By Carly Miller for Bklyner. The 27,000 gallon spill at Bayside Fuel Depot began before sunrise on Thursday, March 30, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYC DEC) official Rodney Rivera confirmed after we obtained photographs and video of the spill’s aftermath and extensive cleanup. Within hours of the report, the response team, which includes the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the US Coast Guard, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY), rushed to contain the spill, shroud the soil in plastic, and vacuum up oiled water, said Rivera. They are not, however, required to make a public announcement. And by late Friday afternoon, while most New Yorkers were driven inside by the whipping rain and winds, workers in hazmat suits filed to and from the shore at the Bayside Depot, vacuuming oiled residue into trucks from a private waste removal contractor specializing in oil spills.
By Sofia Resnick for Rewire – During her first weekend as counselor to the 45th president of the United States, Kellyanne Conway introduced the country to a foreboding new catchphrase: “alternative facts.” Many an editorial, even from conservative writers, expressed dismay that a top aide to the president appeared to be openly challenging the meaning of the word “fact.” But longtime observers of Conway’s work and the anti-choice movement from which she rose to become the first woman to manage a successful presidential campaign should not be surprised. The leaders and lawmakers of this movement have been dealing in “alternative facts”—also known as lies—about abortion and other reproductive health issues for decades. They have created a cottage industry out of devising bogus claims and flawed researchto advance anti-choice policy. The administration of President Donald Trump promises to bring many challenges to accessing reproductive health care, helped by a GOP-controlled Congress eager to obliterate the Affordable Care Act and defund Planned Parenthood.
By Staff of Center for Reproductive Rights – In the past few years, an increasing number of states have tried to block trusted reproductive health care providers—including providers that offer abortion care with non-Title X dollars—from participating in Title X. Since 2011, at least 13 states in which Title X funds flow through the state government have approved restrictions that would exclude qualified providers from the Title X network. Mounting evidence shows that the exclusion of reproductive health care providers from publicly funded health programs harms health outcomes, widens disparities, and erects new barriers to care. These barriers are particularly pronounced for those who are already have trouble accessing care—including low-income individuals, people living in rural communities, and people of color. In response to these political attempts to restrict where a woman can get her health care, President Obama issued the rule last year reinforcing that Title X grantees—which in many cases are states—must select subrecipients solely based on their ability to provide care to Title X patients…
By Miriam Berg for Planned Parenthood – Since Ronald Reagan was in office, a harmful policy known as the global gag rule has been taken off the books by every Democratic president and put back on by every Republican president. It bans foreign NGOs that receive certain kinds of American aid from counseling on, referring for, or even advocating for abortion. It’s a policy that hurts the world’s most vulnerable women – and stifles free speech. In one of his first executive actions in office and surrounded by smiling white men, President Trump instated an even worse version of this already dangerous rule. His action will be catastrophic for communities around the world that rely on U.S. funding to fight against Zika and to provide HIV/AIDS and maternal health care. This expanded version of the global gag rule threatens to undermine and reverse progress that family planning has made in lowering maternal mortality rates and preventing unsafe abortion worldwide. In fact, it could endanger the lives of millions of women and girls, and their babies.
By Jessica Glenza for The Guardian – Health insurance system – the most expensive in the world – is worsening situation, researchers find, arguing healthcare should be treated as human right. You can’t buy time – except, it seems, in America. Increasing inequality means wealthy Americans can now expect to live up to 15 years longer than their poor counterparts, reports in the British medical journal the Lancet have found. Researchers said these disparities appear to be worsened by the American health system itself, which relies on for-profit insurance companies, and is the most expensive in the world. Their conclusion? Treat healthcare as a human right.
By Cynthia Greenlee for Rewire – Police violence and interaction could be seen as particularly extreme forms of maternal stress. If one lives in a community that is frequently policed, the accumulative effects of these interactions can have health consequences more insidious than those caused by actual physical violence. When there is a police shooting, somewhere a doctor or medical staff are involved. They treat the living wounded, and as coroners, they read the bodies of the dead and produce autopsies that will be scrutinized by the public, the media, and the criminal justice system. Those documents underline that the provision of medical care is political. Physicians do not shed their biases and beliefs when they don white coats. Individual doctors and medical associations have been agents of social change and, in other cases…
By Health Over Profit for Everyone. This is an exciting time because support for HR 676: “The Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act” is growing. Five new co-sponsors signed on last week. And, thanks to pressure from grassroots activists, Senator Sanders announced that he will introduce a companion bill to HR 676 in the Senate. We expect it in mid-May. From April 3 to 7, actions such as teach-ins, marches and speak outs are taking place across the country. Friday, April 7, is the international day of action against the privatization of health: “Our Health is NOT for Sale!”.
By Shauna Krystin for The Fifth Column News. Kailua, Hawaii (TFC) – Activists on Hawai’i Island are asking for the end of live-fire bomb training at Pohakuloa Training Area. One primary concern is the use of depleted uranium (DU) in on-going military training is polluting the air and making Hawaiian residents sick. Background levels of radiation are considered safe and range from about 5-20 ppm. One activist with a radiation meter saw levels as high as 70ppm while standing near the main gates to the training area. According to activist Lindafaye Kroll, of STOP Bombing Hawaii, the “elevated radiation is from a U.S. military source.” While government and military officials claim that depleted uranium has a low-level radioactivity and is safe, activists are concerned about its toxicity and half-life of 4.5 billion years. Military testing in Hawai’i has been ongoing since the end of World War II; the island of Kaho’olawe was bombed to such a point that locals began to call it “Target Island,” and is uninhabitable thanks to a cracked water table and a proliferation of undetonated explosives.
By Russell Mokhiber for Single Payer Action. Right before our eyes, we are seeing the transformation of single payer Bernie Sanders into public option Howard Dean. During the 2016 Presidential campaign, Sanders took off like a rocket, fueled by the promise of a single payer, Medicare for All single payer system. His single payer plan paralleled HR 676, the single payer bill in the House of Representatives that now has 72 co-sponsors. HR 676 is the gold standard of single payer bills. It would deliver one public payer, no deductibles, no co-pays, lower costs, everyone in, nobody out, no more medical bankruptcies, no more deaths from lack of health insurance and free choice of doctors and hospitals. That was the promise of Bernie Sanders during the 2016 campaign. But since then, Bernie Sanders has endorsed Hillary Clinton for President. Then become part of Senator Chuck Schumer’s Senate Democratic leadership.
By Sharon Lerner for The Intercept. When the Environmental Protection Agency informed people in St. John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana, last July that the local neoprene plant was emitting a chemical that gave them the highest risk of cancer from air pollution in the country, the information was received not just with horror and sadness but also with a certain sense of validation. For years, many of the people living on this little square of land between the train tracks and the Mississippi River levee have felt they suffered more than their share of illnesses. Troyla Keller has a rash and asthma that abate every time she leaves the neighborhood and worsen when she returns. Augustine Nicholson Dorris had breast cancer and seizures. And David Sanders has trouble breathing, a tumor on his thyroid, and neurological problems.
BY Lauren Macauley for Commondreams. Colorado – A group of Colorado teenagers scored a “huge” victory against the state’s fracking industry on Thursday when a three-judge panel ruled that the health of citizens and environment takes precedence over oil and gas interests. The decision, handed down by the Colorado Court of Appeals on Thursday, requires that the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) consider a petition from six youth plaintiffs, which asks the board to suspend the issuance of fracking permits “until it can be done without adversely impacting human health and safety and without impairing Colorado’s atmospheric resource and climate system, water, soil, wildlife, and other biological resources.” Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, 16-year-old plaintiff and youth director of the Boulder-based Earth Guardians, declared after the ruling: “Our movement to fight for the rights of people and our environment is evolving.
By Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance. The Republican Party is finding out you cannot solve the US healthcare crisis with an insurance-based market approach. Healthcare is a human necessity and can only be solved by recognizing health should be treated as a public good and not a commodity. The Republicans want to lower the cost of insurance but are finding that to do so they must not provide the essential services people need for good healthcare. The contradiction of profit and the essential human need for healthcare is becoming more evident. The Affordable Care Act had the same contradiction, just not as pronounced because the Obama approach was to require the insurance industry to include essential health services and then to give them more than $150 billion annually to lower the premiums for people while forcing people to buy health insurance. But, the ACA has resulted in rising premiums, increasing deductibles and rising out-of-pocket costs as well as narrow networks with skimpy coverage. The result is while people pay more to the insurance industry many are unable to afford essential healthcare.
By Alicyn Gitlin and Leona Morgan for Sierra Club. TUSAYAN, Ariz. – The controversial Canyon Mine, located just six miles from Grand Canyon’s South Rim, is filling with surplus water after a wet winter. In an effort to dispose of the water from the bottom of the mine shaft, mine owner Energy Fuels Resources (USA) Inc. is trucking the contaminated water to the White Mesa Mill uranium processing facility near Blanding, Utah and spraying it, into the air and on the adjacent Kaibab National Forest, in an attempt to evaporate it. The Plan of Operations requires that all excess water be retained in holding ponds and be treated on-site. Simultaneously, Energy Fuels has allowed state environmental permits intended to help protect groundwater to expire.
By Russell Mokhiber for Morgan County USA. Senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) is looking at a Canadian style single payer system. It’s the second time in a month that Manchin has told constituents that he’s looking at a Medicare for all system to replace an unraveling Obamneycare. Manchin has been clear that he will vote against the emerging Trumpcare/Ryancare that will balloon the ranks of the uninsured from 30 million under Obamneycare to 50 million. A single payer system would leave zero people uninsured. Under single payer, every citizen gets a birth certificate and a Medicare card at birth.
By Sabrina Shankman for Inside Climate News – Pediatrician Samantha Ahdoot may not use the words “climate change” when she’s talking to her patients and their parents in Alexandria, Va., but she’s talking about its impacts all the time. Whether it’s a 6-year-old boy who contracted Lyme disease in November—long after ticks should be gone for the year—or having to start kids on spring allergy medication in February instead of March, climate change is making its way into Ahdoot’s exam room. And she’s not alone. As a physician, Ahdoot practices at the intersection where public health and climate change meet. She is part of a group of physicians who announced on Wednesday the formation of the Medical Society Consortium on Climate & Health…