tagged w/ Toxic
A new review of hundreds of scientific studies surrounding glyphosate—the major component of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide—sheds light on its effects within the human body. The paper describes how all of these effects could work together, and with other variables, trigger health problems in humans, including debilitating diseases like gastrointestinal disorders, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
Glyphosate impairs the cytochrome P450 (CYP) gene pathway, which creates enzymes that help to form and also break down molecules in cells. There are myriad important CYP enzymes, including aromatase (the enzyme that converts androgen into estrogen) and 21-Hydroxylase, which creates cortisol (stress hormone) and aldosterone (regulates blood pressure). One function of these CYP enzymes is also to detoxify xenobiotics, which are foreign chemicals like drugs, carcinogens or pesticides. Glyphosate inhibits these CYP enzymes, which has rippling effects throughout our body.
Because the CYP pathway is essential for normal functioning of various systems in our bodies, any small change in its expression can lead to disruptions. For example, humans exposed to glyphosate have decreased levels of the amino acid tryptophan, which is necessary for active signaling of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Suppressed serotonin levels have been associated with weight gain, depression and Alzheimer’s disease.
This paper does not claim to yield new scientific discoveries. Instead, it looks at older studies in a new light. Critics will say the links between glyphosate and health problems made in this paper are purely correlational, but this work is important because it brings all of the possible health effects of glyphosate together and discusses what could happen: something the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration have failed to do.
Link To Abstract
Another study regarding toxicity of BT toxin (endotoxins) in non target species.
"According to a new study, the ‘Cry’ toxins that Monsanto’s GMO crops have been genetically modified to produce are a lot more toxic to mammals than previously thought, primarily to the blood."
This is very important due to the prevalence of BT in the majority of our food crops and the fact that people are ingesting much more than this study even covered, specifically animals as well through their feed.
I have been saying for years that I suspect that chemicals and pesticides can be correlated to the increase in these diseases as well as diabetes and obesity and that Glyphosate specifically should be banned. They couldn't kill us all with Agent Orange but they keep trying don't they? I hope we do see more unbiased independent testing on this now because I also believe if they are allowed to continue we will see causation.
More at the linkA new review of hundreds of scientific studies surrounding glyphosate—the major... more
The home of the Hollywood liberals is the nation’s newest battleground on fracking.
California is the latest state to embark on a fierce debate over whether and how to regulate the oil- and gas-extraction technique known as hydraulic fracturing — a controversy already roiling politics in rural Pennsylvania and inspiring an endless soap opera in New York state.
But California could provide an even bigger stage for the drama: It’s not only the most populous U.S. state but also a Democratic stronghold, known for its strict air pollution regulations and some of the world’s most advanced green energy projects. And industry supporters have drawn encouragement from recent comments by Gov. Jerry Brown, who has expressed openness to the technology while speaking about the “extraordinary” potential of the state’s fossil fuel deposits.
“This would be the first state that many view as being a strong Democratic state and fairly progressive that would potentially move forward with the activity on a large scale,” said John Krohn of the industry campaign Energy in Depth. “If and when that happens, it will be a lot harder to paint the practice as an extreme process that risks the health and safety of individuals.”
Environmentalists, concerned about potential risks like water pollution, want the Golden State to set a different national precedent by imposing tough regulations.
“As California goes, so goes the nation in some ways when it comes to environmental protection,” said Damon Nagami, senior attorney and director of the Southern California Ecosystems Project for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “We’re hoping to do that with fracking and oil development as well.”
Nagami said many in California were surprised to see their state suddenly in the cross hairs of the fracking debate.
“A lot of us are really only now beginning to understand that this was happening over the last year or so,” he said. “This is something that started to pop up on many people’s radars.”
The stakes for industry are big: California is home to the oil-rich Monterey Shale, which by some estimates may hold enough oil to displace five years of petroleum imports to the U.S.
Oil companies in California have used fracking to tap those supplies for decades, but the state is just beginning to craft specific regulations to cover it.
Critics and some lawmakers have said the potential rules offered by Brown’s administration are too weak. Brown defended his regulators’ work last month, however, while saying any decisions about fracking will be based on “science.”
“The fossil fuel deposits in California are incredible, the potential is extraordinary,” he told reporters, adding that the state has to find a “balance” in producing energy and protecting the environment. “We want to get the greenhouse gas emissions down, but we also want to keep our economy going.”
Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/04/california-energy-fracking-battleground-90397.html#ixzz2REBrTdd4
More at the linkThe home of the Hollywood liberals is the nation’s newest battleground on... more
A new study suggests that permitting more tar sands oil to flow would raise greenhouse gas pollution by the equivalent of nearly 40 million cars and trucks
By David Biello
The Keystone XL Pipeline would move enough tar sands oil to result in another 181 million metric tons of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere yearly. A new report prepared by environmental group Oil Change International (OCI) analyzes what the climate change impacts of the proposed pipeline might be.
Consultants hired by the U.S. State Department determined that completing the Keystone XL Pipeline that would transport tar sands from Canada to Texas would have no impact on greenhouse gas emissions, largely because they assumed that the tar sands oil would flow regardless. But the new report challenges that assertion, noting that the tar sands are stranded in Alberta and face few good pipeline prospects, either to Canada's west coast or via reversing the flow of existing pipelines to North America's east coast. "Other options like rail or truck are not feasible for the transportation of large quantities," said Elizabeth Shope, anti–tar sands advocate with environmental group the Natural Resources Defense Council, in a conference call with reporters, noting that such alternative transportation more than triples the cost of moving tar sands oil. "It's increasingly clear that without Keystone XL, the tar sands will not be able to expand at such a reckless pace."
If Keystone XL is built, and an additional 830,000 barrels of tar sands oil flows south each day, the climate change impacts will be "unacceptable," said former NASA climatologist James Hansen on the conference call. "Yet, governments are not only allowing the development of any fossil fuel that can be found, but particularly unconventional oil like tar sands and shale oil." Based on an estimate of 598 kilograms of greenhouse gases per barrel of oil, Keystone's more than 300 million barrels a year would result in more pollution than that emitted by 37.7 million passenger cars.
Of course, Keystone XL might not be used at full capacity at all times and industry estimates of the greenhouse gases associated with producing and burning tar sands oil can be as low as 482 kilograms per barrel, depending on whether the tar sands were mined or not. "We'll continue to drive [that number] down," says Greg Stringham, vice president for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP). "If the oil is going to be consumed anyway, then it has to come from some source, and we think we should be the preferred source."
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimated that Keystone XL tar sands oil would result in additional greenhouse gas emissions of 27 million metric tons annually compared with conventional oil. Regardless, the tar sands represent a significant chunk of potential carbon emissions, and those from tar sands have increased in recent years—up 16 percent since 2009, according to CAPP. Keystone XL itself would exacerbate that—the U.S. State Department notes that the greenhouse gas emissions from just the pipeline's pumps would be 4.4 million metric tons per year, roughly the same as one average U.S. coal-fired power plant.
Present economic trends may help keep tar sands carbon underground, however. The recent gusher in shale oil from North Dakota and elsewhere may reduce the demand for tar sands oil here in the U.S., at least in the short term. But such shale oil may not represent a significant improvement in the long run for the climate. As Steve Kretzmann, executive director of OCI, noted in response to Scientific American, the flares of methane from such oil wells are visible from space. "Methane is a potent greenhouse gas as well," he added. "Frankly, I don't think we even have a very good estimate of how bad that [shale oil] is."
More at the link
Why aren't CEOS of fossil fuel companies that collude with governments and lie to people about matters that concern their health and lives considered terrorists? Why isn't the Arkansas oil spill, the BP ecocide, the Kalamazoo River spill and the countless other "spills" we don't hear about that threaten the lives and livelihoods of Americans and people globally because we are being lied to considered terrorist acts?A new study suggests that permitting more tar sands oil to flow would raise greenhouse... more
BRYAN COUNTY, OK – Tuesday, April 16, 2013, 8:00AM – Two lifelong Oklahomans have effectively halted construction on an active work site for TransCanada’s Keystone XL tar sands pipeline in Bennington, Oklahoma.
Eric Whelan, 26, who grew up in McLoud, Okla., has ascended 40 feet into the air in an aerial blockade that began at dawn this morning.
Gwen Ingram of Luther, Okla., 56, has locked herself to heavy machinery and shut down the construction site.
Today’s event marks the fourth act of civil disobedience by Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance and comes in the wake of the disastrous tar sands pipeline spill in Mayflower, Arkansas. For the last three weeks, over 300,000 gallons of tar sands diluted bitumen have spilled into a residential neighborhood and local waterways.
“Keystone XL sounded like a bad idea from the beginning,” explained Whelan. “The Mayflower spill proves that we shouldn’t be trusting these multi-national corporations, like Exxon or TransCanada, because every spill further exposes their criminal incompetence. Now, TransCanada wants to build a toxic pipeline through the center of the country.
“I’m taking action to prevent a tragedy like that from happening in Oklahoma.”
The tar sands’ corrosive nature makes pipelines more prone to leaks than transporting crude oil, as evidenced by the Exxon’s Pegasus pipeline burst in Mayflower, Ark.
Luther resident Gwen Ingram before her direct action in Bennington, Oklahoma.
When spills inevitably do occur, the heavier diluted bitumen sinks in water and into the water table. Keystone XL’s proposed route cuts through the heartland of North America, crossing the Arbuckle Simpson and Edwards Trinity Aquifer in Oklahoma.
“The Keystone XL tar sands pipeline would carry the dirtiest fuel on the planet from Canada to America’s Gulf Coast’s refineries and ports, and then overseas for export,” said Gwen Ingram, before locking herself to TransCanada’s heavy machinery.
“I simply won’t allow this pipeline to cross our precious rivers; the North and South Canadian, The Red River, The Cimmaron and threaten our drinking water.”
More at the linkBRYAN COUNTY, OK – Tuesday, April 16, 2013, 8:00AM – Two lifelong... more
By Riki Ott
In oil disaster after oil disaster, industry has repeatedly hidden the truth from federal agencies and the public about spill volume and extent of damages, including wildlife kills, ecosystem harm, and harm to worker and public health. This underreporting is done to minimize the spiller's liability -- often billions of dollars are at stake. If the oil industry is not held accountable for these costs, the costs are externalized and borne by the environment, local economies and businesses that depend on a healthy environment, individuals and families who suffer health consequences, and U.S. taxpayers.
We at Ultimate Civics are asking the press to pose critical questions rather than regurgitate industry press releases. The public depends on the press in order to be well informed and make important decisions. It is essential for the media to search for deeper explanations and more accurate information during incidents that threaten human health, wildlife, and the environment -- and future energy choices.
We offer this guide, based on our on-the-ground first-hand experience with the nation's largest oil tanker spill (Exxon Valdez, 1989), offshore oil rig disaster (BP Deepwater Horizon, 2010), and on-land pipeline tar sands spill (Enbridge, 2010).
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN DILBIT AND/OR TAR SANDS OIL GETS IN CITY SEWERS?
Photos from KTHV in Little Rock, AR, show dilbut bubbling down into storm sewers. City wastewater treatment facilities are not designed to process and remove even small amounts of oil. Individuals are fined hefty amounts for releasing even a quart of oil into sewers. Tar sands oil is thick, sticky goo and the diluents are extremely toxic chemicals. ExxonMobil needs to detail how it plans to help municipalities clean out the sewers and the wastewater treatment system -- without contaminating the city's water supply. If it is too late to avoid contamination of the city's water supply, how will industry provide safe water for city residents?
Are tar sands oil and dilbit more corrosive than conventional oil?
Yes. Period. No debate. Bitumen blends are more acidic, thick, and sulfuric than conventional crude oil. DilBit contains 15-20 times higher acid concentrations and 5-10 times as much sulfur as conventional crudes. The additional sulfur and high concentrations of chloride salts cause corrosion that weakens and ages pipelines, especially when dilbit is pumped under high temperature and pressure. Tar sands crude oil also contains high quantities of abrasive quartz sand particles, much more than used by liquid sandblasters. (Keystone XL pipeline maximum capacity would mean over 125 pounds of quartz sand and alumino-silicates per minute. Common sandblasters use between 1.5 and 47 pounds of sand per minute.) Conventional crude oil does not contain quartz sand particles. Dilbit is also up to 70 times more viscous than conventional crude.
Not surprisingly, tar sands pipeline spills occur more frequently than spills from pipelines carrying conventional crude oil because of diluted bitumen's toxic, corrosive, and heavy composition. Between 2007 and 2010, pipelines transporting diluted bitumen in the northern Midwest spilled three times more oil per mile than the national average for conventional crude oil. Between 2002 to 2010, internal corrosion caused over 16 times as many pipeline spills per 10,000 miles in Alberta, Canada, where pipelines transport mostly dilbit, than in the US, where pipelines transport mostly conventional crude oil. Finally, in its first year, the U.S. section of Keystone 1, carrying diluted tar sands oil, had a spill frequency 100 times greater than the TransCanada forecast. In June 2011, federal pipeline safety regulators determined Keystone 1 was a hazard to public safety and issued TransCanada a corrective action order.
Why does industry claim there is so little risk? Who pays the cost of spills?
The oil industry is aware of the higher risk of spills from transporting dilbit and the higher cost of spill response, based on the Enbridge tar sands spill in Michigan. To minimize liability, industry lobbyists successfully argued that dilbit was not conventional oil and therefore exempt from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund. Oil shippers pay into this fund, which is then used by the federal government for spill response. Now the shippers most likely to spill oil, those shipping diluted tar sands oil, do not pay into the fund. But the fund is still tapped for spill response. If the fund goes bankrupt, U.S. taxpayers would foot the bill -- on top of the annual $375 million subsidy for saving the oil and gas industry from paying into the fund in the first place.
What does the press need to do?
The government and industry are pushing the press away from these scenes with claims of safety concerns. Really? Are the media crews different from the workers or residents? The media could obtain and wear the same safety gear worn by the federal responders, if this is truly government's concern. The BP Gulf disaster set horrible precedent for media access -- and the media acquiesced instead of insisting upon, and fully exercising, their First Amendment rights. THE MEDIA IS NOT GETTING THE FULL STORY IF THEY ARE DENIED ACCESS TO THE SPILL SITE -- and neither are the American people.
The ExxonMobil tar sands oil spill is very inconvenient for government, Congress, and industry. The U.S. State Department is taking public comment for the Keystone XL Pipeline until April 22. There will be a huge push by industry and the government to shut down the true risks and costs of transporting tar sands oil as inconvenient truths. It is the media's job to accurately research and portray these risks to the public. In-depth research and reporting on the ExxonMobil tar sands spill in Arkansas would be a good start.
(This article is fully footnoted with citations on our website.)
More at the link
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8122/8618568599_be90f82eed.jpgBy Riki Ott
In oil disaster after oil disaster, industry has repeatedly hidden the... more
Manatees in Southwest Florida are suffering from exposure to red tide, in a bloom that has persisted since September 2012. Most recently, the highest concentrations have appeared in Pine Island Sound in Lee County, and in Sarasota County. Pine Island is an important manatee feeding ground, particularly during the winter months, when hundreds of manatees are congregated in the Orange River. Manatees in this area are first trying to find refuge from the cold, then finding themselves exposed to fatal toxins when they go out to feed. More than 100 miles of coastline and manatee habitat are affected by some level of red tide, from Sarasota to Lee County, and into the Florida Keys. In recent weeks, the number of manatee deaths and rescues from red tide has greatly increased.
Red tide acts as a neurotoxin in manatees, giving them seizures that can result in drowning without human intervention. Thankfully, if manatees exposed to red tide can be moved out of the affected area by trained biologists and stabilized at a critical care facility, their prognosis is very good. Remember to call 1-888-404-3922 IMMEDIATELY if you see a manatee that may be suffering from red tide exposure or any other injury.
At least 174 manatees in southwest Florida have already died from red tide exposure in 2013, and an additional 33 manatees died from this cause in 2012. In recent weeks, many more have been found alive, suffering from red tide toxicity, and successfully rescued and transported to a critical care facility. These stabilized red-tide affected manatees can't be released back into their home waters where they could be re-exposed to deadly red tide, but space is needed at the critical care facilities to accommodate new red tide victims and manatees suffering from cold stress, watercraft strikes, or other ailments.
The Manatee Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP), of which SMC is a charter member, has decided to move now-healthy manatees to secondary care facilities until the red tide subsides and they can be released. This is where we need your help. With so many manatees currently in rehabilitation and new facilities coming on line to assist in the care of red tide affected manatees, funds are needed to feed all of these hungry manatees. Even when wild plants are harvested and transported, which is less expensive than supplying boxes of produce, the costs add up. SMC is committed to helping these manatees, but we need the help of our dedicated members to make this happen.
While manatees are suffering from red tide in the southwest, another threat is claiming manatee lives on the east coast, in Brevard County. Several dozen manatees have died of unknown but presumed natural causes, possibly from a different toxin, in Brevard since 2012. With most of Brevard's seagrass wiped out from a huge die off, it is unknown if manatees may be accessing another food source that is making them sick and killing them.
Clearly, Florida's manatees need your help right now. Please make a donation to our Emergency Rescue Fund today so we can be equipped to help manatees anytime and anywhere that help is needed.
Aquatic Biologist, Executive Director
Save the Manatee Club
About SMC Contact Us Donate Nowhttp://www.savethemanatee.org/
Manatees in Southwest Florida are suffering from... more
Another Soy Opponent In Paraguay
"Benjamin 'Toto' Lazcano was shot with 50 bullets by two men on a motorcycle on the 19th of Februari in the community Arroyito in the central district of Concepción, Paraguay. Benjamin was a local farmers leader, who opposed the expansion of GM soy monocultures in the region for their negative impact on the communities, the deorestation, the poisoning of the people and water and the degradation of the environment." End of excerpt.
There is a war going on in South America... over the proliferation of GM soy and the lives of indigenous farmers who are being destroyed because of it. This is not the first and I don't see it as the last. There is an evil underbelly to the industrial agricultural globalization taking place worldwide. In India a farmer commits suicide every 30 minutes by drinking down RoundUp because they are placed into such debt they cannot afford the seeds and pesticides they are required to purchase yearly while watching pests become resistant and yields decline. Paramilitary squads have now been overseeing the destruction of farmland in Paraguay, Argentina and other countries in making way for more land to grow Monsanto's GM soy. Planes constantly fly over the heads of the farmers living there spraying Roundup that has been linked to rashes, illnessess and even some deaths. Yet, this is under the radar of the American MSM (and condoned by the current and previous US administrations) even as 93% of our soy is now genetically modified. It truly makes you wonder just how much of this is being directed by certain interests.
This is the price of globalization.
See this link for more information cross referenced from my The GMO Report blog.
Monsanto Coup In Paraguay?
Every time you purchase any processed food in this country with soy or soy lechitin you are eating genetically modified soy as well as the RoundUp sprayed on it. Control of the worlds's food system through globalization and deception by multi nationals like Monsanto is leading farmers to their deaths as well as destroying huge swaths of forests ruining livelihoods, exacerbating climate change and contaminating other plants which threatens our biodiversity in a monoculture world. If this is not news that should be on every news station across this country I don't know what is.
The longterm effects of GM seeds on the human body as well as other species has never been quantified even though independent tests show 3rd generation mammals exhibiting kidney and liver failure. There is no quantification of how much diabetes, digestive system diseases from residual bt toxin in the human gut, other physical effects or even cancer is being exacerbated by the pervasive, daily, longterm use of these organisms that are now in most processed foods on US store shelves. There are currently states working to see these foods labelled, but of course companies like Monsanto and their lobbies have big money to spend on misinforming the public and denying them their right to disclosure about what they are eating and feeding their children. And people in a world which would seem far away to Americans are dying by standing up against it. Think about that the next time you shop.
GM Soy: The Invisible Ingredient Poisoning Our ChildrenAnother Soy Opponent In Paraguay
"Benjamin 'Toto' Lazcano was shot... more
Today's ruling in the Netherlands which found the Nigerian subsidiary of the Anglo-Dutch oil giant Royal Dutch Shell guilty of causing pollution, is a historic legal victory for oil producing communities in Nigeria and probably across Africa.
72 year old fish farmer Friday Akpan, from Akwa Ibom State, one of Nigeria's richest oil producing states, was one of four fish farmers who was able to prove that Shell Nigeria, the subsidiary of one of the world's most profitable companies Royal Dutch Shell, which made more than $30 billion dollars in profit in 2011, failed to properly maintain oil pipelines and other installations in Ikot Ada Udo community. Shell Nigeria's negligence led to oil spills that devastated Friday Akpan's 47 fishponds.
Friday is waiting to find out exactly how much compensation Shell Nigeria will have to pay, and when the company will conduct a clean-up of the environmental damage its caused.
Wednesday's ruling is the culmination of years of legal struggles for oil producing communities in Nigeria to get Shell Nigeria to take responsibility for pollution it causes on their land. Shell has been mining oil in Nigeria for close to 40 years, and is responsible for thousands of oil spills, the environmental non-governmental organisation Friends of the Earth says. It may also set a legal precedent and may have far reaching implications for the subsidiaries of many multinational companies operating in Nigeria. The ruling could also lead to more compensation claims from oil producing communities against Shell and other oil companies operating in Nigeria.
And though the ruling did not find Shell Nigeria's parent company Royal Dutch Shell responsible, lawyers from Friends of the Earth representing the farmers say they will not give up the fight to prove that RDS is held responsible for the activities of its subsdiary Shell Nigeria. They explain that RDS was exonerated from responsibility for causing oil pollution was because Friends of the Earth’s legal team were denied access to internal RDS documents showing that RDS determines the daily affairs of its Nigerian subsidiary - which would prove responsibility. RDS owns 100% of Shell Nigeria and the estimated profits of 1.8 billion euros of profit the company turns over annually.
The ruling also will be a relief for oil producing communities who have failed to get their cases of oil pollution against oil companies adjudicated within the Nigerian legal framework.
Yvonne Ndege is Al Jazeera’s West Africa correspondent based in Abuja, Nigeria.
January 31, 2013 - 00:22
More at the linkToday's ruling in the Netherlands which found the Nigerian subsidiary of the... more
By Sheila Kaplan
Friday, December 21st, 2012
"A landmark Environmental Protection Agency report concluding that children exposed to toxic substances can develop learning disabilities, asthma and other health problems has been sidetracked indefinitely amid fierce opposition from the chemical industry.
"America’s Children and the Environment, Third Edition, is a sobering analysis of the way in which pollutants build up in children’s developing bodies and the damage they can inflict.
"The report is unpublished, but was posted on EPA’s website in draft form in March 2011, marked “Do not Quote or Cite.” The report, which is fiercely contested by the chemical industry, was referred to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), where it still languishes.
"For the first time since the ACE series began in 2000, the draft cites extensive research linking common chemical pollutants to brain damage and nervous system disorders in fetuses and children. It also raises troubling questions about the degree to which children are exposed to hazardous chemicals in air, drinking water and food, as well exposures in their indoor environments — including schools and day-care centers — and through contaminated lands.
"In the making since 2008, the ACE report is based on peer-reviewed research and databases from federal agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration, Housing and Urban Development and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Public health officials view it as a source of one-stop shopping for the best information on what children and women of childbearing age are exposed to, how much of it remains in their bodies and what the health effects might be. Among the “health outcomes” listed as related to environmental exposures are childhood cancer, obesity, neurological disorders, respiratory problems and low birth weight.
"The EPA’s website still notes that the report will be published by the end of 2011. But after a public comment period that was marked by unusually harsh criticism from industry, additional peer review and input from other agencies, the report landed at OMB last March, where it has remained...."
(see the link above for more)By Sheila Kaplan
Friday, December 21st, 2012
"A landmark Environmental... more
By Tom Philpott
In a recent piece, I fretted about one problem with our reliance on industrially produced fertilizers: They come from scarce and non-renewable sources, meaning we'll eventually run out of them. But there's another, much more immediate downside to the synthetic nitrogen and mined phosphorus that drives industrial agriculture: They tend to leach out of soil and foul up water: both for drinking and recreation.
Environmental Working Group has just released an excellent report (available here) ON the impact of that pollution on water quality in Iowa, ground zero of US industrial agriculture. The condition of that state's water is, in short dismal. EWG looked at data kept by Iowa's Department of Natural Resources on 72 free-flowing streams across the state, comparing the 1999-2002 period and the 2008-2011 period. In the chart, right, note that the majority of streams are rated either "poor" or "very poor"-and that the situation has improved little if at all over time. The main culprits are nitrogen and phosphorus. Here's EWG:
The two pollutants most responsible for poor water quality ratings in the Index are nitrogen and phosphorus. In 55 percent of the monthly samples across all sites, nitrogen was the single worst pollutant, followed by phosphorus in 30 percent. Together, high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus set off a cascade of pollution problems that contaminate drinking water and damage the health of Iowa's streams and rivers.
The health consequences are dire. Even at low levels, nitrates can cause reproductive and thyroid problems; while phosphorus, along with nitrogen, feeds toxic blue green algae blooms in lakes.
Now, Big Ag would like you to believe that much of the nutrient load in streams comes from municipal sewage and industrial runoff. That's absurd. Citing Iowa DNR numbers, EWG debunks that claim. reporting that just 8 percent of the nitrogen and 20 percent of the phosphorus polluting Iowa's streams comes from those sources. The rest comes from "non-point sources"-mostly agriculture. And whereas runoff from sewage and industrial operations is heavily regulated by the state of Iowa, EWG points out, water pollution from crop production isn't.
>>> Read the Full ArticleBy Tom Philpott
In a recent piece, I fretted about one problem with our reliance... more
Andrea Germanos, staff writer
A Texas judge has temporarily halted work on part of the Keystone XL, TransCanada's tar sands pipeline, the Associated Press reports on Tuesday, representing a victorious, small step in the battle to stop the flow of the bitumen through the lone star state.
Michael Bishop explaining how the Keystone XL would destroy his property. (See video below for more.) The order comes after a suit filed by Texas landowner Michael Bishop, whose property is in the pipeline path. He told AP that TransCanada "lied to the American people" in saying that the pipeline would carry crude oil, when tar sands crude is substantially different.
"It is also a fact that the firm used coercion and intimidating tactics to obtain the property in question and that acting on the validity of their claim, I settled under duress,” Bloomberg reports Bishop as saying in an affidavit.
The judge sided with Bishop and granted a two-week restraining order. Brantley Hargrove from the Dallas Observer posts this statement from the judge:
It clearly appears from the Application and Affidavit of Plaintiff Michael Bishop, that sufficient cause exists to issue a temporary restraining order until the merits of the Application can be presented to a jury. Without a temporary restraining order, Plaintiff will suffer immediate and irreparable injury, a violation of his Constitutional rights as delineated by the Texas constitution. This Application was heard ex parte and this Order granted without notice to the Defendant because further delay cannot be redressed by the Court; because Plaintiff has lost property and because Plaintiff has been defrauded and denied his Constitutional rights.
More at the linkAndrea Germanos, staff writer
A Texas judge has temporarily halted work on part of... more
by Abrahm Lustgarten
ProPublica, Dec. 11, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Federal officials have given energy and mining companies permission to pollute aquifers in more than 1,500 places across the country, releasing toxic material into underground reservoirs that help supply more than half of the nation's drinking water.
In many cases, the Environmental Protection Agency has granted these so-called aquifer exemptions in Western states now stricken by drought and increasingly desperate for water.
EPA records show that portions of at least 100 drinking water aquifers have been written off because exemptions have allowed them to be used as dumping grounds.
"You are sacrificing these aquifers," said Mark Williams, a hydrologist at the University of Colorado and a member of a National Science Foundation team studying the effects of energy development on the environment. "By definition, you are putting pollution into them. ... If you are looking 50 to 100 years down the road, this is not a good way to go."
As part of an investigation into the threat to water supplies  from underground injection of waste, ProPublica set out to identify which aquifers have been polluted.
We found the EPA has not even kept track of exactly how many exemptions it has issued, where they are, or whom they might affect.
More at the linkby Abrahm Lustgarten
ProPublica, Dec. 11, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Federal officials have... more
HOUSTON, TX – THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2012 8:00AM –-Longtime Gulf Coast activists Diane Wilson and Bob Lindsey Jr. have locked their necks to oil tanker trucks destined for Valero’s Houston Refinery in solidarity with Tar Sands Blockade’s protests of TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline. Valero Energy Corp. is among the largest investors in TransCanada’s toxic tar sands pipeline that will terminate near the community of Manchester, located in the shadow of Valero’s refinery. Not only are Wilson and Lindsey blockading the Valero refinery, the two lifelong friends have also vowed to begin a sustained hunger strike demanding that Valero divest from Keystone XL and invest that money into the health and well-being of the people of Manchester.
With a 90% Latino population, Manchester’s relationship with the Valero refinery is a textbook case of environmental racism. Residents there have suffered through decades of premature deaths, cancers, asthma and other diseases attributable to the refinery emissions. With little financial support for lawsuits and without the political agency necessary to legislatively reign-in criminal polluters like Valero, the community suffers while Valero posts record profits.
More at the link
Excerpt of two paragraphs from website for Tarsands Blockade.
All applicable copyright rules have been adhered to.HOUSTON, TX – THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2012 8:00AM –-Longtime Gulf Coast... more
Members of Peaceful Uprising and Utah Tar Sands Resistance rallied outside the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Salt Lake City on Monday, as part of a week of solidarity actions with the Tar Sands Blockade in East Texas. Several of us visited the blockade in October for a mass action, and because we’re working to stop tar sands mining from happening in Utah, the importance of working together and showing solidarity has become ever more clear.
Just one week earlier, the BLM said that it would likely release nearly 830,000 acres of federally-managed public lands in Utah, Colorado and Wyoming for tar sands and oil shale mining. In its final environmental impact statement (EIS) on the proposed mining, the BLM claimed it had scaled back its original proposal of leasing up to nearly 2.5 million acres of public lands, but our groups knew this was pure spin. Therefore, we brought a People’s Environmental Impact Statement to the BLM, explaining exactly why tar sands and oil shale mining are far too dangerous to ever be allowed in the U.S.
Standing outside the BLM’s offices, we read our statement, then staged some theatrics featuring lawyers representing the people verses the BLM, as well as a tar sands monster — a creature who never wanted to be extracted from the earth, and is on a mission to stop tar sands and oil shale mining from happening in the U.S. The crowd of about 60 people then attempted to enter the BLM offices, only to meet an armed front of security guards. Two members of our groups were eventually allowed to pass and deliver the People’s EIS.
In our statement, we pointed to four major impacts of tar sands and oil shale mining: water pollution, dropping water levels, loss of livelihoods and climate change. Not only would the mining consume massive amounts of water in an arid region, it would also poison waters with dangerous compounds that are toxic in parts per trillion. In response to companies’ claims that the mining would create jobs, we explained, “For any jobs that tar sands mining allegedly would create, countless local jobs would be destroyed.” Towns across Utah gain much of their income from tourism, either directly or indirectly, and destroying and degrading wilderness would impact everyone who lives within tourism-based economies.
In Utah, tar sands mining could begin as early as next year if the Canadian company U.S. Oil Sands is able to fund and construct the infrastructure for the project. Right now, the company has leases on 32,000 acres of state land and operates a test pit in the East Tavaputs Plateau of eastern Utah at a site called PR Spring. Given this reality, we have much work to do in the coming year to stop destructive mining practices from not only continuing, but growing.
At least 40 other communities, many facing their own struggles with these extractive industries, participated in the week of solidarity actions. Rallies and banner drops took place from British Columbia to New York to London, by groups such as the Unis’tot’en clan of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation, Cascadia Forest Defenders, Glacier’s Edge Earth First!, UK Tar Sands Network and 350.org — which convened 3,500 people outside the White House to call on President Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline.
These actions were also part of an even broader network of solidarity actions called the Global Week of Action for Climate Justice. Hundreds marched to the U.S. embassy in Manilla last Wednesday to demand immediate climate action, while large numbers of peasants, organized by the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum, demanded the protection of natural resources in Jamshoro. The Rwandan Climate Change Network helped spread climate awareness to Rwanda’s rural populations.
Meanwhile, in Texas, over 100 people stopped construction of the Keystone XL pipeline on Monday, with four locking down and others setting up a new tree-sit blockade. Eleven blockaders were arrested, some of whom were brutalized by police. Houston blockaders led 80 community members on a tour of the refineries and petrochemical plants in the city’s east end.
Kim Huynh of the Tar Sands Blockade says the solidarity actions represent not just a week of support, but a powerful network of allies working on a common cause.
“These solidarity actions,” she explained, “are part of a burgeoning movement of ordinary folks coming together in their neighborhoods, schools and community centers to draw the connections between extreme extraction like tar sands exploitation and extreme weather like the droughts devastating farmers and ranchers all over Texas and the Midwest. Today we rally to build a future where all people and the planet are healthy and thriving.”
More at the linkMembers of Peaceful Uprising and Utah Tar Sands Resistance rallied outside the Bureau... more
A group of environmental activists destroyed a cargo of genetically modified soya in the French port of Lorient on Friday, hoping to highlight the presence of GM products in the food chain.
About 100 protesters climbed to the tip of a silo and poured ricin oil over the soya on Friday morning so as to render it unusable.
The grain was destined to be used as animal feed, they said, and they wanted to alert the public that GM products were present in meat, despite France’s restrictions on their cultivation.
The campaigners are demanding and end to GM soya imports, which come mainly from Latin America, labelling of transgenic products and a revival of grain cultivation in Europe.
More at the link
Video is in French but I think it makes the point.A group of environmental activists destroyed a cargo of genetically modified soya in... more
Twelve people were arrested in east Texas today as they blockaded construction of TransCanada’s Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. The protesters warn that burning the heavy fossil fuel will emit large amounts of greenhouse gases, warming the planet beyond repair.
Four people locked themselves to heavy machinery used to prepare the route for the pipeline that is planned to carry heavy tarry material called bitumen, diluted with a solvent, from the tar sands of northern Alberta to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Blockaders locked themselves to heavy equipment to interfere with construction of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, November 19, 2012 (Photo courtesy Tar Sands Blockade)
While the trans-border section of the pipeline needs a permit from President Barack Obama, sections of the pipeline within the United States do not.
Those locked to the heavy machinery were joined by several others forming a human chain to block the movement of the machinery, while more than 30 people walked onto the same construction site to halt work early this morning.
Meanwhile, three other protesters put up a new tree blockade at a crossing of the Angelina River, suspending themselves from 50 foot pine trees with life lines anchored to heavy machinery, effectively blocking the entirety of Keystone XL’s path.
Tar Sands Blockade is a coalition of Texas and Oklahoma landowners and climate justice organizers using peaceful and sustained civil disobedience to stop the construction of TransCanada’s Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Organizers of today’s Tar Sands Blockade Day of Action say they are acting in solidarity with local landowners struggling to protect their water and land from pipeline spills.
The Keystone XL pipeline route crosses 16 large rivers in Texas, including the site of today’s tree blockade, the scenic Angelina River. Climbing 50-foot pine trees in forested bottomlands, the tree blockaders arranged their platforms and settled in for a long standoff in protection of fresh drinking and agricultural water.
But within a few hours they were in custody and on their way to jail.
One of the Angelina tree sitters, Lizzy Alvarado, is a cinematography student at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches and a founder of the Nacogdoches Rat Skulls, an all female cycling advocacy organization.
Tar Sands Blockade tree sitter Lizzy Alvarado on a platform near the Angelina River, November 19, 2012 (Photo courtesy Tar Sands Blockade)
“I climbed this tree in honor of all the landowners who have been bullied mercilessly into signing easement contracts and who were then silenced through fear by TransCanada’s threat of endless litigation,” said Alvarado. “That’s not what this country stands for in my mind, and if we don’t take a stand here to secure our rights now, then it will keep happening to everyone.”
“What’s happening isn’t just threatening my community’s drinking water but it will threaten that of all communities along the pipeline’s path,” she said.
Cherokee County sheriffs were caught on tape making multiple threats to cut the support lines of the tree blockaders, which could have been fatal for Alvarado and the other blockaders.
But instead the sheriffs brought in a cherry picker to extract the blockaders. In response, a several dozen ground supporters stood in front of the truck with the cherry picker and pushed up against it in an attempt to stop it. The truck driver refused to stop until the truck hit one of the supporters and almost dragged him underneath the vehicle.
To disperse the blockade supporters, law enforcement officials sprayed people in the face with pepper spray, including Jeanette Singleton, a 75 year old woman with a heart condition.
Eye-witnesses say that Alvarado and another blockader were strip-searched by police after they were arrested. “Lizzy’s flexicuffs were also fastened so tightly that she was brought to tears and begging to have them loosened. When they were finally removed, they left marks on her wrists. Police were also very aggressive about removing Lizzy’s piercings,” said a Tar Sands Blockade spokesperson.
All four blockaders locked to the heavy machinery were also arrested after being pepper sprayed and placed in pain compliance positions by Cherokee County sheriffs. Supporters at the ground blockade and at the tree blockade also were arrested.
Those arrested will not be released until after they see a judge in the morning. Their charges are not unknown.
A tar sands blockader is removed from lockdown by Cherokee County sheriffs after he was peppersprayed, November 19, 2012 (Photo courtesy Tar Sands Blockade)
“Tar Sands Blockade stands with all communities affected by the Canadian tar sands,” said Ron Seifert, a Tar Sands Blockade spokesperson. “From indigenous nations in Alberta, Canada to the besieged refinery neighborhoods of the American Gulf Coast where the tar sands will be refined, there’s a groundswell of resistance demanding an end to toxic tar sands exploitation.”
While these multi-site actions halted Keystone XL construction this morning, local community members rallied at Lake Nacogdoches to further highlight the threats Keystone XL poses to the community’s watershed and public health.
Environment News Service (http://s.tt/1uaGG)
More at the linkTwelve people were arrested in east Texas today as they blockaded construction of... more
So excuse me while I do not get excited by the wrist slap they got from this Justice Dept. for the ecocide they precipitated that is still going on.
"Supermajor BP has recorded a profit of $25.7 billion for the 2011 calendar year, up from the $3.72 billion loss recorded in 2010 on the back of the Macondo disaster.
The company made a replacement cost profit of $23.9 billion for the year, up from the $4.91 billion loss recorded in 2010, on the back on reduced earnings from its exploration and production arm – down 1.27% to $30.5 billion from 2010’s $30.89 billion.
This came despite an average production average of 3.45 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, higher than the anticipated rate of 3.4 million bpd set for 2011.
BP’s fourth quarter 2011 profit was $7.68 billion, up from the $5.04 billion recorded in the third quarter and the $5.57 billion recorded in the fourth quarter of 2010.
In an announcement, BP chief executive Bob Dudley said the company’s operational momentum was returning, with the company playing to its strengths."So excuse me while I do not get excited by the wrist slap they got from this Justice... more
Canadian energy companies led by TransCanada Corp. (TRP) and Suncor Energy Inc. will likely benefit from the re-election of U.S. President Barack Obama, who analysts say will approve TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline.
More pipelines, including the 1,661-mile (2,673-kilometer) link from Alberta’s oil sands to refineries on the U.S. Gulf coast, will be needed as North American oil and natural gas output is estimated to surge 73 percent in the next 20 years.
“I was in Calgary a week or so ago and people are understandably nervous about Obama and whether he would tack back on this issue after the election and maybe reward his environmental supporters by not moving the project forward,” Robert Johnston, director of global energy and natural resources at the Eurasia Group, said by phone from Washington. “We still expect it will be approved on the basis of it being in the national interest.”
Obama rejected Keystone XL in January amid protests about the oil conduit’s impact on Nebraska’s environmentally sensitive Sand Hills region. Since then, the pipeline has been rerouted around the region, while oil output from Alberta to the Bakken formation in North Dakota has continued to climb.
Production of oil and natural gas liquids from Canada, the U.S. and Mexico could increase by more than 11 million barrels per day to 27 million barrels by 2022, Edward L. Morse, Citigroup Inc.’s global head of commodities research in New York, said in a report published earlier this year. That would meet about a quarter of current global consumption.
More energy infrastructure will be required to accommodate changes in demand and supply flows and further integrate the two countries’ energy network, said Enbridge Inc. (ENB) Chief Executive Officer Al Monaco.
“If you look at fundamentals for crude oil, we’re seeing a huge expansion in volume,” Monaco said during a conference call with analysts yesterday. “It’s in everybody’s interest to get new infrastructure built. I think that’s been the Obama administration’s view.”
Crude oil valued at C$68 billion ($68 billion) last year was Canada’s largest export at 15 percent of the total, according to government data. Most of it went to the U.S.
Keystone XL will be approved by the U.S. because it is in U.S. national interests in terms of national security, jobs and economic growth, Canadian Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said yesterday.
“I don’t know exactly why he postponed it but the point is right now we’re not in the middle of an election campaign and it will be decided by the administration on its merits,” Oliver told reporters in Ottawa.
More at the linkCanadian energy companies led by TransCanada Corp. (TRP) and Suncor Energy Inc. will... more
UPDATE 9:00AM – Cherri Chains Herself Keystone XL Pipeyard Gate
WINFIELD, TEXAS – WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2012 – Drawing connections to all coastal communities threatened by toxic tar sands development, Cherri Foytlin, an indigenous South Louisiana mother of six and wife of a Gulf Coast oilfield worker, chained herself to the gate of a Keystone XL pipeyard. Effectively blocking pipe from being shipped to construction sites along the controversial pipeline’s route, Foytlin’s action coincides with the Defend Our Coast activities in British Columbia, where more than 60 Canadian communities are protesting a proposed tar sands pipeline through their region. Hers marks the 32nd arrest since Tar Sands Blockade’s actions began over two months ago and today marks the 31st day of sustained protest at its Winnsboro tree blockade.
“This pipeline is a project of death. From destructive tar sands development that destroy indigenous sovereignty and health at the route’s start to the toxic emissions that will lay further burden on environmental justice communities along the Gulf of Mexico, this pipeline not only disproportionately affects indigenous frontline communities but its clear that it will bring death and disease to all in its path,” Foytlin declared.
Refusing to accept the Gulf Coast’s designation as the Nation’s Energy Sacrifice Zone, Foytlin, along with many Gulf Coast residents and indigenous activists are dismayed but not surprised to find the conversations regarding Keystone XL as a whole from national environmental groups to the Presidential campaigns have made little to no mention of the damage TransCanada’s Keystone XL Pipeline will heap upon Gulf Coast communities like Houston and Port Arthur, TX, where Keystone XL will terminate. Already overburdened with oil refineries and other dirty energy related industry, this neglectful attitude dovetails neatly with TransCanada’s reckless disregard for the health and safety of families in the refinery communities and elsewhere along the pipeline’s route.
The Rayne, Louisiana resident, who in the Spring of 2011 walked 1,243 miles from New Orleans to Washington D.C. as a call for action to stop the BP Drilling Disaster, has been a constant voice speaking out for the health and ecosystems of Gulf Coast communities.
She continued, “This fight is also about the personal freedoms given to us through the blood of all of our combined ancestry. Conservatives believe government is too big, that they are choking out our freedoms. The Occupy Movement believes corporations have kidnapped those same rights in the pursuit of profit over humanity. I believe both groups are right, and this pipeline and the use of eminent domain by a foreign company to seize and lay claim to American land, aided by the silence of the government, is an epic example of those truths.”
More at the linkUPDATE 9:00AM – Cherri Chains Herself Keystone XL Pipeyard Gate
The Madhya Pradesh High Court has dismissed a petition filed by Dow Chemical challenging the trial court order of 2005 issuing show cause notice to it in the 1984 Bhopal gas leak case.
The Dow Chemical International Private Limited's petition was dismissed by the High Court bench of Justice G S Solanki on October 19.
A local court in Bhopal had issued a show cause notice to Dow Chemical in response to a petition moved by NGOs fighting for the rights of the gas victims in January 2005.
The NGOs prayed that Dow Chemical, which had taken over Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) in 2001, should be issued summons for appearing in Bhopal court, as by acquiring the company it has also taken over all its assets and liabilities, specially with regard to Bhopal gas tragedy.
However, Dow Chemical had appealed against the lower court order in the High Court which granted stay on it in March 2005.
But on Friday, the bench dismissed the company's petition, thus paving the way for legal course to take place against it on the issue of fulfilling its liabilities in the case.
Welcoming the decision, NGO Bhopal Group for Information and Action (BGIA) said the decision to lift the stay against summoning Dow Chemical in the case is a big step towards making Union Carbide face trial in India.
Thousands of people were killed and lakhs maimed following leak of a poisonous gas from the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal on the intervening nights of December 2-3 in 1984.The Madhya Pradesh High Court has dismissed a petition filed by Dow Chemical... more