Archives for the day of: January 11, 2011

Newark Star-Ledger: N.J. lawmakers pass stricter regulations on fertilizer in effort to clean up Barnegat Bay

New Jersey lawmakers, as part of a plan to control the flow of pollutants into the state’s waterways, today passed what’s being described as the nation’s toughest restrictions on fertilizer.

The legislation, approved by both the Senate and Assembly, would require that 20 percent of nitrogen contained in fertilizer be a slow-release variety to prevent it from easily washing into waterways during rainfall or lawn watering.

Gov. Chris Christie has indicated he will sign the legislation as part of a more comprehensive package to address the problems of the Barnegat Bay. More . . .

New Orleans Times-Picayune: Louisiana oil refineries’ accident record needs improvement, report says –

Louisiana’s 17 oil refineries have an abysmal record of accidents that have resulted in the release of millions of pounds of polluting chemicals into the air and water, threatening both their own workers and the more than 200,000 people who live in neighborhoods within two miles of the plants, according to a new report sponsored by the Bucket Brigade, other neighborhood environmental groups and the United Steelworkers Union.

The accident record should be considered as a warning of future disasters in light of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster, said Anne Rolfes, founder of the New Orleans-based Bucket Brigade.

“What we’re finding in refineries’ own data is that they’re having 10 accidents a week,” she said. “That’s a big red flag to us. We don’t want to have another situation like BP, where we have to stand up and say, ‘We told you so.'”  More . . .

Reuters Health: Forty years later, Nagasaki bomb still causes disease

Survivors of the World War II atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki continue to fall ill today as a result of the radiation they received, a surprising Japanese study shows.

Researchers testing survivors between 1985 and 2004 found people who had received high levels of radiation from the bomb blast were eight times more likely to develop a rare blood disease than those exposed to low levels.

“It adds evidence to the fact that radiation even at moderately low doses is hazardous, and the diseases you can get aren’t only cancers,” said David J. Brenner, who heads the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University in New York, and was not involved in the study. More . . .

Portland Oregonian: Hexavalent chromium: 9th Circuit Court says suit by Oregon guard against KBR can go forward.

On Tuesday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied KBR’s request for an unusual early review that could have stalled or stopped the veterans’ lawsuit against it. Thirty six Oregon vets allege they were exposed to a cancer-causing chemical while guarding KBR and Halliburton operations early in the Iraq war and suffer serious health problems as a result. The ruling means attorneys will prepare for a jury trial in Portland later next year. The Oregon case has already proceeded further than similar suits in other states and shone an unprecedented spotlight into the secretive business of military contracting. More . . .

Psychologist Phil Zimbardo may have put his finger on one reason why the environment is so swollen with toxins:

Imagine a traitor is sentenced to death by firing squad and the government wants to recruit his peers, civilians, to shoot him. Few volunteer. If, however, they add a condition that only one of six guns will have a real bullet in the chamber, thus each gun would have only a small likelihood of being the lethal weapon, typically more volunteer. Why? Employing the tactic of diffusion of responsibility greases that line, and some good people are ready to slide across the boundary, become killers for the state.

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