is a perfect introduction to one of the Obama era’s great conservative subcultures: the men and women who “roll coal.” For as little as $500, anyone with a diesel truck and a dream can install a smoke stack and the equipment that lets a driver “trick the engine” into needing more fuel. The result is a burst of black smoke that doubles as a political or cultural statement—a protest against the EPA, a ritual shaming of hybrid “rice burners,” and a stellar source of truck memes." [more inside]
Why Are Twenty Far-Away States Trying To Block The Cleanup Of The Chesapeake Bay?
After 30 years of attempts, a serious initiative to save the bay exists in the form of an EPA-led plan that limits the amount of agricultural nutrients entering the bay. This pollution causes the "dead zones
" in the bay, which are so low in oxygen virtually no animal life can survive.
A group of twenty-one Attorneys General, including the AG of Alaska and Wyoming, "argue that the cleanup plan raises serious concerns about states’ rights, and they worry that if the plan is left to stand, the EPA could enact similar pollution limits on watersheds such as the Mississippi." Their actions are in line with the wishes of The American Farm Bureau, a powerful agricultural interest group. [more inside]
24 million gallons of jet fuel have been leaking from Albuquerque’s Kirtland Air Force Base for 60 some years. And nobody seems very concerned about it.
From The Atlantic
, a series of photography that documents America in the 1970s: the Pacific Northwest
| New York City
| the Southwest
| Chicago's African-American community
| Texas [more inside]
In 1971, the newly-created US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hired a bunch of freelance photographers to collectively document environmental issues around the country. They were given free rein to shoot whatever they wanted, and the project, named Documerica
, lasted through 1977. After 40 years, the EPA is now encouraging photographers to take current versions of the original Documerica photos and are showcasing them on flickr at State of the Environment
. There are location challenges
, and a set has been created with some of the submissions, making side-by-side comparisons
. [more inside]
Some of My Best Friends Are Germs
It is a striking idea that one of the keys to good health may turn out to involve managing our internal fermentation. Having recently learned to manage several external fermentations — of bread and kimchi and beer — I know a little about the vagaries of that process. You depend on the microbes, and you do your best to align their interests with yours, mainly by feeding them the kinds of things they like to eat — good “substrate.” But absolute control of the process is too much to hope for. It’s a lot more like gardening than governing.
The successful gardener has always known you don’t need to master the science of the soil, which is yet another hotbed of microbial fermentation, in order to nourish and nurture it. You just need to know what it likes to eat — basically, organic matter — and how, in a general way, to align your interests with the interests of the microbes and the plants. The gardener also discovers that, when pathogens or pests appear, chemical interventions “work,” that is, solve the immediate problem, but at a cost to the long-term health of the soil and the whole garden. The drive for absolute control leads to unanticipated forms of disorder. [more inside]
Hey Web Surfers! Is your family bugged by roaches?
You're not alone. Although people may think roaches
like dirty places, even the cleanest homes can have them. Roaches Are Everywhere!
Earlier this month, British Petroleum agreed to plead guilty
to 14 violations of law, including negligence causing death and the Clean Water Act. [more inside]
The EPA's 1971-1978 Documerica project
, at the National Archives
) set out to 'photographically document subjects of environmental concern.' Last month, The Atlantic
put up a gallery
of 46 of the photos (here are three more curated galleries, from Wired
and the Mother Nature Network
Hydraulic hybrid cars to be mass produced by Chrysler.
Using a brake-stored "launch assist" technology developed and tested by the EPA since 2004
, the lesser known hydraulic hybrid
vehicle is relatively clean-burning and fuel efficient, easy to deliver, and isn't powered by batteries. How it all works.
A leaked document shows the EPA under the Bush administration approved the pesticide clothianidin for widespread use on many crops, including corn, despite the findings from EPA scientists that it was a bee-killer.
It may be responsible for the recent "Honeybee Depopulation Syndrome,"
which has been negatively affecting agriculture throughout North America. Previously.
"Places like Picher are why Congress passed the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980—better known as the Superfund bill
." - Wired Magazine on the most toxic town in America, Picher, OK
, and the people who still live there
NASA once sent a robot in
- and nobody ever saw the machine again or collected any scientific data from it... [more inside]
Brooklyn's Gowanus Canal
, long nicknamed the "Lavender Lake"
for its copious oil slicks, has gained a new title : Superfund Site.
New Yorkers respond with really cool photography.
While some developers bow out in light of the recent news, other area developers
, hoping for a speedy cleanup of the industrial waste and, uh ... other things
... vow to continue their plans
to revitalize the formerly-industrial corridor.
was part of a major lead mining area
in the central US until the middle of the last century, when the mines closed down
. It is now the epicenter
of the Tar Creek Superfund site
. Residents live among mountains of mine tailings known
. Heavy metal poisoning is endemic in the area. With fits and starts, things do begin to get done about it, but only very slowly.
To add insult to injury, Picher was struck
by an EF-4 tornado
on May 10th, 2008. The residents are finally suing
over the long in
plan. Shockingly, the buyout plan was put into place with urgency not because of the lead, zinc, and cadmium poisoning,
but because the mines are in danger of caving in
. There is still word on when the mountains of debris
will be removed, or the acid mine drainage stopped. Despite attempts to prevent further contamination in the 1980s and 90s, the waste is still poisoning local creeks
Obama reverses Bush administration on mercury pollution standards.
With all the focus understandably being on the global financial crisis lately, it can be easy to forget that President Obama has other problems to contend with
. But then, as other's are quick to point out, the unfortunate thing
is it's all interrelated. (Newsfilter) [more inside]
Smoke and Mirrors: The Subversion of the EPA.
"This four-part series details how the Bush administration weakened the EPA
. It installed a pliant agency chief, Stephen L. Johnson. Under him, the EPA created pro-industry regulations later thrown out by the courts. It promoted a flawed voluntary program to fight climate change. It bypassed air pollution recommendations from its own scientists to satisfy the White House." [Via Reality Base]
"It's not just the American dollar that's losing value. The Environmental Protection Agency has decided that an American life isn't worth what it used to be. The value of a statistical life
is $6.9 million in today's dollars, the [EPA] reckoned in May -- a drop of nearly $1 million from just five years ago." [more inside]
An interesting and in-depth article at The Economist about the state of recycling.
It discusses the past and future of recycling as well as the flow of materials, energy and monetary costs, and technology involved. Info on local programs and other related stuff can be found at the EPA's recycling site
In a 5-4 opinion [pdf]
, the Supreme Court concluded today that the EPA has the authority to regulate greenhouse gases that may contribute to global warming, and must examine the scientific evidence of a link between those gases contained in the exhausts of new cars and trucks and climate change. Justice Stevens wrote the majority opinion, and Justice Scalia wrote a dissent, joined by Roberts, Thomas, and Alito. ScotusBlog summary here
Ever wonder how toilet efficiency is tested?
With pictorial goodness of the, errr, test subjects. (mildy NSFW)
When Laura Bush showed up at my son's temporary school two weeks after the attacks for a photo op with these traumatized children, she told us that she couldn't make any promises to help us.
"The PTA, not the school system, or god forbid federal government, installed a filtration system to protect our children. [... F]ive years later, I have been diagnosed and am being treated for lymphoma - a blood cancer caused by exposure to toxic chemicals. [...] Five years out there are 12,000 of us, maybe more - who knows? And we are starting to die."
collected from core samples
in Antarctica reveal the biggest rise
in CO2 in 800,000 years
"How are EPA scientists supposed to engage in cutting edge research when they cannot find what the agency has already done?" Good question. As noted
in an earlier post, the EPA is one of the agencies that is facing cuts to finance BushCo's America. How? By shutting down its network of libraries and its electronic catalogue
Reflected in the worsened respiratory health
of NYC residents (via the WTC Health Registry
), a federal judge ruled
) former Bush administration EPA chief and NJ governor Christine Todd Whitman
misled New York City residents about air quality after the attacks of 9/11. Whether or not the then-head of the Environmental Protection Agency was pressured by Bush economic policy director Lawrence Lindsey
to "get the financial markets open quickly
" (longer 9/11 commission report
) despite concerns, her PR consulting firm
continues to do greenwashing
for petrochemical corporations with very poor environmental records, including FMC
, responsible for 136 Superfund sites
across the country.
Who needs bunnies when you have kids to test on?
"Protections for Subjects in Human Research," a newly proposed EPA rule allows for: for government and industry scientists to treat children as human guinea pigs in chemical experiments in the following situations:
1. Children who "cannot be reasonably consulted," such as those that are mentally handicapped or orphaned newborns may be tested on. With permission from the institution or guardian in charge of the individual, the child may be exposed to chemicals for the sake of research.
2. Parental consent forms are not necessary for testing on children who have been neglected or abused.
3. Chemical studies on any children outside of the U.S. are acceptable.
And don't miss the Q&A section below. Sec. 26.408
of the EPA document is where you'll find the provisions and waivers mentioned (it refers to other sections absent from the document, weirdly).
US energy bill is held up
by a pro-MTBE provision that bipartisan Senators promised they would not sign into law. Nervous MTBE
manufacturers, in an effort to divest themselves of potential asbestos-like liability lawsuits, have been donating millions
in campaign contributions to the cause, despite peer-reviewed research pointing to lingering questions
(PDF) and utility
Two great tastes that taste great together.
Are you a scat
fan? Well, Congress will soon vote
on a bipartisan measure
that would block
the EPA from allowing sewage blending
Scientists & environmentalists gave BushCo some flak
on this, but notice how bipartisan the bill is: it's sponsored by Bart Stupak (D-MI)
as well as Mark Kirk (R-Ill.)
The whitehouse site yielded
(searched for sewage blending)
first caught my attention on another site (rhymes with 'bark') and I discovered
it matters, at least to me, because people crap in my drinking water all the time
and apparently the municipal waste treatment systems
aren't handling it.
What a coincidence, huh? (wapo, reg reqd) For the third time, environmental advocates have discovered passages in the Bush administration's proposal for regulating mercury pollution from power plants that mirror almost word for word portions of memos written by a law firm representing coal-fired power plants.
The passages state that the Environmental Protection Agency is not required to regulate other hazardous toxins emitted by power plants, such as lead and arsenic.
The actual proposals and study are here.
Buying Up the Right to Pollute.
"Power companies that release more SO2
than their permits allow must attempt to buy more allowances at the auctions, or purchase them at a premium from companies that have allowances to spare. Those that can't gather enough allowances or that go beyond certain emissions limits in a given year face strict fines from the EPA." (from a 4/7 Wired article)
You may have heard of these "allowances" before, but the Acid Rain Retirement Fund
, a non-profit, is doing something about them: *buying* them and simply letting them expire. Search NetworkForGood
for "ARRF" to make a donation. [via our own CTP
's Recursive Irony
the chemical home
"babies are born with toxic chemicals already contaminating their bodies" - we know we are exposed to these dangerous chemicals everyday, greenpeace puts together a nice site describing what the dangerous ones are how to avoid them. Isn't this the kind of thing our tax dollars going to the EPA
are supposed to provide? [ via computerlove.net
Greenpeace obtains smoking-gun memo: White House/Exxon link
Did conservative elements in the White House provoke an Exxon front group to sue EPA to suppress a report on climate change? That's the question that two State Attorney Generals have asked US Attorney General John Ashcroft to investigate, after Greenpeace uncovered a routine email
in a Freedom of Information Act request.
EPA misled public on 9/11 pollution
"In the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center, the White House instructed the Environmental Protection Agency to give the public misleading information, telling New Yorkers it was safe to breathe when reliable information on air quality was not available."
More environmental data goes down the memory hole...
Another EPA report gets "edited" by the White House to minimize warnings about climate change and the contributing factors of industrial and automotive emissions. Data from a 2001 report on climate by the National Research Council commissioned by
by White House is omitted in favor of research data funded by the American Petroleum Institute. Behold the best government money can buy...
Remember acid rain?
It’s still a huge problem. It's killing the fish
in our rivers and lakes, and killing the trees
in our forests, not to mention irrevocably damaging our historical landmarks
. Numerous Clean Air Acts (1955, 1963, 1970, and 1990
) have mandated some changes that were supposed to help, and in fact, some power plants have had some success in reducing emissions
. Others have ignored the law until forced to comply
. Want more information? Here's
the EPA's most recent report on acid rain, from 1999.
Kodak gives more reason to convert to digital photography.
Eastman Kodak's "Kodak Park facility" in Rochester, is #1 in New York for releases of suspected toxicants and neurotoxins to endocrine, gastrointestinal, liver, cardiovascular, kidney, respiratory, and reproductive health. Remember dioxin? The stuff of Agent Orange, used in the Vietnam war that caused so much grief to war vets and Vietnamese, well Kodak released more dioxin into New York's environment in 2000 than any other source. In 1996 they were dumping methylene chloride concentrations as high as 3,600,000 parts per billion into area rivers, when the legal level is five parts per billion. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found Kodak guilty of illegal disposal of hazardous wastes, illegal use of incinerators and waste piles, failing to notify the EPA of groundwater contaminations, making undocumented shipments of hazardous wastes, and for 20 years having leaky underground pipes, among other violations.
Toxic Chemical Dump report by ZIP code.
The U.S. Public Interest Research Group has organized information from the EPA on toxic chemical releases. You can get maps of different types of chemicals (carcinogens, reproductive toxins, dioxins, etc.) released by state, download Excel spreadsheets by state organized by ZIP code, or download their complete report. I think this is just for the 2000 calendar year. (via The Wall Street Journal
White House halts asbestos alert
WASHINGTON (AP) - A warning from the Environmental Protection Agency, informing millions of Americans their homes might contain asbestos-contaminated insulation, has not been issued because of White House intervention, a newspaper reports.
The EPA was expected to announce the warning in April, and declare a public health emergency concerning Zonolite insulation, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported in its Sunday editions.
Toxic sludge is good for fish!
Who says so?
It makes them flee the polluted area and escape fishermen.
That is the basis for the permit issued to the Army Corps of Engineers
to dump 200,000 tonnes of sludge in the Potomac. Link from WSJ's Best of the Web
"a huge victory for breathers"
of course industry "experts" beg to differ: "EPA tends to overstate health concerns," said Dan Riedinger, a spokesman for the Edison Electric Institute.
Toxic Exposure Near Ground Zero
EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman said a week after the attacks: "I am glad to reassure the people of New York...that their air is safe to breathe and their water is safe to drink." Yet now: "Dust taken from an air vent in the apartment building's hallway contained 555 times the suggested acceptable level for asbestos.....Many of those who live or work downtown report strikingly similar symptoms: nosebleeds, sore throats, bronchial infections and an endless racking cough." How long do we need to wait until we see some full blown investigative reporting
Rising Sea Level Forcing Evacuation of Tuvalu.
"During the twentieth century, sea level rose by 20-30 centimeters (8-12 inches)." The 1,196 tiny islands of the Maldives are "barely 2 meters above sea level". "In 2000 the World Bank published a map showing that a 1-meter rise in sea level would inundate half of Bangladesh's riceland." Here are EPA
sites on the sea level. (NASA? They may be promoting justification to colonize other planets ASAP!)
Yucca Mountain Can Meet EPA Radiation Standards, DOE Reports - But there's more to the story
WASHINGTON, DC, August 22, 2001 (ENS) - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has a new report assessing the performance of the proposed high level nuclear waste disposal site at Yucca Mountain against strict safety standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The report concludes that the Yucca Mountain site "would likely meet" the agency's radiation protection standards.
Where's the EPA on this?
Apparently, this stuff is everywhere
, but I haven't heard one word
on its dangers until now. Christine Whitman
, be slient no longer!
Our air and water may be polluted, but by gum, we're going to have smart kids...
Bush gives us the new budget, which gives money to Education and the military, but cuts back on Agriculture and the EPA. Guess we're all going to be chewing down on that synthetic corn while wearing gas masks, eh?
Of all the things to lose track of,
this was definitely not the one. 8 pounds of Sarin?
But EPA's on the case. I feel ever so much relieved.