By Alex Guillen for Politico – President Donald Trump ordered his administration to begin dismantling his predecessor’s climate change policies on Tuesday with a sweeping directive to end what he called a “crushing attack” on the U.S. economy — by halting efforts to reduce the carbon pollution of electric utilities, oil and gas drillers and coal miners. The executive order Trump signed represents his biggest blow yet to former President Barack Obama’s climate legacy. But it does not go as far as some conservatives would like to dismantle the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases, nor will it begin to separate the U.S. from a landmark international climate accord — two areas of intense disagreement within the administration.
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 Staff of We Are Cove Point – After being invited by We Are Cove Point, a team from Earthworks traveled to Cove Point in early February, bringing a FLIR camera operator all the way from Colorado. FLIR cameras are designed to pick up heat and gaseous emissions invisible to the naked eye. Click here for more details on Earthworks’ FLIR camera program. FLIR cameras can show that emissions are occurring, but not the volume or type of emissions. In the words of the FLIR operator who came to Cove Point, the resulting footage shows “a noticeable non-heat plume above the point source, and it went quite high into the air. There is a possibility that this emissions plume contains toxic volatile organic compounds, and it definitely contains greenhouse gasses. It is usually understood that between 92 and 97 percent of combusted point sources are actually burned. The rest, particularly methane in the context of gas-fired compressor turbine exhaust, emits without being burned off fully.
By Staff of Oil Change International – Two studies released today find that if built, the controversial Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines would together contribute as much greenhouse gas pollution as 45 coal-fired power plants — some 158 million metric tons a year. The studies, released by Oil Change International, build upon a new methodology, also released today, for calculating the climate impacts of natural gas pipelines in the Appalachian Basin based on the evolving science of methane leakage and its impact on our climate. The studies show that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is out of date on measuring climate impacts, and is failing to protect communities and citizens around the country. “Our analysis shows that both the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Mountain Valley Pipeline are climate disasters.
By Joshua Frank for The Investigative Fund – It’s a new year and new administration, but the strong radioactive stench is the same out at Hanford in eastern Washington, home of the world’s costliest environmental cleanup. In January, a dozen workers reported smelling a toxic odor outside the site’s tank farms, where nuclear waste is stored underground. From April to December 2016, 70 people were exposed to chemical vapors emanating from the facility — and 2017 is off to the similar start. Toxic odors at an old nuclear depot? This would be startling news anywhere else. But this is Hanford after all, where taxpayer money freely flows to contractors despite the snail-paced half-life of their work.
By Georgina Gustin for Inside Climate News – After Hurricane Matthew churned across North Carolina earlier this month, swollen rivers deluged poultry and swine farms, killing millions of chickens and thousands of hogs and sending potentially toxic animal waste coursing into waterways. It could take weeks or months for North Carolinians to learn the scope of the pollution or where it came from—if they ever do.
By Billy Talen. Over 13.42 billion pounds of Glyphosate have been sprayed on our planet in the past decade. Glyphosate use has risen exponentially since the introduction of genetically modified crops. The EPA is holding a public hearing on glyphosate on October 18th. We want to present our map as evidence. Scientific studies show that Glyphosate is carcinogenic and toxic. Glyphosate is persistent in our blood, bodies, soil and water. It is in our breast milk and most organic foods. It is ubiquitous. Glyphosate has been linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, birth defects, celiac disease, allergies and asthma. It only costs one dollar to reveal one public place that has been sprayed with our tax dollars. One dollar includes paying for the public record, scanning, entering, uploading and placing one skull and crossbones on our map.
By Phil McKenna for Inside Climate News – Extra investments to control deadly pollutants like smog and soot could cut worldwide deaths from air pollution in half in a few decades and end the growth of global warming emissions in just a few years, international experts declared on Monday. In its first report ever to examine the links between these twin goals, the authoritative International Energy Agency said the solutions go “hand-in-hand.”
By Alex Formuzis for EWG – WASHINGTON- Hundreds of cancer-causing chemicals are building up in the bodies of Americans, according to the first comprehensive inventory of the carcinogens that have been measured in people. EWG released the inventory today. EWG spent almost a year reviewing more than 1,000 biomonitoring studies and other research by leading government agencies and independent scientists in the U.S. and around the world. The nonprofit research group found that up to 420 chemicals known or likely to cause cancer have been detected in blood, urine, hair and other human samples.
By BioFuelsWatch. 115 civil society organisations and networks from across the globe have published a declaration today, calling for bioenergy to be excluded from the next EU Renewable Energy Directive (RED) . The declaration is being submitted to a consultation into the renewal of the directive for 2020 onwards . The EU intends industrial bioenergy, i.e. biofuels and wood-based biomass, to continue playing a major part in its new renewable energy strategy. Campaigners say this will exacerbate the grave impacts already being experienced because of current support for biofuels and wood-based bioenergy in the EU. Bioenergy already accounts for around two-thirds of energy classed as renewable in the EU.
By Amanda Froelich for True Activist – There are many problems on this planet in need of remedy, two of which are plastic pollution and extreme poverty. Every year, enough plastic is thrown away to circle the globe four times. Much of this makes its way into the oceans (an estimated 10-20 tons) from landfills and continues to swirl in garbage patches, leaking toxins into the oceans and killing off wildlife that consumes it unsuspectingly. In addition, roughly 1.2 billion people now live in extreme poverty worldwide or subsist on less than $1.25 per day.
By Phil Mattera for Dirt Diggers Digest. The ongoing corporate crime wave showed no signs of abating in 2015. BP paid a record $20 billion to settle the remaining civil charges relating to the Deepwater Horizon disaster (on top of the $4 billion in previous criminal penalties), and Volkswagen is facing perhaps even greater liability in connection with its scheme to evade emission standards. Other automakers and suppliers were hit with large penalties for safety violations, including a $900 million fine (and deferred criminal prosecution) for General Motors, a record civil penalty of $200 million for Japanese airbag maker Takata, penalties of $105 million and $70 million for Fiat Chrysler, and $70 million for Honda. Major banks continued to pay large penalties to resolve a variety of legal entanglements. Five banks (Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland and UBS) had to pay a total of $2.5 billion to the Justice Department and $1.8 billion to the Federal Reserve in connection with charges that they conspired to manipulate foreign exchange markets.
By Staff of Corporate Europe Observatory – Proposed special rights for corporations in EU trade deals such as CETA and TTIP threaten to prevent the necessary energy transition to tackle climate change. Polluting corporations are already using the dangerous investor privileges in trade and investment deals to challenge progressive energy policies. Read the full report in English, French and Spanish. Avoiding catastrophic climate change is the defining challenge of our time. If we are to have a chance of preventing extremely dangerous levels of global warming, much of the world’s fossil fuels – oil, coal and gas – must be left in the ground, unexploited.
Kim Willsher for The Guardian – Paris’s “day without cars” last week led to such a dramatic drop in both air and noise pollution that the mayor’s office is now planning more vehicle-free days in the French capital. Airparif, which measures city pollution levels, said levels of nitrogen dioxide dropped by up to 40% in parts of the city on Sunday 27 September. There was almost one-third less nitrogen dioxide pollution on the busy Champs Elyées than on a similar Sunday. Along the Seine in the city centre, levels were down by about 40%. At the busy Place de l’Opera, levels were 20% lower. Bruitparif, which measures noise, said sound levels dropped by half in the city centre.
Farmers and ranchers on Navajo land in northwestern New Mexico are preparing to take heavy losses this season as a plume of wastewater laced with toxic chemicals flows south from an abandoned mine in Colorado. Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency spilled around 3 million gallons of contaminated water into the Animas River. According to the EPA, the incident occurred when a crew hired to pump and treat wastewater inside the abandoned Gold King Mine outside of Durango, Colorado, accidently released a brew of arsenic, cadmium, lead and other heavy metals from a mine tunnel. As a precautionary measure, the Navajo Nation has asked citizens to keep livestock away from the San Juan River and stop diverting water from the river for crops. That means farmers like Lorenzo Bates are beginning to plan for the worst. “What is in the water? To what extent are those heavy metals?” said Bates, speaker of the Navajo Nation Council and farmer from Upper Fruitland, New Mexico.