ENEWSPF News http://www.enewspf.com/ Tue, 02 Sep 2014 09:10:50 GMT FeedCreator 1.8.0-dev (info@mypapit.net) Federal Court Protects Texas Women from Further Loss of Abortion Access http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/55099-federal-court-protects-texas-women-from-further-loss-of-abortion-access.html HB2 provision requiring unnecessary, multimillion-dollar renovations of abortion clinics ruled unconstitutional, would have shuttered all but a few abortion clinics in the state September 1

Washington, DC—(ENEWSPF)—August 30, 2014. Following a trial earlier this month, a federal district court judge yesterday struck down two components of an anti-abortion Texas omnibus law that has already closed approximately half the state’s abortion clinics and threatened to restrict access to safe and legal abortion across the state even further.

The ruling issued by U.S. District Court Judge Lee Yeakel blocks the state’s requirement that every existing licensed abortion facility meet the same building requirements as an ambulatory surgical center (ASC)—a provision that would have amounted to a multi-million dollar tax on abortion services, leaving the state with as few as seven abortion providers as of September 1.

The ruling also found that law’s admitting privileges requirement was unconstitutional as it applies to two clinics in the state’s hardest-hit communities: the Rio Grande Valley and West Texas. Further, the court ruled that the ASC and admitting privileges requirements together “create an impermissible obstacle as applied to all women seeking a previability abortion.”

Said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights:

“This trial and today’s decision have stripped away the pretexts of the politicians who passed this law and revealed their true intention to deny Texas women access to safe, legal abortion care.

“The court has made clear that women’s well-being is not advanced by laws attacking access to essential health care, and that rights protected by the U.S. Constitution may not be denied through laws that make them impossible to exercise.

“Texas women still face serious threats to their rights, health, and ability to obtain safe, high-quality reproductive health care from reputable doctors in their communities. But at least for the moment, today’s victory is vital in preventing politicians’ scorched-earth assaults on women’s health care from causing even more harm than they already have.”

The decision is the third time a federal court has blocked anti-choice efforts to shutter clinics in recent weeks, joining a recent district court decision permanently blocking admitting privileges requirements in Alabama and a ruling from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upholding a preliminary injunction against a similar law in Mississippi.

The clinics and physicians in this challenge are represented by Stephanie Toti, Esha Bhandari, and David Brown of the Center for Reproductive Rights, a team of attorneys from the law firm Morrison & Foerster led by J. Alexander Lawrence, and Austin attorneys Jan Soifer and Patrick O’Connell of the law firm O’Connell & Soifer.

This is the Center for Reproductive Rights’ second challenge to Texas’ House Bill 2 (HB2), a sweeping package of anti-choice legislation that was passed last summer. The first suit—filed in September 2014—challenged the law’s unconstitutional admitting privileges requirement as it applies to all clinics in the state, as well as its onerous restrictions on medication abortion. These provisions were upheld by a panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, but the plaintiffs await a decision on whether the full appeals court will rehear the case.

Major medical groups oppose the types of restrictions found in Texas’ HB2. Both the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) oppose hospital admitting privileges as a requirement for physicians providing abortion services. Medical experts confirm that legal abortion care in the U.S. is extremely safe, with fewer than 1 percent of patients requiring treatment at a hospital. ACOG also opposes the imposition of medically unnecessary facility requirements on abortion providers.

Harmful and unconstitutional restrictions like these further underscore the need for the federal Women's Health Protection Act (S. 1696/H.R. 3471)—a bill that would prohibit states like Texas from imposing unconstitutional restrictions on reproductive health care providers that apply to no similar medical care, interfere with women’s personal decision making, and block access to safe and legal abortion services. Elected officials in two Texas cities— Austin and Houston—have called for the repeal of HB2 and the passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act.

Source: http://reproductiverights.org

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Sat, 30 Aug 2014 19:25:25 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/55099-federal-court-protects-texas-women-from-further-loss-of-abortion-access.html
UN Committee Calls on United States to Immediately Address Racial Discrimination in Health Care http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/55098-un-committee-calls-on-united-states-to-immediately-address-racial-discrimination-in-health-care.html Recommendations from Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) call for immediate action to address inequity in health care coverage, sky-high maternal mortality rates

NEW YORK—(ENEWSPF)—August 29, 2014. The United States has failed to make sufficient progress in addressing racial and gender disparities in access to health care, according to new concluding observations from the UN Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD).

The Committee undertook its review of the U.S.’s record on eliminating racial discrimination in policy and practice to meet the government’s international human rights commitments on August 13-14 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Today’s recommendations echo recommendations provided in a new report focused on how racial discrimination in law and practice interferes with women’s fundamental human right to health, with a particular focus on the maternal health of Black women in the South and immigrant women’s access to reproductive health care.

The report—titled Reproductive Injustice: Racial and Gender Discrimination in US Health Care—was issued earlier this month by the Center for Reproductive Rights, SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health.

Said Katrina Anderson,senior human rights counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights:

“Today the UN Committee rightfully recognized the wide disparities in sexual and reproductive health that exist in the United States for what it is: racial discrimination and a human rights violation that demands government accountability and swift action.

“The U.S. has more health resources than any other country, yet women of color are dying from preventable causes and failing to get the reproductive health care they need. No woman in the U.S. should endure such poor care because of her immigration status or race. 

“It’s time that the United States government take action to address the huge gaps that still persist when it comes to systemic and institutional barriers women of color face when accessing health care.”         

The CERD Committee is calling on the United States to immediately implement key policy changes and proactive measures that would address these overlapping forms of discrimination against women of color and immigrant women.  Specifically:

While recognizing that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) expands coverage for many Americans, the Committee expresses concern that the benefits of the ACA are not available to all living within the United States’ borders. Specifically, the Committee urged the U.S. to “Take concrete measures to ensure that all individuals … have effective access to affordable and adequate health-care services, including undocumented immigrants who are excluded from the ACA due to their citizenship status and legal residents prohibited by the five-year waiting period from qualifying for Medicaid." It also raised alarms about health access for those living in the 24 states refusing to expand Medicaid, including millions of low-income women of color in the South. Many of these recommendations echo those made by the United Nations Human Rights Committee in March 2014.

The Committee expressed particular “concern at the persistence of racial disparities in the field of sexual and reproductive health, particularly with regard to the high maternal and infant mortality rates among African American communities.” It called on the U.S. to step up its efforts to address these disparities, especially to (1) “Standardize the data collection system on maternal and infant deaths in all states to effectively identify and address the causes of disparities” and (2) “Improve monitoring and accountability mechanisms for preventable maternal mortality, including by ensuring that state maternal mortality review boards have sufficient resources and capacity.”

The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) is the body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), a human rights treaty ratified by the U.S. in 1994. The United States is required to submit periodic reports to the Committee on how its commitments are being implemented, including its obligation to ensure the right to health care is free from all forms of racial discrimination to all within its borders.

Source: http://reproductiverights.org

 

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Sat, 30 Aug 2014 19:21:35 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/55098-un-committee-calls-on-united-states-to-immediately-address-racial-discrimination-in-health-care.html
Illinois Department of Natural Resources Delivers Revised Rules to Implement Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/55090-illinois-department-of-natural-resources-delivers-revised-rules-to-implement-hydraulic-fracturing-regulatory-act.html Rules strengthened to ensure public participation, improve transparency, toughen penalties and protect the environment

SPRINGFIELD--(ENEWSPF)--August 29, 2014.  The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) today delivered revised rules to implement the Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act.  The revised rules were submitted to the Illinois General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) for a required second public notice period. 

Based on a record level of public participation following release the first draft last fall, the IDNR has substantially strengthened and clarified several sections of the proposed rules.  Passage of the HFRA and the subsequent rulemaking process generated an unprecedented amount of feedback. Five public hearings were held around the state, and the agency received more than 31,000 comments amounting to 43,000 pages from members of the public, units of local government, environmental organizations and industry.  The annotated copy of the revised rules, including comments and the agency’s responses to each issue area, can be found at: www.dnr.illinois.gov.

“As the agency charged with standing up a brand new regulatory program, it was important that our staff took the time needed to consider all the public feedback and do the job right,” said IDNR Director Marc Miller. “We believe the revised rules submitted to JCAR today accurately reflect the intent of the law, and take into account the concerns of our constituents.”

Following the start of the second public notice period, JCAR has 45 days to consider the proposed regulations. JCAR can request an additional 45 days. By delivering the revised rules in time for the next scheduled JCAR meeting on Sept. 16, IDNR has insured that JCAR has adequate time to complete its work. Rules must be adopted within one year of first notice, which for this rulemaking will be Nov. 15, 2014.

Key changes to the rules:

Public participation

• Strengthened public disclosure on water volumes and fracking chemicals used.  245.210(a)(8)

• Clarified rules to protect ability for public to comment during permit approval process. 245.260

• Clarified rules to ensure that public hearings are held in the County where the proposed well site is located. 245.270(b)(2)

• Strengthened rules regarding permit modifications to ensure greater public notification and comment opportunities. 245.330

Transparency

• Improved transparency and public notification if water pollution problems occur. 245.615

• Strengthened rules governing  chemical disclosure and use of trade secrets 245.710 & 245.720

• Strengthened and clarified rules regarding trade secret disclosure to health professionals to protect public safety.  245.730

Enforcement

• Strengthened Well Site safety plans. 245.210 (a)(12)

• Strengthened department oversight to identify water pollution problems. 245.620

• Increased transparency and toughened enforcement penalties for violations.  245.1120

• Clarified reporting requirements for annual flaring reports. 245.930

Environmental protection

• Expanded rules to cover all types (non-water) of fracturing technologies 245.100

• Required that drilling fluids, cuttings, and waste be tested for radioactivity and be stored appropriately 245.510

• Strengthened rules to protect fresh water zones from hydraulic fracturing fluid contamination during operations. 245.840

• Clarified rules to ensure that flowback materials are not stored temporarily in open reserve pits for more than seven days. 245.850(c)

• Raised threshold requirements for claims of economic unreasonableness regarding flaring; required the use of auto igniters, improved monitoring requirements. 245.845 & 245.900

• Strengthened land restoration requirements. 245.1020

Source: illinois.gov

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Fri, 29 Aug 2014 21:48:52 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/55090-illinois-department-of-natural-resources-delivers-revised-rules-to-implement-hydraulic-fracturing-regulatory-act.html
Governor Quinn Proclaims September as ‘Recovery Month’ in Illinois http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/55089-governor-quinn-proclaims-september-as-recovery-month-in-illinois.html Encourages people to speak up about mental illness and substance abuse

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois--(ENEWSPF)--August 29, 2014.  Governor Pat Quinn proclaimed September as “Recovery Month” in the state of Illinois to increase awareness and understanding of mental health and substance use disorders.  Recovery Month celebrates the continued success of many people in Illinois who have achieved recovery from alcohol and substance addiction and mental illness.

“It is critical that community leaders and organizations support the efforts of National Recovery Month.  We know that mental health and substance use disorders can be treated and there are many pathways to recovery.  Recovery Month celebrates the reality that prevention works, treatment is effective and people do recover,” Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) Secretary Michelle R.B. Saddler said. 

This year’s theme, “Join the Voices for Recovery: Speak Up, Reach Out,” encourages people to openly discuss – or speak up about – mental and substance use disorders and the reality of recovery.  It aims to foster public understanding and acceptance of the benefits of prevention, treatment and recovery from behavioral health conditions.

Last year, IDHS funded substance abuse treatment services for nearly 80,000 people and mental health services for approximately 140,000 people in Illinois.

For more information about Recovery Month, visit www.recoverymonth.gov.

Source: illinois.gov

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Fri, 29 Aug 2014 21:45:52 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/55089-governor-quinn-proclaims-september-as-recovery-month-in-illinois.html
Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Accelerates Cleanup of St. Louis River Area of Concern http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/55081-great-lakes-restoration-initiative-accelerates-cleanup-of-st-louis-river-area-of-concern.html Duluth, Minnesota—(ENEWPSF)--August 29, 2014 – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that the first of nine environmental impairments, which caused the St. Louis River to be included on a binational list of Great Lakes Areas of Concern, has been lifted one year ahead of schedule. EPA Regional Administrator/Great Lakes National Program Manager Susan Hedman was joined for the announcement at Canal Park by U.S. Representatives Rick Nolan (MN) and Sean Duffy (WI) and officials from Minnesota and Wisconsin state agencies. 

The St. Louis River is one of 43 contaminated sites on the Great Lakes designated as a Great Lakes Area of Concern by the United States and Canada under the 1987 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.

“Today is a great day for the St. Louis River and for Lake Superior. Floating oil, tar residue, grain dust and foam are no longer visible in this Area of Concern,” Hedman said. “Together, we are making real progress to accelerate the actions needed to restore habitat and to clean up the largest freshwater estuary in the world -- the headwaters of the largest surface fresh water system in the world.”   

Since the early 1990s, EPA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the States of Minnesota and Wisconsin have spent approximately $33 million to remove contaminated sediment and restore habitat in the St. Louis River Area of Concern.  Federal funding accounts for over $24 million of that sum – with the lion’s share provided through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative since 2010.

“Today’s announcement is tremendous news for the ecology and the economy of our region – a clear sign that while there is much work left to be done, we can now look to a day in the not too distant future when the St. Louis River will be fully restored and removed as an Area of Concern,” said Congressman Nolan. “Federal agencies and everyone in Minnesota and Wisconsin involved in this ongoing project deserve great credit for their hard work and persistence. For my part, I will continue to do everything in my power to assure that the necessary resources are available to assure that future generations will enjoy and benefit from the St. Louis River in the clean and pristine state it was intended.” 

“I’m proud to see the great progress that is being made in the Saint Louis River Area of Concern through the support of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, alongside state and local involvement,” said Congressman Duffy. “This targeted and coordinated investment improves the economy, quality of life, and environment not only for the Superior-Duluth area, but for communities all across the Great Lakes."

“If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, we are pleased to say that we all agree that the St. Louis River estuary’s beauty has been dramatically improved,” said Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Commissioner John Linc Stine. “This is a historic day for the St. Louis River estuary as we celebrate this first of what we hope will be nine steps forward to remove impairments.  It’s been just one year since the plan was approved, and we have shown that the team has a ‘get it done’ attitude.  With tremendous support from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and Minnesota’s Clean Water, Land and Legacy Funds, and the federal-state partnerships, the future removal of the 8 remaining impairments looks to be within our reach.”  

“Wisconsin is proud to be part of the positive momentum and progress underway to restore the St. Louis River Area of Concern,” said John Gozdzialski, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Secretary’s Director for Northern Wisconsin.  “For over 25 years, area citizens have worked with government agencies to support river cleanup. Through our hard work and strong partnerships we celebrate restoring the first of nine problems within the estuary.  These actions have successfully restored beauty to the river for the citizens, businesses and the surrounding communities that call it home. We have and will continue to harness the collective energies of the partnerships to restore health to the river and support the local communities and the economy.”

“The St. Louis River estuary is an incredible resource for fish, for ducks and other wildlife, and for outdoor recreation.  It has the potential to be even better,” said Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr. “I am pleased to see that the investments we have been making to clean up the river and restore habitat are paying off and benefiting the people of Minnesota and Wisconsin. We are committed to strengthening our engagement in this unique partnership and I look forward to removing the rest of the impairments from the list over the next several years.”

More information about the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the St. Louis River Area of Concern is available on EPA’s web site:

http://www.glri.us

http://www.epa.gov/greatlakes/aoc/stlouisriver/

Source: epa.gov

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Fri, 29 Aug 2014 21:26:52 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/55081-great-lakes-restoration-initiative-accelerates-cleanup-of-st-louis-river-area-of-concern.html
Single Animal to Human Transmission Event Responsible for 2014 Ebola Outbreak http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/55077-single-animal-to-human-transmission-event-responsible-for-2014-ebola-outbreak.html NIH-funded scientist uses latest genomic technology to make discovery

Bethesda, Maryland--(ENEWSPF)--August 29, 2014.  Scientists used advanced genomic sequencing technology to identify a single point of infection from an animal reservoir to a human in the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa. This research has also revealed the dynamics of how the Ebola virus has been transmitted from human to human, and traces how the genetic code of the virus is changing over time to adapt to human hosts. Pardis Sabeti, M.D., Ph.D, a 2009 National Institutes of Health Director’s New Innovator awardee and her team carried out the research.

“Dr. Sabeti’s research shows the power of using genomic analysis to track emerging viral outbreaks,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. “This ability produces valuable information that can help inform public health decisions and actions.”

The 2014 Ebola outbreak is now the largest outbreak in history, with current estimates of 2,473 infections and 1350 deaths since it began in late December 2013 according to the World Health Organization. This outbreak is also the first in West Africa and the first to affect urban areas. There are no approved drugs for Ebola virus disease, though prompt diagnosis and aggressive supportive care can improve survival. The disease is characterized by high fever, headache, body aches, intense weakness, stomach pain, and lack of appetite. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function and in some cases, internal and external bleeding. 

To better understand why this outbreak is larger than previous outbreaks, Dr. Sabeti, senior associate member of the Broad Institute, Cambridge, Massachusetts, led an extensive analysis of the genetic makeup of Ebola samples from patients living in affected regions. Joined by an international team of scientists, Dr. Sabeti used advanced technology to analyze the genetics of the Ebola samples extremely rapidly and with high levels of accuracy. Using this technology, the researchers pinpointed a single late 2013 introduction from an unspecified animal reservoir into humans. Their study showed that the strain responsible for the West African outbreak separated from a closely related strain found in Central Africa as early as 2004, indicating movement from Central to West Africa over the span of a decade. Studying RNA changes occurring over the span of the outbreak suggests that the first human infection of the outbreak was followed by exclusive human to human transmissions.

While analyzing the genetic makeup of the Ebola samples, Dr. Sabeti and colleagues discovered a number of mutations that arose as the outbreak spread. Some of these mutations, termed nonsynonymous mutations, alter the biological state of the virus and may allow it to continually and rapidly adapt to human immune defenses as the outbreak continues. This feature points to the need for improved methods that will allow for close monitoring of changes in the viral genome and the impact on vaccine targets. Such monitoring, called genomic surveillance, can provide important insights into the biology of how the Ebola virus spreads and evolves. It may also allow scientists to develop improved methods to detect infection, and point the way to new and improved drug and vaccines.

Dr. Sabeti’s New Innovator Award is designed to support exceptionally creative new investigators conducting innovative and high-impact research, as part of the NIH Common Fund’s High-Risk, High-Reward program. The original focus of her research was on Lassa fever, a related but distinct hemorrhagic disease. When the Ebola outbreak began, she shifted her research focus to address this pressing challenge.

“Dr. Sabeti’s New Innovator Award provided flexibility to quickly adjust her research when the 2014 Ebola outbreak began,” said James M. Anderson M.D., Ph.D. director of the Division of Program Coordination, Planning and Strategic Initiatives at NIH. “This exemplifies how the High-Risk, High- Reward program allows researchers to tackle the most challenging and urgent scientific questions.”

The NIH Common Fund supports a series of exceptionally high impact research programs that are broadly relevant to health and disease. Common Fund programs are designed to overcome major research barriers and pursue emerging opportunities for the benefit of the biomedical research community at large. The research products of the Common Fund programs are expected to catalyze disease-specific research supported by the NIH Institutes and Centers. To learn more about the NIH Common Fund, visit http://commonfund.nih.gov.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

Source: nih.gov

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Fri, 29 Aug 2014 16:11:08 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/55077-single-animal-to-human-transmission-event-responsible-for-2014-ebola-outbreak.html
NOAA Lists 20 Coral Species as Threatened Under the Endangered Species Act http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/55074-noaa-lists-20-coral-species-as-threatened-under-the-endangered-species-act.html Acropora globiceps coral listed for protection under the Endangered Species Act. This species occurs in the Indo-Pacific; within US waters it occurs in Guam, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, Pacific Remoste Island Areas and American Samoa. (Credit: NOAA)
Acropora globiceps coral listed for protection under the Endangered Species Act. This species occurs in the Indo-Pacific; within US waters it occurs in Guam, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, Pacific Remoste Island Areas and American Samoa. (Credit: NOAA)

Washington, DC--(ENEWSPF)--August 29, 2014.n NOAA announced it will afford Endangered Species Act protections to 20 coral species. All 20 species will be listed as threatened, none as endangered. Fifteen of the newly listed species occur in the Indo-Pacific and five in the Caribbean.

“Coral reefs are one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems on Earth, providing habitat for many marine species. Protecting and conserving these biologically rich ecosystems is essential, and the Endangered Species Act gives us the tools to conserve and recover those corals ​most in need of protection,” said Eileen Sobeck, assistant NOAA administrator for NOAA Fisheries. “The final decision is a result of the most extensive rulemaking ever undertaken by NOAA. The amount of scientific information sought, obtained and analyzed was unprecedented.”

Today’s announcement is a significant change from the proposed rule in November 2012. Since that time, many new scientific papers on climate change and coral habitat, distribution and abundance were published so that NOAA was able to consider and incorporate new information into the final decision. NOAA also considered extensive public comments as part of the final rule making.

The new information provided after the proposed rule was published strengthened the body of species-specific information available to NOAA for its final determination. The new information also improved the agency’s understanding of coral habitat diversity, abundance, distribution and species-specific exposure to threats and their relative vulnerability or resilience.

“We want to thank our stakeholders and partners for their strong participation at each step of this process, and we look forward to working with the states, territories, commonwealths, local governments and all our stakeholders and partners to conserve these coral species and ensure they remain for future generations to enjoy,” said Sobeck.

Oribicella faveolata coral listed for protection under the Endangered Species Act. This species occurs in the Caribbean; within US waters it occurs along Florida coast/Florida Keys in the Atlantic Ocean, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and Gulf of Mexico. (Credit: NOAA)
Oribicella faveolata coral listed for protection under the Endangered Species Act. This species occurs in the Caribbean; within US waters it occurs along Florida coast/Florida Keys in the Atlantic Ocean, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and Gulf of Mexico. (Credit: NOAA)

NOAA will continue to work with communities to help them understand how the agency’s decision may or may not affect them. The tools available under the Endangered Species Act are sufficiently flexible so that they can be used for partnerships with coastal jurisdictions, in a manner that will allow activity to move forward in a way that does not jeopardize listed coral. Currently no prohibitions exist relating to the newly listed species.

Coral reefs are critical to the health of marine ecosystems, and they face severe threats. Coral reefs world-wide have declined significantly — some individual species have declined by at least 90 percent. Healthy coral reefs provide shoreline protection for coastal communities and habitat for a variety of species, including commercially important fish. These benefits are lost when corals are degraded.

As part of this rule-making process, NOAA identified a number of threats to coral ecosystems. Some of the most serious threats include impacts related to climate change (rising ocean temperatures, ocean acidification and disease), ecological effects of fishing, and poor land-use practices.

NOAA will work with partners on mitigation measures and recovery plans for the newly listed corals. These will likely include approaches that have shown success elsewhere, such as watershed management, to address land-based sediment pollution in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Hawaii, and restoration efforts in the Southeast where NOAA and partners are transplanting corals grown in nurseries to help recover degraded reefs.

More information about the final rule and rule-making process can be found online.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on FacebookTwitter and our other social media channels.

Source: noaa.gov

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Fri, 29 Aug 2014 15:52:45 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/55074-noaa-lists-20-coral-species-as-threatened-under-the-endangered-species-act.html
Study: Marijuana Use Associated With Decreased Likelihood Of Domestic Violence http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/analysis/55067-study-marijuana-use-associated-with-decreased-likelihood-of-domestic-violence.html
Study: Marijuana Use Associated With Decreased Likelihood Of Domestic Violence

Buffalo, NY--(ENEWSPF)--August 28, 2014.  Marijuana use by newly married couples is predictive of less frequent incidences of intimate partner violence perpetration, according to longitudinal data published online ahead of print in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.

Investigators at Yale University, Rutgers, and the University of Buffalo assessed over 600 couples to determine whether husbands or wives use of cannabis was predictive of domestic abuse at any time during the first nine years of marriage. Researchers reported: "In this community sample of newly married couples, more frequent marijuana use generally predicted less frequent IPV perpetration, for both men and women, over the first 9 years of marriage. Moderation analyses provided evidence that couples in which both spouses used marijuana frequently were at the lowest risk for IPV perpetration, regardless of the perpetrator's gender."

Stated the study's lead author in a press release: "Although this study supports the perspective that marijuana does not increase, and may decrease, aggressive conflict, we would like to see research replicating these findings, and research examining day-to-day marijuana and alcohol use and the likelihood to IPV on the same day before drawing stronger conclusions."

According to a previous study published in January in the journal Addictive Behaviors, alcohol consumption - but not cannabis use - is typically associated with increased odds of intimate partner violence. Authors reported: "On any alcohol use days, heavy alcohol use days (five or more standard drinks), and as the number of drinks increased on a given day, the odds of physical and sexual aggression perpetration increased. The odds of psychological aggression increased on heavy alcohol use days only." By contrast, researchers concluded, "[M]arijuana use days did not increase the odds of any type of aggression."

Full text of the study, "Couples' marijuana use is inversely related to their intimate partner violence over the first 9 years of marriage," appears in Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.

Source: http://norml.org

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Thu, 28 Aug 2014 22:03:14 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/analysis/55067-study-marijuana-use-associated-with-decreased-likelihood-of-domestic-violence.html
Watch: Study Says States With Medical Marijuana Have 25 Percent Fewer Overdose Deaths http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/55060-watch-study-says-states-with-medical-marijuana-have-25-percent-fewer-overdose-deaths.html

Does medical marijuana have an unintended consequence? A study from Johns Hopkins reports states with medical marijuana laws have 25 percent fewer deaths due to overdose.

Source: america.aljazeera.com

Related Article:

JAMA: Medical Cannabis States Possess Lower Rates Of Opiate-Induced Fatalities

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g@turningleft.net (Staff) Sat, 30 Aug 2014 20:48:33 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/55060-watch-study-says-states-with-medical-marijuana-have-25-percent-fewer-overdose-deaths.html
Oregon Spotted Frog Protected Under Endangered Species Act http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/55057-oregon-spotted-frog-protected-under-endangered-species-act.html Critical Habitat Designations to Follow in Oregon, Washington

PORTLAND, Oregon—(ENEWSPF)—August 28, 2014. In accordance with an agreement with the Center for Biological Diversity that speeds protection decisions for 757 species, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today protected Oregon spotted frogs as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. Once abundant from British Columbia to California, spotted frogs have disappeared from 90 percent of their former range, mostly due to the ongoing destruction of their wetland habitats. The frog has been waiting for protection since 1991.

“We’re so glad Oregon spotted frogs are finally getting the protection they need to survive,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center. “Protecting wetlands doesn’t just benefit these spotted frogs — it also helps people. It reduces flood danger, preserves water quality, and provides habitat for a lot of other wildlife species.”

The Oregon spotted frog once occurred throughout the Willamette Valley, Puget Trough and elsewhere. Today there are fewer than 100 known sites where the frog still survives. The species is threatened by habitat loss, disease, introduced fish and contaminants, and in particular has suffered from the massive loss of wetlands next to rivers and streams. 

Last year the Fish and Wildlife Service proposed designating 68,000 acres and 24 stream miles as critical habitat for the frog in 14 units, including sites in the Chilliwack, Nooksack, Samish, Black and White Salmon watersheds in Washington and the Deschutes, Little Deschutes, McKenzie, Willamette, Williamson and Klamath watersheds in Oregon. The agency did not finalize that habitat today, but stated that it will soon. 

“Now that the Oregon spotted frog is protected, we can begin the difficult job of recovering them to more of their historic habitat,” said Greenwald. “The calls of spotted frogs sound like woodpeckers, though they’re often delivered underwater. And they’re just as much a part of our Pacific Northwest heritage as the bugling of Roosevelt elk or the hooting of spotted owls. It would be thrilling if we could again hear these frogs in Portland, Seattle and so many other places they once called home.”

The spotted frog was first recognized as a candidate for Endangered Species Act protection in 1991. In 2011 the Center and the Fish and Wildlife Service reached a settlement to speed protections for all the species on the candidate waiting list as of 2010 and for a host of other species that had been petitioned for protection. So far 131 species have been protected under the agreement, and another 12 have been proposed for protection.

In 2008 the Center and its allies sued to challenge cattle grazing near one of the frog’s remaining sites, along Jack Creek in the Fremont-Winema National Forest. In response to that lawsuit, the U.S. Forest Service installed a three-mile fence to exclude cattle from the frog’s breeding grounds in Jack Creek. Trespass cattle, however, continue to threaten the population, and the groups are again in court to press the Forest Service to improve management. Threats to many of the other populations also persist. 

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 775,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Source: http://www.biologicaldiversity.org

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Thu, 28 Aug 2014 18:08:24 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/55057-oregon-spotted-frog-protected-under-endangered-species-act.html
Fish and Wildlife Service Urged to Speed Protection for Bat Devastated by White-nose Fungal Epidemic http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/55056-fish-and-wildlife-service-urged-to-speed-protection-for-bat-devastated-by-white-nose-fungal-epidemic.html RICHMOND, Vt.—(ENEWSPF)—August 28, 2014. Two dozen conservation and animal-welfare groups sent a letter today urging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to complete its plan to protect the northern long-eared bat, a species found primarily in the eastern and midwestern United States. Opposition to the bat’s protection under the Endangered Species Act — from timber, mining and energy industries as well as several state natural-resource agency officials — prompted the Fish and Wildlife Service to postpone a final decision on protecting the bat until spring 2015.

“There’s no scientifically valid reason to delay protecting the northern long-eared bat. There are only political reasons,” said Mollie Matteson, a senior scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity. “White-nose syndrome has already killed 98 percent of northern long-eared bats in their core range, and the disease keeps spreading. These animals are already highly endangered, and if we don’t take action right now to help them, they’ll soon be extinct.”

White-nose syndrome is an exotic fungal disease that first showed up in North American hibernating bats in 2006. It is estimated to have killed nearly 7 million bats, and has affected seven different species. From its epicenter in upstate New York, the disease has spread to bats in 25 states. It is the primary threat to northern long-eared bats, which are also threatened by habitat loss through logging, environmental toxins, and human disturbance of bat colonies. Insect-eating bats such as the northern long-eared help keep populations of farm crop and timber pests in check, and are estimated to provide $22 billion worth of pest control services to agriculture annually.

In 2010 the Center petitioned the Fish and Wildlife Service to protect the northern long-eared bat and eastern small-footed bat under the Endangered Species Act. In October of last year the agency proposed that the northern long-eared bat be designated as endangered. It was scheduled to finalize that proposal in October, but in the face of intensifying criticism from industry groups and several state natural-resource agencies in the upper Midwest, the Service announced earlier this summer it would delay the final decision until April 2015.

"With so few left, every individual bat is vital," said Nancy Blaney, senior policy advisor with the Animal Welfare Institute. "Every delay in protection for this bat means that it will be in worse shape by the time the government finally does what is clearly necessary — to list this bat under the ESA and get down to the work of safeguarding it from all actions that jeopardize its continued existence."

Some opponents of federal protection for northern long-eared bats contend that since logging, mining and other threats are not the primary causes of the bat’s decline, those activities should be exempt from Endangered Species Act prohibitions that would prevent them from harming the animal. However, an endangered listing would require planning and mitigation measures to address even incidental harm, such as that caused by a national forest offering a timber sale in a place where northern long-eared bats may be hurt by logging. Listing the bat under the ESA would also provide tools to ensure the species' conservation in the United States.

Signers of the letter, sent to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe, include national organizations such as the Center for Biological Diversity and Animal Welfare Institute, as well local grassroots groups based in states ranging from Maine to South Dakota.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 775,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Source: http://www.biologicaldiversity.org

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Thu, 28 Aug 2014 18:06:36 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/55056-fish-and-wildlife-service-urged-to-speed-protection-for-bat-devastated-by-white-nose-fungal-epidemic.html
NIH to Launch Human Safety Study of Ebola Vaccine Candidate http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/55054-nih-to-launch-human-safety-study-of-ebola-vaccine-candidate.html Trial is First in Series of Accelerated Safety Studies of Ebola Vaccines

Bethesda, Maryland--(ENEWSPF)--August 28, 2014.  Initial human testing of an investigational vaccine to prevent Ebola virus disease will begin next week by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.

The early-stage trial will begin initial human testing of a vaccine co-developed by NIAID and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and will evaluate the experimental vaccine’s safety and ability to generate an immune system response in healthy adults. Testing will take place at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

The study is the first of several Phase 1 clinical trials that will examine the investigational NIAID/GSK Ebola vaccine and an experimental Ebola vaccine developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada and licensed to NewLink Genetics Corp. The others are to launch in the fall. These trials are conducted in healthy adults who are not infected with Ebola virus to determine if the vaccine is safe and induces an adequate immune response.

In parallel, NIH has partnered with a British-based international consortium that includes the Wellcome Trust and Britain’s Medical Research Council and Department for International Development to test the NIAID/GSK vaccine candidate among healthy volunteers in the United Kingdom and in the West African countries of Gambia (after approval from the relevant authorities) and Mali.

Additionally, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has initiated discussions with Ministry of Health officials in Nigeria about the prospects for conducting a Phase 1 safety study of the vaccine among healthy adults in that country.

The pace of human safety testing for experimental Ebola vaccines has been expedited in response to the ongoing Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 1,400 suspected and confirmed deaths from Ebola infection have been reported in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone since the outbreak was first reported in March 2014. 

“There is an urgent need for a protective Ebola vaccine, and it is important to establish that a vaccine is safe and spurs the immune system to react in a way necessary to protect against infection,” said NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. “The NIH is playing a key role in accelerating the development and testing of investigational Ebola vaccines.”

“Today we know the best way to prevent the spread of Ebola infection is through public health measures, including good infection control practices, isolation, contact tracing, quarantine, and provision of personal protective equipment,” added Dr. Fauci. “However, a vaccine will ultimately be an important tool in the prevention effort. The launch of Phase 1 Ebola vaccine studies is the first step in a long process.”

“Tried and true public health interventions, strong supportive medical care and the rapid testing of Ebola vaccines and antiviral treatments can help to reduce suffering now and in the future,” said CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H.

The investigational vaccine now entering Phase 1 trials was designed by Nancy J. Sullivan, Ph.D., chief of the Biodefense Research Section in NIAID’s Vaccine Research Center (VRC). She worked in collaboration with researchers at the VRC, the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, and Okairos, a Swiss-Italian biotechnology company acquired by GSK in 2013.

Phase 1 clinical trials are the first step in what is typically a multi-stage clinical trials process). During Phase 1 studies, researchers test an investigational vaccine in a small group of people to evaluate its safety and the immune response it provokes. Phase 2 clinical trials of investigational vaccines are designed to further assess safety and immune response in larger numbers of volunteers. Under certain circumstances, the vaccine’s ability to prevent infection or disease (called efficacy) can be determined in a Phase 2 trial. Phase 3 clinical trials are directed predominantly at determining efficacy.

The NIAID/GSK Ebola vaccine candidate is based on a type of chimpanzee cold virus, called chimp adenovirus type 3 (ChAd3). The adenovirus is used as a carrier, or vector, to deliver segments of genetic material derived from two Ebola virus species: Zaire Ebola and Sudan Ebola. Hence, this vaccine is referred to as a bivalent vaccine. The Zaire species of the virus is responsible for the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

The vaccine candidate delivers one part of Ebola’s genetic material to human cells, but the adenovirus vector does not replicate. Rather, the Ebola gene that it carries allows the cells of the vaccine recipient to express a single Ebola protein, and that protein prompts an immune response in the individual. It is important to know that the Ebola genetic material contained in the investigational vaccine cannot cause a vaccinated individual to become infected with Ebola.

“The experimental NIAID/GSK vaccine performed extremely well in protecting nonhuman primates from Ebola infection,” Dr. Fauci noted.

The candidate vaccine builds upon three earlier NIAID-developed investigational Ebola vaccines that began Phase 1 clinical trial testing in 2003.

“The knowledge gained from each of those trials has contributed to the development of the candidate vaccine we are now studying, as well as our improved understanding of human immune responses to investigational Ebola vaccines,” said John R. Mascola, M.D., director of NIAID’s Vaccine Research Center.

The Phase 1 clinical trial, called VRC 207, will be led by principal investigator Julie E. Ledgerwood, D.O., chief of the VRC’s clinical trials program, and will be conducted among 20 healthy adults ages 18 to 50 years. Participants will be divided into two groups of 10 participants each. One group will receive an intramuscular injection of the NIAID/GSK experimental vaccine. The second group will receive a single injection of the same vaccine but at a higher dose.

A number of safety features are built into the study’s design, including daily and weekly reviews of patient data by clinical staff and the study protocol team. Additionally, the trial features a staged enrollment plan that requires interim safety reviews after three participants have been vaccinated and have undergone three days of follow up before enrolling additional study participants into the group. Participants in both groups will be seen and evaluated by clinical staff nine times over a 48-week period.

Additional Phase 1 Tests of the NIAID/GSK Vaccine

As part of the VRC 207 trial, NIAID will also test a version of the NIAID/GSK vaccine that contains genetic material from only the Zaire Ebola species. Hence, this vaccine is referred to as a monovalent vaccine. This portion of the Phase 1 safety study, which will also involve 20 healthy adults, is expected to begin in October at the NIH Clinical Center and potentially another U.S. location. Dr. Ledgerwood will also lead that effort. The VRC 207 clinical trial is being conducted based on expedited review and approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

In parallel, NIH has partnered with an international consortium that includes the British-based Wellcome Trust, as well as Britain’s Medical Research Council and Department for International Development to test the same NIAID/GSK monovalent vaccine candidate. The vaccine candidate will be tested among 60 healthy volunteers at the University of Oxford in England and among 40 healthy volunteers in Mali by the University of Maryland School of Medicine Center for Vaccine Development and its Center for Vaccine Development in Mali (a joint enterprise of the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the Ministry of Health of Mali). Additionally, the vaccine candidate is expected to be tested among 40 healthy volunteers in Gambia after approval from the relevant authorities.

The Oxford trial is expected to launch in mid-September pending ethical and regulatory approval.

“Today’s announcement shows how private and public partners can pull together to quickly respond to this critical public health emergency. Developing a new vaccine is complex with no guarantees of success, and we are still in the early days for our Ebola vaccine candidate. But we are encouraged by progress so far and will do the best we can, along with WHO and our partners, to speed up development and explore ways in which the vaccine could contribute to this or future Ebola outbreaks,” said Dr. Moncef Slaoui, chairman of Global R&D and Vaccines at GSK.

Initial safety and immunogenicity data from the Phase 1 trials of the NIAID/GSK investigational Ebola vaccine are expected in late 2014.

Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSV) Ebola Vaccine Testing

The NIH will also collaborate with the U.S. Department of Defense in support of efforts by NewLink Genetics Corp., a biopharmaceutical company in Ames, Iowa, to conduct Phase 1 safety studies of the investigational recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus Ebola vaccine (called VSV-EBOV) developed by and licensed from the Public Health Agency of Canada. Those clinical trials are expected to begin in the fall at the Clinical Trials Center of Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Maryland.

For more information about these early-stage Ebola vaccine clinical trials, see Questions and Answers: Phase 1 Clinical Trials of NIAID/GSK Investigational Ebola Vaccine.

NIAID conducts and supports research — at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide — to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID Web site at http://www.niaid.nih.gov.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

Source: nih.gov

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Thu, 28 Aug 2014 18:00:00 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/55054-nih-to-launch-human-safety-study-of-ebola-vaccine-candidate.html
Prairie State College Takes the Workplace Charging Challenge http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/55053-prairie-state-college-takes-the-workplace-charging-challenge.html

CHICAGO HEIGHTS--(ENEWSPF)--August 28, 2014.  This summer, Prairie State College (PSC) President Dr. Terri Winfree signed the Workplace Charging Challenge from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Workplace Charging Challenge

The Workplace Charging Challenge is part of the “EV Everywhere Grand Challenge,” a “Clean Energy Grand Challenge” with the goal of enabling the United States to be the first in the world to produce plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) that are as affordable and convenient for the average American family as today’s gasoline-powered vehicles within the next 10 years. The DOE’s goal is to increase the number of American employers offering workplace charging by tenfold in the next five years.

Winfree signed the challenge during PSC’s stop of the Illinois Green Economy Network’s (IGEN) Electric Vehicle (EV) Road Trip - a 450-mile relay to increase awareness of electric vehicle (EV) technology. PSC is one of 16 colleges in Illinois that has electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) on campus, available for employee, student and community use. PSC currently has two level 2 charging stations with three outlets.

“At PSC, we are committed to improving and protecting the environment while promoting fiscal and social responsibility,” Winfree said. “The EV charging stations on campus are just one of the many ways we are educating students and the broader community about pressures on the global and local environment, increasing awareness of and educating for the green economy, and addressing social issues in our community to ensure a quality of life for future generations that is greater than the present.”

As part of the EV initiative on campus, eight spots were identified and converted to green parking in front of the main entrance. Hybrids, electric and low emission vehicles (those receiving more than 35 mpg city/highway combined) are eligible.

For more information on sustainability initiatives on campus, contact Allessandra Cairo, sustainability coordinator at acairo@prairiestate.edu. For more information about the Workplace Charging Challenge and the EV Everywhere Grand Challenge, visit electricvehicles.energy.gov or email workplacecharging@ee.doe.gov.

Source: prairiestate.edu

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Thu, 28 Aug 2014 17:57:02 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/55053-prairie-state-college-takes-the-workplace-charging-challenge.html
Sierra Club Statement on Tar Sands Tour with Leonardo DiCaprio and Darren Aronofsky http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/commentary/55047-sierra-club-statement-on-tar-sands-tour-with-leonardo-dicaprio-and-darren-aronofsky.html Alberta, Canada—(ENEWSPF)—August 28, 2014. Last week, Oscar-nominated actor Leonardo DiCaprio and Oscar-nominated and acclaimed film director Darren Aronofsky toured Alberta, Canada's tar sands region with the Sierra Club's executive director Michael Brune to witness firsthand the effects of oil drilling and strip mining operations on the environment and surrounding communities. The group toured Suncor's oil operations outside of Fort MacMurray, explored the Athabasca River basin, and met with the Athabasca Chipewyan and Mikisew Cree First Nations in the remote village of Fort Chipewyan.

Sierra Club Executive Director, Michael Brune, issued the following statement:

"The tar sands mining operations in Alberta are destroying whole landscapes, turning once verdant old growth forests into sterile badlands, and devastating the lives of traditional peoples who live next door.

"Tar sands oil is the dirtiest oil there is, three times as bad for our climate as conventional oil. Investing in fossil fuels is like building a bridge to the 19thcentury. We are already building an economy based on clean energy that is creating more jobs than building pipelines or strip mining forests for oil.

"It was an honor to experience the tar sands and meet the chiefs of First Nations communities whose traditional lands are threatened by tar sands with Leonardo DiCaprio and Darren Aronofsky. I look forward to DiCaprio's upcoming documentary because the world needs to know about the devastation being caused by tar sands development. I also look forward to marching with Darren Aronofsky at thePeople's Climate Marchin New York City on September 21, where we will let world leaders know that the American people support immediate action on climate disruption."

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 2.4 million members and supporters nationwide. In addition to creating opportunities for people of all ages, levels and locations to have meaningful outdoor experiences, the Sierra Club works to safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and litigation. For more information, visit http://www.sierraclub.org.

Source: sierraclub.org

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Thu, 28 Aug 2014 17:33:58 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/commentary/55047-sierra-club-statement-on-tar-sands-tour-with-leonardo-dicaprio-and-darren-aronofsky.html
New Policy Proposal: Reform Federal Grants to Modernize Law Enforcement http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/analysis/55039-new-policy-proposal-reform-federal-grants-to-modernize-law-enforcement.html NEW YORK—(ENEWSPF)—August 28, 2014. Last week the ongoing crisis in Ferguson, Mo. prompted President Obama to call for a review of federal programs that send military equipment and money to police departments. A new policy proposal released today from the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law suggests he go further. The president should make broader reforms to federal grants across the country that fund state and local law enforcement.

Specifically, the president should use his executive authority to recast all federal grants for criminal justice in a “Success-Oriented Funding” model, in which the flow of dollars is linked to the achievement of clear goals. Recent events have shown that grant programs run by the federal government have a powerful role in shaping the behavior of law enforcement.

“The question is not whether police should have more money or less money,” said report co-author Inimai Chettiar. “But rather what they do with that money. Washington should not be in the business of giving out funds without knowing or condoning their ultimate use. When these dollars flow on autopilot, they have contributed to an explosion in arrests and imprisonments, often without accompanying public safety benefits.”

“This is a moment for strong executive leadership to examine grants that encourage harmful law enforcement practices or have unclear goals, and recast them in a way that reduces crime and violence without encouraging unnecessary force, whether through police behavior or undue focus on arrests and incarceration,” said report co-author Nicole Fortier. “The administration has a real opportunity here to affect meaningful change, without recourse to Congress.”

Federal grants for criminal justice send at least $3.8 billion to states and localities each year, money that flows to police departments, prosecutors, courts, prisons, and reentry programs, often with little oversight. Grants for national security send billions more.

Success-Oriented Funding would require that federal grant money is only awarded to states and localities with clear goals in mind. A recipient’s success at achieving those goals would be measured, and the distribution of future grant money could be premised on their success at doing so. Even in cases where funding streams do not allow grant money to be conditioned on meeting targets, by communicating priorities to grant recipients, federal agencies can affect their behavior.

Click here to read the full policy proposal, Success-Oriented Funding: Reforming Federal Criminal Justice Grants.

Click here to read more about the Brennan Center’s work to reform the criminal justice system.

Source: http://www.brennancenter.org

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Thu, 28 Aug 2014 17:05:44 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/analysis/55039-new-policy-proposal-reform-federal-grants-to-modernize-law-enforcement.html
School’s Back in Session, Leave the Toxins Behind http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/55038-school-s-back-in-session-leave-the-toxins-behind.html Washington, DC--(ENEWSPF)--August 28, 2014.  It’s back to school time again, which for many of our readers and parents across the country means the unnerving possibility of hazardous pesticide exposure at school from well-intentioned but misguided attempts to create a germ and pest-free environment. Because children face unique hazards from pesticide exposure due to their small size and developing organ systems, using toxic chemicals to get rid of pests and germs harms students much more than it helps. Fortunately, parents and teachers have many options for safer techniques and strategies to implement a pest management program at schools without relying on these toxic chemicals. Additionally, schools can further their students’ education beyond the lessons of the text book by providing habitat for wildlife and growing organic food in a school garden. By going organic, your child’s school can become a model for communities across the nation.

Beyond Pesticides has put together this back-to-school checklist of programs and steps you can take to ensure that you are sending your kids back to a healthier and safer environment.

Get Organized and Improve Your School’s Pest Management Program

Whether you’re a parent, community activist, landscaper, school administrator or employee, use these steps to help successfully eliminate harmful pesticides from your local school. For more details, see our School Organizing guide.

  1. Identify the school’s pest management policy. You may be surprised to learn that your school is already making strides to prevent pesticide use in your school district, or that there are state or local policies in place that help safeguard your child from pesticides. Contact the appropriate school personnel to find out if and how applicable policies are being implemented by identifying what pest management controls the school is using, the pesticides used, and the notification program.
  2. Educate yourself and evaluate the program. Use Beyond Pesticides’ resources to learn about toxic chemical use and arm yourself with information about alternatives. See a Webinar featuring Beyond Pesticides’ executive director, Jay Feldman, Webinar: Effective Policies to Reduce Exposures to Pesticides in Schools.
  3. Organize the school community. Identify and contact friends and neighbors, teachers, staff, individuals and organizations who care about pesticide use at your school. It’s much easier to change policies with allies! Once you have a core group of individuals, develop and present a proposed policy for the school district to adopt.
  4. Work with school decision-makers. Contact appropriate school officials and ask for endorsement of the proposed policy. It’s important that your organic pest management program include a written policy adopted by the school district’s board to ensure that the program is institutionalized and will continue to flourish years after key organizers leave the district.
  5. Become a watchdog and establish an integrated or organic pest management committee. Make sure the school district is on track to improve its practices. Creating a committee to oversee the program helps ensure that the program is successfully implemented.

In addition, here are some other areas where you can improve the health of your school:

Fight Germs Without Triclosan

Because of its link to adverse health effects – including asthma, cancer and learning dis­abilities, triclosan has no place in the classroom. Beyond Pesticides has generated extensive documentation of the potential human and environmental health effects of triclosan and its cousin triclocarban. Be sure your child’s school does not use antibacterial soaps; regular soap and water is just as effective at getting rid of bacteria.

It’s easy to avoid triclosan. Read the product label, whether it’s a backpack, school supplies, soap or sanitizer for any label statement that says “antibacterial,”or “antimicrobial protection.” Due to public pressure, many companies have reformulated their products without triclosan, and earlier this year, the state of Minnesota took critical steps to protect their residents from exposure to triclosan by banning the chemical in personal care and cleaning products.

Subtract Triclosan from the Equation: Tell your principal that you are concerned about the use of antibacterial soap and its impact on the health of the students and staff. Ask that the school order regular soap from its usual janitorial product supplier and that all cleansers and sanitizers used by the school be triclosan-free. Materials on the health impacts of triclosan are available at Beyond Pesticides. Sign the pledge and go triclosan-free.

Feed Organic Food

The American Academy of Pediatricians has stated that foods without pesticide residues are significant for children. If you are unable to eat all organic, purchase organic varieties of the foods you and your kids eat most often. For information on how to eat feed your family organic affordably, download Beyond Pesticides’ handy bi-fold brochure. You can also increase the amount of organic food your child eats while decreasing his or her exposure to toxic pesticides and lessening your impact on the environment by asking your school to adopt an organic lunch program or helping to start an organic school garden. For more information, on why eating organic is the right choice, see Eating with a Conscience.

It’s easiest to go organic when you grow organic. School gardens and other farm-to-school programs teach children where food comes from and establish healthy relationships with food and the natural world. An organic garden starts with healthy soil using natural sources of fertility such as compost, and schools have a great built-in source of potential compost feedstock in kitchen scraps and cafeteria leftovers. See “School Lunches Go Organic,” and “The Organic School Garden,” for more information.

Care About Kids

Early in 2013, EPA announced its decision to cancel the registration of 12 rodenticide products manufactured by Reckitt Benckiser LLC, the manufacturer of d-CON products. The company announced that it will stop production of rodent baits containing second generation anticoagulant rodenticides by the end of this year; however, retailers will be allowed to continue to sell these dangerous products until supplies are exhausted. The rodenticide products slated for cancellation pose significant risks to human health, and children are particularly susceptible to these risks because they play on floors and explore by putting items in their mouths, which can include loose rat poisons like d-CON. Because these products can still be found on the shelves of Walmart and several other national retailers, despite regulatory action to remove these products from the market, Beyond Pesticides has urged major retailers to stop selling these highly toxic rodenticides. Be sure that your school does not use these harmful rodenticides, by utilizing alternative measures to prevent rodent problems, including sealing gaps around the doors by replacing worn thresholds and weather stripping, and installing door sweeps, as well as caulking openings around water pipes, electric wires, cables, and vents. There are also many baits traps on the market that do not utilize toxic chemicals. For more information, go to Beyond Pesticides Care for Kids rodenticide page.

BEE Protective

Pollinators are very important to our ecosystem and agriculture. However, many pollinators, like honey bees, bumble bees, birds, and butterflies, are declining due to loss of habitat, widespread use of toxic pesticides, parasites, and disease. You and your school can play a part to help these important creatures by (1) not using toxic pesticides, (2) planting pollinator habitat, and (3) educating your friends and family.

Have your school pass a resolution to ban neonicotinoid pesticides that are toxic to honey bees and other pollinators. Vermont Law School recently passed a resolution to go neonicotinoid-free, and you can see our model resolution can be obtained here. If you school has pollinator-friendly habitat, pledge your school as pollinator-friendly and indicate how many acres (or fraction of an acre) your school can declare.

Build Biodiversity: from the School Grounds to the Classroom

Biodiversity helps bees and other pollinators; diverse plants produce a supply of nectar throughout the growing season, and biodiversity of soil organisms promotes healthy plants that grow well without poisons. Protect biodiversity through organic turf, playing fields and landscape policies. Encourage your school to plant pollinator-attractive plants in its garden as part of its biology class. If your school does not have a garden, request one be integrated into the curriculum. Wildflowers, native plant and grass species should be encouraged on school grounds. See our BEE Protective Habitat Guide for more information on attractive flowers. Also see our Do-It-Yourself Biodiversity factsheet and Managing Landscapes with Pollinators in Mind for resources on how you can help build biodiversity.

Health Turf = Healthy Kids

Many school schools around the country are realizing that a well-defined integrated or organic pest management program is one of the best ways to eliminate children’s exposure to pesticides in school buildings, and organic turf management, similarly, eliminates hazards on playing fields and playgrounds. A good program will have strictly defined processes of prevention, monitoring and control, as well as record keeping, which offers the opportunity to eliminate harmful pesticides in schools, where only the least toxic option is used.

Improving a school’s pest management program requires perseverance, as administrators and grounds staff may be uninformed. One major selling point is that, when it comes to playing fields, organic turf management systems cost as much as 25% less than chemical-intensive systems. Learn more about the 30 of the most commonly used chemicals on athletic fields that can cause numerous health risks to children, including glyphosate (Roundup) and 2,4-D. Also see organic management of school fields in our Pesticides and Playing Fields fact sheet and the Lawns and Landscapes page.

For more information on how you can ensure a healthy school year for your child and community, see Beyond Pesticides’ Children and Schools page.

All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.

Source: http://www.beyondpesticides.org

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Thu, 28 Aug 2014 17:02:14 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/55038-school-s-back-in-session-leave-the-toxins-behind.html
EPA Releases Three Final Chemical Risk Assessment http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/55037-epa-releases-three-final-chemical-risk-assessment.html Agency identifies health concern from chemical used in paint strippers

WASHINGTON--(ENEWSPF)--August 28, 2014.  Today, EPA released three final risk assessments for specific uses of three chemicals found in common household products. The risk assessment for Dichloromethane (DCM), which is widely used in paint stripping products, indicates health risks to both workers and consumers who use these products, and to bystanders in workplaces and residences where DCM is used. EPA estimates that more than 230,000 workers nationwide are directly exposed to DCM from DCM-containing paint strippers. “While EPA continues to support much needed reform of this country’s chemicals management legislation, we are also using our current authorities as effectively as we can, which includes conducting risk assessments on chemicals to determine if they are safe for the public,” said Jim Jones, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “Our review indicates that the use of DCM in paint strippers pose risks to human health, so EPA is beginning an effort to determine options for addressing the concern.”

Risk assessments for the other two chemicals did not show concerns. The other two looked at ecological risks of antimony trioxide (ATO) used as a synergist in halogenated flame retardants and 1,3,4,6,7,8-Hexahydro-4,6,6,7,8,8,-hexamethylcyclopenta-[ã]-2-benzopyran (HHCB) used as a fragrance ingredient in commercial and consumer products.

These final assessments and the recently released TCE risk assessment, which identified concerns for certain uses, were developed as part of the agency’s Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Work Plan, which identified chemicals for review and assessment of potential risks to people’s health and the environment. The risk assessments are based on the best available information and were finalized after careful consideration of comments from the public and experts during an independent, scientific peer review of the assessments.

For DCM, EPA is considering a range of possible voluntary and regulatory actions to address concerns and anticipates conducting a workshop in late fall to engage key stakeholders and the public on potential alternatives and risk reduction approaches.

In the meantime, EPA recommends that consumers check the label to determine if the product contains Dichloromethane or Methylene Chloride. If so, EPA recommends taking precautions that can reduce exposures, such as using the product outside or in an extremely well-ventilated area and wearing protective equipment.

EPA is also currently evaluating risks of another chemical in paint strippers called N-Methylpyrrolidone (NMP). EPA released a draft risk assessment for NMP which identified risks associated with use of NMP-containing paint strippers. EPA does not expect the final risk assessment to significantly change this conclusion, and therefore recommends that those using NMP-containing paint strippers also take measures to minimize exposure.

Additional information on these final risk assessments and other TSCA Work Plan chemicals can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/oppt/existingchemicals/pubs/riskassess.html

Source: epa.gov

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Thu, 28 Aug 2014 16:59:27 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/55037-epa-releases-three-final-chemical-risk-assessment.html
State Department Alerts U.S. Citizens of Potential Implications for Travel Because of Ebola in Parts of West Africa http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/55032-state-department-alerts-u-s-citizens-of-potential-implications-for-travel-because-of-ebola-in-parts-of-west-africa.html Washington, DC—(ENEWSPF)—August 28, 2014. The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to screening procedures, travel restrictions, and reduced aviation transportation options in response to the outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone.   This Travel Alert will expire on February 27, 2015.

Due to an outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the West African nations of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued  Level 3 Travel Warnings for those three countries advising against non-essential travel and provided guidance to reduce the potential for spread of EVD.  The CDC also issued a Level 2 Travel Alert for Nigeria to notify travelers of the Ebola outbreak in that country.  The Bureau of Consular Affairs’ website prominently features an Ebola Fact Sheet and links to the CDC Health Travel Warnings, Travel Alert, and general guidance about Ebola.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and CDC have also published and provided interim guidance to public health authorities, airlines, and other partners in West Africa for evaluating risk of exposure of persons coming from countries affected by EVD.  Measures can include screening, medical evaluation, movement restrictions up to 21 days, and infection control precautions.  Travelers who exhibit symptoms indicative of possible Ebola infection may be prevented from boarding and restricted from traveling for the 21-day period.  Please note neither the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs nor the U.S. Embassy have authority over quarantine issues and cannot prevent a U.S. citizen from being quarantined should local health authorities require it.  For questions about quarantine, please visit the CDC website that addresses quarantine and isolation issues.

The cost for a medical evacuation is very expensive.  We encourage U.S. citizens travelling to Ebola-affected countries to purchase travel insurance that includes medical evacuation for Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).  Policy holders should confirm the availability of medical care and evacuation services at their travel destinations prior to travel. 

Some local, regional, and international air carriers have curtailed or temporarily suspended service to or from Ebola-affected countries.  U.S. citizens planning travel to or from these countries, in accordance with the CDC Health Travel Warnings and Health Travel Alert, should contact their airline to verify seat availability, confirm departure schedules, inquire about screening procedures, and be aware of other airline options. 

The Department is aware that some countries have put in place procedures relating to the travel of individuals from the affected countries, including complete travel bans.  Changes to existing procedures may occur with little or no notice.  Please consult your airline or the embassy of your destination country for additional information. 

We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling or residing abroad enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).  STEP enrollment allows you to receive the Department’s safety and security updates, and makes it easier for the nearest U.S. embassy or U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency.  If you do not have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Regularly monitor the State Department’s website, where you can find current Travel Warning and Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution, and read the Country Specific Information for your destination countries.  For additional information, refer to the "Traveler's Checklist" on the State Department's website.  Current information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free from within the United States and Canada, or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).  Follow us on Twitter and on Facebook.

Source: state.gov

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Thu, 28 Aug 2014 16:42:22 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/55032-state-department-alerts-u-s-citizens-of-potential-implications-for-travel-because-of-ebola-in-parts-of-west-africa.html
PAINWeek Welcomes Ethan Nadelmann, JD, PhD, as Keynote Speaker at 2014 Conference http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/55029-painweek-welcomes-ethan-nadelmann-jd-phd-as-keynote-speaker-at-2014-conference.html PAINWeek, the National Conference on Pain for Frontline Practitioners, today announced that Ethan Nadelmann, JD, PhD, will deliver the Keynote Address at PAINWeek 2014.

Montclair, NJ—(ENEWSPF)--August 28, 2014. PAINWeek, the National Conference on Pain for Frontline Practitioners, today announced that Ethan Nadelmann, JD, PhD, will deliver the Keynote Address at PAINWeek 2014. Dr. Nadelmann is the founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, the leading organization in the United States promoting alternatives to the war on drugs. As a longtime proponent of drug policy reform, both domestically and internationally, he has played a pivotal role in discussions and policy initiatives concerned with pharmaceutical legislation and drug sentencing, prevention of overdose fatalities, and marijuana policy. His address, entitled “The Sound and the Fury: What Ending the Drug War Looks Like,” will be delivered as part of the Welcome Proceedings on Wednesday, September 3, at 6:30 pm.

Nadelmann received his BA, JD, and PhD in political science from Harvard, as well as an MSc in international relations from the London School of Economics, and taught at Princeton University for 7 years. He has authored 2 books—Cops Across Borders and (with Peter Andreas) Policing the Globe—and his writings have appeared in most major media outlets in the US as well as top academic journals. He has played a key role as drug policy advisor to George Soros and other prominent philanthropists and to elected officials in the US and internationally.

“It’s hard to find anyone who still says they support the ‘war on drugs,’ yet the harsh legacy of that war lingers on,” said Dr. Nadelmann. “What’s needed now is a vision for a new drug control policy grounded in science, compassion, health, and human rights.”

Debra Weiner, Director of Program Development for PAINWeek, commented: “We are excited to welcome Ethan Nadelmann back to PAINWeek as our Keynote Speaker. His experience and that of his organization in influencing the course of drug policy reform in ballot initiatives nationwide makes him uniquely qualified to offer new ideas that can benefit all stakeholders in the pain management arena.”

About PAINWeek

PAINWeek is the largest US pain conference for frontline practitioners with an interest in pain management. Convening at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas for its 8th year on September 2-6, 2014, PAINWeek expects to welcome over 2000 physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals for a comprehensive program of course offerings, satellite events, and exhibits. Over 120 hours of continuing medical education activities will be presented. To learn more and register for PAINWeek 2014, visit http://www.painweek.org.

Source: www.drugpolicy.org

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Thu, 28 Aug 2014 16:23:21 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/55029-painweek-welcomes-ethan-nadelmann-jd-phd-as-keynote-speaker-at-2014-conference.html
Pope Francis Urged to Rid the Vatican of Investments in Fossil Fuels http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/55019-pope-francis-urged-to-rid-the-vatican-of-investments-in-fossil-fuels.html

GLOBAL --(ENEWSPF)--August 26, 2014.  The global climate campaign 350.org and partners launched a new campaign today urging Pope Francis to divest the Vatican Bank from all investments in the fossil fuel industry and publicly support the growing movement to divest from fossil fuels.

The petition to the head of the Catholic church reads, “Your acknowledgement of the dire threat of climate change, the Vatican’s efforts to become the first carbon-neutral state, and your dedication to caring for Creation give us great hope. We urge you to use the power of your office to set an example for the world."

Pope Francis has been outspoken about the threat of climate change, calling environmental destruction a “sinful act”. He warned that, “If we destroy Creation, Creation will destroy us,” and appealed to Christians to become “Custodians of Creation”. Pope Francis is also in the process of writing an encyclical, one of the highest forms of Catholic teaching, on humanity’s role in caring for the Earth. He has also initiated a radical overhaul of the Vatican bank to increase transparency, accountability and tackle corruption. The Vatican bank has holdings of $8 billion. As long as fossil fuels are not explicitly excluded, a part of these holdings are inevitably invested in fossil fuel companies.

Jamie Henn, 350.org’s Director of Strategy and Communication says, “Pope Francis understands the threat of climate change and our moral responsibility to act. We urge him to take appropriate steps to stop the Catholic church from fueling the climate crisis through its investments, and use the power of his office to call on Christians and non-Christians alike to align their investments with their values.”

The petition follows a letter to the Pope from religious groups in Australia and North America saying that it’s “immoral” to profit from fossil fuels and asking him to advocate for divestment from fossil fuel.

Fossil fuel divestment has gained traction among faith communities. Last month, the World Council of Churches, a fellowship of over 300 churches, which represent some 590 million people in 150 countries, decided to phase out its holdings in fossil fuels and encouraged its members to do the same. The Quakers in the UK, the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, the United Church of Christ in the USA and many more regional and local churches have also joined the divestment movement.

This June, the University of Dayton in Ohio divested from fossil fuels, becoming the first major Catholic institution in the United States to join the divestment movement. At the time, Michael Galligan-Stierle, president of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, said, “We applaud the University of Dayton for taking this step as perhaps the first U.S. Catholic university to divest from fossil fuels. This is a complex issue, but Catholic higher education was founded to examine culture and find ways to advance the common good. Here is one way to lead as a good steward of God's creation.”

Nobel Peace-Prize winner and former South African Anglican Archbishop, Desmond Tutu already called for an “anti-apartheid style boycott of the fossil fuel industry”. Tutu’s call to action has been echoed by UN climate chief Christiana Figueres, who urged religious leaders to pull their investments out of fossil fuel companies, as well.

350.org and partners are encouraging institutions and individuals to make a commitment to divest from fossil fuels and invest in climate solutions for this September’s Climate Summit that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is hosting in New York City. Upwards of 100,000 people are expected to take part in a giant mobilisation, the People’s Climate March, on Sunday, September 21, just two days before the summit, with hundreds of coordinated actions taking place the same weekend around the world.

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350 is the red line for human beings, the most important number on the planet. The most recent science tells us that unless we can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million, we will cause huge and irreversible damage to the earth. But solutions exist. All around the world, a movement is building to take on the climate crisis, to get humanity out of the danger zone and below 350. This movement is massive, it is diverse, and it is visionary. We are activists, scholars, and scientists. We are leaders in our businesses, our churches, our governments, and our schools. We are clean energy advocates, forward-thinking politicians, and fearless revolutionaries. And we are united around the world, driven to make our planet livable for all who come after us.

Source: http://www.commondreams.org

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Tue, 26 Aug 2014 22:06:39 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/55019-pope-francis-urged-to-rid-the-vatican-of-investments-in-fossil-fuels.html