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Congress Uses Budget Process to Drill in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

It feels like déjà vu all over again. For nearly 30 years, some congressional Republicans have been attempting to open up parts of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling—and they’re at it once more. In 1995, the Republican-controlled Congress passed a measure to open up a section of the refuge’s coastal plain to the fossil fuel industry, only to see President Bill Clinton block the move with a veto. 
Ten years later, in 2005, the GOP again attempted to push through a law allowing oil activity in parts of the refuge; a filibuster led by Senator Maria Cantwell, a Democrat from Washington State, quashed that effort. With Republicans in command of both houses of Congress and President Donald Trump promoting an “energy dominance” agenda, fossil fuel interests now believe they have their best opportunity in years to achieve their goal. 
On Thursday, the House approved a 2018 budget resolution that includes a provision calling for billions of dollars in new revenue from the…
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USDA's Research Service Told To Stop Informing Americans Of Any and All Developments

Unless you happen to enjoy being malnourished or getting food-borne illnesses, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is your friend. 
The agency “provide[s] leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development, nutrition, and related issues based on public policy, the best available science, and effective management.”


One of USDA’s key missions is to “[ensure] that the Nation’s commercial supply of meat, poultry, and egg products is safe, wholesome, and properly labeled, and packaged.” 
Another primary goal of the department is to educate the public with the most up-to-date information on nutrition and create “a safe, sustainable, competitive U.S. food and fiber system, as well as strong communities, families, and youth through integrated research, analysis, and education.”

Those missions are now on hold as the Trump administration seeks to assert control over the flow of information out of government agencies. This makes sense if you think about it—the work …

More than 150 Environmental Activists Have Been Murdered in 2017

Deaths of environmental activists locked in conflict with mining, logging and agricultural companies across three continents have passed 150. The number of people killed this year while defending their community’s land, natural resources or wildlife has passed 150 – meaning 2017 is on course to be the deadliest year on record.
Environmental activists, wildlife rangers, and indigenous leaders are locked in fierce conflicts with mining, logging and agricultural companies in hundreds of places around the world. The Guardian is working with watchdog Global Witness to record all the deaths in 2017, and this week that figure reached 153 with a spate of killings across three continents.
These included Ruben Arzaga, a village leader, and environmental officer shot while arresting suspected illegal loggers in the Philippines; Elías Gamonal Mozombite, one of six farmers shot dead in a land rights battle reportedly linked to palm oil trade in Peru, and Wayne Lotter, a leading elephant conservationi…

Environmental Cutbacks in Wales, UK Bewildering

Wildlife and countryside charities have been left "bewildered and angry" by a 15% cut to environment funding by the Welsh Government.
Eight leading organizations have criticised the plans, set out in the .draft budget for 2018-19. They claimed an "apparent gap" was developing between ministers' pledges on environmental issues and actions.

The Welsh Government said the reduction reflected a transfer of funding to local government.
Environment and rural affairs is the smallest of the Welsh Government's seven departments in terms of the funding it receives, but its responsibilities are vast and varied.

They include administrating support payments for farmers, funding schemes to protect animal health from diseases like bovine TB and strategies to promote Welsh food and drink. Conservation and management of Wales' environment and seas, preventing flooding and measures to encourage clean energy schemes and combat climate change are all part of its remit too.

Last …

Republicans Working Overtime to Expand Their “Drill, Baby, Drill” Agenda

While the ongoing controversies surrounding Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke’s questionable travel expenditures fill column inches of news outlets, the Trump administration and congressional Republicans are working overtime to radically expand their “drill, baby, drill” agenda.
Last week on October 5, Republicans in the House of Representatives passed a budget with no Democratic support that included a provision to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. Now, as the budget fight moves to the Senate, GOP leaders in the House Committee on Natural Resources are turning their gaze to a prize that they have long coveted: overriding environmental laws and the concerns of many coastal states to extend offshore drilling to any area of U.S. waters that could possibly hold economically recoverable petroleum.

On October 11, the House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing to discuss the Accessing Strategic Resources Offshore (ASTRO) Act, a bill that amalgamates a myr…

Water Contamination Warning for Yaphank, New York

Class Action Lawsuit Filed For PFOA Contamination in Yaphank, New York

MELVILLE, NY--(Marketwired - October 11, 2017) - Napoli Shkolnik PLLC has filed a class action lawsuit against five manufacturers of aqueous firefighting foams ("AFFF") containing perfluorooctanesulfonic acid ("PFOS") and perfluorooctanoic acid ("PFOA") for the contamination of the groundwater relied upon by the residents of Yaphank, New York. 

The class action complaint was filed in the Supreme Court for the State of New York, Suffolk County, and names The 3M Company, Tyco Fire Products L.P., Buckeye Fire Protection Co., National Foam, Chemguard, and others as Defendants.

The class action complaint alleges that plaintiffs and other similarly situated residents of the Yaphank area have been exposed to high levels of perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), and are now at an increased risk of several health effects, including effects on the liver and the immune system, high cholesterol, changes in…

Scott Pruitt Ignores EPA Experts

After months of waiting, Betsy Southerland finally got her chance in July to make her case to Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency. Southerland, then the director of science and technology in the agency’s water office, had spent years developing regulation to limit toxic waste from coal-fired power plants. Now, Pruitt was moving towards rolling back a rule that pro-industry groups had complained was too expensive and would cost jobs.
During the meeting, Southerland and her staff presented Pruitt with options for a more limited repeal. But she left feeling unsure about whether he would side with industry or the agency’s own experts. Pruitt was impassive and he asked only clarifying questions, she recalled, making it impossible to read where he stood.
“It’s just a mystery as to how you can persuade him to not follow exactly what industry asks him to do and instead be more accommodating to the facts of the case,” said Southerland, who ended her 30-year career at the…

Largest Oxygen-Deprived Dead Zones in Chesapeake Bay Since 2014

Ecologist and colleagues from several institutions had predicted a larger-than-average Chesapeake Bay "dead zone" in 2017.




What are "Dead Zones"?
Dead Zones are areas of water with a low amount of oxygen in the bay. These "Dead Zones" are caused by Nitrogen and Phosphorus pollution created by people. without oxygen in the water aquatic animals like fish, crabs and oysters suffocate. 

An excess amount of nutrients also increase the growth of dense algae blooms that block sunlight that underwater plants need to grow to provide food for waterfowl and shelter for crabs and young fish. Dead Zones are as barren and lifeless as the face of the moon.



How serious is this problem?
A few years ago in Mattox Creek, Virginia 296,000 fish were killed by a dead zone. These fish included menhaden, white perch, croaker, gizzard shad, catfish, American eel, large-mouth bass and blue crabs. This happened because the algae bloom grew and extended over 30 miles between Mathias Poi…

Microsoft Signs Agreement with Wind Farm in Ireland

Microsoft signed an agreement with GE today to purchase every last bit of the wind energy from GE’s brand-new 37-megawatt Tullahennel wind farm located in County Kerry, Ireland for the next 15 years.



This is a big deal on several levels. First of all, it means Microsoft will be using a clean energy source to power at least some of its cloud data centers in Ireland. That will likely result in a lower energy bill for Microsoft, while reducing the pollution related to running cloud services.

But this could have an impact beyond the data centers as Microsoft and GE are working on a battery technology that captures excess energy from each wind turbine. If there is excess capacity captured by this method, Microsoft and GE could give it back to the Irish energy grid.

Christian Belady, general manager, Datacenter Strategy at Microsoft says this is a continuation of the relationships Microsoft has built up in Ireland, and the agreement could bring multiple winners. “Our commitment will help bring…

Brazilian and American Scientists Working Together On Water Comparisons

A joint research Project between Brazilian and American scientists is attempting to determine emerging contaminants in the environment based on the comparison of water and sewage treatment systems in each country.
The São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) and Texas Tech University (TTU) have maintained a cooperation agreement since 2014, and have already issued three joint calls for proposals, resulting in the selection of 12 research projects that are currently receiving funding from the institutions.
"Compared to the United States, sanitation conditions in Brazil are quite precarious. Conventional wastewater treatment systems in Brazilian cities are not efficient at removing most of the emerging contaminants, such as bisphenol, used in the production of plastics," she said.

"The results of our studies indicate that some of the water treatments used in Brazil, if done properly, could remove a portion of these contaminants, but complementary treatments need to be adopted …

Fukushima’s Radioactive Waste Is Leaking From an Unexpected Source

Fukushima’s Radioactive Waste Is Leaking From an Unexpected Source 



A new and unexpected source of radioactive material left over from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster has been found up to 60 miles away along coastlines… The discovery shows that damaged nuclear reactors are capable of spreading radiation far from the meltdown site, and in some surprising ways.

UPI, Oct 3, 2017: Beaches found releasing radioactive cesium into ocean 60 miles from Fukushima… Scientists have discovered a surprising new source of radioactive cesium… [Researchers] found unusually high levels of radioactive cesium-137 in the groundwater beneath several beaches… “No one expected that the highest levels of cesium in ocean water today would be found not in the harbor of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, but in the groundwater many miles away below the beach sands,” WHO researcher Virginie Sanial said…

Fox News, Oct 3, 2017: Fukushima’s radioactive cesium found an unexpected hiding spot… The find wasn’…

Mayflower, Arkansas, Oil Spill

Under-Reported Environmental Disasters



Mayflower, Arkansas, Oil Spill

On March 29, 2013, the 65-year-old ExxonMobil Pegasus pipeline ruptured beneath a subdivision in Mayflower, Arkansas, soaking lawns and streets with an estimated 210,000 gallons of heavy toxic tar sands crude. For Mayflower's 2,200 residents, the existence of a pipeline running under their homes (and partially through the watershed that provides water to 400,000 people) came as a shock.

Considered a "major spill" by the EPA, it sickened hundreds of residents and exposed them to known carcinogens like benzene and to hydrogen sulfide, which causes respiratory illnesses.

Who's Responsible

ExxonMobil. The Pegasus pipeline was built to carry lighter oil north from the Gulf Coast. In 2006 it was repurposed to carry the far heavier bitumen south from Canada. Bitumen is so thick that it has to be heated and diluted with gas in order to flow properly. In November, PHMSA proposed fining ExxonMobil $2.6 million…

West, Texas, Fertilizer Plant Explosion

Under-Reported Environmental Disasters
West, Texas, Fertilizer Plant Explosion On April 17th, 2013, the West Fertilizer Company, a plant housing anhydrous ammonia gas and an unreported stockpile of ammonium nitrate blew up, killing 15 people (including 12 first-responders who had never been trained to fight fires at a plant full of chemicals used in fertilizer production) and injuring hundreds of residents. The blast destroyed dozens of homes and a middle school. Registering as a magnitude 2.1 earthquake on U.S. Geological Survey seismographs, the explosion was likened by West's mayor to the detonation of a nuclear bomb. Who's ResponsibleWest Fertilizer Company and state and federal regulatory agencies. According to reports, the company failed to register its 270 tons of ammonium nitrate with Homeland Security as required by law; a stockpile of this size is 1,300 times the amount that would normally trigger a review by DHS. In 2011, the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Ad…

Coal Ash Spill, Dan River, North Carolina

UNDER-REPORTED ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTERS



Dan River, North Carolina, Coal Ash SpillOn February 2nd, more than 80 tons of coal ash, a highly toxic byproduct of coal burned for electricity, leaked out of a Duke Energy containment pond and into the Dan River. The spill, the third largest of its kind in U.S. history, ultimately coated 70 miles of the river in North Carolina and south-central Virginia. Coal ash contains toxic chemicals and heavy metals including lead, selenium, mercury, and arsenic; though these are threats to the environment, to groundwater and to human health and wildlife, coal ash isn't classified as hazardous and isn't federally regulated. On March 20th, North Carolina regulators cited Duke for illegally pumping 61 million gallons of coal ash wastewater into the Cape Fear River.
Who's responsible Duke Energy. America's biggest electricity provider and the former employer of North Carolina governor, Pat McCrory, Duke is currently valued at nearly $50 billion,…

Galveston Bay, Texas Oil Spill: 170,000 Gallons of Heavy Marine Fuel

UNDER-REPORTED ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTERS


On March 22nd, almost 170,000 gallons of heavy marine fuel poured into Galveston Bay on the Texas coast after two commercial boats collided in the busy waterway. In Indiana, on March 24th, energy giant BP spilled as many as 1600 gallons of oil — a mix of domestic crude and tar sands oil from Canada — into Lake Michigan, the primary source of drinking water for Chicago's seven million residents. And on March 17th, 20,000 gallons of pipeline oil leaked into a nature preserve in southwest Ohio. 
Galveston Bay, Texas, Oil SpillThe March shipping accident that dumped almost 170,000 gallons of RMG 380 marine fuel into Galveston Bay fouled the nation's seventh largest estuary, one that is second only to the Chesapeake Bay in seafood production. Unlike a larger 2010 spill at nearby Port of Texas, which was contained in a channel, this spill is in open water and the oil is now being spotted in the Gulf of Mexico. Environmentalists and commercial fis…

Fluoride Warnings Issued by Dentists!

The IAOMT is an organization of over 800 dentists, physicians, and research professionals in more than 14 countries, and the non-profit organization has been dedicated to its mission of protecting public health since it was founded in 1984.  Since that time, the group has continually collected, examined, and reviewed studies and research articles about fluoride and other dental materials and practices.

“IAOMT and its members have been independently studying the toxicity of fluoride for decades,” Matthew Young, DDS, President of the IAOMT, explains.  “For dentistry, as an ethical profession, it is imperative to uphold the concepts of ‘do no harm.’  Fluoride has traditionally been seen as a panacea for dental disease without the knowledge of its inherent harm to the human body.  We need to seek less toxic alternatives and work to improve human health with the safest approach.”

This week, the IAOMT is officially releasing a variety of new fluoride awareness resources available for free o…

W.R. Grace & Co. Acquitted of All Criminal Charges

Libby, Montana, residents were devastated Friday afternoon when a jury returned a judgment acquitting W.R. Grace & Co. of criminal charges regarding its asbestos mining facility in the town. 
The case began in 2005 when a federal grand jury handed down an unprecedented indictment, alleging a 30-year conspiracy to defraud the government and knowingly endanger the residents of Libby. 
The indictment alleged Grace company officials knew they were exposing Libby workers and residents of the nearby town to asbestos fibers, and that they knew the exposure posed a dangerous health risk to those workers and residents. Grace denied the claims, saying they were diligent in efforts to protect workers and to meet government regulations for managing the substance.
Asbestos exposure causes serious disease, including asbestosis, a severe scarring of the lungs that worsens with time and impairs the ability of its victims to breathe, and mesothelioma, deadly cancer that affects the lining of the …