Archives for category: The Environment

From Tavis Smiley Radio:

This week the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, better known as the E.P.A, celebrates its 40th anniversary. From that time to the present, America’s environmental history has seen both dramatic events and undergone remarkable progress. But while we’ve made great strides in the ongoing environmental movement, Administrator Jackson believes much more can be done.

Tavis Smiley interviews EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson in the following podcast.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Boulder Daily Camera: Coloradans’ ‘recycled’ computers can end up in the third-world, local landfills.

As the holiday season approaches, a host of tempting new electronic gadgets awaits. But what actually happens to Colorado’s old electronics? The answer may surprise you. It surprised government regulators. An investigation by the I-News Network uncovered illegal exporting, backyard recycling and more. This is the first in a four-part series reporting their findings. More  . . .

Center for Public Integrity: One town’s recurring coal ash nightmare.

Stand before the pond known here in southwestern Pennsylvania as Little Blue Run, and you’ll see nothing that resembles its bucolic-sounding name. The one-time stream is now an industrial pond, filled with arsenic-laced waste from a coal-fired power plant.

The one-time stream is now an industrial pond, filled with arsenic-laced waste from a coal-fired power plant. The pond spans nearly 1,000 acres of rolling, rural landscape in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, along the Ohio River. Millions of tons of coal ash have landed in the 35-year-old dump, looming over some 50,000 people in southeastern Ohio, held back by a 400-foot-tall dam, that federal regulators have deemed a “high hazard” to human life if it ever let loose.

Here in tiny Greene Township, where the pond consumes more than 10 percent of the total land, Little Blue Run seems a wasteland.

Coal ash, tinted blue, has overtaken the valley, rising each year by a million tons, blanketing the trees so they look like pixie sticks. Residents say dry ash wafts into their yards, its sulfuric smell burning their throats. At night, they hear a swooshing sound as coal ash cascades down a pipe stretching seven miles from the Bruce Mansfield Power Station, in Shippingport, Pa.

“It will keep rising,” says Marci Carpenter, who lives in a neighborhood dotted with vacant properties and abandoned homes, “and soon it’ll be above my house.”

Unless, that is, coal ash is regulated by the federal government.

More . . . 

From Alliance for Justice, here is a 17-minute video that “examines the ongoing search for justice among the victims of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.”

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From Alliance for Justice:

Shot on location in Louisiana, this film explores the damage done by this unimaginable environmental calamity to the lives and livelihoods of the people who depend on the waters of the Gulf of Mexico for their income, their food, and the continuation of their culture. Titled Crude Justice, the 17-minute documentary looks at the difficulties ordinary people face in finding fair compensation and a secure future for their families in the face of corporate domination of the courts, statutes favoring big business, judges with ties to the oil and gas industries, and the uncertainties that accompany an incident where the long-term effects may not be known for years. Crude Justice tells the story of damaged lives, but also of the fighting spirit and resilience of people who understand that what’s threatened is not just justice for the victims of the spill, but the integrity of the American judicial system itself.


National Geographic News: Plane exhaust kills more people than plane crashes.

There’s a new fear of flying: You’re more likely to die from exposure to toxic pollutants in plane exhaust than in a plane crash, a new study suggests.

In recent years, airplane crashes have killed about a thousand people annually, whereas plane emissions kill about ten thousand people each year, researchers say.

Earlier studies had assumed that people were harmed only by the emissions from planes while taking off and landing. The new research is the first to give a comprehensive estimate of the number of premature deaths from all airline emissions.

“We found that unregulated emissions from [planes flying] above 3,000 feet [914 meters] were responsible for most of the deaths,” said study leader Steven Barrett, an aeronautical engineer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.

Airplane exhaust, like car exhaust, contains a variety of air pollutants, including sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides.

Many of these particles of pollution are tiny, about a hundred millionths of an inch wide, or smaller than the width of a human hair.

So-called particulate matter that’s especially small is the main culprit in human health effects, especially since the particulates can become wedged deep in the lung and possibly enter the bloodstream, scientists say.

Read more here.

Glenwood Springs Post Independent: Report finds possible health risks from drilling: Draft of Battlement-centered Health Impact Assessment released – “Plans for up to 200 natural gas wells in the Battlement Mesa community near Parachute do pose potential health risks for those living in the community, according to a newly released study.  Garfield County on Monday released the draft report of the Health Impact Assessment, conducted by the Colorado School of Public Health in partnership with the county health department..”  Read more here.

Chemical and Engineering News: Hunting For Perfluorochemicals In Ski Wax – “In ski racing, the difference between first and second place can depend on hundredths of a second, so racers grab every advantage they can. Unfortunately, the ski waxes that help athletes shave down their times also expose the people who wax their skis to possibly harmful perfluorochemicals. Now Swedish researchers report that the waxers’ bodies may metabolize one common perfluorochemical into perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which has been linked to adverse health effects.”  Read more here.

WWL-TV Eyewitness News: Scientists question thoroughness of Gulf seafood testing – “At the height of the oil spill, more than one third of the Gulf’s federal waters were closed as a precaution, amid fears of what the oil could be doing to the water and marine life.”  Read more here; see video below.

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From The New York Times, September 16, 2010:

Major energy corporations are rallying to defeat California’s 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act. They claim that the act, which caps factory carbon and gasoline emissions, threatens jobs in an a weak economy. However, the act could actually “save the state’s consumers as much as $670 per household in 2020”.

Read excerpts from the New York Times article below and keep scrolling for links to more resources.

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Charles and David Koch, the billionaires from Kansas who have played a prominent role in financing the Tea Party movement, donated $1 million to the campaign to suspend the Global Warming Solutions Act, which was passed four years ago, and signaled that they were prepared to invest more in the cause. With their contribution, proponents of the proposition have raised $8.2 million, with $7.9 million coming from energy companies, most of them out of state. . . .

The law in question, known as A.B. 32, mandates slashing carbon and other greenhouse emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, by forcing power companies and industries to cap their emissions and by slashing carbon in gasoline. Some oil industry leaders said it would force them to invest millions of dollars to comply, and asserted that it would force companies to cut jobs and raise the price of gas at the pumps. . . .

“We have every reason to believe that they are going to put the money in to run a big television campaign in the most expensive media market in the country,” said Annie Notthoff, the California advocacy director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group. “We certainly are expecting to have a fight on our hands.”

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