Inner City
        Press' Environmental Justice Reporter

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

March 1, 2021

From the UK: THAMES Water has been given a fine worth more than £2 million following a pollution incident in Oxfordshire.  The water company was fined £2.3 million for a raw sewage pollution incident in 2016, which saw 1,200 fish die.

February 22, 2021

Minnesota pollution: On Feb. 19, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency issued a Code Orange Air Quality Alert to be in effect from 6 p.m. today through noon Sunday, Feb. 21 for much of east central and southeast Minnesota, including Wright County.  According to the MPCA, "Air quality is expected to worsen beginning Friday evening, with the Air Quality Index (AQI) forecasted to reach Orange or Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups category."

February 15, 2021

Britain’s Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a group of Nigerian farmers and fishermen can sue Royal Dutch Shell PLC in English courts over pollution in a region where the Anglo-Dutch energy giant has a subsidiary.  Five justices on the U.K.’s top court said Shell has a “duty of care” to the claimants over the actions of its Nigerian subsidiary. Shell had argued that it was not responsible.  Members of Nigeria’s Ogale and Bille communities took Shell to court in Britain in 2016, alleging that decades of oil spills have fouled the water, contaminated the soil and destroyed the lives of thousands of people in the Niger River Delta, where a Shell subsidiary has operated for decades.

February 8, 2021

Owners of a solar energy farm in Massachusetts have reached a settlement with the state’s attorney general’s office to remediate a large tract of wetlands and riverfront damaged during construction of the site in 2018.  Dynamic Energy Solutions agreed to pay more than $1 million to settle charges that it violated federal stormwater protections, damaged wetlands and polluted a branch of a river...

February 1, 2021

Riverkeeper Lawsuit Against EPA Will Exclude Hearsay Report In SDNY Ruling Due February

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

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Jan 25 – Riverkeeper sued the EPA for not protecting endangered species in connection with its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 On January 25, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Jed S. Rakoff held a proceeding. Inner City Press covered it.  

Judge Rakoff grilled Riverkeeper's lawyer about a report being hearsay; he listened to the argument on standing, that it was not based on spending money on litigation but the longstanding "Havens" factors.  

At the end - reference was made another proceeding, not on the PACER Calendar Events - Judge Rakoff said it is interesting case so it will take time to rule.

 He specified the end of February, saying he'll aim to do it sooner but cannot promise.

The case is JSR Riverkeeper, Inc. et al v. US EPA, et al., 20-cv-6572 (Rakoff)

January 25, 2021

A map of Florida brownfields, and communities of color, is here.

January 18, 2021

Tzumi Sues EPA To Stop Hand Wipes Wipe Out Order But EPA Says Claims Are False

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

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Jan 14 –   Tzumi Innovations says that its "Wipe Out!" hand wipes should not be registered with the EPA as a pesticide under FIFRA. It has sued.    

   On January 14, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Lorna G. Schofield held a proceeding. Inner City Press covered it.  

The EPA says Tzumi is lying - or its claims are false - when it accuses EPA of issuing a Stop Sale, Use or Removal Order to Home Depot regarding Wipe Out products. 

On January 11, Judge Schofield had ordered a briefing schedule and a letter on whether the effectiveness of any SSURO might be delayed pending resolution of the case. Could it be a wipe out?

The case is Tzumi Innovations, LLC v. Wheeler et al., 21-cv-122 (Schofield)


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January 11, 2021

Check it out: Top Twenty Lenders to 40 actors in the Plastic Packaging Value Chain (Jan 2015 - Sept 2020; million USD)

BANK HQ LOANS & UNDERWRITING % OF TOTAL Bank of America United States 171,737 10.31% Citigroup United States 145,816 8.76% JPMorgan Chase United States 143,766 8.63% Barclays United Kingdom 117,923 7.08% Goldman Sachs United States 97,042 5.83% HSBC United Kingdom 96,201 5.78% Deutsche Bank Germany 77,398 4.65% Wells Fargo United States 74,121 4.45% BNP Paribas France 55,852 3.35% Morgan Stanley United States 54,211 3.26% Mizuho Financial Japan 50,602 3.04% Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Japan 43,587 2.62% Credit Suisse Switzerland 40,218 2.42% Société Générale France 35,775 2.15% Santander Spain 33,960 2.04% SMBC Group Japan 33,189 1.99% ING Group Netherlands 31,084 1.87% Toronto-Dominion Bank Canada 23,574 1.42% NatWest United Kingdom 22,207 1.33% Royal Bank of Canada Canada 21,760 1.31% Other 295,191 17.73%

January 4, 2021

Chippewa Sue Enbridge Tar Sands Oil Pipeline But Army Corps Lost in DC Mail Press Tweets

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

FEDERAL COURT, Dec 31 – A lawsuit seeking to enjoin a tar sands oil pipeline in Minnesota and elsewhere got a initial hearing on December 30 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Inner City Press covered it, and live tweeted it here:

The US Army Corps of Engineers decision to let Enbridge Energy to build a  330-mile pipeline for tar sands oil from Canada is being sued in DC Dist by the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians & White Earth Band of Ojibwe.  

US says it has not been served. The papers are in the mail, but USPS says they won't arrive until January 5.

Judge Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly says she can move fast, because of COVID she is not going anywhere. She asks the parties to agree to a briefing schedule  Assistant US Attorney says the Corps of Engineers people are on vacation, unreachable. They want more time.

Judge: Are they going to be back on Monday? AUSA: That would be the first day. This permit may have a truly massive record, including state litigation.  Judge: I was reversed some years ago for doing a TRO without getting the administrative record in. It's local rule 7(10)(1), it's gotten better. Has there been other litigation?

Plaintiffs' counsel: Yes, at the state level. And under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act.   Plaintiffs' counsel: It's in the Minnesota Court of Appeals. 

Judge: So we'll talk once you reach the Army Corps of Engineers. 



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December 28, 2020

EPA Cutting No Spray Pesticide Zone Triggered SDNY Hearing By Dec 26 Only EPA Has Filed

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

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Dec 23 – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's rule to limit the 100-foot no spray zone down to 23-feet gave rise to an emergency hearing on December 23 at 5 pm. Inner City Press covered it.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Lewis J. Liman held the hearing, and asked many questions, including about the impact of the change of U.S. Administration on January 20. 

 He did not decide, at the end of an hour and a half, on the request for a temporary restraining order. 

 Instead, Judge Liman said he will rule on it before December 29. He asked the parties if they wanted to submit more on "the 705 issue." Both said yes.

So, letters were said due at 5 pm on Saturday, December 26.

Now as of 5:10 pm on December 26, in the docket there is no letter (yet?) from plaintiffs, but this in the EPA's / DOJ's 3-page filing: "Dear Judge Liman: This Office represents defendants (together, “EPA”) in this matter. I write respectfully in response to the Court’s request at argument on December 23, 2020, for briefing on the application of the stay provision of the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”), 5 U.S.C. § 705. As stated in EPA’s brief, a request by plaintiffs for a court order to delay implementation of a rule under 5 U.S.C. § 705 is governed by the same standards as the issuance of a preliminary injunction. Dkt. No. 30 (“EPA Br.”) at 10 (citing New York v. U.S. Dep’t of Educ., — F. Supp. 3d. —, No. 20 Civ. 4260 (JGK), 2020 WL 4581595, at *5 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 9, 2020)). It has long been the law of the Second Circuit that stays of administrative action are governed by these requirements....Plaintiffs have not established that nationwide and rule-wide relief is necessary to remedy the harms they allege. See EPA Br. at 29-30. If the Court concludes that some type of equitable relief is appropriate, that relief should be tailored to affect only (1) the harms that Plaintiffs can establish specifically as to themselves or their members, and (2) the portions of EPA’s 2020 Rule as to which Plaintiffs have shown a likelihood both of success on the merits and of irreparable harm absent equitable relief. See New York, 969 F.3d at 88; Eastern Air Lines, 261 F.2d at 830. Plaintiffs do not challenge several aspects of the rule, see EPA Br. at 9 n.2, which should not be enjoined or stayed, and the Court should also decline to enjoin all discrete portions of the Rule as to which Plaintiffs have failed to carry their burden."

The case is Rural & Migrant Ministry et al v. Andrew Wheeler et al., 20-cv-10645 (Liman)


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December 21, 2020

From Thailand: "the problem in Bangkok is little to do with the traffic, buses and local industry. Of course, it’s a contributor but a tiny fraction of the bigger, deliberately lit, plantation fire issue.  A long term solution is to subsidise proper machinery for Thailand’s farmers to clear the land mechanically, rather than the cheaper burning of the crops. Districts could share the cost of the necessary machinery, with individual farmers and companies hiring the equipment when needed.  Today it’s easy to track all the fires, clearly identified by NASA satellites, in almost real time. It’s a free website that anyone can log onto… even Thai government officials. You can see the active fires in Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar as well, but there is a big concentration in central, northern and north-eastern Thailand.  You can see clear evidence of exactly where the smoke is coming from… matched with the daily weather forecast which provides the direction and strength of the winds.  There’s even a simple site like Air Visual which lists the air quality around the country, and the world for that matter, any time of the day."

December 14, 2020

In Pakistan, the National Forum for Environment and Health (NFEH) has demanded that a national-level emergency should be declared to tackle the problem of marine pollution as the recent sighting of coral bleaching near Charna Island shows that serious environmental issue is getting worse every passing day.

December 7, 2020

Arizona District Judge G. Murray Snow ruled that  Chubb's Illinois Union Insurance Co. doesn't have to cover a resort's COVID-19  losses, writing that the carrier's "premises pollution liability" policy only covers environmental pollution but not the coronavirus pandemic. He dismissed London Bridge Resort LLC's lawsuit against the insurer, ruling that COVID-19 does not fall within the policy's "pollution condition" definition. The case is London Bridge Resort LLC v. Illinois Union Insurance Company Incorporated, case number CV-20-08109, in the US District Court for the District of Arizona

November 30, 2020

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

November 23, 2020

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

November 16, 2020

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

November 9, 2020

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

November 2, 2020