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AGelbert

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John R. Platt
No. 86, June 27, 2019

🐳 Whale Migration Turns Deadly

The Revelator bioactivist@biologicaldiversity.org

Hello Revelator readers, 


It's been a terrible year for gray whales. So far about 170 dead whales have been found along their West Coast migratory route. Many of them, it turns out, suffered from malnutrition. Is climate change the cause, or could it be something else? Alaskan writer Tim Lydon, who encountered one of the dead whales not far from his home, explores the deadly mystery.

Speaking of deadly, the new book Up in Arms takes a deep dive into the world of range wars and so-called "patriot" militia groups in the West, including the infamous Bundy clan. If you want to understand the threats to America's public lands, this book is essential reading. Check out our interview and review.

Did you know that cigarette butts are the world's most-littered items? Well, some people want to solve that problem and are working on a range of new solutions, including groundbreaking legislation that could hold tobacco companies accountable for their products' waste.

Finally this week, one more great reason to conserve 🐘 elephants:

Subscriber bonus: The Wild 5

Let's go a little deeper. Here are five additional stories we're watching this week.

1. President Trump has worked to grease the wheels for a copper mine that would threaten pristine Minnesota wilderness and enrich the owner of a Chilean conglomerate with personal ties to his family.

2. A 2004 hurricane damaged an oil platform owned by Taylor Energy, and it's been spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico ever since 100 to 900 times more oil than the company has claimed, a new report finds.

3. Dozens of peer-reviewed studies by Department of Agriculture scientists uncovered far-reaching impacts from climate change — but they're being buried by the Trump administration.

4. A large number of loggerhead turtles are nesting on the Georgia coast this year, a sign that years of conservation work in the region is paying off.

5. There's still a lot we don't know about our oceans' depths, but a project launched two years ago has increased the mapped area of the ocean floor from 6 to 15 percent, with a goal of 100 percent by 2030.

In case you missed it:

Take a look inside Hawaii's snail extinction crisis.

What should we cover next?

Drop us a line anytime. We welcome your ideas and inside scoops.

Coming up:

Come back to the site tomorrow for a look at the awful government program that's responsible for millions of animal deaths.

After that, stay tuned for some great writing and important stories throughout the month of July. We'll continue our series on floods, keep talking about extinction rates, dive into some forgotten environmental history, look at July's best environmental books, reveal some secrets about koala conservation — and a whole lot more.

Look for our links in next week's newsletter — or follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the headlines as they go live. We share other interesting news there, too!

As always, thank you for reading.


      
John R. Platt
Editor, The Revelator
« Last Edit: June 27, 2019, 05:31:46 pm by AGelbert »
But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou
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AGelbert

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But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou
hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Acts 8:20

AGelbert

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Arús in Juana Díaz is right in the middle of the farms used by Monsanto, Illinois Crop Improvement and Syngenta Seeds for their work on GMOs. Photo by Abimael Medina | Centro de Periodismo Investigativo

BAYER’S HIDDEN FRANKENSTEIN WORKSHOP IN THE US CARIBBEAN FINANCED BY TAX DOLLARS

What is 👹 Monsanto doing in Puerto Rico?

As you can imagine, it’s not good and it’s hurting the residents there.

The blades of the windmills revolve over crops of genetically modified plantations of soybean and corn, plantain and farms that have been crushed by the extended use of concrete. The Caribbean Sea appears, with green areas to the left, and to the right an exit leading to an occupied territory: multinational seed corporations, such as Monsanto, control 31% of the land with the greatest potential for agriculture in the municipality of Juana Díaz. It is the transgenic epicenter of Puerto Rico.

From north to south, from east to west, seed corporations already dominate about 9,712 public and private acres in the island. The area controlled by these corporations is equivalent to the area destined in 2016 for the cultivation of plantains, which the territory’s Department of Agriculture identifies as the most important crop in the country, economically speaking.

No one knew of the silent boom of agrochemical and transgenic corporations on the island’s finest farms, until the Center for Investigative Journalism (CPI, for its Spanish acronym) completed an inventory of the properties after field visits and consultations with public documents, and then analyzed the area with digital geographic information provided by the Planning Board. With the advance of seed corporations in Puerto Rico, the Island became, between 2006 and 2015, the locality with more permits to do experiments with transgenics in the United States and its territories.

Click here for the complete article

Click here to support: The Real Food Channel

Associated Video:
https://realfoodchannel.com/bayers-hidden-frankenstein-workshop-in-the-us-caribbean/

But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou
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AGelbert

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Would Jay Inslee Take on the Military to Fight Climate Change?

July 15, 2019

At Netroots Nation 2019, we asked Democratic presidential candidate Jay Inslee, focused on climate change, if he'd take on the largest institutional emitter of fossil fuels: the Pentagon


https://therealnews.com/stories/would-jay-inslee-take-on-the-military-to-fight-climate-change
But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou
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AGelbert

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The abandoned chemicals plant that could trigger ‘an environmental disaster akin to Chernobyl’ ☠️

By The Siberian Times reporter 25 July 2019

The Usolyekhimprom facility, disused due to bankruptcy in 2017, is a ‘toxic catastrophe waiting to happen’.


The chilling warning about the dangers at this abandoned plant was sounded by Svetlana Radionova, head of state environment watchdog Rosprirodnadzor. 'This is essentially the territory of an environmental catastrophe. We need to act now otherwise we will have an ‘ecological Chernobyl’,’ she said.

Radionova warned of ‘huge’ quantities of mercury and oil waster that could gush into the Angara River, which flows out of Lake Baikal.

Pictures here show the plant in Irkutsk region which manufactured chlorine and other chemicals on a 600 hectare site and began work in the Stalin era in 1933.

'This is a huge, chemically dangerous enterprise which is in a half-destroyed state,’ she warned. 'Its negligent owners exhausted its final resources and chucked it.’

'No one knows what’s there,’ she said. She had personally witnessed a huge amount of mercury residue plus tanks of dangerous, unknown chemicals, at the plant which stopped production in 2010. The mercury needs to be ‘de-mercurised’, she said. A mercury electrolysis department covered an area of more than one hectare.

Her warning about a second Chernobyl appears apocalyptical.

The meltdown at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in April 1986 was the world’s worst nuclear accident and forced tens of thousands of people to evacuate as it spewed clouds of nuclear material across Europe.

Svetlana Radionova visits Usolyekhimprom.

But the Russian official is plainly deeply concerned. Radionova told how a collection of tanks containing unspecified chemically dangerous substances were stored in the factory premises. Some are pressurised while no-one knows what exactly is inside.

'They pumped oil refinery wastes into boreholes which once had saline solutions in them,’ she told newspaper Izvestia. ‘The Angara River flows nearby, and it’s crystal clear that if such a borehole exploded, the river would be all polluted.’

She complained that it is not the only case of owners of the abandoned plant neglecting industrial infrastructure. Usolyekhimprom is the most vivid example of such ugly behaviour,’ she said.

’All of this, including the soil, groundwater and underground water, is impregnated with highly toxic organochlorine pollutants and heavy metals.'

She wants the government to act to ‘recultivate’ the plant. The Ministry of Natural Resources was working on the cost of eliminating the ecological damage, she said.

The ministry’s spokeswoman Natalia Khlopunova said: 'The checks of Rosprirodnadzor at this facility were conducted on the instructions of the Minister, Dmitry Kobylkin.” Some remedial work had been done already. ‘The findings of this review will be analysed to decide on the timing, cost and scope of work,’ she said.


Irkutsk regional natural resources minister 🙉 Andrey Kryuchkov said the ‘elimination’ of pollution here was ‘one of the priority issues in ensuring the environmental safety of residents of the Irkutsk region’.

But he hit back at likening the threat to Chernobyl. The Usoliekhimprom enterprise comprises  more than 200 industrial facilities. There are some 140 workshops - the mercury electrolysis facility which halted work in 1998  is only one of them - around 60 auxiliary buildings and structures, a railway track with a total length of over 20 kilometres, surface and underground utilities and collectors, about 50 kilometres long.

Kryuchkov said: ’All of this, including the soil, groundwater and underground water, is impregnated with highly toxic organochlorine pollutants and heavy metals.
'But even this does not give serious scientists the right to make incorrect comparisons between Usoliekhimprom and Chernobyl.'

https://siberiantimes.com/ecology/casestudy/news/the-abandoned-chemicals-plant-that-could-trigger-an-environmental-disaster-akin-to-chernobyl/
But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou
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AGelbert

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Gas Explosion 'Like An Atomic Bomb Went Off'
« Reply #785 on: August 02, 2019, 03:01:16 pm »
 
Make Nexus Hot News part of your morning: click here to subscribe.

August 2, 2019



 
 




But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou
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AGelbert

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Re: Pollution
« Reply #786 on: August 08, 2019, 12:45:49 pm »
August 7th, 2019 by Carolyn Fortuna


SNIPPETS:

By 2050, the oceans will contain more plastic than fish by weight. A May, 2019 report from the Center of International Environmental Law outlines that by 2050 plastic will be responsible for 10 to 13% of the total “carbon budget” — which is the amount of CO2 we can emit globally and still remain below a 1.5 degree Celsius temperature rise.

As I walked the Florida beach on this August morning, I surveyed the wrack line. Interspersed with shells, empty turtle eggs, drying seaweed, skate egg cases, coconut fronts, dead coral pieces, and sea glass, I could see small and large bits of plastic. A lost flip flop. Water bottle cap. Snack packaging. Toys. Plastic pollution is a serious problem, and many regions in the US are now restricting or eliminating many kinds of plastics in their communities due to its effects on the world’s oceans.


Full article:

 
But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou
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AGelbert

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Big freshwater fauna declined by 88% since 1970
« Reply #787 on: August 09, 2019, 02:32:06 pm »
     



The decline is twice as severe as for land or ocean vertebrates.

Big freshwater fauna declined by 88% since 1970

By Tibi Puiu on Aug 08, 2019 03:00 pm

SNIPPET:

Lakes and rivers cover only 1% of the Earth’s surface but house a third of all vertebrate species. It’s been getting far less crowded in the last couple of decades, though. :(

Scientists have found that the global population of freshwater megafauna such as dolphins, beavers, crocodiles, giant turtles, and sturgeon has declined by a frightening 88%. The prime driver is unsurprising: overexploitation.

Twice the loss of vertebrate populations on land or in the ocean

Freshwater megafauna, such as 🐬 dolphins, beavers, 🐊 crocodiles, 🐢 giant turtles and sturgeon, include all animals that swim in rivers or lakes and weigh over 30 kilograms (i.e. 66.14 lbs).

Full article:

https://www.zmescience.com/science/news-science/big-freshwater-fauna-declined-by-88-since-1970/

But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou
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AGelbert

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A new study shows that the class of insecticides called neonicotinoids poses significant threats to insects, soil and water
Kendra Klein and Anna Lappé

Wed 7 Aug 2019 06.00 EDT

 
But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou
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AGelbert

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HOW CORPORATIONS LIE TO US - PLANNING + COORDINATION
« Reply #789 on: August 14, 2019, 09:59:45 pm »
HOW CORPORATIONS LIE TO US
PLANNING + COORDINATION


“TRADE SECRETS” – A DOCUMENTARY BY BILL MOYERS

Many people assume that dangerous products are kept off the market by the honesty and integrity of Big Business.

That would be a big mistake.

The opposite is true.

Big corporations routinely coordinate with each other to suppress scientific information from the public about the dangers of their products.

It’s called conspiracy – and anyone who thinks that companies don’t routinely plan and coordinate to protect (i.e. “inspire”) their profits needs an IQ check.


“Trade Secrets” – the full documentary by Bill Moyers'
But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou
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Arctic sea ice loaded with microplastics
« Reply #790 on: August 17, 2019, 07:14:47 am »
Arctic sea ice loaded with microplastics

Arctic sea ice loaded with microplastics

by Marlowe Hood

Scientists who collected the Arctic sea ice were shocked at the amount of plastic of all kinds it contained—beads, filaments, ny

At first glance, it looks like hard candy laced with flecks of fake fruit, or a third grader's art project confected from recycled debris.

In reality, it's a sliver of Arctic Ocean sea ice riddled with microplastics, extracted by scientists from deep inside an ice block that likely drifted southward past Greenland into Canada's increasingly navigable Northwest Passage between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

"We didn't expect this amount of plastic, we were shocked," said University of Rhode Island ice expert Alessandra D'Angelo, one of a dozen scientists collecting and analysing data during an 18-day expedition aboard the Swedish icebreaker Oden.

"There is so much of it, and of every kind—beads, filaments, nylons," she told AFP from Greenland, days after completing the voyage.

Plastic pollution was not a primary focus of the Northwest Passage Project, funded by the US National Science Foundation and Heising-Simons Foundation.

Led by oceanographer Brice Loose, the multi-year mission is investigating how global warming might transform the biochemistry and ecosystems of the expansive Canadian Arctic Archipelago.

'Punch to the stomach'

One key question is whether the receding ice pack and influx of fresh water will boost the release into the atmosphere of methane, a greenhouse gas 30 times more potent that CO2.

The Arctic region has warmed twice as quickly as the global average, some two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Average Arctic sea ice extent set a record low for July, nearly 20 percent below the 1981-2010 average, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported on Thursday.

But plastics has inserted itself onto the research agenda all the same.

Map showing the likely path of a drifting Arctic sea ice block in which samples extracted by scientists showed microplastic cont

"The ubiquity of plastic, for us it was kind of a punch to the stomach," Loose said.

"Just to see what looked like a normal ice core in such a pristine environment chock full of this completely foreign material."

A study published Thursday in Science Advances concluded that a large quantity of microplastic fragments and fibres are transported by winds into the Arctic region, and then hitch a ride Earthward in snowflakes.

At the same time, several million tonnes of plastics find their way each year directly into oceans, where waves and the Sun break them down into microscopic bits over time.

'Acts like a sieve'

For the samples collected by Loose's team—near the hamlet of Resolute—the low salinity and thickness of the ice left no doubt that it was more than a year old, and had originated in the northern Arctic Ocean.

The concentration of plastic bits in the ice was far higher than in surrounding water.

"As water freezes it forms crystals," explained Jacob Strock, another member of the team from the University of Rhode Island.

"Water passes through these crystals as they form," he told AFP. "The ice acts like a sieve, filtering out particles in the water."

Tiny plants and animals, called plankton, also get trapped in the ice. Some plankton ingest the plastic bits, which then work their way up the ocean food chain.

Plastic particles have recently been found inside fish in the deepest recesses of the ocean, called the Mariana Trench, and blanketing the most pristine snows in the Pyrenees mountains between France and Spain.

In the last two decades, the world has produced as much as during the rest of history, and the industry is set to grow by four percent a year until 2025, according to a recent report by Grand View Research.


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Dangerous Lake Erie Algal Bloom Is Now Eight Times the Size of Cleveland



By Pam Wright

19 hours ago

weather.com

At a Glance

  • An outbreak of microcystis cyanobacteria, the organism responsible for harmful algae blooms, has become a yearly occurrence on Lake Erie.
  • NASA captured an image the massive bloom on July 30, when it covered 300 square miles, roughly the size of New York City.
  • By Aug. 13, the bloom had doubled to more than 620 square miles, eight times the size of Cleveland.

A harmful algae bloom that began growing in western Lake Erie in July has more than doubled in size in a few weeks.

On July 30, NASA captured an image of the bloom from space. At the time, the bloom covered 300 square miles, roughly the size of New York City. By Aug. 13, the bloom had doubled to more than 620 square miles, according to NASA. That's eight times the size of Cleveland, which sits on the shore of Lake Erie.

Outbreaks of microcystis cyanobacteria, the organism responsible for harmful algae blooms, has become a yearly occurrence on Lake Erie. Earlier this year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted a severe bloom this summer, which became a reality in July primarily as a result of calm winds and abundant rainfall.

"Calm winds in July allowed algal toxins to accumulate at the surface (instead of being dispersed). Strong winds in August have since mixed some surface algae to deeper depths. Heavy rains carry excess nutrients (often fertilizer) from farms into the lake," NASA said in a statement.

NOAA noted in its prediction that this summer's bloom was expected to be larger than the mild bloom in 2018 and would measure greater than a 7 on the severity index, which is based on a bloom’s biomass, or the amount of its harmful algae, over a sustained period.

The largest blooms, 2011 and 2015, were 10 and 10.5, respectively, according to NOAA.

NOAA's 2019 harmful algae bloom outlook on Lake Erie, compared to previous years.
(NOAA)

On July 29, NOAA reported unsafe toxin concentrations in Lake Erie and have since advised people and their pets to stay away from areas where "scum is forming on the water surface."

"Green patches show where the bloom was most dense and where toxicity levels were unsafe for recreational activities," NASA said in its statement.

On Thursday, NOAA said in a weekly Lake Erie bulletin that measured toxin concentrations had decreased since the previous week but "may continue to exceed the recreational threshold where the bloom is most dense (appearing green from a boat)." The agency continued to warn people to keep themselves and their pets out of water where scum had formed.

Harmful algal blooms come from the runoff from nearby farms and ordinary neighborhoods that contain human waste and fertilizers. Nitrogen and phosphorus, as well as other nutrients in the polluted runoff, can act like fertilizer for the algae, creating large and extensive blooms.

(MORE: Millions in Major Cities Lack Access to Safe, Reliable Water Systems, and It's Getting Worse, Report Says)

NASA noted that this spring's heavy rainfall was a mixed blessing: It helped create the bloom in the first place but also prevented the situation from becoming worse.

"Nutrient runoff may have been less than anticipated this year because heavy spring rains and flooding prevented many farmers from planting crops," NASA said.

NOAA said the bloom is expected to continue into early fall.

If ingested, water contaminated with toxic cyanobacteria can cause nausea, vomiting and, in severe cases, acute liver failure, according to Florida's FWCC. While there have been no documented cases of anyone becoming ill from drinking water containing these toxins, it remains a concern.

The Centers for Disease Control says coming in direct contact with the algae can cause a rash and some research indicates a link between long-term inhalation of toxic algae fumes and neurological disorders like Parkinson’s and Lou Gehrig’s diseases.


AGelbert

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Re: Pollution
« Reply #792 on: August 17, 2019, 04:11:16 pm »

SNIPPET: If ingested, water contaminated with toxic cyanobacteria can cause nausea, vomiting and, in severe cases, acute liver failure, according to Florida's FWCC. While there have been no documented cases of anyone becoming ill from drinking water containing these toxins, it remains a concern.

The Centers for Disease Control says coming in direct contact with the algae can cause a rash and some research indicates a link between long-term inhalation of toxic algae fumes and neurological disorders like Parkinson’s and Lou Gehrig’s diseases.

👍 Excellent article.

Not a problem, say the fossil fuelers! We can make lots of plastic bottles made from hydrocarbons to put "potable water" (we 😇 charge you only a small fee for purifying the water, using hydrocarbon feedstock chemicals, of course) in. Clean water is a national security thing, so make sure you keep providing all those subsidies for your loyal servants, the Hydrocarbon Industries, so they can do what "you want". Don't worry about the plastics in your water. CATO institute studies confirm that they are good for you! In fact, plastics have some of the same elements in them that vitamins do! Don't worry, we won't charge you for all those "vitamin building blocks" we are providing out of the goodness of our hearts. 



You know, the 🐍 denier BULLSHIT artists, on behalf of the 🦕🦖 Hydrocrabon Hellspawn, have been yammering about all that CO2 "FOOD" that is gonna "green the planet" (and so on), so it's just fine and dandy to keep burnin' those hydrocrabons for the, uh, "good of the biosphere" . Well, it looks like they forgot that algae just loves CO2. The more of it is around, the more algae will bloom, producing toxins and death in water bodies all over Earth's overheated biosphere. ☠️ A 'bottled water for humans' scheme by the Hydrocarbon Hellspawn will NOT stop the Sixth Mass Extinction now accelerating the killing off of every single high order mammalian vertebrate life form we depend on in the web of biosphere life.

At any rate, the planet WILL look a lot greener from space. I'm sure that's the next 🙉🙊 denier talking point...

Tomorrow is Yesterday...
But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou
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AGelbert

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Re: Pollution
« Reply #793 on: August 18, 2019, 08:10:55 pm »
The “Toxic ☠️ 100” Worst Polluters

August 18, 2019

Michael Ash of PERI discusses the “Toxic 100” index, which ranks the top 100 corporations in the US, including the U.S. government, according to the degree to which they pollute the air, the water, and contribute to greenhouse gases. The index assists in divestment campaigns and in identifying opportunities for green growth


Story Transcript

GREG WILPERT: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Greg Wilpert in Baltimore.

Since 2004, the Political Economy Research Institute, PERI, has published an annual list of the world’s top polluting companies. Initially, this was just about air pollution. But in 2013, PERI launched an index of the top 100 water polluters, and in 2016, the index of greenhouse polluters. This year, PERI published all three indices individually as well as in a combined index.

The top three air polluters in the 2019 report are the chemical company, LyondellBasell; the arms and airplane manufacturer, Boeing; and the number one position is the oil company, Huntsman. The top three water polluters are the appliance manufacturer, Parker Hannifin; the arms manufacturer, Northrop Grumman; and in the top place, the chemical company, DowDuPont. Then finally, in the top three greenhouse polluter category are the energy companies, Duke Energy; Southern Company; and in top place, Vistra Energy.

Joining me now to discuss this report is Michael Ash. He’s professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and directs the Corporate Toxics Information Project together with James K. Boyce, which publishes the Toxic 100 Index. Thanks for joining us today, Michael.


MICHAEL ASH: Thanks for having me on, Greg.

GREG WILPERT: So, let’s start with the purpose of the Toxic 100 Index. What do you hope to achieve by publishing it?


MICHAEL ASH: The main point of the Toxic 100 Index is it’s a tool. And it’s a tool for socially responsible investors or communities that may be affected by toxics–pretty much every community in America–and for regulators and for the general public to understand what toxics they’re being exposed to, and which companies are releasing the most greenhouse gases. As a tool, it’s going to enable communities, socially responsible investors, socially or environmentally oriented corporate managers to make better decisions so that we can realize the right to clean air and clean water that we have in many of our state constitutions, and I think implicit in our national governance.

We’ve learned a lot about what we’re exposed to. The road from knowing what we’re exposed to to having a cleaner environment is not always a straight and easy path. We’re trying to make that easier for effected communities to use these tools, understand what we’re being exposed to, and then take action to do something about it.

GREG WILPERT: Now, is it safe to assume that the larger a company is, the more likely it will appear on the list, and the higher up it will appear, since larger companies presumably produce more pollution? Or do you take the company’s size into account so that you could find, in theory, a smaller, but highly polluting company towards the top of these lists?


MICHAEL ASH: We’re focused, in the case of toxics, really on the risk that human populations are exposed to. And there tends to be a bigger-is-worse phenomenon here. A small company that releases very toxic material or large quantities of highly toxic materials or happens to be in an urban area where it exposes large numbers of people, such a company could end up on this list. But in general, if you look at the top of the list, you’re looking at corporate giants. So, there is a little bit of a bigger-is-worse aspect to the data. Now, that’s not actually irrelevant because when you have those bigger companies, a small number of corporate decisions can really affect the exposure of large numbers of people.

So, if you want to do something about toxicity, you have to go where the pollution is. It’s like bank robbers robbing banks because that’s where the money is. We need to look where a small number of decision makers make decisions that can affect very large numbers of people. And it turns out there’s a lot of disproportionality in these data. Toxic releases and greenhouse gas releases, they’re very highly concentrated among a fairly small number of actors, and those actors are entities that can actually make decisions that affect people’s lives. So, there is a little bit of a focus on bigger, but bigger is also bigger decisions and more clean up is possible if we look in those places.


GREG WILPERT: OK. Yeah, that makes sense. Now, but I noticed one thing about the list is that the usual suspect suspects aren’t always dominating each category. For example, arms manufacturers such as Boeing and Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin are present on each one of these lists. Why is that? What is it that they do that is so polluted?

MICHAEL ASH: There are very toxic substances used in defense or military industries. So, my guess is that ethylene oxide, which was recently upgraded as a toxic by the USEPA for purposes of rating these companies on their toxicity is the key feature that has generated the high rankings for those corporations. So, again, there are many toxics that go into the defense industry, that go into both producing military material and then also to cleaning up afterwards. So, those are probably the chemicals that are most responsible. One of the nice features of the list is it’s possible for any company to drill down to see exactly the list of facilities and the list of chemicals that’s responsible for the company being high on the list of toxic polluters.


GREG WILPERT: Now, the other thing that jumps out in looking at the index is that the U.S. government is ranked seventh in the greenhouse polluter index. However, the U.S. government actually isn’t a corporation, obviously. Now, this raises the question, how do you differentiate between the manufacturers of polluting products and energy on the one hand, and institutional consumers such as the U.S. government, which presumably pollutes mostly on the consumption side of things? That is, how do you avoid calculating the same pollution perhaps twice; once during production and once during consumption? And did you look at also the pollution that other governments cause?


MICHAEL ASH: So, that’s a great question, and let me answer in a couple of parts. The first is that we’re looking really exclusively at the production of pollution, so we are not looking at the life cycle on these products. Many of these products may have very unpleasant toxic life cycles after they’re produced. And again, we’re focused exclusively on point-source production of these toxics, or in the case of greenhouse gasses, these climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions. The U.S. government is ranked number seven on the greenhouse gas list. That’s the U.S. government as producer. Again, I encourage your listeners to visit toxic100.org and drill down, but the U.S. government is a pretty large electricity producer. Projects like the Tennessee Valley Authority is direct energy production by the U.S. government, sometimes for sale on a retail basis, sometimes to power things like defense establishment military bases.

But if you take a look at why the U.S. government is on the greenhouse gas list, I think it’s largely around electricity production, I think very heavily focused on older electric plants in the Middle West, in the Tennessee Valley. So, that’s one question. Second question really gets to the heart of some issues in federalism. The federal government is on this list because the federal government, which passed the laws, which enabled the toxics release reporting and the greenhouse gas reporting, can give itself orders.

So, it’s possible to legislate the inclusion of federal facilities in the toxics list and in the greenhouse gas list.

That’s true also for the private facilities that are regulated this way. State and local governments are effectively off the hook. They’re not reporters into the greenhouse gas and toxics release inventory. And that involves the limited ability of the federal government to regulate, to exercise authority over state and local governments. Many states–and I encourage your viewers to follow up–many states have state-specific reporting where you can learn more about how state facilities and local facilities, like universities for example, contribute to greenhouse gas production. But the federal lists are really limited to private entities and to the federal government, which are authorized for reporting under the Enabling Act.


GREG WILPERT: And is this just limited to the United States or do you also look internationally?

MICHAEL ASH: Oh, that’s a great question. So, unfortunately, the output we’re looking at is limited to the United States. So, we should think about large-point sources, large factories, large electrical generators located here in the U.S. The factories can be owned by entities all over the world. So, there could be an Indian-owned metal processor, for example, that owns facilities in the U.S. There could be a French-owned electrical-generating facilities, again, in the United States. If you don’t mind a quick digression, there’s a savage irony in this. These laws were largely enacted after the Bhopal chemical spill, where a Union Carbide pesticide-making facility in Bhopal, India spilled a spilled a toxic into the environment, killing close to 10,000 people in the period that followed the spill and changing the lives for the worst of tens of thousands more people. That law, which rightly horrified people all over the world, led to the legislation in the U.S. that protects U.S. citizens. So, the savage irony here is that a U.S.-owned plant which had done terrible damage in another country would not be reporting under this legislation.


GREG WILPERT: Now, finally, has publishing the index had an effect on the behavior of investors or on the companies themselves? I mean, do companies that find themselves in the top of this index respond to it in any way?


MICHAEL ASH: Yes. I think companies take very seriously showing up on these lists. We have some contact with corporations. In some cases, the leadership of companies themselves are unaware of what their facilities are doing. So, we’ve had some conversations with the chief environmental officer of an organization that was listed in the top ten in one of our earliest indices, and her response after learning more about the list from us was, “In the future, we’re going to have our facilities send their reports to headquarters as well as to the EPA.” So, that was shocking to us that the head did not know what the hands were doing.

There’s also some indication… We see, occasionally, shareholder initiatives that are brought to shareholder meetings and corporations will reference the Toxic 100 as a reason that their companies should engage in improved environmental practice or improved environmental reporting. So, we’ve seen, for example, in the ExxonMobil shareholder resolutions a call that has included the Toxic 100 among the reasons for improved reporting. So, we hope that we’re reaching people, and this is a tool that they can use.

Let me mention in passing, if I may, that in addition to listing the top 100 facilities, we also have a search tool easily linked from the toxic100.org website that allows visitors to the site to look up any corporation with reporting activity to the USEPA. So, we highlight the Toxic 100. People tend to focus on lists and it’s kind of salient for people, but in fact, people can look up any corporation in the U.S. and learn more about its toxic performance or its greenhouse gas performance.


GREG WILPERT: OK. Well, that’s really good to know. We’re going to link to it, of course, once we published this story. I was speaking to Michael Ash, professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and co-director of the Corporate Toxics Information Project. Thanks again, Michael, for having joined us today.


MICHAEL ASH: Thanks, Greg, for having me on.

GREG WILPERT: Thank you for joining The Real News Network.

SPEAKER: Thanks a lot for watching. Appreciate it. But do us one more solid favor. Hit the Subscribe button below. You know you want to stay up on the videos.

https://therealnews.com/stories/the-toxic-100-worst-polluters-of-the-world

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AGelbert

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Re: Pollution
« Reply #794 on: August 19, 2019, 11:47:16 pm »
Monday August 19th 2019

By David Cay Johnston, DCReport Editor-in-Chief

Team Trump: ‘The Only Good Forest Is A Dead Forest

Forest Service Weighs Plan to Lay Waste to Tens of Thousands of Acres of Old-Growth Trees
https://www.dcreport.org/2019/08/15/trump-the-only-good-forest-is-a-dead-forest/
But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou
hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Acts 8:20

 

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