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AGelbert

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Re: Pollution
« Reply #15 on: November 18, 2013, 08:23:05 pm »
Entire Texan town evacuated after pipeline explosion 



By John Upton
milford-explosion.jpg   NBC

A Texas town an hour’s drive from Dallas was a ghost town over the weekend. Plumes of smoke hung ghoulishly over its sky, visible from more than 25 miles away.

Which company ruined the weekend of the entire town, condemning its residents to crappy nearby hotel rooms? Chevron.

One of the company’s pipelines exploded early Thursday as a Chevron crew was working on it, triggering a long-burning fire and the nearby town’s evacuation. No injuries were reported. From a CNN report on Saturday:


Police required all residents of Milford, which has an estimated population of 700, to leave, after the underground pipeline exploded early Thursday, sending up orange flames stories high, said spokesman Malcolm Ward.

The Chevron oil company asked that the safety measure be taken, the company said in a statement Friday. A jet black plume of smoke has been billowing up towards the clouds. The statement mentioned not wanting to risk exposing residents to possible effects on air quality in Milford.

Most of the residents were allowed to return to their homes on Sunday, but the four families who lived closest to the explosion were required to spend at least one more night away from home. That’s because the fire was still burning — three days after the explosion. Meanwhile, crews were working to ignite residual petroleum gas left in the isolated stretch of pipeline to deprive the flames of fuel.
 


Source



Texas oil pipeline fire causes evacuation of town near Dallas, CNN
Four homes still evacuated near Milford gas explosion, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

John Upton is a science fan and green news boffin who tweets, posts articles to Facebook, and blogs about ecology. He welcomes reader questions, tips, and incoherent rants: johnupton@gmail.com.

http://grist.org/news/entire-texan-town-evacuated-after-pipeline-explosion/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Daily%2520Nov%252018&utm_campaign=daily
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Just 90 companies caused two-thirds of man-made global warming emissions


theguardian.com, Wednesday 20 November 2013 11.07 EST

Chevron, Exxon and BP among companies most responsible for climate change since dawn of industrial age, figures show

The climate crisis of the 21st century has been caused largely by just 90 companies, which between them produced nearly two-thirds of the greenhouse gas emissions generated since the dawning of the industrial age, new research suggests.

The companies range from investor-owned firms – household names such as Chevron, Exxon and BP – to state-owned and government-run firms.

The analysis, which was welcomed by the former vice-president Al Gore as a "crucial step forward" found that the vast majority of the firms were in the business of producing oil, gas or coal, found the analysis, which has been accepted for publication in the journal Climatic Change.

"There are thousands of oil, gas and coal producers in the world," climate researcher and author Richard Heede at the Climate Accountability Institute in Colorado said. "But the decision makers, the CEOs, or the ministers of coal and oil if you narrow it down to just one person, they could all fit on a Greyhound bus or two."

Half of the estimated emissions were produced just in the past 25 years – well past the date when governments and corporations became aware that rising greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of coal and oil were causing dangerous climate change.

Many of the same companies are also sitting on substantial reserves of fossil fuel which – if they are burned – puts the world at even greater risk of dangerous climate change.
Climate change experts said the data set was the most ambitious effort so far to hold individual carbon producers, rather than governments, to account.

The United Nations climate change panel, the IPCC, warned in September that at current rates the world stood within 30 years of exhausting its "carbon budget" – the amount of carbon dioxide it could emit without going into the danger zone above 2C warming. The former US vice-president and environmental champion, Al Gore, said the new carbon accounting could re-set the debate about allocating blame for the climate crisis.

Leaders meeting in Warsaw for the UN climate talks this week clashed repeatedly over which countries bore the burden for solving the climate crisis – historic emitters such as America or Europe or the rising economies of India and China.

Gore in his comments said the analysis underlined that it should not fall to governments alone to act on climate change.

"This study is a crucial step forward in our understanding of the evolution of the climate crisis. The public and private sectors alike must do what is necessary to stop global warming," Gore told the Guardian. "Those who are historically responsible for polluting our atmosphere have a clear obligation to be part of the solution."

Between them, the 90 companies on the list of top emitters produced 63% of the cumulative global emissions of industrial carbon dioxide and methane between 1751 to 2010, amounting to about 914 gigatonne CO2 emissions, according to the research. All but seven of the 90 were energy companies producing oil, gas and coal. The remaining seven were cement manufacturers.

The list of 90 companies included 50 investor-owned firms – mainly oil companies with widely recognised names such as Chevron, Exxon, BP , and Royal Dutch Shell and coal producers such as British Coal Corp, Peabody Energy and BHP Billiton.

Some 31 of the companies that made the list were state-owned companies such as Saudi Arabia's Saudi Aramco, Russia's Gazprom and Norway's Statoil.

Nine were government run industries, producing mainly coal in countries such as China, the former Soviet Union, North Korea and Poland, the host of this week's talks.

Experts familiar with Heede's research and the politics of climate change said they hoped the analysis could help break the deadlock in international climate talks.

"It seemed like maybe this could break the logjam," said Naomi Oreskes, professor of the history of science at Harvard. "There are all kinds of countries that have produced a tremendous amount of historical emissions that we do not normally talk about. We do not normally talk about Mexico or Poland or Venezuela. So then it's not just rich v poor, it is also producers v consumers, and resource rich v resource poor."

Michael Mann, the climate scientist, said he hoped the list would bring greater scrutiny to oil and coal companies' deployment of their remaining reserves. "What I think could be a game changer here is the potential for clearly fingerprinting the sources of those future emissions," he said. "It increases the accountability for fossil fuel burning. You can't burn fossil fuels without the rest of the world knowing about it."

Others were less optimistic that a more comprehensive accounting of the sources of greenhouse gas emissions would make it easier to achieve the emissions reductions needed to avoid catastrophic climate change.

John Ashton, who served as UK's chief climate change negotiator for six years, suggested that the findings reaffirmed the central role of fossil fuel producing entities in the economy.

"The challenge we face is to move in the space of not much more than a generation from a carbon-intensive energy system to a carbonneutral energy system. If we don't do that we stand no chance of keeping climate change within the 2C threshold," Ashton said.

"By highlighting the way in which a relatively small number of large companies are at the heart of the current carbon-intensive growth model, this report highlights that fundamental challenge."


Meanwhile, Oreskes, who has written extensively about corporate-funded climate denial, noted that several of the top companies on the list had funded the climate denial movement.   
 
"For me one of the most interesting things to think about was the overlap of large scale producers and the funding of disinformation campaigns, and how that has delayed action," she said.

The data represents eight years of exhaustive research into carbon emissions over time, as well as the ownership history of the major emitters.

The companies' operations spanned the globe, with company headquarters in 43 different countries. "These entities extract resources from every oil, natural gas and coal province in the world, and process the fuels into marketable products that are sold to consumers on every nation on Earth," Heede writes in the paper.

The largest of the investor-owned companies were responsible for an outsized share of emissions. Nearly 30% of emissions were produced just by the top 20 companies, the research found.
By Heede's calculation, government-run oil and coal companies in the former Soviet Union produced more greenhouse gas emissions than any other entity – just under 8.9% of the total produced over time. China came a close second with its government-run entities accounting for 8.6% of total global emissions.

ChevronTexaco was the leading emitter among investor-owned companies, causing 3.5% of greenhouse gas emissions to date, with Exxon not far behind at 3.2%. In third place, BP caused 2.5% of global emissions to date.

The historic emissions record was constructed using public records and data from the US department of energy's Carbon Dioxide Information and Analysis Centre, and took account of emissions all along the supply chain.

The centre put global industrial emissions since 1751 at 1,450 gigatonnes.
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/nov/20/90-companies-man-made-global-warming-emissions-climate-change

Which companies caused global warming?
A new paper shows which companies extracted the carbon-based fuels that have caused climate change.


Click Here for Interactive Pie Chart of the Guilty 90 Main Polluters that PROFITED  from Fossil Fuels!
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AGelbert

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Climate debt collectors: Occupy wants the 1% to pay up





By Heather Smith


Last year, Strike Debt — a small collective of New York-based academics, filmmakers, and business types — published a short book called The Debt Resistors’ Operations Manual [PDF], which alternated between dispensing advice on how to clean up credit scores and chronicling the recent history of the finance industry.

Strike Debt is also known for a project called the Rolling Jubilee, which buys up old medical and mortgage debt that people might be despairing of ever paying off, and then erases it. The Rolling Jubilee earned the somewhat backhanded honor of being named “one of the few good ideas to come out of Occupy Wall Street” by Forbes.

The next edition of the The Debt Resistors’ Operations Manual — currently in the works, and due to be finished next year — will have something that the original lacked: a chapter on climate change.

Why the shift? We recently spoke with Andrew Ross, professor of Social and Cultural Analysis at NYU, who became involved in Occupy in the early days of Zuccotti Park and helped to launch the Occupy Student Debt campaign before becoming a member of Strike Debt. Ross is the author of several books, most recently Creditocracy: The Case for Debt Refusal, which will be published this February by OR Books.

Q.  With all the large social issues that Occupy and Strike Debt have raised, why add climate change to the mix?

A.  Well, Strike Debt focuses on all kinds of debt: medical debt, housing debt, credit card debt. We started the Rolling Jubilee. We really wanted to publicize how the secondary debt market worked. A lot of people didn’t know how cheaply their debts have been sold. How lenders are willing to sell your debt cheaply — but not to you. Knowing how cheaply your debt has been bought by the person who is trying to collect from you changes the dynamic. We hoped to raise $50,000, and now we’ve raised about $630,000 — and abolished $15 million worth of debt.

What changed is, Hurricane Sandy happened. A lot of Strike Debt people became involved in Occupy Sandy. It drove home links we’d been talking about when we did the Strike Debt report. People were waiting for their FEMA loans and these predatory banks were circling around them.

Climate debt isn’t a part of the political discourse, but climate debt needs to be honored and repaid. It’s unusual compared to other kinds of debt because it tends to be the more affluent populations that are the debtors.


Q. And what are you moving towards?

A. International legal recognition. We’re trying to get high-carbon countries to acknowledge their responsibility.

At the U.N., the term of choice is “climate aid,” which suggests that this is an act of benevolence on their part. They avoid anything that smacks of responsibility.

The decision to fast track climate financing by $30 billion in the three years after Copenhagen [PDF] is where it gets complicated. We should finance clean energy technology in developing countries, but in doing so, most of the emissions debt that we owe them is being paid back to us through their emissions cuts. And most of our carbon reductions so far have come from hyrdofracking for gas or from reduced industrial activity during the depression. There’s a lot of slick accounting going on.

These emissions developments are a denial to poor countries of their atmospheric space. To fully acknowledge carbon debt is to acknowledge that it is the cause of climate change in the world.

Q. Like, I feel guilty when I fly somewhere, but I still do it anyway.

A. Oh, don’t feel that.

Q. No?

A. One of the favorite things of really guilty people is to make people feel ashamed individually. I see a similar thing with climate debt. The people who are the most responsible get a pass, and the costs get passed on to us as individuals and the guilt gets devolved individually rather than being laid at the door of those responsible. That’s something that needs to be resisted.

Q. Do you remember if there was any disagreement in putting a climate change chapter into the handbook?

A. The first edition of The Debt Resistors’ Handbook was put together very quickly. Now it’s being expanded.  I don’t think there was any debate about whether to include climate debt.

What happens in an environmental disaster is that the patterns of injustice in our cities become exposed for all to see. The damage is inflicted on the most vulnerable. It takes its toll economically. Battery Park City — these high-end condos  – didn’t even lose their electricity. Now there is this whole debate about the waterfront. What will happen to Zone A? Not just here, but around the world.

Q. Who else is thinking about this?

A. It’s talked about a lot, back to the ’70s and The Limits to Growth. You could see the last 30-40 years of wealth redistribution as a form of hoarding in the face of climate change.

The People’s Summit in Cochabamba called it an “Adaptation Fund.” The IMF  and the World Bank are on board with climate change. But I don’t find them putting any pressure on high climate emitters.

The initial premise of ecological debt was introduced leading up to 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio as a reason for cancelling IMF/World Bank debt. We have five centuries of ecological debt there — extraction of resources. The slave trade. External debts owed to northern states. A lot of that stuff is difficult to quantify.

What you can quantify is carbon debt. There is fairly accurate data from 1750 onwards on emissions. It wasn’t really until Copenhagen that the climate justice movement picked it up.

Q. And so, is the U.S. the biggest emitter?

A. Well, If you break it down per capita, the U.K. is a little greater.

Q. Why?

A.They started the Industrial Revolution a little earlier. They’ve been going at it ever since. We’re the second largest. Germany and Australia are third and fourth. China is the largest emitter now, but they started emitting more recently. If you factor in their history, China is a creditor, not a debtor.

Some say the nation/state framework is the wrong way to look at things. The debts owed are also internal — within the borders of nation states. There are elites within these countries that have profited greatly from resource extraction and the carbon economy.

Q. How would you evenly distribute it, then?

A. That’s one of the problems that’s always at the heart of foreign aid. How do you make sure the money and aid get to the people who need it?

One of the things I argue for is that the system of distribution could be done based on income — the carbon tax goes into a central fund and is paid out.

Q. How did you get interested in this subject personally?

A. I have been writing about this for a while. My last book, Bird on Fire, was about Phoenix, Ariz. [Editor's note: We spoke to Ross about the book last year.] There is an issue there with climate migrants — a lot of the folks who cross borders are economic refugees, displaced by the effects of climate change.

What rights are they due when they reach this country? This is a way that this debate about climate enters the borders of our nation state.

But there is no international legal recognition of what a climate migrant is. They are the most tangible evidence of climate change and we will see a lot more of them. Arizona is a case in point. It’s getting warmer and drier faster than anywhere else in the hemisphere.

Even if we cut our emissions we’re still locked in for a certain amount of climate change. What we can do now is plan for resilience. Which is unfortunate. It does mean that a lot of people have given up on stopping climate change and are focusing on fortifying, shoring up, defending.
 
Heather Smith (on Twitter, @strangerworks) is interested in the various ways that humans try to save the environment: past, present, and future.

http://grist.org/climate-energy/climate-debt-collectors-occupy-wants-the-one-percent-to-pay-up/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Daily%2520Nov%252020&utm_campaign=daily

Agelbert NOTE: Who knows, maybe somebody out there liked the article(s) I have written on the 1% and their liability for this mess. I hope it catches on.



The 1%'s Responsibility to Shoulder 80% of the COST of a 100% Renewable Energy World
« Last Edit: November 22, 2013, 02:02:55 am by AGelbert »
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19-Year-Old Aerospace Student Boyan Slat Invents Cleanup System For Plastic Choking Our Oceans


19-year-old Boyan Slat’s impassioned and educated opinion reminds us that youth, with its promising vital force, often taps into genius. If he is correct, Slat has designated some flair for environmental cleanup. He believes with his idea, developed for a student project in Aerospace Engineering, that it is possible the dreadful plastic that is choking the oceans (poisoning animals and human food chains) can thoroughly clean itself in 5 years – that is a lot less than the 79,000 years of another estimate.


Ocean Cleanup Array. Image Credit: Boyan Slat

Plastic once seemed as a piece of the revolution for a positive future. Presently, however, plastic has multiplied to an unfathomable degree, and as in the science fiction novel mention below, increasing development of plastic is now a twin-edged point of contention.

It reminds me of the War with the Newts, a 1936 satirical science fiction novel by Czech author Karel Čapek, but with plastic replacing the Newts in this novel. Plastic certainly is, in only a few decades, taking over the world. Increases found in the most vulnerable of systems, the globe’s water systems, result in numbers such as 7.25 million tons, and graphic images such as 1000 Eiffel towers (of plastic garbage) floating in water.

Some of the most notable places studied where plastic pollution is evident is in the giant trash gyres (trash vortexes) floating in the oceans. These plastic garbage patches have been written about, and vilified, by many, but that has also served as an excellent visual aid for spurring people to action about plastics, recycling, and waste in general.



Ocean Cleanup Array. Image Credit: Boyan Slat

79,000 Years of Cleanup to an Efficient 5 Years

Check out Slat’s The Ocean Cleanup for more details on his plans to clean up the ocean at an incredible speed. Boyan explains how he envisions shortening a projection of 79,000 years of cleanup to an efficient 5 years.

And definitely watch this Ted talk below and learn about a future that he considers viable. I believe that as much as the Baby Boomers had their ideals, the best thing they did was give life to younger generations that have a working pragmatism, scientific curiosity, and a healthy dose of idealism.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROW9F-c0kIQ&feature=player_embedded

Read more at http://cleantechnica.com/2013/04/02/teen-inventor-creats-means-to-clean-giant-ocean-garbage-patches/#j2HgqSIIJVfexLcS.99

The Younger Generation is THINKING WELL! 
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AGelbert

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Blue Gold: World Water Wars: Official Full Length Film‏
Next World TV
Common Sense Solutions - Starting Now

The Politics And Privitization Of Water

What You Learned In Grade School Is Not Working Anymore


Personally, I was expecting a well produced environmental film about the polluted state of our water.

It's much deeper than that. Blue Gold is about many aspects of the world's fresh water crisis, but the most unexpected and alarming part is the politics of our declining resources and the privitization of water. Multinational corporations are buying up the world's fresh water. Riots leading to revolutions are already happening where the population insists on defending their water rights.

You will learn why the lessons you were taught in grade school about how the water cycling through our atmosphere will never run out, is theoretically true, but not what the situation is today.

The earth is desertifying at an alarming rate. We are pumping 15 times more water up from the ground than is returning into it.

How does that happen? The film educates us about fascinating geological changes, and explains how we got to this point.

And did you know how damaging dams are to the whole eco-system?

Vandana Shiva says: "A river is the lifeblood of an eco-system just like the veins and arteries bring blood to every part of pour organism. When we have choked arteries that's whats called as heart attack. A dam is the chocking of the artery."

This film should be seen by every citizen of the world. Pass it around!

--Bibi Farber

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1a3tjqQiBI&feature=player_embedded

For more info, see: www.bluegold-worldwaterwars.com for a list of organizations you can join or support in fighting water wars.

http://www.nextworldtv.com/videos/environment/blue-gold-world-water-wars-official-full-length-film.html#sthash.sJgVGX65.dpuf

Renewable Revolution


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Loathsome List of Externalized Costs
« Reply #21 on: December 04, 2013, 11:18:22 pm »
http://www.youtube.com/watch??v=xuAWa4JK0KI&feature=player_embedded
And now for a Loathsome List of Externalized Costs, MOSTLY from FOSSIL FUELS and NUCLEAR RADIONCLIDE POISONS.  :P The chemical industry also continues to contribute to the TOXIC MESS our "civilization" is making of the biosphere. :(
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AGelbert

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Re: Pollution
« Reply #22 on: December 12, 2013, 03:58:19 pm »
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EfQ-z1FS9e0&feature=player_embedded

Wetlands going up in smoke. It's Criminal and stupid  to make biomass pellets from hardwood forests when duckweed ,hemp,  switchgrass, willow brush and a host of other fast growing species of plants can supply this biomass renewably.  >:(
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AGelbert

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Re: Pollution
« Reply #23 on: December 14, 2013, 12:47:19 am »

The Shale-Oil Boom's Dirty Secret


The US produces 7.8 million barrels of oil a day. Of this, the EIA estimates that 29 percent comes from shale oil formations. Production from these wells declines 60-70 percent in the first year alone. To maintain current production, the US needs to drill 6,000 new wells per year at a cost of $35 billion a year.

On the other hand, solar is on pace to produce over 5,300 MW of solar this year --enough to power 885,600 average American households. The average price of solar has also dropped 60% since 2011, and the average cost of a completed PV system is $3.05/W. Most solar electric systems last 30 years and pay for themselves in 4-5 years.

What if we spent $35 billion on solar instead of shale oil wells? The US could produce nearly 11,500 MW of new clean energy every year. We could power over 11.2 million new homes by 2020, and produce 28 percent of all California energy by 2020.


Infographic created by Aven Satre-Meloy

Learn More:(at link below)

Mosaic President Billy Parish on the fastest way to 100% clean energy.

Get the scoop on impact investing.

Why you should care about crowdfunding.

How to find good investments.

http://joinmosaic.com/blog/shale-oil-booms-dirty-secret
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Re: Pollution
« Reply #25 on: December 28, 2013, 03:24:51 pm »


US EPA Nails Fracker With Record Fine   


Chesapeake Energy's "PLAY"-ground toxify the USA areas 



The woes just keep piling up for Chesapeake Energy. The company is front and center in the nation’s natural gas fracking boom and it just got hit with one of the largest ever civil penalties for violating Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. The penalty was levied against its subsidiary, Chesapeake Appalachia LLC.

Wait, what? We thought the fracking industry was notoriously exempt from the Clean Water Act, thanks to a loophole engineered back in 2005 by former Vice President (and former Halliburton oil company executive) Dick Cheney.

So, how’d they do that?

EPA nails Chesapeake Energy for clean water violations   


Fracking And The Clean Water Act


Fracking is an unconventional gas and oil drilling method that involves pumping vast quantities of a chemical brine deep underground, to shake deposits loose from shale formations.

Though natural gas is billed as a clean alternative to coal and oil, fracking has been linked to a raft of local pollution issues, and emissions of methane (a powerful greenhouse gas) from drilling sites may be wiping out any advantage that natural gas has as a fuel.


The Clean Water loophole makes it almost impossible to gather direct evidence that traces fracking to a growing list of water contamination episodes, though the link between fracking waste disposal and earthquakes is becoming beyond dispute.

Under the Obama Administration, the EPA has been doggedly pursuing other avenues to bring fracking companies to account for environmental damage, and one of them is the Clean Water Act’s Section 404.


In announcing the action against Chesapeake last week, EPA described the alleged violations like this:


The federal government and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) allege that the company impounded streams and discharged sand, dirt, rocks and other fill material into streams and wetlands without a federal permit in order to construct well pads, impoundments, road crossings and other facilities related to natural gas extraction.



See what they just did? Section 404 does not apply directly to fracking brine, which is exempt from federal disclosure regulations under the Clean Water Act. It covers general construction activity common across a wide range of industries.


Evidently Chesapeake Energy saw the writing on the wall. Some of the violations were discovered by its own internal audit and the company has been working with EPA since 2010 to comply with remediation orders.

The settlement includes an estimated payment of $6.5 million to restore 27 sites in West Virginia, 16 of which involved fracking operations. It also includes a civil penalty of $3.2 million, which EPA describes as “one of the largest ever levied by the federal government for violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA), under the Section 404 program.”

Fracking In The Headlines Again

For those of you keeping score at home, the EPA announcement follows a string of bad press for the fracking industry and Chesapeake.

Just this past August, Bloomberg News reported that oil and gas land deals have fallen off the cliff, indicating that the natural gas boom is turning into one whopper of a bust (it could turn around if the Obama Administration opens up the export market, but that’s a whole ‘nother can of worms).


As for Chesapeake Energy, this year the company settled with a group of homeowners in Greenbrier, Arkansas for damages from earthquakes, which were linked to fracking waste disposal by the US Geological Survey.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has been pursuing the Ponzi-like financial angle of the fracking boom, and in June 2012 he won a “landmark agreement” with Chesapeake Appalachia to renegotiate more than 4,400 leases in New York State.

Also last year, Bloomberg reported that Chesapeake Energy paid a tax rate of less than one percent on profits of $5.5 billion,  legendary investor T. Boone Pickens dumped his Chesapeake stock, and an in-depth report in Rolling Stone compared Chesapeake’s land “flipping” practices to the ongoing mortgage crisis.

This is just a random sample so feel free to add your Chesapeake story to the comment thread.


Author

Tina Casey specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. You can also follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.

http://cleantechnica.com/2013/12/27/epa-hits-chesapeake-energy-with-record-fracking-fine/#beaP55dZhQFrbGTk.99

Agelbert NOTE: I am CERTAIN that ALEC is busy writing "Clean Water Act IMPROVEMENT" legislation
to exempt frackers from Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (CWA).

The profit over planet bastards are quite predictable.  >:( :P
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AGelbert

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AGelbert

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Texas Supreme Court Favors Landowner Over TransCanada in Keystone XL Eminent Domain Case

Tar Sands Blockade | January 9, 2014 9:33 am

The Texas Supreme Court ruled in favor of landowner Julia Trigg Crawford, ordering

TransCanada to submit information by Feb. 6 as the justices weigh arguments to hear the case regarding eminent domain abuse.


The controversial clause of eminent domain benefits oil and gas companies trying to seize private land to extract or transport fossil fuels. Photo credit: Tar Sands Blockade

Texas’s highest court delivered a clear victory for pipeline opponents and landowners fighting TransCanada’s overreach on property rights. At the heart of Crawford’s case is the ability of TransCanada, a foreign corporation, to use eminent domain under the state’s “common carrier” clause since their pipeline transports 90 percent Canadian tar sands and 10 percent North Dakota oil. There is no on ramp for Texas oil therefore violating the definition of a common carrier under Texas law.

Crawford said she looks forward to her family’s day in court, “As a landowner, property rights are key to my livelihood and family legacy. A foreign corporation pumping foreign oil simply does not qualify as a common carrier under Texas law. TransCanada does not get to write their own rules. I look forward to the Supreme Court hearing our case and our plea to protect the fundamental rights of property owners.”

The ruling on Wednesday from the Texas Supreme Court means that Crawford will be able to take the next step in the appeals process against TransCanada. The southern segment of the Keystone XL pipeline, also known as Gulf Coast Segment, stretches from Cushing, OK, to Beaumont, TX, and carries tar sands or dilbit which is a combination of tar sands and chemicals that react very differently when spills occur than traditional Texas oil.

“We’re thrilled, because the Supreme Court has finally ruled in favor of us—the little guys—and against a foreign oil giant,”
  ;D  Julia Trigg Crawford continued. “Basically, TransCanada said that it wanted a waiver from responding to our petition, and the Supreme Court said, ‘No, you must respond’.”   

Crawford says her case has broad implications, because if she wins, TransCanada and other foreign oil companies will no longer be able to use eminent domain to seize land for their private profit without direct proof their pipeline is carrying Texan oil.

Visit EcoWatch’s KEYSTONE XL and TAR SANDS pages for more related news on this topic.

http://ecowatch.com/2014/01/09/landowner-over-transcanada-keystone-xl-eminent-domain-case/
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AGelbert

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Re: Pollution
« Reply #28 on: January 09, 2014, 06:15:44 pm »

8 Sickening Facts About Flame Retardants


December 11, 2013 
 
By Dr. Mercola

Your couch cushions, your child’s car seat, your carpeting, and your mattress all have a toxic secret in common.  >:(

They probably contain flame-retardant chemicals that have been linked to serious health risks like cancer, birth defects, neurodevelopmental delays in children, and more.

How these chemicals have grown to become so ubiquitous is a story of great deception, power and greed, with the chemical industry and Big Tobacco at the helm. As reported in an investigative series “Playing With Fire” by the Chicago Tribune:1

“The average American baby is born with 10 fingers, 10 toes and the highest recorded levels of flame retardants among infants in the world
. The toxic chemicals are present in nearly every home, packed into couches, chairs and many other products.  :P

Two powerful industries — Big Tobacco and chemical manufacturers — waged deceptive campaigns that led to the proliferation of these chemicals, which don’t even work as promised.”  ???


Eight Facts About Flame Retardants That Might Shock You


HBO recently aired a documentary, Toxic Hot Seat, which is based on the Chicago Tribune’s comprehensive investigation. You can watch the trailer above. The film highlights some of the most disturbing facts about flame-retardant chemicals, which were summed up by Rodale News.2 As you read through them, you’ll see how the use of flame-retardant chemicals is easily among the major toxic cover-ups in the US.  >:(

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hWwfcsJXHM&feature=player_embedded


1. Studies Have Proven Their Harm


It’s estimated that 90 percent of Americans have some level of flame-retardant chemicals in their bodies, and the chemicals are also known to accumulate in breast milk.

This alone is highly disturbing because many studies have linked them to human health risks including infertility, birth defects, lower IQ scores, behavioral problems in children, and liver, kidney, testicular, and breast cancers.


2. Flame Retardants Produce More Toxic Smoke


If an object doused in flame retardants catches fire (yes, they can still catch fire), it gives off higher levels of carbon monoxide, soot, and smoke than untreated objects. Ironically, these three things are more likely to kill a person in a fire than burns, which means flame-retardant chemicals may actually make fires more deadly.

Flame-retardant chemicals belong to the same class of chemicals as DDT and PCBs (organohalogens), and like the former, they, too, build up in the environment. These chemicals also react with other toxins as they burn to produce cancer-causing dioxins and furans.


3. Banned from Children’s Pajamas but Still Widely Used in Furniture and Baby Products


A flame-retardant chemical known as chlorinated tris (TDCPP) was removed from children's pajamas in the 1970s amid concerns that it may cause cancer, but now it’s a ubiquitous addition to couch cushions across the United States.

It can easily migrate from the foam and into your household dust, which children often pick up on their hands and transfer into their mouths. Tris is actually the most commonly used flame retardant in the US today, used in nap mats, car seats, strollers, nursing pillows, furniture, and more.


4. Female Fire Fighters in California Have Six Times More Breast Cancer


Female firefighters aged 40 to 50 are six times more likely to develop breast cancer than the national average, likely due to California’s early use of flame-retardant chemicals. Firefighters of both genders also have higher rates of cancer, in part because of the high levels of dioxins and furans they’re exposed to when flame-retardant chemicals burn.

According to one firefighter in the HBO documentary:3 “It's Love Canal, and it's on fire… These fires that we're going to now are an absolute toxic soup.”


5. Flame-Retardant Chemicals Provide No Benefit for People


The chemical industry claims that fire-retardant furniture increases escape time in a fire by 15-fold. In reality, this claim came from a study using powerful, NASA-style flame retardants, which did give an extra 15 seconds of escape time.

This is not the same type of chemical used in most furniture, and government and independent studies show that the most widely used flame-retardant chemicals provide no benefit for people while increasing the amounts of toxic chemicals in smoke.

Drops in fire-related deaths in recent decades are not related to the use of flame-retardant chemicals, but instead are due to newer construction codes, sprinkler systems, fire alarms, and self-extinguishing cigarettes.


6. Big Tobacco Was Instrumental in the Spread of Flame-Retardant Chemicals


Flame-retardant chemicals were developed in the 1970s, when 40 percent of Americans smoked and cigarettes were a major cause of fires. The tobacco industry, under increasing pressure to make fire-safe cigarettes, resisted the push for self-extinguishing cigarettes and instead created a fake front group called the National Association of State Fire Marshals. The group pushed for federal standards for fire-retardant furniture…  ;)


7. California’s Misguided Fire Safety Law Led to Countrywide Use of These Toxic Chemicals  >:(

In 1975, California Technical Bulletin 117 (TB117) was passed. It requires furniture sold in California to withstand a 12-second exposure to a small flame without igniting. Because of California's economic importance, the requirement has essentially become a national standard, with manufacturers dousing their furniture with the chemicals whether they're going to be sold in California or elsewhere in the States. As reported by Rodale News:

“Sadly, though the original author of TB117 had specifically included language requiring that any chemical used to make furniture fire resistant be safe for human health, politicians removed that language before the law went into effect.”


8. The Chemical Industry Has Spent Millions to Keep TB117 in Place 

Numerous bills in California have been introduced that would update TB117 to state that toxic chemicals were no longer required for furniture, but the deep-pocketed chemical industry has defeated them each time.

The industry even went so far as to hire Dr. David Heimback, a burn expert and star witness for the manufacturers of flame retardants, told the tragic story of a 7-week-old baby who was burned in a fire and died as a result, three weeks later, after suffering immensely. The fire was said to have been started by a candle that ignited a pillow that lacked flame retardant chemicals, where the baby lay.    


The story was heard by California lawmakers, who were deciding on a bill that could have reduced the use of flame retardant chemicals in furniture. The problem, as we detailed in a previous article, was that the entire story was a clever hoax, a complete fabrication, from beginning to end!   :o ???   






Do You Have a Choice About the Flame Retardants Used in Your Furniture and Mattress?

Given the outdated regulations in place about the use of flame-retardant chemicals in consumer products, it’s quite difficult to avoid these toxic chemicals because of their abundant use in household goods and even in the foam insulation used in your walls. Research published in Environmental Science & Technology revealed that 85 percent of couch foam samples tested contained chemical flame retardants.4 The samples came from more than 100 couches purchased from 1985 to 2010.

As of July 1, 2007, all US mattresses are required to be highly flame retardant, to the extent that they won't catch on fire if exposed to a blowtorch.  ::) This means that the manufacturers are dousing them with highly toxic flame-retardant chemicals, which do NOT have to be disclosed in any way.  :P This is probably the most important piece of furniture you want to get right, as you are spending about one-third of your life on it.

However, you can have a licensed health care provider write you a prescription for a chemical-free mattress, which can then be ordered without flame retardants from certain retailers. You can also find certain natural mattresses on the market that don’t contain them. For instance, our wool mattress does not have flame-retardant chemicals added because wool is a natural flame retardant.




Good News! Safer Furniture May Be Coming in 2014


Given the blatant dangers posed by flame retardants, in late November 2013 California’s governor ordered that TB117 be rewritten to ensure fire safety without the use of these chemicals. Starting in January 2014, furniture manufacturers will begin producing furniture that’s not required to use flame-retardant chemicals, and full compliance is expected by January 2015.

Unfortunately, the updated law only states that the chemicals are no longer required; it doesn’t ban them outright. This means that some companies may continue to use them, and if you’re in the market for new furniture, you’ll need to ask for that made without flame-retardant chemicals.

Tips for Reducing Your Exposure to Flame-Retardant Chemicals

Even with California’s revised law, these chemicals are still widely used. Plus, unless you’ve revamped your home using only natural, chemical-free materials, they’re likely lurking in your home right now. Until these chemicals are removed from use entirely, tips you can use to reduce your exposure around your home include:5

•Be especially careful with polyurethane foam products manufactured prior to 2005, such as upholstered furniture, mattresses, and pillows, as these are most likely to contain flame retardants called polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs. If you have any of these in your home, inspect them carefully and replace ripped covers and/or any foam that appears to be breaking down. Also, avoid reupholstering furniture by yourself, as the reupholstering process increases your risk of exposure.

•Older carpet padding is another major source of PBDEs, so take precautions when removing old carpet. You'll want to isolate your work area from the rest of your house to avoid spreading it around, and use a HEPA filter vacuum to clean up.

•You probably also have older sources of the PBDEs known as Deca in your home as well, and these are so toxic they are banned in several states. Deca PBDEs can be found in electronics like TVs, cell phones, kitchen appliances, fans, toner cartridges, and more. It's a good idea to wash your hands after handling such items, especially before eating, and at the very least be sure you don't let infants mouth any of these items (like your TV remote control or cell phone).

•As you replace PBDE-containing items around your home, select those that contain naturally less flammable materials, such as leather, wool, and cotton.

•Look for organic and "green" building materials, carpeting, baby items, mattresses, and upholstery, which will be free from these toxic chemicals and help reduce your overall exposure. Furniture products filled with cotton, wool, or polyester tend to be safer than chemical-treated foam; some products also state that they are "flame-retardant free."

•PBDEs are often found in household dust, so clean up with a HEPA-filter vacuum and/or a wet mop often.

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/12/11/8-flame-retardant-facts.aspx
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AGelbert

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Re: Pollution
« Reply #29 on: January 10, 2014, 06:54:17 pm »

Feather in his cap-and-trade: Brown pledges polluter fees to poor communities 


By Brentin Mock


While free-market environmentalists push cap-and-trade systems as a panacea for climate change worries, many in the environmental justice community have yet to buy into it. Their reasons for this vary, but one major concern is that there’s little guarantee that overburdened communities won’t still catch the brunt of industrial pollution. What stops billionaire companies like ExxonMobil from continuing to pollute poor communities if, rather than rein in their emissions under the established cap, they can simply purchase more permits to pollute?

When California started its cap-and-trade system in late 2011, lawmakers addressed these concerns by requiring 25 percent of all revenue from permit auctions to go toward programs that help disadvantaged communities. Also, 10 percent of the revenue would have to be spent directly in those communities. But last year, when the auction dividends started rolling in, Gov. Jerry Brown reneged on that deal, putting $500 million from the permit auction profits into the state’s rainy day fund.

This obviously didn’t endear many environmental justice activists to the cap-and-trade dream.

The governor is on the path to redemption, though. When he unveiled his budget Thursday, it included plans to not only pay back $100 million of what he “borrowed” from cap-and-trade fees, but also a pledge to make some much needed investments in low-income communities across the state.

“It is encouraging that the governor agrees with the 83 percent of Californians polled who say that these revenues should be directed to communities hardest hit by last century’s carbon pollution generated by fossil fuel companies,” Miya Yosh itani, executive director of the Asian Pacific Environmental Network, said in a press statement.

“Based on what’s been reported, the governor is making critical investments in existing programs that will help disadvantaged communities cope with the worst impacts of the climate crisis, while at the same time creating jobs and saving low-income consumers money,” said Vien Truong, Environmental Equity program director of the Greenlining Institute in Berkeley. “This will bring real benefits to communities hit first and worst by pollution and climate change as well as the recession.”

Of the $850 million available from new polluter fees, said Truong, roughly $600 million will be spent on improving public transit, energy efficiency programs, renewable energy, and urban forestry projects that can provide jobs for youth of color.

But, as is always the case with budget negotiations, the devil is in the details. Consider the $200 million from the fees is supposed to go to low-carbon transportation initiatives. Some of that will go to greening the trucks that serve commercial ports in places like Long Beach and Oakland. As thousands of trucks run in and out of these ports, and idle in traffic as they pass through cities, they spray asthma-causing soot.

California has a fund for greening commercial trucks, but it’s been empty for a while now. The Greenlining Institute is asking for $30 million out of the new budget for the purchase of hybrid and zero-emission trucks and buses throughout the state.

But some of that low-carbon money is also committed for rebates for purchasers of electric vehicles — a perk much less likely to benefit residents of low-income communities. Legislators will have to work out how much of the $200 million will go to each of these line items. That process — and the rest of the state’s budget wrangling — won’t be finished until June, at the earliest.

Still, if Brown’s proposed funding for low-income communities survives the legislative process, this could be a game-changer, proving that it is possible to design cap-and-trade programs to take into account communities that bear the brunt of  industrial pollution. Time will tell.

I’m curious to hear from environmental justice advocates who aren’t sold on cap-and-trade — especially those in living with the system in the Northeast — if you think that Brown’s proposal could adequately address your concerns. After all, as goes California, so goes the country. While cap-and-trade has been a non-starter in Congress so far, I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of it.

 

Brentin Mock is a Washington, D.C.-based journalist who writes regularly for Grist about environmental justice issues and the connections between environmental policy, race, and politics. Follow him on Twitter at @brentinmock.


http://grist.org/cities/feather-in-his-cap-and-trade-brown-pledges-polluter-fees-for-poor-communities/
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