ENEWSPF News http://www.enewspf.com/ Thu, 03 Sep 2015 15:06:27 GMT FeedCreator 1.8.0-dev (info@mypapit.net) Sanders Plan Would Stop Runaway Prescription Drug Prices http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/63922-sanders-plan-would-stop-runaway-prescription-drug-prices.html BURLINGTON, Vt. –(ENEWSPF)--September 1, 2015.  Letting Medicare negotiate with drug companies for lower price prescription medications and cracking down on pharmaceutical industry fraud are among proposals that Democratic Party presidential candidate Bernie Sanders outlined Tuesday as part of a package to rein in runaway prices for prescription medicine.

Prescription prices jumped 12.6 percent last year in the United States, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. That increase was more than double the rise in overall medical costs.

“Americans should not have to live in fear that they will go bankrupt if they get sick. People should not have to go without the medication they need just because their elected officials aren’t willing to challenge the drug and health care industry lobby,” Sanders said. The pharmaceutical industry last year doled out almost $230 million to lobby Congress.

Sanders, a senator from Vermont, said he will introduce legislation to let the Department of Health and Human Services negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies. Using the buying power of the federal government to get better deals on drug prices for taxpayers and seniors on Medicare would dramatically lower the costs.

Sanders also proposed tough new penalties for drug companies that commit fraud. “We should pass legislation which says that drug companies lose their government-backed monopoly on a drug if they are found guilty of fraud in the manufacture or sale of that drug,” Sanders said.

To encourage wider availability of more affordable generic drugs, Sanders said Congress should ban the practice of brand-name drugmakers paying potential competitors to keep lower-priced generic substitutes off the market. Brand-name drugs cost, on average, 10 times as much as generics.

Sanders also would lower barriers to the importation of lower-cost drugs from other countries like Canada, where he once took a busload of Vermonters to purchase a prescription breast cancer drug at a fraction of the cost charged in the United States for the same medicine.

In separate legislation, Sanders and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) last May introduced legislation that would make companies pay rebates to the Medicaid program if generic prices grew faster than inflation.

“Between our government’s unwillingness to negotiate prices and its failure to effectively fight fraud, it’s no wonder drug prices are out of control. We have got to make sure that everyone in this country can afford the prescription drugs that they need to live healthy lives,” Sanders said.

Source: www.berniesanders.com

 

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Wed, 02 Sep 2015 18:17:36 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/63922-sanders-plan-would-stop-runaway-prescription-drug-prices.html
Report: Extravagant CEO Pay Packages Are Fostering Planet's Destruction http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/analysis/63919-report-extravagant-ceo-pay-packages-are-fostering-planet-s-destruction.html

Report outlines how sky-high payouts and pervasive "short-termism" are promoting reckless climate behavior from fossil fuel executives

Washington, DC--(ENEWSPF)--September 2, 2015
Chevron is one of the many companies engaging in short-term, high-stakes gambling with the planet's future. (Photo: Rainforest Action Network/flickr/cc)

Pay incentives for the chief executives of the biggest publicly-held fossil fuel companies in the U.S. are worsening climate change by encouraging recklessness from management teams and rewarding companies' strongholds over oil, gas, and coal reserves, according to a new report published Wednesday by the Institute for Policy Studies.

Money to Burn: How CEO Pay is Accelerating Climate Change (pdf), an annual analysis of executive excess, outlines the complex cycle in which corporate bosses are given "enormous personal financial incentive" to promote the development of fossil fuels, which in turn allows them to donate ever-increasing funds to lobbyists and lawmakers who promote climate denial policies.

In addition, corporations "lower the performance bar by super sizing the number of equity-based rewards they grant executives during stock slumps," the report states. That's the same kind of high-stakes gambling that contributed to the 2008 economic crash and set up bankers for enormous windfalls if shares increased even slightly after the recovery began.

"Our perverse executive pay system encouraged the recklessness that led to the 2008 financial crisis," co-author and IPS Global Economy Project director Sarah Anderson said on Wednesday. "These same misplaced incentives are encouraging the recklessness of fossil fuel executives that is putting the entire world at risk."

CEOs of the 30 largest publicly-held fossil fuel companies averaged $14.7 million in total compensation in 2014, while their management teams took home roughly $6 billion over the past five years. That's twice the size of the country's recent $3 billion pledge to the Green Climate Fund, a United Nations body that redistributes wealth to developing countries in order to help them stave off the effects of global warming.

In another example, Exxon-Mobile spent $13.2 billion buying up its own stock in 2014, a tactic that inflates executive pay. That's double what all global corporations spent on researching renewable energy, IPS found. Chevron spent $4.4 billion.

In addition to sky-high financial rewards, the incentives most often come in the form of stock options, which encourages executives to cash in their bonuses within three or four years—while climate change takes decades to play out.

"Short-termism," as the report calls it, allows executives to "reap massive windfalls before the climate change their behaviors nurture starts hitting."

As co-author and IPS senior scholar Chuck Collins explains, "The short-term incentive system is not only bad for the planet, it’s bad for investors as well. A rational system would encourage global energy leaders to shift investment away from drilling and mining untapped reserves towards renewable energy options."

Moreover, the report continues, "Our perverse pay incentives are also encouraging executives to deploy their considerable corporate political clout against attempts to end fossil fuel subsidies, put a price on carbon, or introduce regulations that could speed the transition to a safe energy future."

The analysis comes just after President Barack Obama visited Alaska to promote a shift to renewable energy, even as his administration continues to approve offshore oil drilling in the Arctic's vulnerable Chukchi and Beaufort seas—remote waters just off the coast from where the president gave his speech.

"I think our numbers show that CEO pay encourages executives to behave in a way that is deepening the climate crisis," said co-author Sarah Anderson. "If we don't reverse these perverse incentives, we all remain at risk."

Some of the top-earning executives named in the IPS report include:

Peabody CEO Greg Boyce, who took home $26 million between 2008 and 2011;

James Roberts, former CEO of the now-defunct Alpha Natural Resources, who pocketed more than $15 million in one year before retiring;

Console Energy CEO J. Brett Harvey, who cashed in $19.4 million between 2010 and 2012 at the same time as the company itself laid off 600 workers and revoked retiree benefits for 4,400 former employees;

Anadarko Petroleum CEO R.A. Walker, who got $20.7 million in 2014 alone.

The IPS report proposes a number of solutions to alleviate the crisis. Among them are already-passed bills and provisions, such as those within the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law which require all U.S. corporations to reveal CEO-worker pay ratios and allow shareholders a say on compensation, among other rules.

However, as Common Dreams has previously reported, less than two-thirds of Dodd-Frank's regulations have been enacted five years after the bill's passage into law.

Robin Roberts, an accounting professor at the University of Florida, told Inside Climate News that such efforts could help limit excessive payouts, but that even increased transparency would not be able to temper the conflict between short-term incentives for executives and long-term climate impacts.

"They are depending on fossil fuels to drive their profit with very little regard for low carbon energy solutions," Roberts said. "Those remain low priorities because those aren't where they get the most money."

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Source: www.commondreams.org

 

 

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Wed, 02 Sep 2015 18:09:41 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/analysis/63919-report-extravagant-ceo-pay-packages-are-fostering-planet-s-destruction.html
Fukushima Report Dangerously Downplays Ongoing Health Risks: Greenpeace http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/63917-fukushima-report-dangerously-downplays-ongoing-health-risks-greenpeace.html

"The IAEA report actively supports the Abe government’s and the global nuclear industry’s agenda to make it appear that things can return to normal after a nuclear disaster."

JAPAN--(ENEWSPF)--September 1, 2015
The IAEA mission team studies a water purification system that removes radioactive elements from water in Fukushima, Japan, February 2015. (Photo: IAEA/flickr/cc)

A new report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) "downplays" the continuing environmental and health effects of the Fukushima nuclear meltdown while supporting the Japanese government's agenda to normalize the ongoing disaster, Greenpeace Japan charged on Tuesday.

The Vienna-based IAEA released its final report Monday on the 2011 triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. While the agency pointed to numerous failings, including unclear responsibilities among regulators, weaknesses in plant design and in disaster-preparedness, and a "widespread assumption" of safety, it was more circumspect with regard to health concerns. 

The Fukushima disaster released vast amounts of radiation, leading to fears that cases of thyroid cancer in children would soar as they did following the Chernobyl disaster of 1986.

The 200-page report sought to assuage those worries, stating: "Because the reported thyroid doses attributable to the accident were generally low, an increase in childhood thyroid cancer attributable to the accident is unlikely."

That assertion wasn't bulletproof, however. The report added: "[U]ncertainties remained concerning the thyroid equivalent doses incurred by children immediately after the accident."

In a press statement, Greenpeace Japan seized on the information gap.

"The IAEA concludes that no discernible health consequences are expected as a result of the Fukushima disaster, but admits important uncertainties in both radiation dose and long-term effects," said Kendra Ulrich, senior global energy campaigner with Greenpeace Japan. "Nobody knows how much radiation citizens were exposed to in the immediate days following the disaster. If you don’t know the doses, then you can’t conclude there won’t be any consequences. To say otherwise is political rhetoric, not science."

The IAEA report conveniently comes as pro-nuclear Prime Minister Shinzo Abe systematically seeks to lift evacuation orders and re-start the country's nuclear program

"The IAEA report actively supports the Abe government’s and the global nuclear industry’s agenda to make it appear that things can return to normal after a nuclear disaster," Ulrich said. "But there is nothing normal about the lifestyle and exposure rates that the victims are being asked to return to."

In July, Greenpeace Japan charged that the IAEA "has sought to downplay the radiological risks to the population since the early days in 2011. In fact, it produced two documents that can be said to have laid the foundation and justification for Abe’s current policy of de facto forced resettlement."

Exploring the political dynamics further, Ulrich wrote at the time:

Over four years after the triple reactor core meltdowns and exploded containment buildings at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the majority of the Japanese public has remained opposed to any nuclear restart. The country has been completely nuclear-free for nearly two years, thanks in large part to significant public opposition, in spite of the massive pressure from nuclear utilities and the Abe government on local city governments.

However, these utilities are massively powerful and the Abe government is wholly in bed with them.

In an effort to reduce public opposition, Abe has been pushing forward the pro-nuclear agenda to 'normalize' a nuclear disaster. If the public can be convinced that less than five years after the worst nuclear disaster in a generation, citizens can go home and return to life the way it was before the disaster – with no additional health risks – then that is a powerful argument against the majority of Japanese citizens who oppose  nuclear reactor restarts.

Japan's Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported Tuesday that evacuees from three Fukushima Prefecture localities who were displaced by the nuclear disaster started temporarily returning to their homes on Monday to prepare for their eventual permanent return.

"But applicants for the temporary stay program that began that day totaled 1,265, less than 10 percent of about 14,000 eligible as of Aug. 30," the paper reported. "The small number indicates that an overwhelming majority of evacuees are still concerned about radiation levels and prospects for a return to normalcy in their hometowns."

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Source: www.commondreams.org

 

 

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Wed, 02 Sep 2015 18:00:37 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/63917-fukushima-report-dangerously-downplays-ongoing-health-risks-greenpeace.html
White House Fact Sheet: President Obama Announces New Investments to Combat Climate Change and Assist Remote Alaskan Communities http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/63911-white-house-fact-sheet-president-obama-announces-new-investments-to-combat-climate-change-and-assist-remote-alaskan-communities.html President will announce a Federal coordinator for building climate resilience in Alaska, launch a remote Alaskan Communities Energy Efficiency Competition, and announce a city-led public-private partnership to achieve 99.7 percent clean energy on Kodiak Island.

Washington, DC--(ENEWSPF)--September 2, 2015. Climate change is real, it is being driven by human activity, and it is happening right now—and nowhere is that more apparent than in Alaska, which is warming twice as fast as the continental United States. In Arctic Alaska, villages are being damaged by powerful storm surges, which once held at bay by sea ice, are battering the barrier islands where those villages sit. Alaska Native traditions that have set the rhythm of life in Alaska for thousands of years are being upended by decreasing sea-ice cover and changing seasonal patterns. Permafrost is melting, opening up sinkholes and causing damage to homes and infrastructure.

President Obama is committed to leading the fight against climate change by curbing the carbon pollution that is driving global warming, building resilience in American communities to the climate impacts we can no longer avoid, and driving progress on the international stage.

Today in Kotzebue, Alaska, the President will announce a robust package of new commitments to respond to the unique challenges facing remote Alaskan communities by:

Building resilience to climate impacts

Addressing high energy costs by incentivizing clean energy and energy-efficiency solutions

Releasing new climate data, maps, and tools to help communities understand and prepare for future climate change

Building Climate Resilience In Remote Alaskan Communities:

Announcing a Federal coordinator for building climate resilience in Alaska. The White House will announce that the Denali Commission will play a lead coordination role for Federal, State and Tribal resources to assist communities in developing and implementing both short- and long-term solutions to address the impacts of climate change, including coastal erosion, flooding, and permafrost degradation. The Denali Commission will serve as a one-stop-shop for matters relating to coastal resilience in Alaska as appropriate. The Commission, an independent federal agency, was established in 1998 to provide critical utilities, infrastructure, and economic support throughout Alaska with a focus on Alaska's remote communities. The Commission will collaborate with the State of Alaska local and Tribal agencies to facilitate coordination of federal engagement in efforts to protect communities, and conduct voluntary relocation or other managed retreat efforts. The Arctic Executive Steering Committee (AESC), established by President Obama in January 2015, will provide guidance and support these efforts as appropriate, as part of its mission to enhance coordination of U.S. government activities in the Arctic, help set priorities across diverse missions and programs, and provide the basis for a whole-of-government approach to the future of the Arctic.

Beyond the broader mitigation and resilience work of the Denali Commission, the Commission will announce today that it is committing $2 million to support voluntary relocation efforts, where appropriate, and other resilience strategies for vulnerable rural Alaskan communities.

These steps build on the Administration’s support to date for the Denali Commission. The President’s FY 2016 Budget requested $14 million for the Denali Commission, and the President calls on Congress to provide sufficient funding for the Commission’s critical activities and looks forward to working with Congress, the Commission, Alaska elected officials and stakeholders to further enhance the Commission's effectiveness and impact for rural Alaskan communities.

Announcing Department of Agriculture (USDA) grants to improve rural Alaska water systems. Responding to a key recommendation of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, USDA will finalize a rule that revises definitions and eligibility of the Rural Alaska Villages Grant Program so that water system conditions do not have to be “dire” before assistance can be provided. As a result, vulnerable Alaskan villages will not have to wait until disaster strikes to improve critical water infrastructure. This unlocks significant resources for resilience planning. To that end, today, USDA will announce that it will provide $17.6 million in new grants for 33 projects as part of the Rural Alaska Villages Grant Program, which helps remote Alaskan villages provide safe, reliable drinking water and waste-disposal systems for households and businesses. Separately, EPA’s programs will provide resources for the construction of new or improved drinking water and wastewater systems in Native and rural communities, and for training and technical assistance on Operations & Maintenance (O&M) for these systems. USDA planning and construction grants will be awarded to the following communities:

  • Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium: $425,000
  • Adak: $300,000
  • Angoon: $52,500
  • Diomede: $183,750
  • False Pass: $45,000
  • Grayling: $52,500
  • Kaltag: $37,500
  • Kasaan: $37,500
  • Kiana: $273,750
  • Kotzebue: $56,250
  • Nunam Iqua: $112,800
  • Old Harbor: $18,750
  • South Naknek: $60,000
  • Eek: $4,384,350
  • State of Alaska: $425,000
  • Kwethluk: $2,218,500
  • Akiachak: $6,378,750

Releasing a compendium of Federal resilience programs for Alaskan communities. Today, the AESC will release a catalog of programs and funding resources that may assist Arctic coastal communities in addressing resilience needs. While a variety of programs and authorities are available for villages and communities to prepare for and respond to coastal erosion issues, no compendium of available sources of assistance existed that is tailored to the needs of Arctic communities.  To fill that gap, Federal agencies, through the AESC, have collaborated to develop this catalog, which is available through the Denali Commission and on the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit.

Investing in capacity in remote tribal communities. USDA intends to sign cooperative agreements totaling $240,000 with four Native nonprofit organizations in western Alaska, charged with extending the reach of USDA staff and improving access of hard-to-reach populations to USDA Rural Development programs—including housing, community facilities, wastewater systems, and broadband. Cooperative agreements will be made with each of the following regions:

Northwest Arctic Region: Maniilaq Association, headquartered in Kotzebue - $37,000

Bering Straits Region: Kawerak Inc, headquartered in Nome - $46,000

Yukon Kuskokwim Delta Region: Association of Village council Presidents, headquartered in Bethel- $120,000

Bristol Bay Region:   Bristol Bay Native Association, headquartered in Dillingham - $37,000

Launching Resilience AmeriCorps in Alaska.  The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the Department of Energy (DOE), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have partnered with The Rockefeller Foundation and Cities of Service to launch Resilience AmeriCorps, a pilot program that will recruit, train, and embed AmeriCorps VISTA members in 10 communities throughout the United States. Among the communities selected for the 2-year pilot program is Anchorage, AK. Resilience AmeriCorps responds to a recommendation made by the President’s State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience to assist vulnerable communities that lack the capacity to address climate-resilience planning and implementation.

Developing equitable and responsible principles for relocation.   In response to the recommendations of the State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Change Preparedness and Resilience, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is developing a set of cross-agency principles for climate-related relocation and managed retreat from high-risk areas in the United States.  These principles will strengthen the consideration of equity and other issues when using HUD funds for voluntary relocation of communities. Additionally, as part of outreach for this effort, HUD, in compliance with its Tribal Government-to-Government Consultation Policy, will engage with Arctic coastal villages as a model for fostering future collaboration with other regions, and will engage in an ongoing dialogue with the Environmental Justice Interagency Working Group on the process.

Enhancing community-based monitoring.  NOAA contributed nearly $300,000 for a project to foster adaptation in Alaska Native coastal communities to maintain or improve their health and vitality over time by anticipating and adapting to change. The project, Resilient Alaska Native Coastal Communities: Integrated Social-ecological Monitoring and Assessment Supporting Adaptation Decisions, will continue for two years in partnership with the Alaska Institute for Justice, Alaska Native Science Commission, University of Alaska, the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, and the University of Victoria. In August, the Alaska Institute for Justice began designing a community-based social-ecological monitoring and assessment methodology that will be used and implemented by Alaska Native communities.

Providing guidance for tribal disaster declarations. The Federal Energy Management Agency (FEMA) will soon commence consultation on pilot guidance for tribes to request Stafford Act declarations. The pilot guidance is intended to reflect the unique circumstances that impact tribal communities. In order to reflect tribal sovereignty, the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act of 2013 amended the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to provide Federally-recognized Tribal governments the option to request a Presidential emergency or major disaster declaration.  FEMA will utilize lessons learned and feedback received during the consultation period to inform the final pilot guidance.

Recommending how to reduce vulnerabilities in Tribal energy systems. DOE’s Office of Indian Energy is releasing a report on Tribal Energy System Vulnerabilities to Climate Change, which focuses on impacts to energy systems that support Tribal communities. This report furthers the President’s and the Secretary’s goals of preparing the United States and Tribal Nations for the impacts of climate change by building stronger and safer communities through awareness and education. The report includes a focus on Alaskan communities.

Engaging Tribal youth in climate solutions. The EPA’s Indian Environmental General Assistance Program (IGAP) and the Arctic Council, through a grant provided to the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, is releasing a Local Environmental Observer (LEO) App, which will allow observers to share photos and text from the field, complete with GPS locations. The LEO Network provides a model for engaging communities and connecting with technical experts and resources to allow communities to monitor, respond to, and adapt to new impacts and health effects. LEO experts apply local and traditional knowledge, western science and modern technology to record and share observations and to raise awareness about the conditions in the circumpolar north. 

Additionally, today the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ (BIA) Tribal Climate Resilience Program will award $1.38 million to support internships for tribal youth working on projects or performing research directly related to climate change impacts. The Program will support internships and research related to climate change mitigation, adaptation, and ocean and coastal management.

Additional Nonfederal Actions:

Partnering at the forefront of community resilience in Southeast Alaska. The Sustainable Southeast Partnership (SSP) is announcing over $5 million in private sector commitments. SSP is a new partnership that approaches community and economic development by supporting projects and businesses that improve the economy, social structures of the communities, and well-being of the environment. Southeast Alaska communities face issues around environmental changes, high unemployment rates, sustainable resource management, energy independence, and food security. The partners will use the private funds in conjunction with public funding to support large-scale community forest and fisheries projects, new workforce development initiatives, a business development competition and a revolving loan fund--all rooted in environmental sustainability. SSP is comprised of Alaska Native tribes and corporations, regional economic development entities, conservation organizations, and local municipalities. Lead partners include Haa Aani, LLC., the Alaska Conservation Foundation, Southeast Conference, Sealaska, and The Nature Conservancy.

Understanding impacts to health in Alaska due to climate change. The University of Alaska Anchorage’s Institute for Circumpolar Health Studies (ICHS) today will release a report describing significant associations between unusual climatic conditions and increased incidence of injuries and respiratory problems in Alaska, and received $149,990 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to work with community partners to promote adaptations that reduce adverse health outcomes associated with climate change in rural and remote communities in the state. The ICHS, with funding from the CDC, has conducted two rounds of community-based sentinel surveillance of the health effects of climate change in Alaska.

Building Resilient Communities in the Tongass National Forest. Sealaska Native Corporation, the State of Alaska, Sustainable Southeast Partnership, U.S. Forest Service, Haa Aani' Community Development Fund LLC, and several Native Village Corporations are announcing a new $9 million collaboration to focus on shared goals of community resilience. Communities, businesses, Native interests and conservation NGOs are leaving behind past conflicts over old growth logging on the Tongass National Forest and are working together to develop workforce and entrepreneurial capacity while accomplishing sustainable forest management into the future. These efforts will be supported by significant private and public sector support with more than $5 million in private funding and another $4 million in federal and state funding flowing into the region.

Expanding Access To Clean Energy Solutions:

Launching a remote Alaskan Communities Energy Efficiency Competition. Today, the Department of Energy is announcing that it will launch a new $4 million initiative to significantly accelerate efforts by remote Alaskan communities to adopt sustainable energy strategies, through a competitive effort to elicit the best approaches.  The $4 million competition will empower Alaskan communities to develop solutions that can effectively advance the use of reliable, affordable, clean-energy and energy-efficient solutions that can be replicated throughout Alaska and potentially in other Arctic regions as well.

The initiative will support community efforts to adopt culturally and climate-appropriate energy-efficiency measures by evaluating community energy use; developing long-term, sustainable, and replicable energy-efficiency plans; and supporting the implementation of proposed plans.

Launching Clean Energy Solutions for Remote Communities (CESRC). On Tuesday, Dr. Holdren and Governor Walker hosted a roundtable including the Denali Commission, the Alaska Energy Authority, and The Renewable Energy Alaska Project as part of the launch of Climate Solutions for Remote Communities.  Building on the Clean Energy Investment Initiative announced earlier this year, CESRC will focus on expanding investment in climate solutions for remote communities, including:  (1) identifying the technological, financial, and logistical challenges and opportunities particular to clean energy innovation addressing the needs and unique circumstances of remote communities and (2) catalyzing the private-sector through a call to action to substantially increase investment to develop climate solutions addressing the unique issues facing remote communities.  The Department of Energy will provide technical expertise to achieve these goals.

Energy costs are among the most significant expenses in remote communities, many of which rely on costly diesel generators to provide power and heat. Over the past decade, Alaska has focused on bringing cleaner, cheaper energy to our many isolated rural communities, where residents pay up to 50 percent of their household income on energy. Sustainably reducing energy costs, reducing carbon pollution, and improving the energy efficiency of homes and other buildings will require designing and deploying clean energy technologies and microgrids that are suited for remote communities. In June, the White House announced $4 billion of independent commitments by major foundations, institutional investors, and other long-term investors to fund climate change solutions, including innovative technologies with breakthrough potential to reduce carbon pollution, as part of the Clean Energy Investment Initiative.

Deploying clean energy and energy efficiency projects on Indian Lands. In support of the Obama Administration’s commitment to strengthening partnerships with Tribal Nations and to support tribal energy development, the Department of Energy today will announce up to $6 million to deploy clean energy projects and energy efficiency projects on Indian lands, reducing reliance on fossil fuel and promoting economic development. Through this Funding Opportunity Announcement, the Department’s Office of Indian Energy is soliciting applications from Indian tribes (including Alaska Native regional corporations and village corporations) and Tribal Energy Resource Development Organizations to install (1) facility-scale clean energy and energy efficiency projects and (2) community-scale clean energy projects on Indian lands. Tribal lands comprise nearly two percent of U.S. land, but contain about five percent of all the country’s renewable energy resources. With more than 9 million megawatts of potential installed renewable energy capacity on tribal lands, these tribal communities are well positioned to capitalize on their energy resources for local economic growth.

Lowering energy costs through High Energy Cost Grants in rural Alaska. USDA will award approximately $8 million in High Energy Cost grants, which assist power providers in lowering energy costs for families and individuals in areas with extremely high per-household energy costs. The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) High Energy Cost Grant program has provided over $48 million in grants for villages in rural Alaska since 2009. Among this year’s awards, RUS will provide $1.5 million to the Denali Commission to assist its partners in improving electric infrastructure in rural and remote villages in Alaska.   Additionally, USDA RUS will release the 2015 Notice of Solicitation of Applications (NOSA), making available an additional $10 million in new grant funds.

Announcing Denali Commission grants in rural Alaska. The Denali Commission will announce approximately $15.5 million in grants to support bulk fuel facilities and rural power system upgrades/power generation across rural Alaska. Funds will be provided from the Denali Commission’s programmatic funds as well as the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Liability Fund (TAPL). Projects include:

Pilot Station community bulk fuel tank farm, a $4.7M total project cost ($3.8M in Denali Commission FY2015 TAPL funds and $900K in State of Alaska cost share match)

Togiak Power plant project, $7.8M total project cost ($4.2M in Denali Commission FY2015 Base funds, $1.4M in awardee cost share match, $2.2M RUS FY14 funds)

Koliganek Power plant project, $3.3M total project cost ($2.4M in Denali Commission FY2015 Base funds, $600K in State of Alaska cost share match, plus $300K from a prior year Commission grant for design)

Additional Nonfederal Actions:

Investing in biomimic clean energy. A partnership between The Village of Igiugig, Caltech, Stanford, and the University of Alaska will undertake tests of new wind turbines and has attracted $2 million in funding from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. The partners are exploring a new approach to vertical axis wind power, using large sets of small and simple turbines, arrayed to mimic schooling fish. The biology-inspired engineering may provide wind solutions for the many areas globally where large turbines are not feasible. The project is just another example of how this small village in Bristol Bay is leading on issues of sustainability, climate change, and emerging clean energy technology. Igiugig has also partnered with Ocean Renewable Power Company to test fish-friendly, hydrokinetic power on the Kvichak River—the river is home to vast runs of wild sockeye salmon that have sustained the people of the region for thousands of years.  Emerging technologies like these have the potential to meet community electricity demands in remote villages like Igiugig, where the cost of electricity ranges from 50 to 90 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Investing in LED technology in Anchorage. The Anchorage Mayor’s office is announcing a $4-6 million dollar plan to install LED roadway lighting across parking lots, roadways, garages, trails, and other outdoor lighting installations. In 2008, the city was the first in the world to replace over one quarter of its roadway lighting with LED technologies, saving the city $260,000 dollars a year and reducing energy consumption by nearly 60%. This effort made the city of Anchorage a model for other cities across the globe on how to finance and implement this breakthrough in outdoor lighting efficiency.  Saving both energy and taxpayer dollars, the new lighting will also require less ongoing maintenance and reduce Sky-Glow."

Announcing a public-private partnership to achieve 99.7 percent clean energy. In the coming days, Kodiak Island will begin testing a renewable-energy-powered shipping crane in a $3 million public-private partnership that will enable the island to become the first in the world to put flywheel and battery energy storage together to stabilize its variable electric power from wind turbines. The nation's second largest island recently achieved 99.7 percent renewable-powered electricity from wind, hydro and now augmented by flywheels. The City of Kodiak, Matson, Inc. and Kodiak Electric Association (KEA), a nonprofit member-owned rural electric cooperative, combined efforts to finance this renewable power source for a newly-arrived shipping crane that is replacing the current diesel-powered crane. KEA completed a conversion to 99.7 percent renewable electricity by adding the energy storage to 9 MW of wind that complements the utility's hydropower plant. Wind is now supplying approximately 20 percent of KEA's load, displacing more than 2 million gallons of diesel every year. This conversion from fossil fuels has been supported by the State of Alaska's Renewable Energy Fund, managed by the Alaska Energy Authority, in conjunction with strong local leadership from the Kodiak Electric Association.

Announcing a Clean Power Forum. In October 2015, the Alaska Center for the Environment will host a Clean Power forum, designed to kick off a series of conversations about how Alaska can reduce emissions, increase renewable energy production and energy efficiency measures, and become a true leader addressing climate change.

Releasing New Climate Data And Tools:

Mapping Alaska and the Arctic. Much of Alaska and the Arctic lack modern, reliable maps needed to support capabilities and activities including ground and air transportation, safe recreation, land management, sustainable development, and scientific studies. The Federal Government is taking action to meet this need:

  • The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), and NSF are collaborating with the University of Minnesota’s Polar Geospatial Center and, the private sector to create the first-ever publicly available, high-resolution, satellite-based elevation map of Alaska by mid-2016, and of the entire Arctic by the end of the U.S. Chairmanship of the Arctic Council (mid-2017). These Digital Elevation Models (DEMs), derived from NGA-sponsored Digital Globe commercial imagery, will support informed land management, sustainable development, safe recreation, and scientific studies, as well as domain-specific challenges inherent to the aviation, transportation, and defense industries. In addition, the DEM will serve as a benchmark against which future landscape changes (due to, for instance, erosion, extreme events, or climate change) can be measured.
  • DOI/USGS, in partnership with the State of Alaska, is leading efforts to fly the Alaskan Arctic with new sensors, generating Interferometric Synthetic Aperature Radar (IfSAR) data that will complement Alaska and Arctic DEMs, improving maps and elevation models of these regions to unprecedented levels of accuracy.
  • NGA has developed and is making available in both hard-copy and explorable-digital formats the most comprehensive pan-Arctic map ever published by the U.S. Government. The map will include layers such as Arctic Routes, Arctic Currents, Oil Production Sites, Gas Production Sites, Oil Drilling Areas, Oil and Gas Reserves, Airfields and Ports, Bathymetric Data, Digital Terrain Elevation Data, and Natural Earth (including rivers, railroads, and populated places). The map will be easily accessible on the NGA’s website, along with links to Alaska DEMs, the NGA’s 28 nautical charts for the Arctic region, a collection of Arctic sailing directions, and links to other Arctic websites and resources.

Nonfederal entities are also stepping up to meet this challenge:

Esri is committing to deploy and provide easy access to DEMs as they are released, along with supporting maps and climate data, tools, and applications to improve climate resilience for citizens, communities, and companies in Alaska and the Arctic. Esri will also release newly developed tools for exploring and visualizing the new elevation data, including tools for generating on-the-fly renderings of various terrain properties and tools that help communicate the scale of glacial retreat.

As the DEMs are publicly released, Google will load these datasets into the Google Earth Engine platform and make them available to scientific partners who are monitoring the Earth's changing environment. This will help researchers and other users analyze landcover change, predict coastal erosion, monitor changes in glaciers, and more accurately characterize water supplies, among other applications.

Expanding access to Arctic data and tools. The Administration is expanding its Climate Data Initiative (CDI) and Climate Resilience Toolkit (CRT) to include a new “Arctic” theme. The Arctic theme will encompass more than 250 Arctic-related datasets (32 of which are being made available for the first time), and more than 40 maps, tools, and other resources designed to support climate-resilience efforts in Alaska and the Arctic, including 10 “Taking Action” case studies in key areas of climate-change risks and vulnerability for Alaska and the Arctic. The Administration also recently expanded the CRT to include a new “Tribal Nations” theme, comprised of more than 40 resources—with more to be added in the future—to assist Tribal nations in climate-change planning, adaptation, and mitigation. Resources include a comprehensive Tribal Climate Change Adaptation Planning Toolkit, and a set of guidelines for considering traditional knowledge in climate change initiatives. These datasets and resources are now cataloged on, respectively, climate.data.gov and toolkit.climate.gov, making them easier for innovators, decision makers, and interested members of the public to find and use. In addition, the Administration is engaging the private sector around the CDI and CRT to help accelerate the development and deployment of products, tools, and applications powered by open Arctic data to help Alaskan and other northern communities better understand their vulnerability to, and prepare for, the impacts of climate change.

Source: www.whitehouse.gov

 

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Wed, 02 Sep 2015 17:41:30 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/63911-white-house-fact-sheet-president-obama-announces-new-investments-to-combat-climate-change-and-assist-remote-alaskan-communities.html
Remarks by President Obama at the GLACIER Conference -- Anchorage, AK http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/63910-remarks-by-president-obama-at-the-glacier-conference-anchorage-ak.html

Denali is seen from a window on Air Force One during descent into Anchorage, Alaska, Aug. 31, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Anchorage, Alaska--(ENEWSPF)--September 1, 2015 - 5:00 P.M. AKDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you so much.  Thank you.  (Applause.) It is wonderful to be here in the great state of Alaska.  (Applause.)  

I want to thank Secretary Kerry and members of my administration for your work here today.  Thank you to the many Alaskans, Alaska Natives and other indigenous peoples of the Arctic who’ve traveled a long way, in many cases, to share your insights and your experiences.  And to all the foreign ministers and delegations who’ve come here from around the world -- welcome to the United States, and thank you all for attending this GLACIER Conference.  

The actual name of the conference is much longer.  It’s a mouthful, but the acronym works because it underscores the incredible changes that are taking place here in the Arctic that impact not just the nations that surround the Arctic, but have an impact for the entire world, as well.

I want to thank the people of Alaska for hosting this conference.  I look forward to visiting more of Alaska over the next couple of days.  The United States is, of course, an Arctic nation.  And even if this isn’t an official gathering of the Arctic Council, the United States is proud to chair the Arctic Council for the next two years.  And to all the foreign dignitaries who are here, I want to be very clear -- we are eager to work with your nations on the unique opportunities that the Arctic presents and the unique challenges that it faces.  We are not going to -- any of us -- be able to solve these challenges by ourselves.  We can only solve them together. 

Of course, we’re here today to discuss a challenge that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other -- and that’s the urgent and growing threat of a changing climate.

Our understanding of climate change advances each day.  Human activity is disrupting the climate, in many ways faster than we previously thought.  The science is stark.  It is sharpening.  It proves that this once-distant threat is now very much in the present.  

In fact, the Arctic is the leading edge of climate change -- our leading indicator of what the entire planet faces.  Arctic temperatures are rising about twice as fast as the global average.  Over the past 60 years, Alaska has warmed about twice as fast as the rest of the United States.  Last year was Alaska’s warmest year on record -- just as it was for the rest of the world.  And the impacts here are very real.  

Thawing permafrost destabilizes the earth on which 100,000 Alaskans live, threatening homes, damaging transportation and energy infrastructure, which could cost billions of dollars to fix.

Warmer, more acidic oceans and rivers, and the migration of entire species, threatens the livelihoods of indigenous peoples, and local economies dependent on fishing and tourism.  Reduced sea levels leaves villages unprotected from floods and storm surges.  Some are in imminent danger; some will have to relocate entirely.  In fact, Alaska has some of the swiftest shoreline erosion rates in the world.  

I recall what one Alaska Native told me at the White House a few years ago.  He said, “Many of our villages are ready to slide off into the waters of Alaska, and in some cases, there will be absolutely no hope -– we will need to move many villages.”

Alaska’s fire season is now more than a month longer than it was in 1950.  At one point this summer, more than 300 wildfires were burning at once.  Southeast of here, in our Pacific Northwest, even the rainforest is on fire.  More than 5 million acres in Alaska have already been scorched by fire this year -- that's an area about the size of Massachusetts.  If you add the fires across Canada and Siberia, we’re talking 300 [30] million acres -– an area about the size of New York.

This is a threat to many communities -- but it’s also an immediate and ongoing threat to the men and women who put their lives on the line to protect ours.  Less than two weeks ago, three highly trained firefighters lost their lives fighting a fire in Washington State.  Another has been in critical condition.  We are thankful to each and every firefighter for their heroism -- including the Canadian firefighters who’ve helped fight the fires in this state.  

But the point is that climate change is no longer some far-off problem.  It is happening here.  It is happening now.  Climate change is already disrupting our agriculture and ecosystems, our water and food supplies, our energy, our infrastructure, human health, human safety -- now.  Today.  And climate change is a trend that affects all trends -- economic trends, security trends.  Everything will be impacted.  And it becomes more dramatic with each passing year.  

Already it’s changing the way Alaskans live.  And considering the Arctic’s unique role in influencing the global climate, it will accelerate changes to the way that we all live.

Since 1979, the summer sea ice in the Arctic has decreased by more than 40 percent -- a decrease that has dramatically accelerated over the past two decades.  One new study estimates that Alaska’s glaciers alone lose about 75 gigatons -- that’s 75 billion tons -- of ice each year.  

To put that in perspective, one scientist described a gigaton of ice as a block the size of the National Mall in Washington -- from Congress all the way to the Lincoln Memorial, four times as tall as the Washington Monument.  Now imagine 75 of those ice blocks.  That’s what Alaska’s glaciers alone lose each year.  The pace of melting is only getting faster.  It’s now twice what it was between 1950 and 2000 -- twice as fast as it was just a little over a decade ago.  And it’s one of the reasons why sea levels rose by about eight inches over the last century, and why they’re projected to rise another one to four feet this century.

Consider, as well, that many of the fires burning today are actually burning through the permafrost in the Arctic.  So this permafrost stores massive amounts of carbon.  When the permafrost is no longer permanent, when it thaws or burns, these gases are released into our atmosphere over time, and that could mean that the Arctic may become a new source of emissions that further accelerates global warming.

So if we do nothing, temperatures in Alaska are projected to rise between six and 12 degrees by the end of the century, triggering more melting, more fires, more thawing of the permafrost, a negative feedback loop, a cycle -- warming leading to more warming -- that we do not want to be a part of.

And the fact is that climate is changing faster than our efforts to address it.  That, ladies and gentlemen, must change.  We’re not acting fast enough.  

I’ve come here today, as the leader of the world’s largest economy and its second largest emitter, to say that the United States recognizes our role in creating this problem, and we embrace our responsibility to help solve it.  And I believe we can solve it.  That’s the good news.  Even if we cannot reverse the damage that we’ve already caused, we have the means -- the scientific imagination and technological innovation -- to avoid irreparable harm.  

We know this because last year, for the first time in our history, the global economy grew and global carbon emissions stayed flat.  So we’re making progress; we’re just not making it fast enough.  

Here in the United States, we’re trying to do our part.  Since I took office six and a half years ago, the United States has made ambitious investments in clean energy, and ambitious reductions in our carbon emissions.  We now harness three times as much electricity from wind and 20 times as much from the sun. Alaskans now lead the world in the development of hybrid wind energy systems from remote grids, and it’s expanding its solar and biomass resources.  

We’ve invested in energy efficiency in every imaginable way -- in our buildings, our cars, our trucks, our homes, even the appliances inside them.  We’re saving consumers billions of dollars along the way.  Here in Alaska, more than 15,000 homeowners have cut their energy bills by 30 percent on average. That collectively saves Alaskans more than $50 million each year. We’ve helped communities build climate-resilient infrastructure to prepare for the impacts of climate change that we can no longer prevent.  

Earlier this month, I announced the first set of nationwide standards to end the limitless dumping of carbon pollution from our power plants.  It’s the single most important step America has ever taken on climate change.  And over the course of the coming days, I intend to speak more about the particular challenges facing Alaska and the United States as an Arctic power, and I intend to announce new measures to address them.

So we are working hard to do our part to meet this challenge.  And in doing so, we’re proving that there doesn’t have to be a conflict between a sound environment and strong economic growth.  But we’re not moving fast enough.  None of the nations represented here are moving fast enough.  

And let’s be honest -- there’s always been an argument against taking action.  The notion is somehow this will curb our economic growth.  And at a time when people are anxious about the economy, that’s an argument oftentimes for inaction.  We don’t want our lifestyles disrupted.  In countries where there remains significant poverty, including here in the United States, the notion is, can we really afford to prioritize this issue.  The irony, of course, is, is that few things will disrupt our lives as profoundly as climate change.  Few things can have as negative an impact on our economy as climate change.  

On the other hand, technology has now advanced to the point where any economic disruption from transitioning to a cleaner, more efficient economy is shrinking by the day.  Clean energy and energy efficiency aren’t just proving cost-effective, but also cost-saving.  The unit costs of things like solar are coming down rapidly.  But we’re still underinvesting in it. 

Many of America’s biggest businesses recognize the opportunities and are seizing them.  They’re choosing a new route.  And a growing number of American homeowners are choosing to go solar every day.  It works.  All told, America’s economy has grown more than 60 percent over the last 20 years, but our carbon emissions are roughly back to where they were 20 years ago.  So we know how to use less dirty fuel and grow our economy at the same time.  But we’re not moving fast enough.  

More Americans every day are doing their part, though.  Thanks to their efforts, America will reach the emission target that I set six years ago.  We're going to reduce our carbon emissions in the range of 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.  And that’s why, last year, I set a new target:  America is going to reduce our emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 10 years from now.  

And that was part of a historic joint announcement we made last year in Beijing.  The United States will double the pace at which we cut our emissions, and China committed, for the first time, to limiting its emissions.  Because the world’s two largest economies and two largest emitters came together, we’re now seeing other nations stepping up aggressively as well.  And I’m determined to make sure American leadership continues to drive international action -- because we can’t do this alone.  Even America and China together cannot do this alone.  Even all the countries represented around here cannot do this alone.  We have to do it together.  

This year, in Paris, has to be the year that the world finally reaches an agreement to protect the one planet that we’ve got while we still can.

So let me sum up.  We know that human activity is changing the climate.  That is beyond dispute.  Everything else is politics if people are denying the facts of climate change.   We can have a legitimate debate about how we are going to address this problem; we cannot deny the science.  We also know the devastating consequences if the current trend lines continue.  That is not deniable.  And we are going to have to do some adaptation, and we are going to have to help communities be resilient, because of these trend lines we are not going to be able to stop on a dime.  We’re not going to be able to stop tomorrow.  

But if those trend lines continue the way they are, there’s not going to be a nation on this Earth that’s not impacted negatively.  People will suffer.  Economies will suffer.  Entire nations will find themselves under severe, severe problems.  More drought; more floods; rising sea levels; greater migration; more refugees; more scarcity; more conflict.  

That’s one path we can take.  The other path is to embrace the human ingenuity that can do something about it.  This is within our power.  This is a solvable problem if we start now.  

And we’re starting to see that enough consensus is being built internationally and within each of our own body politics that we may have the political will -- finally -- to get moving.
So the time to heed the critics and the cynics and the deniers is past.  The time to plead ignorance is surely past.  Those who want to ignore the science, they are increasingly alone.  They’re on their own shrinking island.  (Applause.)  

And let’s remember, even beyond the climate benefits of pursuing cleaner energy sources and more resilient, energy-efficient ways of living, the byproduct of it is, is that we also make our air cleaner and safer for our children to breathe.  We’re also making our economies more resilient to energy shocks on global markets.  We’re also making our countries less reliant on unstable parts of the world.  We are gradually powering a planet on its way to 9 billion humans in a more sustainable way.  
These are good things.  This is not simply a danger to be avoided; this is an opportunity to be seized.  But we have to keep going.  We’re making a difference, but we have to keep going.  We are not moving fast enough.  

If we were to abandon our course of action, if we stop trying to build a clean-energy economy and reduce carbon pollution, if we do nothing to keep the glaciers from melting faster, and oceans from rising faster, and forests from burning faster, and storms from growing stronger, we will condemn our children to a planet beyond their capacity to repair:  Submerged countries.  Abandoned cities.  Fields no longer growing.  Indigenous peoples who can’t carry out traditions that stretch back millennia.  Entire industries of people who can’t practice their livelihoods.  Desperate refugees seeking the sanctuary of nations not their own.  Political disruptions that could trigger multiple conflicts around the globe.

That’s not a future of strong economic growth.  That is not a future where freedom and human rights are on the move.  Any leader willing to take a gamble on a future like that -- any 
so-called leader who does not take this issue seriously or treats it like a joke -- is not fit to lead.  

On this issue, of all issues, there is such a thing as being too late.  That moment is almost upon us.  That’s why we’re here today.  That’s what we have to convey to our people -- tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that.  And that’s what we have to do when we meet in Paris later this year.  It will not be easy.  There are hard questions to answer.  I am not trying to suggest that there are not going to be difficult transitions that we all have to make.  But if we unite our highest aspirations, if we make our best efforts to protect this planet for future generations, we can solve this problem.  

And when you leave this conference center, I hope you look around.  I hope you have the chance to visit a glacier.  Or just look out your airplane window as you depart, and take in the God-given majesty of this place.  For those of you flying to other parts of the world, do it again when you’re flying over your home countries.  Remind yourself that there will come a time when your grandkids -- and mine, if I’m lucky enough to have some -- they’ll want to see this.  They’ll want to experience it, just as we’ve gotten to do in our own lives.  They deserve to live lives free from fear, and want, and peril.  And ask yourself, are you doing everything you can to protect it.  Are we doing everything we can to make their lives safer, and more secure, and more prosperous?  

Let’s prove that we care about them and their long-term futures, not just short-term political expediency.  

I had a chance to meet with some Native peoples before I came in here, and they described for me villages that are slipping into the sea, and the changes that are taking place --  changing migratory patterns; the changing fauna so that what used to feed the animals that they, in turn, would hunt or fish beginning to vanish.  It’s urgent for them today.  But that is the future for all of us if we don’t take care. 

Your presence here today indicates your recognition of that.  But it’s not enough just to have conferences.  It’s not enough just to talk the talk.  We’ve got to walk the walk.  We’ve got work to do, and we’ve got to do it together.

So, thank you.  And may God bless all of you, and your countries.  And thank you, Alaska, for your wonderful hospitality.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

END
5:24 P.M. AKDT

Source: www.whitehouse.gov

 

 

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Wed, 02 Sep 2015 17:30:37 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/63910-remarks-by-president-obama-at-the-glacier-conference-anchorage-ak.html
Hillary Clinton Unveils Initiative to Combat America’s Deadly Epidemic of Drug and Alcohol Addiction http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/63909-hillary-clinton-unveils-initiative-to-combat-america-s-deadly-epidemic-of-drug-and-alcohol-addiction.html NEW YORK—(ENEWSPF)—September 2, 2015. Since Hillary Clinton embarked on this campaign, she has heard one heartbreaking story after the next of families and communities torn apart by substance use disorders. Across the country, 23 million Americans suffer from addiction, and only 1 in 10 are being treated.  

So today, Hillary Clinton rolled out her Initiative to Combat America's Deadly Epidemic of Drug and Alcohol Addiction in a New Hampshire Union Leader op-ed.

It's time to end government policies that are making this problem worse and invest in evidence-based programs to ensure access to effective, ongoing care for those who need it. Check out the full factsheet for Clinton's comprehensive plan HERE and keep an eye on our Instagram for testimonials from everyday Americans affected by this epidemic.

Source: www.hillaryclinton.com

 

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Wed, 02 Sep 2015 17:26:34 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/63909-hillary-clinton-unveils-initiative-to-combat-america-s-deadly-epidemic-of-drug-and-alcohol-addiction.html
FDA Approves New Drug Treatment for Nausea and Vomiting from Chemotherapy http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/63908-fda-approves-new-drug-treatment-for-nausea-and-vomiting-from-chemotherapy.html Silver Spring, Maryland--(ENEWSPF)--September 2, 2015. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Varubi (rolapitant) to prevent delayed phase chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (emesis). Varubi is approved in adults in combination with other drugs (antiemetic agents) that prevent nausea and vomiting associated with initial and repeat courses of vomit-inducing (emetogenic and highly emetogenic) cancer chemotherapy.

Nausea and vomiting are common side effects experienced by cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Symptoms can persist for days after the chemotherapy drugs are administered. Nausea and vomiting that occurs from 24 hours to up to 120 hours after the start of chemotherapy is referred to as delayed phase nausea and vomiting, and it can result in serious health complications. Prolonged nausea and vomiting can lead to weight loss, dehydration and malnutrition in cancer patients leading to hospitalization.

“Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting remains a major issue that can disrupt patients' lives and sometimes their therapy,” said Amy Egan, M.D., M.P.H., deputy director of the Office of Drug Evaluation III in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Today’s approval provides cancer patients with another treatment option for the prevention of the delayed phase of nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy.”

Varubi is a substance P/neurokinin-1 (NK-1) receptor antagonist. Activation of NK-1 receptors plays a central role in nausea and vomiting induced by certain cancer chemotherapies, particularly in the delayed phase. Varubi is provided to patients in tablet form.

The safety and efficacy of Varubi were established in three randomized, double-blind, controlled clinical trials where Varubi in combination with granisetron and dexamethasone was compared with a control therapy (placebo, granisetron and dexamethasone) in 2,800 patients receiving a chemotherapy regimen that included highly emetogenic (such as cisplatin and the combination of anthracycline and cyclophosphamide) and moderately emetogenic chemotherapy drugs. Those patients treated with Varubi had a greater reduction in vomiting and use of rescue medication for nausea and vomiting during the delayed phase compared to those receiving the control therapy.

Varubi inhibits the CYP2D6 enzyme, which is responsible for metabolizing certain drugs. Varubi is contraindicated with the use of thioridazine, a drug metabolized by the CYP2D6 enzyme, because use of the two drugs together may increase the amount of thioridazine in the blood and cause an abnormal heart rhythm that can be serious.

The most common side effects in patients treated with Varubi include a low white blood cell count (neutropenia), hiccups, decreased appetite and dizziness.

Varubi is marketed by Tesaro Inc., based in Waltham, Massachusetts.

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.

Source: www.fda.gov

 

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Wed, 02 Sep 2015 17:23:58 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/63908-fda-approves-new-drug-treatment-for-nausea-and-vomiting-from-chemotherapy.html
Most Americans' Hearts are Older Than Their Age http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/63906-most-americans-hearts-are-older-than-their-age.html Higher heart age means higher risk of heart attacks and stroke
Examples of actual age vs. heart age. Entire Infographic

Atlanta, GA--(ENEWSPF)--September 2, 2015.  Your heart may be older than you are – and that’s not good. According to a new CDC Vital Signs report, 3 out of 4 U.S. adults have a predicted heart age that is older than their actual age. This means they are at higher risk for heart attacks and stroke.

“Heart age” is the calculated age of a person’s cardiovascular system based on his or her risk factor profile. The risks include high blood pressure, cigarette smoking, diabetes status, and body mass index as an indicator for obesity.

This is the first study to provide population-level estimates of heart age and to highlight disparities in heart age nationwide. The report shows that heart age varies by race/ethnicity, gender, region, and other sociodemographic characteristics

CDC researchers used risk factor data collected from every U.S. state and information from the Framingham Heart Study to determine that nearly 69 million adults between the ages of 30 and 74 have a heart age older than their actual age. That’s about the number of people living in the 130 largest U.S. cities combined.

“Too many U.S. adults have a heart age years older than their real age, increasing their risk of heart disease and stroke,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H.  “Everybody deserves to be young – or at least not old – at heart.”

Key findings in the report include:

Overall, the average heart age for adult men is 8 years older than their chronological age, compared to 5 years older for women.

Although heart age exceeds chronological age for all race/ethnic groups, it is highest among African-American men and women (average of 11 years older for both).

Among both U.S. men and women, excess heart age increases with age and decreases with greater education and household income.

There are geographic differences in average heart age across states. Adults in the Southern U.S. typically have higher heart ages. For example, Mississippi, West Virginia, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Alabama have the highest percentage of adults with a heart age 5 years or more over their actual age, while Utah, Colorado, California, Hawaii, and Massachusetts have the lowest percentage.

Learn your heart age

The heart age concept was created to more effectively communicate a person’s risk of dying from heart attack or stroke – and to show what can be done to lower that risk. Despite the serious national problem of higher heart age, the report’s findings can be used on both an individual and population level to boost heart health, particularly among groups that are most at risk of poor cardiovascular outcomes.

Healthcare providers can use cardiovascular risk assessment calculators to inform treatment decisions and work with patients on healthy habits. For example, a 53-year-old woman might find out through her doctor that her heart age is 68 because she smokes and has uncontrolled high blood pressure. Her doctor could then talk with her about finding a quit-smoking program that is right for her, and about life-style changes and medications that would put her in charge of her blood pressure.

U.S. adults can learn their own heart age and how to improve it. This could include quitting smoking or lowering blood pressure through eating a healthier diet, taking appropriate medication, or exercising more. State and local health departments can help by promoting healthier living spaces, such as tobacco-free areas, more access to healthy food options, and safe walking paths.

“Because so many U.S. adults don’t understand their cardiovascular disease risk, they are missing out on early opportunities to prevent future heart attacks or strokes,” said Barbara A. Bowman, Ph.D., director of CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention. “About three in four heart attacks and strokes are due to risk factors that increase heart age, so it’s important to continue focusing on efforts to improve heart health and increase access to early and affordable detection and treatment resources nationwide.”

For more information, visit http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease and http://www.cdc.gov/stroke. Visit millionhearts.hhs.gov to learn about Million Hearts, a national initiative to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017.

Vital Signs is a report that appears on the first Tuesday of the month as part of the CDC journal, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The report provides the latest data and information on key health indicators. These are cancer prevention, obesity, tobacco use, motor vehicle passenger safety, prescription drug overdose, HIV/AIDS, alcohol use, health care-associated infections, cardiovascular health, teen pregnancy, food safety, and viral hepatitis.

Source: www.cdc.gov

 

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Wed, 02 Sep 2015 17:18:03 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/63906-most-americans-hearts-are-older-than-their-age.html
Picking The Wings Off Butterflies: Bush Returns to New Orleans http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/commentary/63898-picking-the-wings-off-butterflies-bush-returns-to-new-orleans.html NEW ORLEANS--(ENEWSPF)--August 30, 2015

During Katrina, Getty image. Front photo by Reuters.

Blithely returning to the scene of (one of) his crimes, a grinning, dancing, shamelessly tone-deaf George Bush visited New Orleans on the 10th anniversary of Katrina to rewrite history, honor a rebuilt school, and celebrate what one former lackey called "the almost unimaginable renaisssance" of a city that for thousands of hardscrabble survivors remains ravaged. Bush has evidently, conveniently forgotten what one historian has called the "confluence of blunders" - from a disastrously inadequate rescue effort to his fly-over on Air Force One to his infamous "Heckuva job, Brownie" - that led furious residents to display Bush effigies at local carnivals for years after Katrina.

Bush wasn't the only one turning a blindly revisionist eye to the realities of Katrina. Before a planned visit by Obama, Louisiana's moronic Gov. Bobby Jindal wrote an open letter urging the Administration to avoid "inserting the divisive political agenda of liberal environmental activism" by mentioning the C word - climate change. "The temptation to stray into climate change politics should be resisted," he lectured, straying into politics. Besides, he added, "The people of Louisiana have already agreed upon a pragmatic and bipartisan approach to preventing and mitigating the damage of future weather systems," though he failed to note that the people he's accusing of having all these stupid ideas about how hurricanes happen are the same people paying for that solution.

On his visit, Bush was likewise careful to skirt any recognition of Katrina's causes or effects. He avoided the federally administered levees that failed, the rubble of the Lower 9th Ward and other still-devastated neighborhoods, and any questions about or references to his utter negligence - an act of arrogance The Nation's Dave Zirin likened to "picking the wings off a butterfly." Instead, he called the anniversary "a good time to honor courage and resolve." He spoke at an event to honor police and firefighters, and at the city's oldest public school, which was badly flooded and later rehabbed into the Warren Easton Charter High School with funds from Laura Bush's foundation - a lonesome success so exciting to Bush that he excruciatingly danced ("on people's graves," noted Zirin.) "Isn't it amazing?" Bush said, which it was, but in ways he couldn't begin to comprehend. "The storm nearly destroyed New Orleans and yet, now, New Orleans is the beacon for school reform."

Alas, New Orleans is now also a still largely destitute city, despite massive funds allegedly raised for recovery efforts. Only a fraction of the millions raised by a Clinton-Bush Sr. fund has been used, billions in state and federal grants went mostly to restore upscale white neighborhoods, an estimated third of all rebuilding efforts have been completed, and thousands of residents remain bitter about homes lost and ground not yet regained - what has been, for too many, "an unhappy ending." "We ain’t been winning anything,” said Henry Irvin Sr., an Air Force veteran and Katrina survivor, but just barely. Facts owe. Visits from Bush and his ilk mean nothing to him: "People like that, that ain’t my people.”

Reuters photo

FARK image

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

Source: www.commondreams.org

 

 

 

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Sun, 30 Aug 2015 17:43:30 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/commentary/63898-picking-the-wings-off-butterflies-bush-returns-to-new-orleans.html
Closing Schools Is Just Another Form of Killing - BYP100 Stands with Dyett Hunger Strikers http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/commentary/63896-closing-schools-is-just-another-form-of-killing-byp100-stands-with-dyett-hunger-strikers.html  CHICAGO—(ENEWSPF)—August 30, 2015. Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100) stands in support of the Coalition to Revitalize Dyett, a group of outraged community members, teachers and parents who have been on hunger strike for education justice since August 17th. The hunger strike is in response to Chicago Public Schools' failure to adopt their plan to create Dyett Global Leadership Green Technology High School. Strikers have said they will keep demonstrating until this plan - and this plan only - is adopted by the Board of Education. Dyett, which is currently shuttered, is the only remaining open-enrollment high school in Bronzeville, which is both majority and historically Black. The board's failure not only immediately endangers the lives of the twelve hunger strikers, but points to the city's consistent disregard for Black life in general, and the wellness of Black children in particular.  

On August 20th, BYP100, the Dyett hunger strikers, and other organizers and concerned citizens rallied at Chicago Police Headquarters. We packed the Chicago Police Board hearing and outer pavilion to demand that Officer Dante Servin be fired for the murder of Rekia Boyd in 2012. As the hearing went on inside, Dyett protesters took the mic to speak about their cause, noting that anti-Black police violence, school closings, underfunding in majority Black communities, and a complete lack of accountability for the perpetrators of these destructive acts are interrelated issues. It is necessary that we work from every angle to dismantle the systematic harms that have been inflicted upon us.  

“The violence being done to Black communities and families by closing our schools is just another form of killing, just another marker of Black life being devalued by this City.”, says Janae Bonsu, BYP100 Chicago Chapter Co-Chair. 

While addressing the crowd outside CPD Headquarters on the 20th, Jitu Brown spoke on behalf of the Dyett hunger strikers: "We look at our children and see love; they look and see inmates." With that, Brown speaks to how the struggle for Dyett goes beyond just the school’s walls. The Dyett campaign represents the lack of opportunities, jobs, police accountability and overall lack of rights in Black communities. That’s what makes this moment extremely urgent amidst police killings and the #BlackLivesMatter movement. We have to prove that our lives actually matter and can do so by showing that education in black communities is actually valued and protected. It is with love for our children and commitment to their well-being in spite of the continued assault on their—and thus our—futures that BYP100 stands in solidarity with the Dyett hunger strikers.

For more information regarding the #FightForDyett campaign click here.

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Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100) is an activist member-based organization of Black 18-35 year olds, dedicated to creating justice and freedom for all Black people. We do this through building a network focused on transformative leadership development, direct action organizing, advocacy and education using a Black queer feminist lens. We are an organization affiliated with the Black Youth Project

Source: Chicago Chapter BYP100

 

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Sun, 30 Aug 2015 17:27:25 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/commentary/63896-closing-schools-is-just-another-form-of-killing-byp100-stands-with-dyett-hunger-strikers.html
Senator Kirk Credits Chicago Innovator, MATTER http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/63885-senator-kirk-credits-chicago-innovator-matter.html MATTER is Home to More Than 100 Health Technology Startups; Senator Kirk is an Author of Job-Creating Policy: Healthier Innovations for America Bill

CHICAGO –-(ENEWSPF)--August 28, 2015.  U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) today visited Chicago’s healthcare technology incubator MATTER to discuss the future of healthcare innovation with their executives, entrepreneurs and industry leaders.

Senator Kirk toured the MATTER health technology innovation hub, which gives startups the rare opportunity to collaborate with and learn from industry leaders that can help them develop and launch their innovations.

“From the invention of the cell phone to the zipper, Illinois has long been a center of innovation,” Senator Kirk said. “MATTER’s elevation of our entrepreneurs, startups and industry leaders is a reason why Chicago stands among the global players of healthcare innovation.”

During his visit, Senator Kirk met with Steven Collens, CEO of MATTER, Jeff Aronin, co-chair of MATTER and CEO of Marathon Pharmaceuticals, and representatives from AbbVie, Astellas Pharma and BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois to discuss MATTER’s efforts to support the success of next-generation health technology startups.

Senator Kirk also met with some of the entrepreneurs working at MATTER to learn more about their work to create innovative healthcare solutions. This impressive group of entrepreneurs included the founders of MedMatch, a new technology for hiring medical professionals; SuperBetter, an app that has been shown to reduce depression & anxiety; Innoblative, a medical device company; and GTX Surgery, a company that makes surgical simulation available on mobile devices.

Senator Kirk has a record of innovative healthcare initiatives in the Senate. As a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Senator Kirk has been instrumental in drafting the Healthier Innovations for America Bill. This legislation would be a Senate counterpart to the House’s 21st Century Cures Act, passed this year with bipartisan support 344-77, which brings health care innovation into the 21st Century and encourages the development of the next generation of cures and treatments. As a member of the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Kirk worked to increase funding for the National Institute of Health (NIH) to $32 billion in FY16, which is a $2 billion increase from FY15 making it the largest increase in over a decade.

“MATTER is honored to host Senator Kirk and discuss how entrepreneurs are working to build the future of healthcare here in Chicago,” said MATTER CEO Steven Collens. “We’re grateful for Senator Kirk’s commitment to supporting business growth and healthcare innovation, and we look forward to working with him as MATTER continues to grow.”

"MATTER is helping to make Chicago a global hub for healthcare innovation, and we are fortunate to have leaders like Senator Kirk who are aligned with the mission of health care innovation,” said Jeff Aronin, co-chair of MATTER and CEO of Marathon Pharmaceuticals. “By working together with entrepreneurs, we can build the next generation of healthcare technology that will improve patient lives.”

MATTER, launched in February 2015, accelerates innovation by connecting major healthcare institutions with entrepreneurs at the forefront of health technology. Home to more than 100 health technology startups, MATTER has partnered with over 40 industry leaders, three world-class research institutions and eight healthcare systems to create the next generation of health IT, medical devices, diagnostics and biopharmaceuticals.

Source: www.kirk.senate.gov

 

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Fri, 28 Aug 2015 21:35:20 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/63885-senator-kirk-credits-chicago-innovator-matter.html
Study: Smoking Still Remains Cannabis Consumers' Preferred Method Of Ingestion http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/analysis/63878-study-smoking-still-remains-cannabis-consumers-preferred-method-of-ingestion.html Study: Smoking Still Remains Cannabis Consumers' Preferred Method Of IngestionAtlanta, GA--(ENEWSPF)--August 28, 2015.  The majority of people who self-report consuming cannabis do so by methods that involve smoking the substance, according to nationally representative survey data published online ahead of print in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Investigators from the US Center for Disease Control and Emory University assessed survey data from those over the age of 18 in regard to their mode of marijuana ingestion and current reason for use.

Authors reported: "Overall, 7.2 percent of respondents reported current marijuana use; 34.5 percent reported ever use. Among current users, 10.5 percent reported medicinal-only use, 53.4 percent reported recreational-only use, and 36.1 percent reported both. Use of [a] bowl or pipe (49.5 percent) [or a] joint (49.2 percent) predominated among current marijuana users, with lesser use of bongs, water pipes, or hookahs (21.7 percent), blunts (20.3 percent); edibles/drinks (16.1 percent); and vaporizers (7.6 percent)."

Use of vaporization technology, which does not result in the exposure to combustion gases, was most likely to be reported by those residing in the western region of the United States (15.8 percent) and among those under the age 24 (19.3 percent). Edible products, which are associated with delayed onset of drug effect, greater drug bioavailability, and prolonged duration of effect, were most popular in the west (38.4 percent) and among those respondents between the ages of 25 to 34 (32.5 percent). African American respondents (37.3 percent) were more likely than other ethnicities to report using blunts.

Full text of the study, "Toking, vaping, and eating for health or fun: Marijuana use patterns in adults, US, 2014," appears in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Source: www.norml.org

 

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Fri, 28 Aug 2015 17:31:05 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/analysis/63878-study-smoking-still-remains-cannabis-consumers-preferred-method-of-ingestion.html
Latest JAMA Studies Largely Fail To Support Past Claims About Marijuana And Brain Health http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/63877-latest-jama-studies-largely-fail-to-support-past-claims-about-marijuana-and-brain-health.html Washington, DC--(ENEWSPF)--August 28, 2015

By: Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director
Latest JAMA Studies Largely Fail To Support Past Claims About Marijuana And Brain Health

Two new studies published online today in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) Psychiatry provide little support for previous claims that cannabis exposure is significantly harmful to the developing brain.

The first study, which assessed the effects of cannabis exposure on brain volume in exposed and unexposed sibling pairs, reported that any identifiable differences “were attributable to common predispositional factors, genetic or environmental in origin.” By contrast, authors found “no evidence for the causal influence of cannabis exposure” on brain morphology.

The trial is “the largest study to date examining the association between cannabis exposure (ever versus never used) and brain volumes.”

The study is one of two recent clinical trials to be published in recent months rebutting the claims of a widely publicized 2014 paper which alleged that even casual marijuana exposure may be linked to brain abnormalities, particularly in the region of the brain known as the amygdala. In January, researchers writing in The Journal of Neuroscience reported “no statistically significant differences … between daily [marijuana] users and nonusers on [brain] volume or shape in the regions of interest” after researchers controlled for participants’ use of alcohol. Similarly, today’s JAMA study “casts considerable doubt on hypotheses that cannabis use … causes reductions in amygdala volumes.”

A second study appearing today in the journal assessed whether cannabis use during adolescence is associated with brain changes that may be linked to an increased risk of schizophrenia. While researchers reported finding an association among male subjects who possessed a high genetic predisposition toward schizophrenia, authors reported that no such association existed among male subjects who were at low risk for the disease, or among females in either the high risk or low risk categories. The finding is consistent with the theory that early onset cannabis use may potentially exacerbate symptoms in a minority of subjects predisposed to the disease, but it contradicts claims that marijuana exposure is a likely cause of schizophrenia, particularly among those who are not already vulnerable to the disease.

Abstracts of both new studies appear online in JAMA Psychiatry here and here.

Source: www.norml.org

 

 

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Fri, 28 Aug 2015 17:29:04 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/63877-latest-jama-studies-largely-fail-to-support-past-claims-about-marijuana-and-brain-health.html
Planned Parenthood Calls on Anti-Abortion Activists to Release All Video Footage to Authorities Immediately http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/63876-planned-parenthood-calls-on-anti-abortion-activists-to-release-all-video-footage-to-authorities-immediately.html ‘Where is the full, unedited video footage that experts say was heavily edited to distort Planned Parenthood’s work, and why won’t this group turn it over?’

WASHINGTON, DC –-(ENEWSPF)--August 28, 2015.  Planned Parenthood Federation of America today called on anti-abortion activists who have been posting heavily edited videos for the last six weeks to immediately release their complete, unedited source video footage to the California attorney general.

A California-based group calling itself the Center for Medical Progress – whose leadership is connected to groups linked to bombings of women's health centers and the murder of an abortion doctor – has released eight videos in the last six weeks, including five videos of Planned Parenthood staff members. The videos focused on Planned Parenthood staff members have a total of at least 42 splices, where statements were edited to create the appearance of seamless conversations, changing the meaning of what people said in order to support CMP’s outrageous and false claims.

An expert report released yesterday determined that the secretly recorded videos were heavily edited and “significantly distort and misrepresent” actual events. Three teams of experts, including a video science instructor at the FBI National Academy, noted that supposed “full footage” that the group has released is edited, inaccurate, and unreliable, as are transcripts the group has produced. The experts noted that no unedited source footage has been released.

In the last few hours, media outlets have reported that David Daleiden, the activist at the center of the nearly three-year fraud campaign, said he couldn’t release “a lot of” footage because some court orders prevent it, then said “we are providing” footage to authorities, and also claimed footage has already been provided to authorities. He did not specify which authorities, and it is not clear whether it is source footage, which is full, completely unedited video footage. To date, no source footage has ever been released publicly. Daleiden has said that he is releasing the videos to the public one at a time for maximum political effect and to garner more media coverage, and that he has several more videos to release.

Following is a statement from Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

“This group should immediately provide every minute of video footage they have of Planned Parenthood staff to the California attorney general. No unedited source footage has ever been provided publicly for any of these videos. Everything that’s been released has been edited, and experts have now said unequivocally that the video editing was deceptive and does not reflect actual events.

“The question today is: Where is the full, unedited video footage that experts say was heavily edited to distort Planned Parenthood’s work, and why won’t this group release it? We know that some members of Congress and state legislators were shown these videos weeks before they were released. Did those politicians see full, unedited source footage? If they thought they saw wrongdoing on the videos they were secretly shown, why didn’t they immediately insist that the full videos all be given to proper authorities?

“As a trusted health care provider, Planned Parenthood has extremely high standards – and if there are ever questions about whether our standards are being met, we want to know about it so we can take swift action. If these folks really think they saw wrongdoing, which so far isn’t even apparent on their heavily edited videos, they should turn everything involving Planned Parenthood over to their state’s attorney general to get to the bottom of it.”

While some video footage cannot be released because of a court order, Planned Parenthood is calling for all video footage involving its staff that is not covered by the court order to be released immediately to California’s attorney general. The Center for Medical Progress is based in California, and several of the videos were shot there.

In a letter to congressional leadership yesterday, Planned Parenthood Federation of America provided substantial background about fetal tissue research, laws in this area, the organization’s medical guidelines, and new expert analysis showing that the videos were heavily edited and do not reflect actual events. Planned Parenthood follows all laws and medical standards, and nothing in the videos that have been released shows any violations of law or standards. All five states that have concluded investigations that were sparked by these videos have found no wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood.

On Background: notes on terminology:

It is inaccurate to refer to Planned Parenthood’s “national” fetal tissue donation work or “a program” at Planned Parenthood for fetal tissue donation. This is important work that Planned Parenthood affiliates in two states are involved in, and it is an option for patients at 1% of Planned Parenthood’s health centers. There is no national program or effort.

It is inaccurate to say that earlier videos released by this group showed Planned Parenthood staff members discussing “selling” tissue. Staff discussed voluntary, nonprofit fetal tissue donation – identical to programs at hospitals and universities across the country.

It is inaccurate to say that earlier videos showed Planned Parenthood staff members “haggling” about tissue donation “fees.” They are discussing standard reimbursements for costs, often in response to leading and aggressive questions.

It is inaccurate to say that “unedited” videos or transcripts have been released by this group, since no source footage has ever been provided. Every video, short or long, has been edited, often extensively and deceptively, and transcripts the group has posted are incomplete and erroneous.

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Planned Parenthood is the nation's leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation's largest provider of sex education. With approximately 700 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.

Source:  Planned Parenthood Federation of America

 

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Fri, 28 Aug 2015 17:21:55 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/63876-planned-parenthood-calls-on-anti-abortion-activists-to-release-all-video-footage-to-authorities-immediately.html
Groups Appeal Seattle Judge’s Decision Allowing Shell To Use the City As Arctic Drilling Homeport http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/63869-groups-appeal-seattle-judge-s-decision-allowing-shell-to-use-the-city-as-arctic-drilling-homeport.html Seattle-area environmental groups demand environmental review

Polar Pioneer in the Port of Seattle

Shell's Polar Pioneer in Elliott Bay as it exits the Port of Seattle on June 15, 2015.  Jeff Dunnicliff for the Backbone Campaign/Flickr

Seattle, WA —(ENEWSPF)--August 27, 2015.  Today, a group of Seattle-area environmental groups and the Sierra Club appealed a King County Superior Court Judge’s July ruling which said the Port of Seattle did not need to conduct an environmental review before allowing the Terminal 5 at the Port of Seattle to be used as a home port by Shell Oil’s Arctic drilling fleet. Additionally, the appeal challenges the Superior Court’s decision that turning Terminal 5 into a homeport for Shell’s Arctic drilling rigs was the same use as the previous container shipping terminal.

Earthjustice filed the appeal on behalf of Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, Washington Environmental Council, the Sierra Club and Seattle Audubon to the Washington State Court of Appeals, Division I. 

“The Port of Seattle is supposed to be accountable to the public, but it has continually shut the public out of this process. The Port has circumvented the permitting and environmental review processes it is supposed to follow,” said Earthjustice Staff Attorney Patti Goldman.

“Our waterways are not for sale to the highest bidder. If the Shell drilling rig and its support vessels are allowed to return to Seattle without environmental review, the costs incurred by the public include a significant loss of public use of the waterway, an increased risk to Elliott Bay and the Duwamish River from spills and in-water repairs, as well as a loss of public accountability and trust,” said Chris Wilke, Executive Director and Puget Soundkeeper of Puget Soundkeeper Alliance. 

“We are compelled to resort to this appeal because of our ongoing concern for the health of Puget Sound. The lack of public process and environmental review by the Port creates concern that grave harm will come to the birds, whales, and other marine life in our waters from these oil industry vessels. We have no choice but to continue speaking for the wildlife that cannot speak for itself,” said Brian Windrope, Executive Director of Seattle Audubon. 

Read the legal document.

Background:

Earthjustice filed the original challenge in King County Superior Court on behalf of Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, The Sierra Club, Washington Environmental Council, and Seattle Audubon Society in March. The coalition asked the court to vacate the Port of Seattle’s lease with Foss Maritime to house Shell Oil’s Arctic drilling fleet because the Port violated the State Environmental Policy Act by failing to conduct any environmental review. 

The lawsuit charges that the Port violated environmental laws by converting Terminal 5 from a container terminal into a Shell homeport; the Port needed to conduct a public review of the environmental and community impacts of making this change.  

Citing Shell Oil’s record of environmental impacts from leaking oil, potential discharges from repairing Arctic-damaged vessels as well as a lack of public process, the groups asked the Port to block the lease via a letter dated January 28, 2015. The letter urged the Port to find a new tenant that creates high-quality, sustainable jobs that reflect the community’s values, further specifying the need for a full vetting and public process. The lawsuit seeks to safeguard those core values and the need to push the Port to be a leader in sustainability. 

A separate legal proceeding concerning the Terminal 5 lease is ongoing. The City of Seattle Department of Planning and Development, which issues and enforces shoreline permits, has determined that the Port needs a new permit before homeporting Shell’s Arctic drilling fleet at Terminal 5. The current permit authorizes use of Terminal 5 as a cargo terminal, and the City has determined that, under its shoreline rules, a cargo terminal entails the transshipment of cargo as a business from one location to another, and that homeporting Shell’s Arctic drilling fleet needs a new City permit because it consists of overwinter mooring of the vessels, maintenance and repairs, and outfitting them for the drilling operation, not transshipping cargo. Both the Port and Foss Maritime Company have appealed the City’s interpretation. The City Hearing Examiner held a trial ending this week and will decide whether to uphold the City’s interpretation after receiving post-hearing briefs. If the interpretation is upheld, the City may pursue enforcement actions to require the Port to obtain a new permit, which have been placed on hold pending outcome of the hearing.

About Earthjustice

Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.

Source: www.earthjustice.org

 

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Fri, 28 Aug 2015 16:44:04 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/63869-groups-appeal-seattle-judge-s-decision-allowing-shell-to-use-the-city-as-arctic-drilling-homeport.html
Court Sides with Feds and Coal Firms in Lawsuit Over Federal Coal Leasing Program http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/63867-court-sides-with-feds-and-coal-firms-in-lawsuit-over-federal-coal-leasing-program.html Bureau of Land Management has not comprehensively reviewed the program in over 30 years; Plaintiffs Will Appeal

WASHINGTON, D.C. –(ENEWSPF)—August 28, 2015.  A federal court in Washington, D.C. dismissed litigation brought against the Department of the Interior and Bureau of Land Management by Friends of the Earth and the Western Organization of Resource Councils to require the BLM to conduct a supplemental Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement on the federal coal leasing program. The litigation is supported by the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.

“We are disappointed in the court's decision but we plan to appeal and continue this effort until the BLM agrees to undertake a comprehensive environmental analysis of the entire coal leasing program,” said Friends of the Earth President Erich Pica. “That is what is required by federal law.”

“Forty percent of the coal burned in the U.S. is mined on federal lands under BLM leases and was responsible for fourteen percent of U.S. fossil fuel emissions over the past decade,” said Pica. “BLM’s failure to consider the implications of climate change is not only contrary to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) it also undermines President Obama’s Climate Action Plan.”

“Ultimately, we believe that the administration’s resistance to comprehensively assess the programmatic environmental impact of the federal coal leasing program endangers the health of our local communities, fails to meet the goals of the U.S. Climate Action Plan, and is a raw deal for taxpayers,” said Bob LeResche, Chair of the Western Organization of Resource Councils.

Background: A comprehensive environmental review of the federal coal-leasing program has not been conducted by BLM since 1979. Since then, scientific evidence established that global warming pollution produced by coal mining and combustion endangers public health and welfare. The BLM, however, has never analyzed the coal leasing program’s impact on climate disruption.

A lawsuit to require the U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to prepare a supplemental Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for the Federal Coal Management Program was filed in the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia on November 25, 2014 by Friends of the Earth and the Western Organization of Resource Councils. The complaint argues that the results of this analysis will compel BLM to deliver on its legal obligation to promote environmentally responsible management of public lands on behalf of the citizens of the United States.

In January of 2015, BLM filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit based on narrow procedural grounds. Today’s ruling endorses these narrow objections. NEPA requires that an agency undertake a thorough environmental impact review whenever it learns of new information that affects one of its programs, such as the coal-leasing program. Findings by the U.S. government and the governments of virtually every nation on earth are that emissions of carbon dioxide are inexorably increasing the temperature of the atmosphere and oceans towards levels not seen in millions of years. These findings constitute new information requiring a renewed NEPA analysis. We look forward to a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit reversing the district court’s erroneous decision.

Source: www.foe.org

 

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Fri, 28 Aug 2015 16:31:00 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/63867-court-sides-with-feds-and-coal-firms-in-lawsuit-over-federal-coal-leasing-program.html
You Break It, You Own It (Or, What The Hell Did You Think Would Happen?) http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/commentary/63866-you-break-it-you-own-it-or-what-the-hell-did-you-think-would-happen.html NEW YORK--(ENEWSPF)--August 28, 2015

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump looks toward Jeb Bush, right, as Scott Walker watches during the first Republican presidential debate at the Quicken Loans Arena Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015, in Cleveland. (Photo: AP/Andrew Harnik)

Doesn’t your heart just break for the grandees of the Republican Party?

They’ve had the shit kicked out of them in presidential election after presidential election, and the forecast trends in national demographics suggest that, looking forward, these last decades will be seen as the GOP’s grand old days. So, knowing this, the big-wigs got together after the last debacle in 2012 and decided, “Hey, we’ve got to stop alienating the damn Mexicans. There’s too many of them!”

Any moron could have predicted what a fool’s errand that would be. Politicians – most especially the Republican kind – are nothing if not heat-seeking missiles when it comes to opportunistically pouncing on an issue they can ride to electoral victory. Particularly given the number of third and fourth-tier weenies vying for the Republican nomination this time around (George Pataki? Bobby Jindal? Ben Carson? Carly Fiorina? Seriously?), it didn’t exactly require quantum physics calculations to figure out that one or more of them would pounce on the party’s old tried-and-true racist, sexist, homophobic and/or xenophobic tropes in order to get a leg up.

After all, they are all George Wallace’s Babies, even half a century later. Wallace ran for governor of Alabama in 1958 as something of a progressive, believe it or not, endorsed by the NAACP no less. He lost to a guy who was supported by another organization also known for its initials, heavy on the K’s. Wallace then decided that winning in politics was everything that mattered in the world and promptly tossed black Alabamians under the (segregated) bus in order to achieve those ends (admittedly, not a gigantic leap for a Southern white politician to make in 1958). He wasn’t even particularly shy about it, stating, “You know, I tried to talk about good roads and good schools and all these things that have been part of my career, and nobody listened. And then I began talking about niggers, and they stomped the floor.” Asked by his aide why he had lost the election and what he would do about it, he replied, “Seymore, you know why I lost that governor's race? ... I was outniggered by John Patterson. And I'll tell you here and now, I will never be outniggered again.” And, you know what? He never was.

Except, of course, by the contemporary Republican Party (pardon the oxymoron there please), which has spent the last half-century out-niggering, out-sand-niggering, out-fagging, and out-bitching everybody in sight. And, as with Wallace, it turned out it worked for them as well. Voters stomped the floor. Republicans got elected. The rights of blacks, gays, women and foreigners be damned. Who cared? They were winning. Yep, it worked. Until it didn’t.

Regressives hate change, and you can see why. Change is destroying their little Wallace trick in at least three ways. First, moral values have evolved. In the same way that slavery was largely a repugnant practice in the twentieth century but not the nineteenth, racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia are out, out, out these days – except in red states, and even there not so much in the cities. Unless you’re a good ol’ boy of the rural South, that is, the country has largely moved on and away from these ugly attitudes.

Second, many voters who might otherwise be amenable to a blame-the-outgroup style of politics have learned the hard way that in the end it don’t satisfy too much. They keep voting for these same fools, and some of them even win. But it turns out that the political class couldn’t really give a damn about these issues after the election is over, and instead they just keep on serving their true bosses, the financial Masters of the Universe. So ol’ Uncle Buford may have got hisself a little twinge of satisfaction voting for the Republican bigot in the last election, but four years later he’s not only not better off than we was before, he’s worse off. Not so much, however, the Wall Street tycoons whose bank accounts now host more of Buford’s earnings than ever.

Finally, there’s the tectonic change of demographics. If you just count heads, you see that it ain’t the good ol’ white boy’s country anymore, and everyday it becomes even less so. So if your politics is built on a model that flies in the face of those massive and inevitable changes, you might as well go out there and try to fight a tsunami with a toilet plunger. The only thing that’s going to happen is that you’re going to drown.

Speaking of which, welcome to the GOP in the 2015th year of their lord. They are drowning in their own waste product, and finally figured out they should stop flushing the toilet after losing the popular vote in five out of the last six presidential elections. The problem is, it’s not so easy to do.

That’s because long ago the GOP made a deal with the Devil. And that sonuvabitch intends to be paid.

It’s well worth recalling the history here. We could spend lifetimes doing so, and fill entire libraries with the documentary evidence, but really a few highlights will do the trick. Recall that this is the party of the 1960s Southern Strategy, a term that sounds one heck of a lot more benign than it was. Its essence was to use more genteel and politically correct versions of racist appeals to strip away white Southern (and many northern) voters from their historic place in the Democratic Party, which had courageously dared to fly the flag of racial equality during that era. And this most cynical strategy indeed succeeded. The once Solid South of the Democratic Party is today – in an astonishing turnaround of incredible rapidity – essentially the Solid South of the Republican Party. That happened almost entirely because of the politics of race.

Following these early successes, other Republican politicians then gratefully followed in the footsteps of Goldwater and Nixon (and Wallace). Saint Ron of Reagan launched his 1980 campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi, talking about states’ rights. Gee, whatever could he have meant using those classic code words for legalized racism, in the very place where heroic civil rights workers were murdered by the Klan? Then there was the kinder, gentler H.W. Bush eight years later, coming from seventeen points behind in order to win the presidency in 1992. Golly, do you think the Willie Horton ads might have had anything to do with that? Could that be why Bush’s campaign chief Lee Atwater apologized for those on his deathbed, scared shitless about going to Hell as he was about to meet has maker? After all, presidential terms go for four years. Eternity lasts quite a bit longer...

The Lil’ Bush continued the same pattern, only he preferred to beat up on gays rather than blacks. So in 2004 he made sure that anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment initiatives were put on ballots in about a dozen key swing states in order to bring out the ugly vote, and it worked. While they were there in the booth stomping on gays, Neanderthal voters also cast their ballots for Bush, who bought himself a second term, only to promptly dump the issue immediately after the election to go after what he really came to Washington for, the privatizing of Social Security.

There are lots more examples to choose from, but you get the idea. If you don’t mind taking your cynicism strong and thick, you have to admit it was a great deal for the party. Emphasis on the past tense, though. For reasons discussed above, that dog don’t hunt anymore. Which is why the party tried to discreetly walk away from their little arrangement after the most recent shellacking. But they can’t, for at least two reasons: namely, the voters, and the votees. The latter, as mentioned before, do what they want and don’t take directions from anything as minuscule as Reince Priebus, current party ‘boss’. If they think they can win the old-fashioned way – and especially if they think that’s the only way they can win – well, they will. This problem is especially acute because, like Wallace before them, they also have the prerogative of going third-party rogue, in which case every vote given to such a candidate would be a vote taken directly out of the GOP nominee’s pocket.

The other problem the GOP has is its base of voters, who have become increasingly insane over the decades, to the point where Tea Partiers are now considered way too moderate. I don’t use the word ‘insane’ here lightly or colloquially. These folks are literally quite detached from reality, and nothing proves that more than their worship of that big lump of Trump currently in the headlines. If you think about, Trump is, on paper, almost the complete antithesis of what these supposedly conservative voters stand for. He’s from New York, he’s been married and divorced countless times, he’s the owner of a gambling empire, he’s not religious, he’s taken quite liberal positions on a number of issues over the years, including abortion, and so on.

If it doesn’t make sense, it is only because people are extending the assumption of rationality to these voters where little exists. Big mistake. Probably the most significant fact about American politics in our time – and here I mean really the last forty years or so – is the existence of this incoherent rage on the part of a large cohort of disaffected Americans, which almost always manifests itself in stupid right-wing politics.

These voters are folks who, a generation or two ago, ruled their little roosts. They didn’t have to share power or prestige or even dignity with blacks or women or gays or foreigners or Muslims or atheists. Not only did that mean that they had a modicum of greater authority than they do today because of that power structure, most importantly it meant that they had the prideful illusion of enhanced social status. Yeah, maybe they were white trash as far as the bosses and the rich folk and the Northeasterners were concerned, okay, but they were still ‘better’ than all those other lower ranking losers, and when all else failed their fragile self-esteem, well, heck, that fact felt pretty good.

But it’s all gone now. I mean, Christ, there’s a black guy in the White House! And probably a woman next! How can these disaffected voters feel good about themselves if blacks and Hispanics and women and gays and Muslims and all the rest have the same rights and privileges and status that they do? The answer is Trump. Or Palin, or Cheney, or – for that matter, McCarthy – it’s all the same appeal. Find somebody who can express (and exploit – but “Shhh!”, never mind about that) their rage about being left behind, their inability to share, and their dependence on the squashing of others in order to feel good about themselves and they’re all in, Brother.

Trump just happens to be this year’s model, but the phenomenon is ever the same. He’s all the rage (pardon the pun) with these voters more or less entirely because of two positions he’s taken: his insane and obscene birther rap on Obama, and his thuggish rant about illegal immigrants. These non-issues address no current problem facing the country, and – as noted above – Trump is otherwise almost the antithesis of what a regressive voter is supposed to embrace. No matter, it’s the rage and it’s the target that matters. These people aren’t voting on the basis of some rational policy-oriented analysis of who is the best candidate with the most carefully crafted solutions. They’re voting on the basis of who makes them feel good about themselves (which is no small task).

But, as noted above, this phenomenon has now become a Godzilla-like nuclear chicken which has come home to roost for the Republican Party. Decades ago, it went to the crossroads and made a deal with the Devil. You’d think they would have been smart enough to trade eternity in Hell for something good – like, for instance, great blues guitar chops maybe. But no, they asked for a few electoral victories in American politics, and that’s what they got. But the show is over now. They broke it, and now they own it. Assuming it could even be done after all the damage of the last few decades (and the last few weeks), imagine what it would take for the GOP to reinvent itself as a party that can attract votes from the groups it has been beating up on all these years. Good luck with that, pal.

There is lots of good news here for those of us in this country who haven’t yet checked into the asylum. First, the Party of Evil is killing itself ever more every day, as loathsome candidate after despicable candidate tries to ape Trump and attract the anger vote. This is exactly why the GOP attempted to limit the number of debates this cycle, and tried to steer the party away from, especially, Hispanic-bashing. They wanted to avoid a repeat of 2012, when there were fifteen or twenty debates between the circus clowns then seeking the Republican nomination (many of whom are back again), each spectacle more comical and scary than the last. The whole country was watching. And they are now, as well, as the party repeats the process, only this time on steroids.

Which means, second, they are also dramatically diminishing their chances of winning the White House in 2016, and with it the important power to save the Supreme Court’s regressive majority from timing out. Somebody recently commented that history may judge retrospectively that this was the month in which the election was decided, despite the fact that it is well more than a year away, and not a single vote has been case, and we’re not even remotely close to having selected nominees yet. I think there’s some real wisdom in that analysis. How many non-insane voters are watching the GOP Show and thinking “Christ, I could never vote for that crap”? It will only get worse from here.

Finally, I trust the reader will pardon my vindictiveness here, but I am frankly unapologetic about it. I absolutely despise the thugs of the Republican Party who have exchanged, for their personal gain, the misery of those millions of weaker individuals they constantly exploit. So I confess that the idea that some of these bastards – and there’s a whole lot of them, but I’m taking to you, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Scott Walker, Rick Santorum, Jeb Bush and more – could wind up exiled to political oblivion by the likes of Donald Trump gives me the greatest joy.

May they all rot in Hell, and count themselves lucky that they got off so easy for their crimes.

About the Author:

David Michael Green is a professor of political science at Hofstra University in New York.

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Fri, 28 Aug 2015 16:24:30 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/commentary/63866-you-break-it-you-own-it-or-what-the-hell-did-you-think-would-happen.html
Experts Warn Climate Change is 'Changing the Contours' of World's Oceans http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/63857-experts-warn-climate-change-is-changing-the-contours-of-world-s-oceans.html

'Warmer waters—along with rising seas, coastal droughts and ocean acidification—are already putting people, businesses, and communities at risk.'

Washington, DC--(ENEWSPF)--August 27, 2015
Climate change is not the only human-caused threat facing the world's oceans. (Photo: Monique Dinkel/flickr/cc)

As climate change continues to put ocean ecosystems and the communities that rely upon them at risk, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) this week outlined a new "Climate Science Strategy" meant to increase fisheries' resilience against global warming.

"NOAA just announced that for the globe the month of July—and actually, the entire year so far—was the warmest ever recorded, driven largely by record warm ocean temperatures," said Eileen Sobeck, assistant NOAA administrator for fisheries. "Those warmer waters—along with rising seas, coastal droughts and ocean acidification—are already putting people, businesses, and communities at risk."

The strategy aims to increase "the production, delivery, and use of climate-related information" in order to mitigate global warming's impact on marine and coastal industries.

That impact is already being seen, noted Richard Merrick, NOAA Fisheries director of scientific programs and chief science advisor. "We are already seeing marine animals change where they live to deal with changing climate," he said. "We're even seeing population numbers of some species drop."

As Lisa Suatoni, a senior scientist in the oceans program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, noted in a blog post about the strategy on Thursday, "climate change and ocean acidification have already changed the contours of the fishing industry in our country."

She wrote: "American lobster fisheries in Connecticut and New York have nearly vanished due to warming waters and increased incidence of disease. Some scientists believe that rising temperatures have thwarted the recovery of the long-overfished Atlantic cod in the Northeast. Rising acidity along the coast of the Pacific Northwest has caused massive die-offs of oyster larvae. As fish move northward and into deeper waters as a result of rising water temperatures, historic fisheries will fade and new ones will arise in coastal fishing communities around the United States."

NOAA's move comes as the U.S. government makes public its desire for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to devote more research to the question of how climate change affects the world's oceans. According to the Guardian on Thursday, the U.S. will raise the issue at United Nations climate talks in Paris later this year.

"In my judgment, more attention needs to be paid to the climate change effects upon the ocean areas of the world," David Balton, deputy assistant secretary for oceans and fisheries at the State Department, told the Guardian. "We need to keep pushing up until the Paris conference and beyond. Ultimately, we need to change the way we live if we’re to keep the planet in the safe zone."

Climate change is not the only human-caused threat facing the world's oceans.

The Scotland Herald reported Wednesday on a study that found up to 80 tons of microplastic waste entering the sea every year from use of these cosmetics in the UK alone.

Meanwhile, a fleet of about 30 vessels connected with the Netherlands-based Ocean Cleanup returned on Sunday from a month-long expedition in which they sampled the concentration of plastic in the Pacific in preparation for a large-scale cleanup of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is scheduled to begin by 2020. What they found was troubling. 

"I've studied plastic in all the world’s oceans, but never seen any area as polluted as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” said Dr. Julia Reisser, lead oceanographer at The Ocean Cleanup. "With every trawl we completed, thousands of miles from land, we just found lots and lots of plastic."

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Thu, 27 Aug 2015 22:47:45 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/63857-experts-warn-climate-change-is-changing-the-contours-of-world-s-oceans.html
New Study Reveals Yet More Risks to Bees from Controversial Pesticides http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/63856-new-study-reveals-yet-more-risks-to-bees-from-controversial-pesticides.html The evidence of harm is clear,' says environmental advocacy group Friends of the Earth
Washington, DC--(ENEWSPF)--August 27, 2015
Three banned types of neonicotinoid pesticides have been found to pose new risks to pollinators. (Photo: Sputnik UK London/flickr/cc)

Pesticides that have been banned in Europe over bee safety concerns may pose an even greater risk to pollinators than previously thought, a new report by the European Union's food safety watchdog reveals.

Neonicotinoids, or neonics, pose high risks to bees when sprayed on plant leaves, according to data by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in its report, published Wednesday—which bolsters previous findings that neonics harm pollinators when used as seed treatments or granules.

The EFSA studied three pesticides in particular—clothianidin, imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam—all of which were banned by the EU in 2013 for a two-year period after scientific reports warned of their dangers. The latest findings, said Greenpeace EU agriculture policy director Marco Contiero, "confirmed what has already been demonstrated by a wealth of scientific evidence: neonicotinoids are a serious threat to bees and to the future of farming."

"The Commission should expand the EU-wide ban to cover all uses of neonicotinoids on all crops," Contiero said. "Viable non-chemical alternatives exist and the EU should encourage farmers to use them.”

José Tarazona, head of the EFSA's pesticide unit, told the Guardian on Wednesday it is "clear that in some cases there is data suggesting high toxicity and potential risk from these substances."

Neonic use has been linked to dramatic declines in populations of pollinators like bumblebees and honey bees, as well as insects like moths, ladybirds and hoverflies, which help reduce numbers of crop pests. All bee varieties in Europe have been placed on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's red list (pdf) of threatened species.

"Another day and yet another study shows the high risk to bees from neonicotinoid pesticides," said Paul de Zylva, senior nature campaigner at Friends of the Earth (FOE), in response to the EFSA's study.

"The evidence of harm is clear," de Zylva continued. "Questions need to be asked about how these products were ever approved for use when they were not tested for their effects on different types of bees."

Earlier this year, the United Kingdom lifted its own moratorium on pesticides to allow for some limited use of two kinds of neonics—produced by agrochemical giants Bayer and Syngenta—by farmers growing oilseed rape on roughly 300 square kilometers of land. While the repeal is temporary, giving farmers access to the pesticides for only 120 days, the move sparked outrage among environmental advocates.

Wednesday's findings "underlines why neonics are restricted and why we are challenging the Government's decision to allow use of the banned pesticides in England," de Zylva said.

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Thu, 27 Aug 2015 22:44:41 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/63856-new-study-reveals-yet-more-risks-to-bees-from-controversial-pesticides.html
A Decade After Katrina, RNs Reflect on What We’ve Learned and Refuse to Learn http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/63855-a-decade-after-katrina-rns-reflect-on-what-we-ve-learned-and-refuse-to-learn.html WASHINGTON --(ENEWSPF)--August 27, 2015.  On the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s destruction along the Gulf Coast, registered nurse volunteers with the disaster relief program, Registered Nurse Response Network (RNRN), which sent hundreds of RN volunteers to provide disaster relief to the region in the wake of the deadly storm, say that critical lessons which exacerbated the 2005 crisis – global climate change, our lack of a national healthcare system, and failure to invest in public resources and infrastructure – have still not been learned.

Nurses from RNRN, a project of National Nurses United (NNU), the country’s largest organization of RNs, are back in New Orleans this week to show support for residents of the region and highlight that the problems, which existed 10 years ago, continue to fester.

RNs, some of whom volunteered with RNRN post-Katrina, will staff a first aid tent and participate in Katrina commemoration events hosted by Gulf South Rising, a coordinated regional movement of people and groups to highlight how the global climate crisis, and the rising sea levels that come with it, are affecting the Gulf Coast states.

“Things aren’t just the same, they’re worse,” said Malinda Markowitz, RN, a NNU vice president who will participate in the events. “As nurses, we always want to get at the root causes of illnesses, and Katrina exposed them all: the socioeconomic inequality, the racism, the lack of access to healthcare, how we’ve defunded our public infrastructure, and how our dependency on fossil fuels has accelerated climate change. On this anniversary, we are again working to build the movement needed to fix these problems.”

After Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf and New Orleans flooded, forcing the evacuation of millions of residents and trapping – and sometimes killing – those who remained in the city, RNRN sprung into action to supply volunteer RNs to the affected areas.

What nurses learned was that there was no coordinated emergency system to respond to natural and man-made disasters such as this one. Federal, state, and county and municipal agencies all implemented their own plans, which resulted in chaos.

Despite the confusion, RNRN was ultimately able to determine the needs of various hospitals and state disaster agencies overwhelmed with the need for qualified medical providers and place more than 300 volunteer RNs in positions where they could fully utilize their skills, experience, and knowledge as registered nurses.

In Baton Rouge, La., RNRN sent rotations of nurse volunteers to relieve exhausted staff nurses at Earl K. Long Medical Center, the only public hospital (now closed) in the city where scores of New Orleans evacuees had fled. RNRN also sent nurse volunteers to a number of hospitals and clinics in other parts of the Gulf, and provided a significant percentage of nurses who staffed medical services for thousands of evacuees sheltered at the Houston Astrodome, where many New Orleans residents had been bussed.

A decade later, the nation has made little progress in addressing the systemic problems Hurricane Katrina laid bare:

Climate change, which results in rises in sea temperatures and likely increased the size and intensity of the hurricane, remains a major global crisis. Despite numerous climate summits and treaties, dependence on burning fossil fuels as the world’s primary energy source continues.

A number of countries lag behind efforts to reduce CO2 levels that scientists say must be lowered to arrest and reverse the warming of the earth. Many policy makers in the U.S., at the behest of the fossil fuel industry, continue to oppose robust action to stem the effects of the climate crisis. The earth’s current, identified fossil fuel energy stores – of oil, gas, coal, etc. – are already five times more than scientists say we can safely burn and not risk planetary collapse, and the U.S. is still one of the top two emitters of greenhouse gases.

Millions of Gulf residents are still without access to healthcare. While the Affordable Care Act did end some of the worst insurance industry abuses that shut many people out of access to coverage, many patients still cannot afford to use the health insurance they pay for because of the high deductibles and copayments those plans require. And while the Affordable Care Act greatly expanded Medicaid coverage, all of the Gulf states –Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Alabama, and Florida – have refused to take advantage of the expansion, depriving their states’ lowest-income residents of needed healthcare services.

Investments have been diverted away from public infrastructure and public resources and systems in New Orleans and the rest of Louisiana into privately owned entities. Public hospitals, such as Charity Hospital in New Orleans and teaching hospitals connected to Louisiana State University, were never reopened, have been shut down, or privatized. The New Orleans traditional public school system has been largely privatized and turned into a charter and voucher system.

The racial disparity in the post-Katrina “recovery” is especially pronounced. A recent Louisiana State University survey found that almost 80 percent of white New Orleans residents say that the city has “mostly recovered” from the disaster, but some 60 percent of black New Orleans residents say the city has “mostly not recovered.” African-Americans, reports 538.com, are less likely to be working than when the storm hit, more likely to be living in poverty, and the racial wage gap has grown. An estimated 100,000 of the city’s poorest African-Americans have been unable to return.

“Those populations that were more vulnerable before the disaster continue to remain the most vulnerable now,” said Bonnie Castillo, RN, director of the RNRN program. “Katrina taught us that these types of services – public housing, education, healthcare, safety – need to be centralized and socialized. Instead, there’s been a real move to decentralize and privatize. Nurses understand that full recovery

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National Nurses United, with close to 185,000 members in every state, is the largest union and professional association of registered nurses in US history.

Source: www.commondreams.org

 

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Thu, 27 Aug 2015 22:42:02 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/63855-a-decade-after-katrina-rns-reflect-on-what-we-ve-learned-and-refuse-to-learn.html