the context of environmental justice, for environmental resources, economic and social loses as a result of climate change...the Copenhagen outcome must provide new, additional, sustainable, accessible and predictable finance for climate change programs."
The call for unity comes as the UK and UN got the Commonwealth meeting to endorse the $10 billion proposal, lower than Africa's reported $67 billion figure. Then again, Ms. Benibo's comments were in a speech at the Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society / ExxonMobil annual conference. Couldn't find another sponsor?
November 23, 2009
Alcoa said last week that it would suspend operations at two aluminum smelters in Italy, cutting about 2,000 jobs, over concerns that it would no longer receive what it considered affordable electricity rates. A recent ruling by the European Union struck down rate subsidies the Italian government had provided for the smelters, ordering the government to recover its previous aid...
November 16, 2009
In August, five months after the Mozambican government adopted its biofuels policy, two organizations released a study called "Jatropha! A Socio-economic Pitfall for Mozambique." In it, the groups Environmental Justice and the National Union of Peasants question what they say are "myths" propagated by the jatropha industry and government officials. "Almost all of jatropha planted in Mozambique has been on arable land, with fertilisers and pesticides," the report says. "Jatropha is planted in direct replacement of food crops," it adds. "Given that around 87 percent of Mozambicans are subsistence farmers ... major concerns arise when one considers the plan to encourage (them) to plant large amounts of jatropha."
As UN's Ban Admits Copenhagen Deal Unlikely, His Story Is Re-Written
By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, November 4 -- For months, the UN and its Secretary General Ban Ki-moon have been calling for a legally binding agreement on climate change to be reached at the Copenhagen meetings in December. When Ban's advisor Jeffrey Sachs on October 6 said this would be unlikely, and Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesperson to comment, the response was that Sachs spoke only his his personal capacity.
When UN climate negotiator Yvo de Boer later in October was quoted by the Financial Times that a legally binding agreement was unlikely, and Inner City Press asked Ban's climate point man Janos Pasztor about it, Pasztor said that de Boer had been spoken to, and was incompletely quoted by the FT.
Ban was quoted in London that a legally binding
agreement is unlikely, and Inner City Press asked
his spokesperson Michele Montas to comment on this
change of position, she replied "that has already
been said here." Video here, from Minute 20:25.
To some it seemed that comments portraying an
agreement in Copenhagen as unlikely has been
repudiated by Team Ban, and only now adopted. Why
not admit to the change?
Later a senior Ban advisor explained to Inner City Press, a legally binding agreement is now "physically impossible," given the amount of time remaining. But why publicly downplay the change? Inner City Press asked the advisor, and will continue to ask: what does "Seal the Deal" mean now? And who has the SealTheDeal2010 website, now that the 2009 version become of only historical interest? Watch this site.
November 2, 2009
Surreally, in the run up to this week's NJ governor election with its high profile endorsement, efforts to deepen the Delaware River's main channel would face a lawsuit if the Army Corps of Engineers begins the work without permits, New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine (D) said Monday. The Corps said last week that it would go ahead with its $300 million project, which has not yet received permits from Delaware.
October 26, 2009
China has started to evict 330,000 people to make way for a project to divert water from the south of the country to the north. The central route, which is scheduled for completion sometime in 2014, is supposed to supply about a quarter of Beijing's water. Critics argue that the water diversion will be harmful to the environment...
October 19, 2009
When even UN advisor Jeffery Sachs says a deal is unlikely at Copenhagen, there's little chance. Inner City Press has pursued whether Sachs spoke on behalf of or with the knowledge of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. No, it appears.
October 12, 2009
The UK's BP and the China National Petroleum Corp.have signed an initial agreement with Iraq to develop Rumaila, Iraq's largest producing oil field. According to the deal, which could lead to $15 billion in investment, BP will hold a 38 percent stake in the venture, with CNPC and the Iraq government holding 37 percent and 25 percent, respectively
October 5, 2009
In China, more than 100 children in Fujian province have suffered lead poisoning as a result of pollution from a nearby battery plant. Blood samples of children younger than 14 taken last week revealed 121 of 287 had excessive lead levels, officials announced. Local authorities have closed the local Huaqiang Battery Factory and promised to treat the poisoned children and provide them with extra nutrition
September 28, 2009
In Utah, the Mine Safety and Health Administration has taken a coal mine off of its special watch list. The Horizon mine had faced scrutiny for the number of roof falls and safety violations it had wracked up. The mine's present operator, American West Resources Inc., has retreated from the problematic mine section, abandoning 300,000 tons of coal. For now...
The Italian oil firm Eni SpA has decided against trying to take over Tullow Oil PLC, a British firm that has rich oil-development prospects in Uganda and Ghana. Tullow, which saw its value jump this week after it announced two additional finds in Africa, opposed the bid...
September 21, 2009
In Uganda, Tullow Oil PLC last week said it has made the largest oil find yet in the Lake Albert area of Uganda, a region where it has already found more than 700 million barrels of oil equivalent. The find could prompt bids for the company. Italian energy firm Eni SpA is one potential bidder...
September 14, 2009
New tests have confirmed extremely high levels of dioxin, a toxic ingredient used in the military defoliant Agent Orange, at the site of a former U.S. air base in Vietnam. The site, where Danang Airport now sits, shows dioxin levels in the soil, sediment and fish at 300 to 400 times higher than international safety standards.
September 7, 2009
The EPA is being asked to stay implementation of its rule changing the definition of solid waste (DSW) until the agency finishes the review of how the regulation would impact lower-income and minority communities. The concern is that companies with previously dubious environmental practices are taking advantage of regulatory exemptions in the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) rule...
August 31, 2009
In Michigan, a huge fire tore through a subsidiary of Sterling Oil & Gas, closing down rail service between Detroit and Pontiac. The fire sent black smoke hundreds of feet into the air. U.S. EPA says that it is monitoring the fire's residue, but that it expects it should cause no health risks. Oh really?
August 24, 2009
In California, the operator of the cargo ship that caused a 2007 oil spill in the San Francisco Bay has pleaded guilty to criminal charges and agreed to pay a $10 million fine. The Hong Kong-based company, Fleet Management Ltd., pleaded guilty to charges of obstruction, making false statements and negligent discharge of oil. The deal must still be approved by a federal judge. It shouldn't be...
August 17, 2009
Exxon Mobil had pled guilty to killing at least 85 protected birds in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming between 2004 and 2009 by exposure to natural gas well reserve pits and waste water storage facilities drilling and production facilities
August 10, 2009
In the U.S. Senate last week, Gary Guzy was asked how Browner and Mary Nichols, the head of the California Air Resources Board, decided to keep their discussions as quiet as possible during the run-up to new national auto standards proposed in May, holding no group meetings and taking care to not leak updates to the press -- what ever happened to transparency?
August 3, 2009
USEC won't withdraw a $2 billion loan-guarantee application for building a commercial nuclear-fuel enrichment plant, despite the Energy Department's request that it do so, the company announced last week. The Bethesda, Md.-based company said it is proceeding with the application to fund construction of the American Centrifuge Plant in Piketon, Ohio, because the proposal meets "the financial and technical requirements of the department's loan guarantee program as well as numerous Obama administration policy objectives," USEC said...
July 27, 2009
China's CNOOC and Sinopec have agreed to buy a 20% stake in an oil field off the coast of Angola for $1.3 billion, the latest in a series of Chinese acquisitions of overseas energy and mining assets. The companies would split ownership of the resources in an area known as block 32, which has already yielded 12 discoveries ...
July 20, 2009
JPMorgan Chase has a Community Reinvestment Act duty in West Virginia and Kentucky, for example, and in neighboring states. Meanwhile, Chase is funding 6 out of the top 8 corporate producers of MTR coal in Appalachia. (Massey, International Coal Group, Arch Coal, Consol Energy, TECO and Foundation Coal.), per RAN. Chase was a co-lead arranger and underwriter for more than $1 billion in new financing to Massey Energy less than 12 months ago. Massey Energy is the biggest and most controversial MTR mining company in Appalachia, and is responsible for nearly 20% of all MTR coal mined. Others have stopped funding it -- why not Chase?
July 13, 2009
In Delaware, the federal government fined Sunoco more than $200,000 this week, citing multiple health and safety violations at the company's refinery near Wilmington. Sunoco did not provide employees with proper protective equipment and did not maintain diagrams that accurately reflect the refinery's piping structure, according to OSHA...
July 6, 2009
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will aim toward climate legislation with a hearing July 7 including three top Obama administration officials. U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack are slated to testify at the hearing. The Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved a broad energy bill last month, while Majority Leader Harry Reid has given other committees with jurisdiction expected to weigh in -- Agriculture, Commerce, Finance and Foreign Relations -- until Sept. 18 to produce their additions to the package. The Senate hearing follows the House's passage of a climate and energy bill last week. The 219-212 House vote shifts the battle to the Senate, where assembling the 60-vote coalition needed to pass a climate bill is expected to be as tough as securing House passage, if not harder.
June 29, 2009
In California, The company that operated a container ship that rammed into the Bay Bridge in 2007 and released 53,000 gallons of fuel oil was denied its request yesterday to limit its fine to $400,000 on criminal charges of polluting San Francisco Bay. Fleet Management Ltd., which operated the 901-foot-long Cosco Busan during the Nov. 7, 2007 spill, offered to plead guilty to two misdemeanors last month, but U.S. District Judge Susan Illston said federal prosecutors are entitled to file amended charges that could carry fines of $40 million...
June 21, 2009
Will the Obama administration release the locations of 44 coal-ash disposal sites deemed national security risks? The information has been requested under FOIA from the U.S. EPA, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Homeland Security requesting a list of coal-ash dumps designated "high hazard," meaning they could threaten human life if their barriers fail. Questions about health and environmental risks posed by ash impoundments arose following the collapse of an impoundment at a Tennessee Valley Authority power plant last December. EPA collected information about impoundments from power companies that operate ash sites, but was urged by Homeland Security and the Army Corps not to make public the locations of those dumps. The requests argue that people who live near these sites have a right to know about their potential hazards, noting that locations of nuclear, Superfund and other hazardous sites are public knowledge. Is there a "we are embarrassed" exception?
June 15, 2009
In Kentucky, an agreement to allow 50 additional state counties and 20 more in Indiana at the the Outer Loop Landfill was discarded because it violated the state's open meeting law. Seven months ago, the chairwoman of the Louisville/Jefferson County Waster Management District board mailed the agreement to board members, asking for their approval. But it had to be done in public...
In California, two waste management companies, American Metal and Iron Inc. and California Waste Solutions are being fined by U.S. EPA for violating the Clean Water Act. Waste Solutions is in violation of sending trash and other pollutants from three of its locations in Oakland and San Jose into nearby waterways from 2002 to 2007, agency officials said. American Metal and Iron is in violation of sending polluted storm water discharges from two of its San Jose sites into Coyote Creek. The companies combined will pay a mere $306,000 in fines...
May 18, 2009
In China, more than 160 are in the hospitals and hundreds more are sickened by air pollution suspected to have come from a chemical plant in the country's northeast. Staff at the plant and residents living near the Jilin Chemical Fibre Group facility complained of headache, nausea, vomiting and general fatigue in late April. Air tests by authorities have not been able to identify what could be causing the illnesses
May 11, 2009
Asking, asking: The federal government is being asked to investigate whether scores of Crestwood residents are suffering any diseases or illnesses after drinking the village's tainted water for decades. Durbin sent a letter this week to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, asking it to at least try to answer the difficult question of whether illnesses could be linked to the tainted water. There appears to be very little information available to guide such a review...
Chevron is being asked to be more transparent with shareholders about the company's potential liability in a $27 billion environmental damages case in Ecuador. Texaco, which Chevron acquired in 2001, is accused of dumping toxic wastewater from drilling operations into unlined pits in Ecuador, causing widespread environmental damage and alleged cancer deaths. Chevron is fighting the lawsuit filed on behalf of tens of thousands of Ecuadorian villagers in the Amazon
May 4, 2009
In Oklahoma, Freeport-McMoRan and Phelps Dodge are defendants in a zinc smelter pollutions class action case returned last week to state court... Meanwhile on the other side of the world, Chevron is under fire in Western Australia for gas flares...
April 27, 2009
a federal judge gave residents living near two
chemical companies the opportunity to "opt out" of a proposed
foul odors from the Louisville plants they say have degraded their properties. U.S. District Court Judge John G. Heyburn II's decision
extends the deadline to May 15 to ensure there has been adequate public notice about the settlements, which total an estimated $800,000
in joint scholarships but restrict participants' right to make legal claims against companies Rohm and Haas and DuPont...
Saudi petrochemicals maker Saudi Basic Industries Corp., the largest listed company in the Middle East, reported a first-quarter loss of $260 million, its first quarterly loss since 2001 -- which was the year when...
April 20, 2009
Defense lawyers in the W.R. Grace & Co. asbestos trial last week urged the judge to order federal agents to produce their pretrial communications with government witnesses and accused prosecutors of intentionally presenting false testimony and withholding evidence. Grace and five former managers are standing trial over allegations that the company and executives knowingly exposed Libby to a particularly lethal form of asbestos... Click here for Inner City Press' story last week about asbestos at the UN...
The Nigerian government has fined Shell $6,800 for its refusal to clean up its September 2008 oil spill in a timely matter. The oil company has also been ordered to pay damages to landowners adjacent to the spill. Civil unrest, vandalism and sabotage have lowered Nigeria's total crude production to 1.78 million barrels per day, down from 2.6 million barrels in 2006
April 13, 2009
In New Mexico, Espanola Mayor Joseph Maestas and a group of business owners plan to oppose a federal agency they see as the only obstacle to a multi-million dollar reconstruction project on Paseo de Onate. Maestas said Tuesday he plans to file an environmental justice complaint against the Federal Highway Administration’s New Mexico Division for allegedly discriminating against Espanola while favoring projects elsewhere. “We’re ready to go, but we have a federal agency that is obstructing the process,” said Maestas, a former Administration engineer. Under this administration?
April 6, 2009
The U.S. Department of Justice is accepting public comments until April 25 on the proposed $52 million settlement agreement with Asarco for cleanup of its El Paso copper smelter site. The proposed settlement agreement can be found online at www.usdoj.gov/enrd/1043.htm
Separately, the Texas attorney general's office is accepting public comments on the proposed agreement until May 3.
March 30, 2009 -- annals of environmental
justice: the president of the Sierra Club wrote in the New
York Times, March 26, that "We
offer at-risk young people in the Bronx their first wilderness
experience." No, we have some wilderness right here in The
March 23, 2009
Consider American Smelting and Refining Company (ASARCO), which filed for bankruptcy in 2005. ASARCO faces some $7.9 billion in environmental claims. ASARCO offered to submit payments for only $1.1 billion for toxic cleanups. Who would pay for the rest? What ever happened to Superfund?
March 16, 2009
We hear that the Ecuadorian government has closed Accion Ecologica in "retaliation against Accion Ecologica's opposition to mining, an activity eagerly promoted by President Rafael Correa's government." Hmm...
While Detroiters fight to close down the garbage incinerator run by the Greater Detroit Resource Recovery Authority, some argue that it must remain open and receiving the city's waste, due to the one-sided contract with NJ-based Covanta Energy and Boston's Energy Investors Funds. Yes, we can call this contract a suicide pact...March 9, 2009
As UN Covers For Obama Climate Backslide, It Does Not Carbon Offset, "Act Not Together"
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
UNITED NATIONS, March 6 -- As the UN provides groundcover for the Obama administration's retreat from its climate change rhetoric during the electoral campaign, the UN "doesn't have its act together" on even offsetting the impacts of travel by its Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other high officials, the UN's Yvo de Boer told the Press on Friday.
Mr. de Boer held a press conference to announce positive movement on climate change in Congress, at least in the House of Representatives. Inner City Press asked if he and UN agree with the Denmark's Minister of Climate and Energy Conniee Hedegaard, who has said if the U.S. doesn't pass cap and trade legislation in 2009, it will be a step backwards. De Boer responded that Rep. Markey (Dem-MA) told him legislation should emerge from his House committee in May. The Senate, de Boer said, is more complicated. That's an understatement.
Inner City Press asked if he agreed that Obama's climate negotiator Todd Sterns statement that any 25% reduction in emissions by the U.S. by 2020 is unrealistic is a "diss" of the UN's IPCC. De Boer said he agreed with Stern -- de Boer subtly moved the goal post being dissed to 40% -- but said that perhaps the U.S. could invest money in deforestation projects as a way to show seriousness.
On that, Inner City Press asked de Boer whether he, Ban Ki-moon and the UN are offsetting the carbon emission of their travel. De Boer admitted that they are not, saying that they are trying to come up with a methodology but "we don't have our act together yet." Video here, from Minute 49:22.
This seems the least one could expect from a
Secretary-General who speaks so much about climate change. A
senior Ban advisor, speaking on condition of anonymity, told
Inner City Press that the Ban administration thinks that
carbon offsetting is hype. Why not say that publicly, then?
Inner City Press asked asked de Boer about a leaked
draft of European finance ministers, that industry and not
government should foot the bill of helping the developing
world reduce its emissions. Governments print money, de Boer
quipped, but they don't make it. One way or another, the
taxpayer is on the hook. It's what the banks are saying,
too. Some view it as competing ransom notes.
De Boer was asked about the climate "mini-summit" with Obama that the Ban Administration had leaked and then undercut, when they thought Obama would not come. De Boer said that climate and summits will be on Ban's agenda in Washington next week. We will continue to follow these issues.
fairness to Ban Ki-moon, Inner City Press asked the
spokesman for President of the General Assembly Miguel
d'Escoto Brockmann, before his recent trip through Iran,
Syria and Geneva, if he would be carbon offsetting. Ask the
PGA, the spokesman said.
next day, when d'Escoto took questions in front of the
Trusteeship Council, Inner City Press was asked to not
repeat the question, an answer would be forthcoming. Then
none was received, despite Inner
City Press providing its previous coverage of UN
offsetting -- in the case of one conference -- and not
It's like Ban's demotion of Tanzanian Anna Tibaijuku from the UN's top post in Nairobi, during women and gender week: practice what you preach. We'll see.
Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate
March 2, 2009
Off the coast of New Jersey, there are proposals for three port storage and regasification (conversion of liquid back to gas) facilities for imported liquefied natural gas (LNG), including the "Atlantic Sea Island Group (ASIG) proposal that envisions building the world's first man-made opensea island, located 19.5 miles from Sea Bright and 13 miles from Long Beach, N.Y. A group of investors proposes to build a 116-acre LNG terminal and industrial complex for a project known as Safe Harbor Energy. Next is Excalibur Energy, a new conglomerate of Canadian Superior Energy and Global LNG, a Delaware company, is promoting the Liberty Natural Gas project, which would consist of four submerged turret buoys and 50 miles of new pipeline to be built 15 miles off Asbury Park. And there's ExxonMobil's BlueOcean Energy project, which proposes a LNG floating terminal with storage and regasification facilities. It is slated for 20 miles off Manasquan...
February 23, 2009
In March 2005 in Texas City, Texas, BP killed 15 people and injured more than 170. Last week, BP paid a $180 million fine. "We are pleased to have achieved this settlement and will work to continue reducing emissions and to ensure regulatory compliance at Texas City," BP's spokesman said-in-a-statement...
One of the 10,000 students heading to Washington for Power Shift '09 said was quoted that, "We need to make this movement more than just Whole Foods and Toyota Priuses." Yeah -- how about targeting corporate wrongdoers?
February 16, 2009
We note "Palm Beach County Judge Laura Johnson, who ruled last week that environmental activists Lynne Purvis and Panagioti Tsolkas would spend 30 and 60 days, respectively, in jail. Their crime? Organizing a February protest that blocked the entrance to Palm Beach Aggregates — soon to be the site of the West County Energy Center. The natural gas-fueled power plant will one day have three 1,250-megawatt units, enough juice to power three-quarters of a million homes and businesses. It will require massive amounts of natural gas for burning and water for cooling." Some justice....
Faith in action: The country’s environmental movement in Honduras has significantly slowed deforestation in one section of the country, but an activist priest says he will keep up the pressure against commercial logging. "We have neutralized the enemy," said Father Jose Andres Tamayo, the parish priest in this ramshackle town in Olancho, a once heavily-forested central department of Honduras. “We haven’t won everything we wanted, but we’ve achieved a greater level of awareness and changed the mentality of people in the government offices where decisions are made,” he told Catholic News Service. “In this region we’ve stopped 80 per cent of the illegal logging.” Hear, hear...
February 9, 2009
American International Group has withdrawn its membership from the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, the company said Friday. AIG still stands to gain from the creation of a potential multi-trillion dollar market in insuring climate change policies that could range from protection for potential weather-related incidents to liability for carbon dioxide storage leakage.
In West Virginia, Patriot Coal Corp. will pay $6.5 million in fines to settle hundreds of water pollution violations at mining operations across the state. citizen groups likely will seek to intervene and oppose the government's deal with Patriot, saying it's not clear how much damage was done by Patriot's violations, and therefore impossible for the government to know if the fines are adequate.
February 2, 2009
In Nevada, Native American tribes vowed to charge forward with their efforts to stall the expansion of a gold mine on federal land in Nevada despite the fact that a federal judge denied an injunction this week. U.S. District Judge for the Nevada District Larry Hicks this week said there was not enough evidence to force Barrick Gold Corp. to stop digging its 900-acre, 2,000-foot-deep open-pit gold mine at its Cortez Hills site on Mount Tenabo in Lander County, Nev...
In Australia, "uncertainty over the future of the Gunns pulp mill in Tasmania has again weighed down the forester's share price. The Environment Minister Peter Garrett has suggested the company may have misled the stock exchange by yesterday saying the mill's technology would meet approval requirements... After sitting in the red for most of the day Rio Tinto shares surged in late trade to close more than five per cent higher. But it has little option other than to go ahead with a carve-up in order to keep its promise to pay off $AU15-billion of debt this year.
Today it announced it's sold some of its South American operations to Brazilian iron ore giant Vale for $US1.6-billion or about $AU2.5-billion. And another miner with debt issues, OZ Minerals, is selling its eight per cent stake in zinc producer Nyrstar at a loss for $33-million.
OZ Minerals has until late February to refinance about $AU870-million in debt, and today it confirmed it's prepared to sell all of its flagship prominent hill mine in South Australia. BHP Billiton is seen as a likely buyer."January 26, 2009
January 19, 2009
The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved a proposal last week to build a natural gas terminal on the site of the former Sparrows Point shipyard in eastern Baltimore County, and an 88-mile pipeline to Pennsylvania. The five-member FERC panel voted 4-1 without discussion to approve the request from Virginia-based AES Corp. The pipeline is to run through Baltimore, Harford and Cecil counties on its way to southern Pennsylvania. AES Corp., which declined to comment yesterday, has 30 days to accept the commission's conditions and 90 days to submit implementation plans. Other parties to the case have 30 days to appeal the decision. Fight fight fight.
January 12, 2009
NY State governor Patterson has a new plan of which his supporter say, "In New York City there's a much stronger emphasis on environmental justice and access to parks, which ties into the governor's proposal to have more healthy, outdoor exercise accessible to children." We'll see...
January 5, 2009
While a press release promotes "the NYC Community Air Survey [a]s an initiative of Mayor Bloomberg's PlaNYC, which aims to... Reforest targeted areas of our parkland," parkland in The Bronx was given away and eliminated for the new Yankee Stadium. Oh but "air samples will be analyzed for fine particles (PM2.5), nitrogen oxides (NOx), elemental carbon (EC), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and ozone (O3)." Hot air...
December 29, 2008
So HBOS is said to be cutting off Oz Minerals, not extending loans, the extractive party is over... and in New York, the Parks Department has closed Harlem's Thomas Jefferson Park due to elevated levels of lead...
December 22, 2008
Wisconsin Republican Rep. James Sensenbrenner on December 18 offered to give his take on the status of the negotiations after spending a full week at the Poznan climate conference for meetings with foreign diplomats, industry officials and former Vice President Al Gore. Obama did not send his own team to the U.N. meeting, but instead asked members of Congress and staff attending the negotiations to brief him when they got back. Several U.S. lawmakers signed up for the trip to Poland, but only Sensenbrenner and Sen. John Kerry actually crossed the Atlantic for the negotiations. On December 15, Obama said he had spoken with Kerry, the incoming chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, about the Poznan negotiations. But a Sensenbrenner spokesman said today that no such conversation has taken place between the Republican congressman and the president-elect. Meeting with reporters last week in Poland, Sensenbrenner predicted that because of the economic implications of cap-and-trade legislation, Democrats would lose their House and Senate majorities in the 2010 elections if they pursue votes on such a bill.
In his letter to Obama, Sensenbrenner said he was "deeply concerned" about the shape of the U.N. climate negotiations after hearing from Chinese and Indian diplomats who explained that they would not accept legally binding emission reductions in a new international global warming agreement.
Sensenbrenner cautioned Obama that the U.S. Senate rejected the 1997 Kyoto Protocol because developing countries took a similar position more than a decade ago. "The current negotiations seem to be leading toward a similarly flawed outcome," he wrote. At the U.N. negotiations, representatives from several emerging economies did outline new domestic emission reduction strategies that show a willingness to go much further than they did during the Kyoto negotiations. Brazil, for example, said it would set a target to reduce deforestation 70 percent over the next decade. Mexico said it would establish a cap-and-trade program aimed at curbing its midcentury emissions by 50 percent compared with 2002 levels.
China, South Africa and South Korea also drew praise for their domestic climate plans. And U.N. climate meetings over the next year are aimed at figuring out exactly how to actually measure, report and verify the global warming policies of developing countries -- with the outcomes included when the talks conclude in December 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark. "They're not saying what we heard a few years ago, which is we won't take action," said the head of the international policy office at the Natural Resources Defense Council. He said there was good reason for Obama to sit down with the Republican congressman to talk about climate change. "Given the bipartisan spirit Barack Obama has pledged going forward, it'd be useful to hear both sides of the perspective," Schmidt said. "It'd give Obama a chance to compare notes." An Obama spokesman did not respond to requests for comment.
December 15, 2008
In Texas, a Dallas program that seeks to improve local air quality by offering up to $3,000 in subsidies to low-income residents to replace old vehicles with new ones is struggling as applications have dropped 40 percent amid economic turmoil. Participation in a similar program in Houston is down about 55 percent. Old cars and trucks emit up to 30 times more pollution than new vehicles...
In Ukraine, President Viktor Yushchenko said his country will pay in full for any natural gas it imports and that any Russian supplies will flow unmolested through his country's borders. The statements came hours after Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Ukraine has not fully paid its electricity bills and said the West had no grounds to demand Russia sell gas to Ukraine at subsidized prices...
December 8, 2008
Falling uranium prices forced Toronto-based Denison Mines Corp. to shut down the Tony M mine in southern Utah last week, but the company will open another Utah mine, the Beaver Shaft mine, that has higher grades of uranium and deposits of vanadium, which is used in steel alloys. Uranium yellowcake hit a high of $136 a pound last year, then dropped to $44 a few weeks ago...
Meanwhile in Virginia, a state commission will study whether 60,000 tons of uranium can be safely mined in the rural south-central region despite opposition from the General Assembly. The Coal and Energy Commission can review the possible effects mining would have on the air, land and drinking water resources, but it does not have the power to lift a 25-year-old ban on uranium mining, which the General Assembly enacted shortly after the deposits were discovered. Supporters of the study say Virginia needs to expand its search for alternative energy sources, but opponents from the area where the uranium was discovered and environmental groups say mines put the drinking water and other natural resources at risk of contamination
China National Petroleum Corp., the parent of Asia's biggest oil producer PetroChina Co., has made six major oil and gas discoveries this year and may hit a record for a third year, the company said on its Web site. It is stepping up efforts on fuel searches to meet rising domestic demand for energy and will maintain a "stable" increase in crude production and a "rapid" gain in gas output next year, the statement said...
December 1, 2008
For a grassroots debate in Cincinnati this week, "environmental Justice is about keeping already polluted neighborhoods from having to accept more polluting neighbors – usually industry, not a family of 12 or more. The myth that jobs will be lost and businesses will choose other locations (taking their precious tax dollars with them) is one of several objections used to support placing polluting companies in 'overburdened' areas."Globally, HSBC client companies' violations include... client companies embroiled in conflicts over lands and forests with the Penan communities in Sarawak regarding the establishment of oil palm plantations on community lands
.. long standing conflicts between client companies and communities in North Sumatra which have led to the imprisonment of villagers and restrictions being placed on people’s movements, which have in turn prevented children from getting to school and villagers from going to market or their farmland
.. the takeover of community lands in West Kalimantan undermining community food security
.. repeated allegations that client companies in several parts of Indonesia are clearing forests and areas of high conservation value.
Nearly all of the 17 business groups which are HSBC’s clients have announced plans to expand their palm oil operations. Unless their practices change, these operations will inevitably destroy more forest, wildlife and peoples’ homes. Yep, that's HSBC..
November 24, 2008
On Climate, UN Lobbies Itself, On Migration It Tells the Poor to Go Home
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
UNITED NATIONS, November 20
-- That women are impacted by climate change, and that global
warming talks in Poznan should take notice, are hardly
controversial positions. But Thursday at the UN a strange
grouping held a briefing on this issue. Ostensibly a "civil
society" organization, the "Global Gender and Climate
Alliance," said they will try in Poznan "to ensure that
climate change funds target women and men equally."
the founders of this Alliance are UN agencies, the UN
Development Program and the UN Environment Fund. Inner City
Press asked if this doesn't constitute the UN lobbying itself,
the UN taking up the space where independent civil society
should be. Video here,
"under construction" (at time of press conference) GGCA web
November 17, 2008
In Indiana, a a 79-year-old Vigo County woman is suing Pfizer, claiming her property was contaminated by PCBs when a breached wastewater lagoon at a Pfizer plant flooded the property after heavy rains in June. The woman is seeking temporary housing, and the lawsuit claims that Pfizer was negligent in maintaining the lagoon's dam, and also seeks environmental legal action against the company...
In Vietnam, the environment minister admitted the fines for industrial polluters were too low to deter them from fouling the environment and proposed raising the penalties for every breach of regulation from 70 million dong ($4,100) to 500 million dong ($29,800). There were a series of pollution scandals in which companies from Taiwan and other nations were caught pumping toxic waste into rivers. The government was aware of 4,000 factories that were heavily polluting the air and water, but the environmental agency in Vietnam lacked the resources to staff them and efficiently crack down on the corruption...
November 10, 2008
The Maryland Public Service Commission approved plans proposed by a subsidiary of Clipper Windpower last week for 28 turbines on 3,000 acres of Backbone Mountain, and the company hopes to start construction next year. The project would cost more than $120 million, and a representative for the company said that given the credit crisis, they still face many challenges...
In the UK, car sales fell for the sixth consecutive month, dropping 23 percent in October as consumers hesitated to make big purchases while the U.K.'s economy headed toward a recession. The Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders lowered its 2008 sales forecast 4.9 percent, to 2.15 million vehicles, and is also calling for lower interest rates and cuts in vehicle taxes. Sales are also falling in Germany, Europe's biggest economy, which also lowered its vehicle sales predictions...
As per the WashPost, another down side of ethanol: Alexandria, Va., is one example of a town caught off guard by ethanol transport through its boundaries. A company working with Norfolk Southern Corp. railroad started unloading ethanol in the densely populated Washington, D.C., suburb in April, but it was more than a month later that Alexandria firefighters obtained the key tools they needed to extinguish ethanol fires, which cannot be put out with typical foams. Emergency preparation evacuations at an elementary school across from the loading operation did not begin until this month.
Officials are looking to shut down or restrict the ethanol transfer operation, saying it is potentially dangerous and a slap at city residents. The Alexandria ethanol controversy has also spurred a congressional scrutiny of rail laws. Long-established laws give railroads broad powers to move freight across state lines, including the authority to unload and load what they want with little or no deference to local officials in most cases. Top Alexandria officials, including the mayor, met with Norfolk Southern executives about the operation starting in 2006, but they did not notify residents or discuss it publicly, mistakenly assuming that Norfolk Southern would be required to apply for city approval before opening.
Now, Alexandria officials have taken their concerns to federal regulators, who have yet to issue a ruling. The two sides are also in court. Ethanol transfer accidents have been serious. A 2006 derailment of 23 Norfolk Southern tank cars in New Brighton, Pa., sparked a fire that burned for 48 hours and forced a seven-block evacuation...
In Peru, a mining mess could contaminate ponds that provide drinking water to Lima. The metals company, Gold Hawk Resources of Canada, stopped production at its processing plant for its Coricancha mine in May as a preventative measure, and the government issued an emergency decree in July that helped stop farmers from irrigating crops on the hills above the tailing site to prevent the water from pressuring the walls of the ponds, which contain toxic chemicals. But the rainy season is approaching, and the government is bracing for a potential disaster...
October 27, 2008
In Pennsylvania, Penn Ridge Coal LLC and Allegheny Pittsburgh Coal Co. are suing Blaine, claiming that ordinances that protect the community from long-wall mining violate their right to do business. The ordinance prohibits corporations that have more than three violations against it in the past 20 years from doing business in the township, and companies claim that is an "anti-corporation law." No, we call it wise...
In Ivory Coast, a court jailed two men for dumping toxic waste from a ship chartered by an international oil trader at open sites around the commercial capital Abidjan. The spill killed 17 people and sickened thousands. Nigerian Salomon Ugborugbo, director of the local Tommy company that had used trucks to distribute the waste, was charged with poisoning and given a 20-year sentence, while Ivorian shipping agent Desire Kouao got a five-year sentence for complicity. But what about the bigger fish?
October 20, 2008
In Columbus, Ohio, Georgia-Pacific sued to force AIG, its insurer, to cover part of the $22 million settlement it paid to South Side residents when one of its resin plants exploded in 1997. Georgia Pacific paid $22 million to residents in 2001, but AIG refused to reimburse the company for its losses...
In Rhode Island, a Texas-based gas company is guilty of illegally storing liquid mercury without a permit, a jury decided this week. The mercury was removed from home gas regulators, and Southern Union was guilty of storing the containers inside an abandoned home in Pawtucket instead of shipping it out. The company faces a maximum fine of $38 million...
Than Shwe versus nature, too: skins, teeth, claws and bones of 1,200 protected species, including 107 endangered tigers and cats, are being sold in Myanmar's markets...
October 13, 2008
Fund diversion averted: the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has agreed to pay $1 million to track air pollution and screen children for illnesses in south Phoenix after an outcry over a plan to use the money to fight global warming. The money came from a $6 million fine levied against a Honeywell plant for discharging harmful solvents and jet fuel into soil and the sewer system...
Alabama-based Drummond Co. has claimed a 2.3-trillion cubic foot natural gas field that the company says could supply 10 percent of the annual U.S. usage. The field is near the company's vast coal fields in northeastern Colombia...
October 6, 2008
Native rights organizations and environmental justice groups are calling on the U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee and other Congressional Committees to conduct hearings concerning federal land management practices that threaten or destroy Tribal sacred lands.
At UN, Green Funding Is Blood Oil Money As Questions Are Excluded
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
UNITED NATIONS, September 24 -- When climate change is discuss in the UN, there is more than a little hot air. Norway's Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg appeared alongside Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on September 24, to announce $35 million in funding to the new UN Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation program, known by the catchy acronym REDD. As one correspondent noted, REDD in Norwegian means fear. Inner City Press asked about Norway's controversial $10 billion Arctic liquefied natural gas facility near Snoehvit, which will increase carbon emission levels. Video here.In response, Stoltenberg acknowledged that Norway's green philanthropy is an attempt to make up for the country's still rising level of green house gas emissions. That sure wasn't in the UN's press release.
September 22, 2008
In St. Paul, Virginia 11 protesters were arrested in what they called "an action that successfully demonstrated to Dominion that there are a lot of people in the community that are having strong opposition to the power plant and to mountaintop removal mining and to what Dominion is trying to do to Southwest Virginia." Hear, hear.
September 15, 2008
A Kentucky environmental group sued the Clintwood Elkhorn Mining Co. for dumping mining waste into an Appalachian stream valley without a permit. The company acknowledged the dumping and called it an "isolated incident."
And that makes it okay?
In Norway, as high gas prices increase incentives, the country's oil and gas industry will boost investments to $22.9 billion in 2009 to increase exploration for new reserves, the state statistics office said. Costs for companies such as StatoilHydro ASA Click for Enhanced Coverage Linking Searchesand Det Norske Oljeselskap ASA have also climbed as a worldwide expansion in exploration drives up demand and prices for drilling rigs and engineers...
September 8, 2008
In West Virginia, the head of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board said the agency's investigation into last week's deadly explosion at the Bayer CropScience plant could take about a year. The explosion occurred in the methomyl section of the plant and involved a new 4,000-gallon tank in the plant's southweste