ENEWSPF News http://www.enewspf.com/ Wed, 20 Aug 2014 12:39:41 GMT FeedCreator 1.8.0-dev (info@mypapit.net) Interior Department Auctions 80,000 Acres Offshore Maryland for Wind Energy Development, Advances President’s Climate Action Plan http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/54861-interior-department-auctions-80-000-acres-offshore-maryland-for-wind-energy-development-advances-president-s-climate-action-plan.html WASHINGTON, D.C.--(ENEWSPF)--August 19, 2014.  As part of President Obama’s comprehensive Climate Action Plan to create American jobs, develop domestic clean energy resources and cut carbon pollution, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) today held the nation’s third competitive lease sale for renewable energy in federal waters, which offered nearly 80,000 acres offshore Maryland for potential wind energy development.

The provisional winner of today’s lease sale is US Wind Inc. When fully built, this wind energy area could generate enough energy to power about 300,000 homes.

“Today’s results are a major achievement and reflect industry confidence as we strengthen our nation’s foothold in this new energy frontier,” said Secretary Sally Jewell. “I want to thank Governor Martin O’Malley, his team and members of BOEM’s Maryland Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force for all of their hard work and leadership leading up to today’s successful auction. The collaboration and thoughtful planning that went into this lease sale will serve as a model as we continue up and down the coast in our efforts to ensure wind energy is developed in the right way and in the right places.”

BOEM auctioned the Maryland Wind Energy Area as two leases, referred to as the North Lease Area (32,737 acres) and the South Lease Area (46,970 acres). US Wind Inc. submitted the provisionally winning bid for both lease areas. For a map of the lease areas, click here.

Today’s announcement builds on Interior’s work to stand up a sustainable offshore wind program for the Atlantic Coast. Prior to today’s auction, BOEM has awarded five commercial wind energy leases off the Atlantic coast: two noncompetitively issued leases (one for the proposed Cape Wind project in Nantucket Sound offshore Massachusetts and one offshore Delaware); and three competitively-issued leases (two offshore Rhode Island-Massachusetts and another offshore Virginia). The competitive lease sales generated over $5 million in winning bids for more than 277,500 acres in federal waters. BOEM is expected to hold additional competitive auctions for Wind Energy Areas offshore Massachusetts and New Jersey in the coming year.

Efforts to spur responsible development of offshore wind energy are part of a series of Obama Administration actions to increase renewable energy both offshore and onshore by improving coordination with state, local and federal partners. The Maryland Renewable Energy Task Force has been a leading agent in intergovernmental collaboration for wind energy development offshore Maryland.

Since 2009, Interior has approved 52 wind, solar and geothermal utility-scale projects on public or tribal lands, including associated transmission corridors and infrastructure to connect to established power grids. When built, these projects could provide about 14,000 megawatts – enough energy to power nearly 4.8 million homes and support more than 20,000 construction and operations jobs.

As part of the President’s comprehensive Climate Action Plan, he has challenged Interior to re-double efforts on its renewable energy program by approving an additional 10,000 megawatts of renewable energy production, for a total of 20,000 megawatts on public lands and waters by 2020.

At the same time, under the Administration’s all-of-the-above energy strategy, domestic oil and gas production has grown each year President Obama has been in office, with domestic oil production currently higher than at any time in two decades; natural gas production at its highest level ever; and renewable electricity generation from wind, solar and geothermal sources having doubled. Combined with recent declines in oil consumption, net oil imports in 2012 fell to the lowest level in 20 years.

Today’s wind energy lease sale resulted in a provisionally winning bid of $8,701,098. The auction lasted 1 day, consisting of 19 rounds before determining the provisional winner. In addition to US Wind Inc., the following companies participated in the auction: Green Sail Energy LLC and SCS Maryland Energy LLC.

“We’re pleased to see such strong commercial interest in today’s auction,” said BOEM Acting Director Cruickshank. “We will continue to work closely with the Task Force members and the public on any future wind energy projects proposed for these leases by US Wind Inc.”

The Maryland Wind Energy Area is located, at its closest point, about 10 nautical miles offshore Ocean City, Md., and has the potential to support between 850 and 1450 megawatts of commercial wind generation, according to Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

The Attorney General, in consultation with the Federal Trade Commission, will have 30 days in which to complete an antitrust review of the auction. BOEM will then send unsigned copies of the lease form to the winning bidder, who will have 10 days to sign and return the leases, file required financial assurance and pay the balance of the winning bid.

Each lease will have a preliminary term of one year, during which the lessee will submit a Site Assessment Plan to BOEM for approval. A Site Assessment Plan describes the activities (installation of meteorological towers and buoys) a lessee plans to perform for the assessment of the wind resources and ocean conditions of its commercial lease area.

If a Site Assessment Plan is approved, the lessee will then have up to 4½ years in which to submit a Construction and Operations Plan (COP) to BOEM for approval. This plan provides detailed information for the construction and operation of a wind energy project on the lease. After BOEM receives a COP from a lessee, BOEM will conduct an environmental review of that proposed project. Public input will be an important part of BOEM’s review process.

If the COP is approved, the lessee will have an operations term of 25 years.

For more information on what’s going on offshore Maryland, visit BOEM’s website by clicking here.

Source: doi.gov

shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Tue, 19 Aug 2014 22:18:30 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/54861-interior-department-auctions-80-000-acres-offshore-maryland-for-wind-energy-development-advances-president-s-climate-action-plan.html
Where Oil Meets Water: Energy East an Unacceptable Risk to Waterways http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/analysis/54860-where-oil-meets-water-energy-east-an-unacceptable-risk-to-waterways.html

Energy East: Where oil meets water reportOttawa, ON--(ENEWSPF)--August 19, 2014.  Drinking water, beluga habitat, and fishing and swimming holes are all at risk if TransCanada’s proposed Energy East pipeline is approved, says a new report.

Energy East: Where Oil Meets Water estimates that Energy East could spill more than one million litres of crude oil, including diluted bitumen from the tar sands, in just 10 minutes. By comparison, the 2013 spill in the Kalamazoo River in Michigan – the largest inland spill in the U.S. – spilled 3.8 million litres of diluted bitumen over the course of 17 hours. 

“It simply is not worth the risk,” says Maude Barlow, national chairperson of the Council of Canadians. “The sheer volume of oil – one million barrels a day – that will go through Energy East is enormous. This means that when the pipeline spills, it will seriously endanger our water sources.”

The report released today by the Council of Canadians provides a snapshot of the characteristics and attributes of many waterways along Energy East’s 4,400-km path, which would span from Hardisty, Alberta to export ports in Cacouna, Quebec and Saint John, New Brunswick.

The report calls on municipalities and provincial governments along the pipeline path to commission independent scientific analyses to best evaluate the threat of a diluted bitumen spill in their areas.

“It is a mistake to rely on TransCanada and federal legislation to protect waterways from a spill or to clean up after a spill rapidly,” adds Andrea Harden-Donahue, energy and climate justice campaigner with the Council. “TransCanada refers to diluted bitumen sinking in water as a myth and the Harper government has gutted important environmental protections, leaving our waterways vulnerable.”

The Kalamazoo spill demonstrated that diluted bitumen spilled in water can sink, making conventional cleanup efforts largely ineffective. Four years later, with over $1 billion spent, submerged oil still remains in the river.

The Energy East pipeline would cross the drinking water sources of millions of Canadians. At points, the pipeline crosses waterways less than 20 km away from communities that draw their drinking water from that waterway. A spill could have devastating effects on waterways flowing through cities such as Winnipeg, Ottawa and Quebec City.

Numerous waterways are profiled in the report – from Battle River in Alberta to the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick. The profiles draw on information provided in TransCanada’s Energy East pre-application project description to the National Energy Board, the existing pipeline slated for conversion, and local knowledge along the proposed route.

“We have a growing crisis of fresh water. We must collectively embrace our roles as water stewards,” concludes Barlow. “The Energy East pipeline would endanger our water. It’s too much for us to risk.”

Download the report.

Read more about Energy East and view the waterways map.

Source: http://www.canadians.org

shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Tue, 19 Aug 2014 22:15:08 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/analysis/54860-where-oil-meets-water-energy-east-an-unacceptable-risk-to-waterways.html
Proposed Exports of Federal Coal Will Result in as Much Carbon Pollution as 35 Million New Cars http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/analysis/54859-proposed-exports-of-federal-coal-will-result-in-as-much-carbon-pollution-as-35-million-new-cars.html Washington, D.C.--(ENEWSPF)--August 19, 2014.  On the heels of a setback yesterday for the coal industry’s plans to build a new export facility near Boardman, Oregon, the Center for American Progress released an analysis finding that proposed coal-export projects on the West Coast of the United States would—if approved—cause an increase in carbon pollution equivalent to 35 million additional cars on the road.

The coal planned for export from proposed West Coast terminals is primarily federally owned coal from the Powder River Basin, or PRB, in Montana and Wyoming, which is the source of approximately 40 percent of all U.S. coal and approximately 13 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

“For decades, the federal coal program in the PRB has sought to maximize coal production without regard for pollution costs or for the fair return that is owed to taxpayers,” said Matt Lee-Ashley, a Senior Fellow and Director of the Public Lands Project at the Center. “The prospect of shipping massive amounts of U.S. taxpayer-owned coal to be burned in China defies common sense, risks undercutting U.S. climate goals, and is fiscally indefensible.”

As a result of outdated policies from the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, or BLM, coal from the PRB is mined and sold at the below-market price of $13 per ton, or around one-fifth of the price of coal produced in the Appalachian region and one-10th of the price of coal being purchased in southeastern China. The BLM’s leasing program has been the subject of investigation and criticism by both the U.S. Government Accountability Office and the Interior Department’s Inspector General.

“With the federal coal program in the PRB facilitating maximum production for minimal return to taxpayers, the coal industry is working to build the export capacity needed to compete with all fuels for large and growing overseas markets,” said Michael Madowitz, an Economist at the Center. “And while shipping PRB coal from the United States’ West Coast to Asia is more costly than shipping from eastern hemisphere producers, the mine-mouth price of PRB coal is so much lower than both domestic and international alternatives that it more than makes up for the difference.”

Because federal policies help keep PRB prices low, the coal can be delivered to China and other Asian markets at more than 40 percent less than current Chinese prices. Today’s report finds that, taking into account transportation costs and other fees and charges, the mine-mouth price of PRB coal could rise to as much as $53.93 per ton, a fourfold increase from the current price, while still remaining competitive with benchmark delivery prices in China and various other Asian markets.

Although yesterday’s decision by the Oregon Department of State Lands was a blow to Australian-based Ambre Energy’s plan to add approximately 9 million tons of shipping capacity for coal at the Port of Morrow in Boardman, Oregon, two additional proposed coal ports are still under review at Longview and Cherry Point in Washington state. Together, the two Washington terminals would add approximately 120 tons of additional coal-shipping capacity per year.

Additional resources: 

Federal Coal Leasing in the Powder River Basin: A Bad Deal for Taxpayers by Nidhi Thakar and Michael Madowitz
Fact Sheet: Five Things You Should Know About Powder River Basin Coal Exports by Nathan Joo, Matt Lee-Ashley and Michael Madowitz

Source: http://www.americanprogress.org

shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Tue, 19 Aug 2014 22:09:49 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/analysis/54859-proposed-exports-of-federal-coal-will-result-in-as-much-carbon-pollution-as-35-million-new-cars.html
Governor Quinn Signs Law to Help Prevent Concussions Among High School Athletes http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/54858-governor-quinn-signs-law-to-help-prevent-concussions-among-high-school-athletes.html Law Requires Illinois High Schools to Train Athletic Directors and Coaches on Concussion Reduction

OAK PARK--(ENEWSPF)--August 19, 2014.  Governor Pat Quinn today signed legislation to help reduce and prevent concussions among high school athletes. The law requires training on concussion awareness and reduction for high school athletic directors and coaches. Today's action is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to protect and improve the health of the people of Illinois.

"Sports play a big role in the lives of many young people across our state,” Governor Quinn said. “While we want to ensure all children have the opportunity to play sports, we must also protect the health of our young athletes from potentially life-changing damage. This new law will help ensure that coaches will be better prepared to address and prevent concussions among their student athletes.”

House Bill 5431, sponsored by State Representative Carol Sente (D-Lincolnshire) and State Senator Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge), requires the Illinois High School Association to develop and implement an online training program on concussion awareness and reduction for all coaching personnel and athletic directors. The legislation was written in response to recent increases in concussions among adolescents, especially student athletes.

“We appreciate the confidence Governor Quinn and Representative Sente placed in the IHSA to work with respected medical professionals to develop and administer a top-tier program,” IHSA executive Director Marty Hickman said. “Risk minimization for student-athletes, especially as it relates to concussions, will continue to be a top priority for the IHSA.”

The online training will focus on concussion recognition and prevention, what to do when a player may have a concussion and education on the long-term effects of repetitive head trauma. Completion of the training and certification will be mandatory for all high school coaching staff. Student athletes will also receive concussion awareness education. The law goes into effect immediately.

“Today, we know more about the negative impact concussions have on student athletes than ever before,” Senator Kotowski said. “We have to ensure that coaches are informed about the consequences of traumatic head injuries and take steps to reduce their frequency and keep our kids safe.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, a concussion can result from a blow to the head or body which causes the head to move violently. It can affect the athlete mentally or physically, causing light and noise sensitivity, concentration problems or confusion, balance problems and other symptoms. It is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI). For more information on recognizing a concussion, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/sports/recognize.html.

Governor Quinn is committed to protecting and improving the health of young people in Illinois schools. Earlier this month the Governor signed legislation strengthening the Young Adult Heroin Use Task Force originally created by the Governor and the General Assembly in 2013 to address the growing problem of heroin use in Illinois High Schools.

This year the Governor signed legislation allowing trained school personnel to administer potentially life-saving epinephrine injections to help against serious allergic reactions. In June he signed a law that requires CPR and automated external defibrillator (AED) training for students in all Illinois high schools.

In 2013, Governor Quinn convened a School Safety Summit that included more than 50 top experts from across the state to develop short- and long-term actions to further safeguard Illinois schools and signed Rocky’s Law, which required schools to insure student athletes.

Source: illinois.gov

shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Tue, 19 Aug 2014 22:07:01 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/54858-governor-quinn-signs-law-to-help-prevent-concussions-among-high-school-athletes.html
More Than 200,000 People Call for Stronger Workplace Protections for Farmworkers http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/54851-more-than-200-000-people-call-for-stronger-workplace-protections-for-farmworkers.html

EPA proposal is a step in the right direction as farmworkers demand stronger rules now

Farmworkers harvest strawberries in Salinas, CA.
Farmworkers harvest strawberries in Salinas, CA. 

Washington, D.C. –(ENEWSPF)—August 19, 2014. Farmworkers, public health advocates, labor organizations, and public officials, were among the more than 200,000 who submitted comments to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) calling on the agency to strengthen its Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS). The WPS is the only federal standard designed to protect the nation’s more than 2 million farmworkers from one of their greatest occupational hazards: pesticide exposure.

“Farmworkers face dangerous exposure to poisons over the course of their working life,” said Eve Gartner, attorney for Earthjustice, a public interest law firm. “While most Americans benefit from broad workplace protections, farmworkers are not protected by the same health and safety standards.”

“The nation’s 2 million farmworkers deserve the level of workplace protections provided to other workers,” said Margaret Reeves, PhD, a senior scientist with Pesticide Action Network. “Protections for workers from pesticide exposure also mean protections for farmworker children and families.”

“Each year pesticide exposure poisons tens of thousands of farmworkers and their families,” said Virginia Ruiz, Director of Occupational and Environmental Health at Farmworker Justice. “We hope EPA responds to the hundreds of thousands of individuals who submitted comments in support of stronger protections and acts quickly to implement a Worker Protection Standard that prevents needless illness, injury, and death in farmworker communities.”

The groups are calling on EPA to change the proposed standard to include:

Parity with safety rules provided to workers in non-agricultural industries

Improved safety training annually and starting before workers enter treated fields

Easily accessible information about pesticides used on the farm and in nurseries

No children under 18 years of age allowed to handle hazardous pesticides

Strict adherence to no-entry rules for areas recently treated with pesticides

Improved protections and safety monitoring for pesticide handlers

Elvia Vasquez of Oxnard, California worked in the fields of Southern California picking strawberries, lettuce and broccoli for nearly a decade. "I would get rashes and headaches when forced to enter the strawberry fields that had been sprayed with pesticides only hours before," said Vasquez, who now works with Organizacion en California de Lideres Campesinas, Inc. to educate farmworkers on the dangers of pesticide exposure.

“We know the EPA has all the information they need to finalize a stronger, better WPS that actually provides real protections for the people who feed our nation,” said Tirso Moreno, General Coordinator of the Farmworker Association of Florida. “The administration has heard the stories from farmworkers and they know what is needed to do the right thing.”

"Millions of farmworkers are exposed to cancer-causing chemicals without adequate safeguards to protect their health," said Murshed Zaheed, Deputy Political Director at CREDO. "The least the EPA can do is take basic steps to protect farmworkers from being exposed to these toxic chemicals."

Indeed the administration has been hearing from workers and advocates for over a decade now—the WPS was first adopted in 1995 and has been awaiting revision since 2000. EPA is finally expected to issue the finalized rule by early 2015, after closing its public comment period on their proposal for a revised WPS at midnight on Monday, Aug 18.

Some 200,000 petition signatures were collected by Earthjustice, Farmworker Association of Florida, Farmworker Justice, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, Migrant Clinicians Network, Pesticide Action Network North America, United Farm Workers, and CREDO and others. 

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: http://earthjustice.org

shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Tue, 19 Aug 2014 16:49:00 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/54851-more-than-200-000-people-call-for-stronger-workplace-protections-for-farmworkers.html
Gulf Coast Communities Empowered as Another Coal Export Proposal is Rejected http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/54849-gulf-coast-communities-empowered-as-another-coal-export-proposal-is-rejected.html Landmark decision deals heavy blow to coal export proposals in United States

NEW ORLEANS, LA--(ENEWSPF)--August 19, 2014.  The growing movement against coal exports scored a major victory today when the Oregon Department of State Lands rejected a vital permit for Ambre Energy’s proposed Morrow Pacific coal export project along the Columbia River. The historic decision deals a severe blow to Ambre Energy’s struggling proposal and marks the first time a state agency formally rejected a permit for one of the proposed coal export terminals.

Already four proposed new or expanded coal export facilities have been canceled in Texas and Alabama, and four of six proposals on the Pacific Northwest coastline have been canceled. Today’s news also casts further doubt on the long term viability of coal exports from the United States as the international coal market continues to be volatile and under pressure from economic forces and growing grassroots opposition in India, China and Australia.

Kia Ball, campaign coordinator for the Clean Gulf Commerce Coalition, issued the following statement in response:

“Today’s decision to reject Ambre Energy’s proposed coal export terminal deals a heavy blow to coal proposals here in the Gulf as well as the remaining proposals in the Pacific Northwest. After thousands of Oregon residents stood up in opposition, state leaders made the right call. Now, local movements across the continent will use this victory as a springboard to fight coal export proposals in their own communities.

From the Columbia River to the Puget Sound and down to the Gulf of Mexico, the coal industry has found itself to be an unwanted visitor. Instead of rolling out the welcome mat, residents have rolled up their sleeves, banding together to reject dirty coal and build a brighter, cleaner future for everyone.

The Clean Gulf Commerce Coalition launched its efforts to stop coal exports in Louisiana less than a year ago, yet already ‘No Coal Trains’ signs have popped up in hundreds of front yards in communities near proposed or existing coal terminals and train routes. More than one hundred Gretna residents attended last week’s City Council meeting to speak out against coal export terminals and the trains that would feed them.

As communities in Louisiana, Texas and Alabama learn more about the pollution, noise and lowered property values from coal export facilities, more and more people will join their neighbors and allies in the Pacific Northwest in opposing these dirty and dangerous projects.

The Coalition and our partners applaud today’s decision by the Oregon Department of State Lands and call on state agencies here in Louisiana, Texas and Alabama to reject permits for new or expanded coal export terminals. The Gulf Coast movement against coal exports will only grow, and victories like this will empower our leaders to protect their communities and reject coal exports.”


The Clean Gulf Commerce Coalition includes Air Alliance Houston, Gulf Restoration Network (GRN), the Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN), Public Citizen, Sierra Club, TOP (Texas Organizing Project) and  T.E.J.A.S., (Texas Environmental Advocacy Services).

Source: sierraclub.org

shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Tue, 19 Aug 2014 16:37:55 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/54849-gulf-coast-communities-empowered-as-another-coal-export-proposal-is-rejected.html
FDA Questioned Triclosan’s Safety in Colgate’s Total Toothpaste in 90′s http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/54846-fda-questioned-triclosan-s-safety-in-colgate-s-total-toothpaste-in-90-s.html Washington, DC--(ENEWSPF)--August 19, 2014.  Newly released documents from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reveals that regulators expressed concerns over the safety of triclosan in Colgate Total toothpaste during the product’s registration in the mid-1990s. This information was provided to the public by FDA after a Freedom of Information Act request by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and was posted on the agency’s website after inquiries from Bloomberg News. In addition to health effects previously identified by Beyond Pesticides, these documents raise concerns about the use of triclosan as an anti-gingivitis agent in toothpaste; a use which is not currently under scrutiny as FDA conducts its long-awaited health review of the chemical.

Although FDA is requiring manufacturers of triclosan-containing soaps to prove that their products are not hazardous to humans and more effective than regular soap and water, triclosan formulated in toothpaste was not subject to a similar requirement as FDA had indicated that the chemical is effective as an anti-gingivitis agent. Colgate Total is the only brand of toothpaste on the market that still contains triclosan; GlaxoSmithKline, producer of Aquafresh and Sensodyne, removed triclosan from its toothpaste in 2009. And a focus on safer products seems to be paying off. Last year, as Colgate Total lost 2% of its market share, the company’s natural Tom’s of Maine brand grew 14%. Crest, maker of the top selling 3D White and Pro-Health brands, specifically advertises its toothpastes as triclosan-free.

FDA documents reveal that regulators considered the initial carcinogenicity studies conducted by Colgate to be insufficient, and requested further data and research. Following an inquiry from Bloomberg News, the agency released the supplemental 1997 cancer study requested of Colgate. However, concerns still remain over whether the agency’s requests and Colgate’s data were as thorough as they should have been. David Kessler, M.D, an FDA commissioner from 1990-1997, noted to Bloomberg News, “The real question is did Colgate do a good job.”

Another issue within the documents was developmental studies that showed malformed paw bones and skulls in the fetal offspring of rats, as well as lower weight fetuses. These effects were cited as incidental in the documents, and attributed to maternal, rather than fetal toxicity. In light of recent scientific data on the health effects of triclosan, many are criticizing the agency’s determination and chastising it for not releasing this data sooner. “Wow. They kept that private?” said Thomas Zoeller, PhD, of the University of Massachusetts to Bloomberg News. “The distinction between maternal and fetal toxicity is an excuse to do nothing. And it’s not scientifically justifiable.” Disclosing these results may have been helpful in alerting scientists to the endocrine disrupting properties of triclosan.

This data also highlights a pervasive problem with chemical regulation in the U.S.; specifically, the government’s reliance on industry-funded studies in order to assess the safety of chemicals. The long, expensive process of registering a new drug or pesticide often requires years of time and tens of thousands of dollars. The high monetary and temporal requirements needed to register a chemical can lead regulators to dismiss independent science that raises safety concerns (chemical mixtures, synergistic effects, certain health endpoints such as endocrine disruption, disproportionate effects to vulnerable population groups) not accounted for during regulatory decision-making. In an age where the adverse effects of safety-tested chemicals have been widely and increasingly documented, Beyond Pesticides supports an alternative approach that first asks whether there is a less toxic way of achieving a chemical’s intended purpose. The Fund for Independent Science was launched last year to support the continual understanding of the destructive capacity of toxic materials, and sustainable practices that can replace them in the marketplace.

The health and environmental effects of triclosan reveal a laundry list of concerns, ranging from body burden to endocrine disruption, cancer, impacts on fetal development, bacterial resistance, impaired muscle functioning, persistence in the environment, and adverse changes in biotic communities. Although FDA indicates that the agency will release a determination concerning triclosan-containing soaps by 2016, the agency indicated to Bloomberg News that it will only reexamine the registration of Total if concerns are found during the broader review process.

In the meantime, concerned consumers can join the ban triclosan campaign and sign the pledge to stop using triclosan today. Consider a clean sweep of all products in your house, school, and office that contain triclosan. A non-comprehensive list of triclosan-containing products is available here for reference, but the best way to find out if triclosan is present is to read the label. Encourage your local schools, government agencies, and businesses to use their buying power to go triclosan-free. Urge your municipality, school, or company to follow the lead of Minnesota by banning triclosan; organizations can adopt the model resolution which commits to not procuring or using products containing triclosan.

Sources: Bloomberg News, http://www.beyondpesticides.org

shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Tue, 19 Aug 2014 16:24:49 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/54846-fda-questioned-triclosan-s-safety-in-colgate-s-total-toothpaste-in-90-s.html
Court Upholds Federal Rule That Will Ease Transition from Fossil Fuels to Clean Energy http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/54837-court-upholds-federal-rule-that-will-ease-transition-from-fossil-fuels-to-clean-energy.html

Victory: Order 1000 will ensure regional coordination to keep rates for customers down


Photo Credit: Shutterstoc

Washington, D.C.—(ENEWSPF)—August 18, 2014. U.S. Court of Appeals on Friday upheld the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) landmark Order No. 1000, which breaks down longstanding barriers to modernizing the grid and hastening a shift away from dirty fossil fuels to clean energy. 

The Natural Resources Defense Council, Environmental Defense Fund, Conservation Law Foundation, and Union for Concerned Scientists—represented by Earthjustice and Natural Resources Defense Council—had intervened to defend the mandate against a challenge from an array of over 40 states, utilities, and industry groups.

Order 1000, which was finalized in July 2011, creates common-sense requirements for transparent, inter-regional planning—both to enable more efficient, cost-effective investment in transmission upgrades and to help ensure that the necessary infrastructure is in place to meet state clean energy mandates (for instance, renewable portfolio standards) and other important public policies. Order 1000 also requires transmission owners to come together and agree on principles to determine who benefits from and, accordingly, who pays for the major new grid investments that we need to ensure reliable and affordable access to clean energy. Until now, the unanswered question of “who pays” has stymied new projects.

When the utilities filed their suit, they alleged that FERC had over-reached the proper scope of its authority under the Federal Power Act in issuing Order 1000, but the court roundly rejected all of the Petitioners’ arguments, affirming that the reforms are a reasonable exercise of FERC’s authority.

The following is a statement from Earthjustice attorney Abigail Dillen:

“We are thrilled that the court validated these crucial reforms that will help us build the 21st Century clean energy grid. We have an aging grid that needs billions of dollars worth of renovations and the question is how that money will be spent—on the smart grid technology that can hasten reliance on more clean energy or on masking tape and chewing gum solutions that keep us wedded to fossil fuels.  With the Obama Administration’s newly announced Clean Power Plan, we must undertake transparent, forward-looking regional transmission planning to ensure we have the infrastructure in place to meet state clean energy mandates.” 

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.

shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Mon, 18 Aug 2014 23:13:21 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/54837-court-upholds-federal-rule-that-will-ease-transition-from-fossil-fuels-to-clean-energy.html
Childhood Disability Rates Continue to Rise http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/54824-childhood-disability-rates-continue-to-rise.html Elk Grove Village, IL—(ENEWSPF)—August 18, 2014. Between 2001 and 2011, the percentage of children with disabilities rose 16 percent. The study, “Changing Trends of Childhood Disability, 2001–2011” appearing in the September 2014 issue of Pediatrics (published online Aug. 18) found that while there has been a decline in physical disabilities, there was a large increase in disabilities classified as neurodevelopmental or mental health in nature.

The largest increases were found among more advantaged families. Children living in families at or above 400 percent of the federal poverty level reported a 28.4 percent increase in disabilities over the 10-year period of the study. Researchers suggest that shifts in diagnostic criteria, overall increases in rates of certain problems including autism, increased awareness of these conditions and the need for a specific diagnosis to receive services such as early intervention may explain increased rates of disability related to neurodevelopmental or mental health conditions.

The authors conclude that documenting the changes in childhood disabilities is an important step in developing better prevention and treatment strategies and in determining how to create and deliver services to best meet the needs of all children.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 62,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.

Source: www.aap.org

shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Mon, 18 Aug 2014 17:03:28 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/54824-childhood-disability-rates-continue-to-rise.html
HPV Remains Effective 8 Years Later http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/54823-hpv-remains-effective-8-years-later.html Elk Grove Village, IL—(ENEWSPF)—August 18, 2014. The study, “Long-Term Study of a Quadrivalent HumanPapillomavirus Vaccine,” appearing in the September 2014 issue of Pediatrics (published online Aug. 18), examined whether the HPV vaccine remains effective 8 years after initial vaccination.

Researchers followed boys and girls who were vaccinated with the HPV vaccine between the ages of 9 and 15. The results showed that these preadolescents and adolescents still showed vaccination-induced anti-HPV response 8 years later and that no new, significant adverse effects were reported. Among these preadolescents and adolescents who received the HPV vaccine at a mean age of 12, none developed disease related to the HPV types covered by the vaccine. According to the CDC, each year HPV vaccination rates remain near the current level of 33 percent, an additional 4,400 women will be diagnosed annually with cervical cancer.

Study authors conclude that high uptake of the HPV vaccination is paramount in reducing HPV-related cancers and that results of this study should reinforce the national recommendations for HPV vaccination of all preadolescents and young adolescents.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 62,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.

Source: www.aap.org

shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Mon, 18 Aug 2014 17:01:20 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/54823-hpv-remains-effective-8-years-later.html
Parents Who Refuse Vitamin K for Newborn Also More Likely to Refuse Vaccines http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/54822-parents-who-refuse-vitamin-k-for-newborn-also-more-likely-to-refuse-vaccines.html Elk Grove Village, IL—(ENEWSPF)—August 18, 2014. Vitamin K is recommended for newborns to prevent a rare bleeding disorder that can result in long-term brain damage and death. In 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on a cluster of four cases of vitamin K deficiency bleeding in infants in Tennessee, all among infants whose parents had refused the vitamin K prophylaxis.

To determine the prevalence of vitamin K refusal and the characteristics of parents who refuse vitamin K for their newborns, researchers in Alberta, Canada, analyzed a cohort of all live births between 2006 and 2012. In the study, “Neonatal Vitamin K Refusal and Nonimmunization,” published in the September 2014 Pediatrics (published online Aug. 18), study authors report that 99.7 percent of children received vitamin K and 0.3 percent declined. Midwife-assisted deliveries were more likely to be associated with vitamin K refusal, compared to births attended by a physician. Parents who had a planned delivery at home or in a birth center were also more likely to decline vitamin K compared to parents who delivered in a hospital. Children whose parents declined vitamin K were 14.6 times more likely to be unimmunized with recommended childhood vaccines by age 15 months, compared to children who received vitamin K.

The study data do not indicate reasons parents refused vitamin K for their newborns, but study authors hypothesize it could be due to differing advice from birth attendants, personal beliefs about childbirth and health care, or safety concerns. The study highlights the need for physicians to provide anticipatory guidance about vitamin K to parents planning a home birth or midwife-attended delivery. Study authors also conclude it provides an opportunity to identify a subset of vaccine-hesitant parents who are likely not to immunize their children, and to engage them with targeted information starting at birth rather than waiting until scheduled immunizations are missed.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 62,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.

Source: www.aap.org

shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Mon, 18 Aug 2014 16:59:22 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/54822-parents-who-refuse-vitamin-k-for-newborn-also-more-likely-to-refuse-vaccines.html
Emphasizing MMR Vaccine's Benefits for Children Increases Parents' Intent to Immunize http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/54821-emphasizing-mmr-vaccine-s-benefits-for-children-increases-parents-intent-to-immunize.html Elk Grove Village, IL—(ENEWSPF)—August 18, 2014. Previous studies have shown that messages highlighting vaccines’ benefits to society at large have resulted in increased immunization rates among adults, but it’s unclear whether this pattern holds for parents deciding whether to vaccinate their children.

In a study in the September 2014 issue of Pediatrics, “Vaccine Message Framing and Parents’ Intent to Immunize Their Infants for MMR,” (published online Aug. 18), researchers conducted an online survey of 802 parents of infants under age 1 to test whether explaining the societal benefits of vaccination increases parents’ intentions to agree to the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine for their child. Parents who saw information emphasizing the vaccine’s benefits directly to the child reported the highest intention to vaccinate. Information emphasizing only societal benefits neither increased nor decreased parents’ intention to vaccinate their children.

More work is warranted on how to effectively communicate the societal benefits of vaccination, but the findings of this study indicate that parents principally respond to information about the direct benefits to their children.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 62,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.

Source: www.aap.org

shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Mon, 18 Aug 2014 16:56:58 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/54821-emphasizing-mmr-vaccine-s-benefits-for-children-increases-parents-intent-to-immunize.html
NOAA Analysis Reveals Significant Land Cover Changes in U.S. Coastal Regions http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/54817-noaa-analysis-reveals-significant-land-cover-changes-in-u-s-coastal-regions.html Land Cover Atlas helps communities “see” vulnerabilities and craft stronger resilience plans
Graphic shows losses in Southeast Region. (Credit: NOAA Coastal Services Center)

Washington, DC--(ENEWSPF)--August 18, 2014.  A new NOAA nationwide analysis shows that between 1996 and 2011, 64,975 square miles in coastal regions -- can area larger than the state of Wisconsin -- experienced changes in land cover, including a decline in wetlands and forest cover with development a major contributing factor.

Overall, 8.2 percent of the nation’s ocean and Great Lakes coastal regions experienced these changes. In analysis of the five year period between 2001-2006, coastal areas accounted for 43 percent of all land cover change in the continental U.S. This report identifies a wide variety of land cover changes that can intensify climate change risks, such as loss of coastal barriers to sea level rise and storm surge, and includes environmental data that can help coastal managers improve community resilience.

"Land cover maps document what's happening on the ground. By showing how that land cover has changed over time, scientists can determine how these changes impact our plant’s environmental health," said Nate Herold, a NOAA physical scientist who directs the mapping effort at NOAA's Coastal Services Center in Charleston, South Carolina.

Among the significant changes were the loss of 1,536 square miles of wetlands, and a decline in total forest cover by 6.1 percent.

The findings mirror similar changes in coastal wetland land cover loss reported in the November 2013 report, Status and Trends of Wetlands in the Coastal Watersheds of the Conterminous United States 2004 to 2009, an interagency supported analysis published by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA.

This new NOAA analysis adds to the 2013 report with more recent data and includes loss of forest cover in an overall larger land area survey. Both wetlands and forest cover are critical to the promotion and protection of coastal habitat for the nation’s multi-billion dollar commercial and recreational fishing industries.

Development was a major contributing factor in the decline of both categories of land cover. Wetland loss due to development equals 642 square miles, a disappearance rate averaging 61 football fields lost daily. Forest changes overall totaled 27,515 square miles, equaling West Virginia, Rhode Island and Delaware combined. This total impact, however, was partially offset by reforestation growth. Still, the net forest cover loss was 16,483 square miles.

These findings, and many others, are viewable via the Land Cover Atlas program from the NOAA’s Coastal Change Analysis Program (C-CAP). Standardized NOAA maps allow scientists to compare maps from different regions and maps from the same place but from different years, providing easily accessible data that are critically important to scientists, managers, and city planners as the U.S. population along the coastline continues to grow.

“The ability to mitigate the growing evidence of climate change along our coasts with rising sea levels already impacting coastlines in ways not imaged just a few years ago makes the data available through the Land Cover Atlas program critically important to coastal resilience planning,” said Margaret Davidson, National Ocean Service senior advisor for coastal inundation and resilience science services.

C-CAP data identify a wide variety of land cover changes that can intensify climate change risks — for example, forest or wetland losses that threaten to worsen flooding and water quality issues or weaken the area’s fishing and forestry industries. The atlas’s visuals help make NOAA environmental data available to end users, enabling them to help the public better understand the importance of improving resilience.

“Seeing changes over five, 10, or even 15 years allows Land Cover Atlas users to focus on local hazard vulnerabilities and improve their resilience plans,” said Jeffrey L. Payne, Ph.D., acting director for NOAA’s Coastal Services Center. “For instance, the atlas has helped its users assess sea level rise hazards in Florida’s Miami-Dade County, high-risk areas for stormwater runoff in southern California, and the best habitat restoration sites in two watersheds of the Great Lakes.”

Selected Regional Findings – 1996 to 2011:

The Northeast region added more than 1,170 square miles of development, an area larger than Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and the District of Columbia combined.

The West Coast region experienced a net loss of 3,200 square miles of forest (4,900 square miles of forests were cut while 1,700 square miles were regrown).

The Great Lakes was the only region to experience a net wetlands gain (69 square miles), chiefly because drought and lower lake levels changed water features into marsh or sandy beach.

The Southeast region lost 510 square miles of wetlands, with more than half this number replaced by development.

Many factors led to the Gulf Coast region’s loss of 996 square miles of wetlands, due to land subsidence and erosion, storms, man-made changes, sea level rise, and other factors.

On a positive note, local restoration activities, such as in Florida’s Everglades, and lake-level changes enabled some Gulf Coast and Southeast region communities to gain modest-sized wetland areas, although such gains did not make up for the larger regional wetland losses.

C-CAP moderate-resolution data on the Land Cover Atlas encompasses the intertidal areas, wetlands, and adjacent uplands of 29 states fronting the oceans and Great Lakes. High-resolution data are available for select locations.

All C-CAP data sets are featured on the Digital Coast. Tools like the Digital Coast are important components of NOAA’s National Ocean Service’s efforts to protect coastal resources and keep communities safe from coastal hazards by providing data, tools, training, and technical assistance. Check out other products and services on Facebook or Twitter.

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

Source:  noaa.gov

shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Mon, 18 Aug 2014 16:34:13 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/54817-noaa-analysis-reveals-significant-land-cover-changes-in-u-s-coastal-regions.html
Keystone XL: Friends of the Earth Files for Release of State Department Records Surrounding EIS Revisions http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/54816-keystone-xl-friends-of-the-earth-files-for-release-of-state-department-records-surrounding-eis-revisions.html FOIA request underscores lingering questions about integrity of KXL review process

WASHINGTON, D.C. –(ENEWSPF)—August 18, 2014. Friends of the Earth filed a Freedom of Information Act request demanding the expedited release of all communication by State Department staff between January 31, 2014 and June 1, 2014 surrounding changes made to the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Keystone XL pipeline.

On June 6, the State Department published revisions to Keystone XL’s Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement. Among other corrections, the revised text included increased projections of deaths that would occur in a scenario characterized by greater traffic of crude by rail as opposed to pipeline.

“These statistics are highly questionable, but more questionable still is what prompted the State Department to update these particular numbers while neglecting numbers that show how Keystone XL would catalyze an increase in emissions,” said Friends of the Earth’s Climate and energy associate Luísa Abbott Galvão. “This narrow play on numbers reflects an attempt to legitimize a false choice between two grim alternatives when scientists are telling us that fossil fuels must be kept in the ground to avoid further climate disruption.”

In August, Friends of the Earth and 11 other environmental, landowner and consumer groups sent a letter to the State Department. This letter requested that the department also assess new market evidence showing that Keystone XL would stimulate the development of the Canadian tar sands, increase carbon emissions and fail President Obama’s climate test. As the groups have argued since Keystone XL was first proposed, tar sands development would not only directly contribute to pollution and carbon emissions, but also signal to markets and governments that it is acceptable to invest billions in  fossil fuel infrastructure when we urgently need to shift to clean, renewable energy.

“The State Department’s reliance on a contractor that is a dues-paying member of the American Petroleum Institute casts suspicion on these selective and industry-serving corrections,” said Abbott Galvão. “It is important that the American people know what prompted the changes to ensure a democratically accountable public interest determination.”

The market developments alluded to in the coalition’s letter last month confirm that: 1) rail is not in fact a desirable industry alternative to pipelines for transporting tar sands because it is too expensive 2) the development of the tar sands are not inevitable; mining projects have already been cancelled because of lack of pipelines 3) building Keystone XL contradicts Obama’s climate commitment.

The State Department responded to the letter dismissively by saying the comment period is closed.

“The comment period  may be closed for civil society organizations but it appears to remain very much open for industry lobbyists,” said Abbott Galvão.

Friends of the Earth’s FOIA requests:

  1. Any communications including contract(s) or agreement(s) between the State Department and Environmental Resources Management and/or between TransCanada pertaining to the content, compilation and release of the Errata Sheet for the Keystone XL Project Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement.
  2. Any documents, records and materials pertaining to the rail incident analysis.
  3. Any documents, records and materials pertaining to greenhouse gas emissions.
  4. Any documents, records and materials pertaining to mitigation measures.

Source: www.foe.org

shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Mon, 18 Aug 2014 16:28:38 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/54816-keystone-xl-friends-of-the-earth-files-for-release-of-state-department-records-surrounding-eis-revisions.html
Following Lawsuit, EPA Restores Stream Buffers to Protect Salmon from Pesticides http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/54815-following-lawsuit-epa-restores-stream-buffers-to-protect-salmon-from-pesticides.html Washington, DC--(ENEWSPF)--August 18, 2014.  In a victory for environmental groups, conservationists, and fishing groups, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a settlement last Wednesday to restore no-spray buffer zones around waterways to protect imperiled salmon and steelhead from five toxic pesticides.  An initial agreement was reached in June, when it underwent public comment, and was ultimately filed August 13 without any substantive changes. The settlement follows litigation filed by Earthjustice, representing the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, the Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides, and Defenders of Wildlife, back in 2010 that called for EPA adoption of reasonable fish protections from the insecticides. The buffers apply to salmon habitat throughout California, Oregon, and Washington to prohibit aerial spraying of broad-spectrum pesticides diazinon, chlorpyrifos, malathion, carbaryl, and methomyl within 300 feet of salmon habitat and prohibit ground-based applications within 60 feet.10616438_10154454218690654_3587640724273681696_n

“Poisoning salmon rivers puts our people out of work while creating an unnecessary and expensive public health hazard,” said Glen Spain of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, a West Coast commercial fishing industry trade association and co-plaintiff. “This agreement helps the coastal and inland communities that depend on salmon for their livelihoods and provides more certainty for landowners on safer use of these chemicals.”

The agreement provides detailed notice to state regulators, pesticide applicators, farmers, and the public about the required no-spray buffer zones. These buffers will remain in place until the National Marine Fisheries Service completes analyses of the impacts of these five pesticides on the fish. Then, the EPA must implement permanent protections grounded in the Fisheries Service’s findings.

“Before this agreement, we lacked clear or consistent rules to protect the health of our rivers and salmon fisheries from these toxins,” said Steve Mashuda, an Earthjustice attorney representing coalition. “This clears the road for the EPA and the Fisheries Service to continue to work together toward permanent protections that keep pesticides out of our waters.”

The chemicals regulated under the new buffer zones are not only dangerous to salmon; they pose a significant threat human health, other wildlife, and the environment at large. Chlorpyrifos is acutely toxic to bees, birds, mammals, aquatic life, and certain species of algae. There are also a wide range of adverse environmental effects linked to chlorpyrifos, including toxic to: beneficial insects, freshwater fish, other aquatic organisms, and birds, variety of plants, soil organisms, and domestic animals. It has been shown to bioaccumulate in fish and synergistically reacts with other chemicals. Diazinon is a moderately acutely toxic broad-spectrum insecticide. Like chlorpyrifos, diazinon affects the nervous system through the inhibition of AchE, an enzyme needed for proper nervous system function. Methomyl is a highly toxic compound in EPA toxicity class I, is highly toxic to birds, and moderately to highly toxic to fish and aquatic invertebrates. Repeated exposure to small amounts of methomyl may cause an unsuspected inhibition of cholinesterase, resulting in flu-like symptoms, such as weakness, lack of appetite, and muscle aches. EPA has classified malathion as a toxicity class III pesticide. Despite the fact that malathion is one of the less acutely toxic synthetic pesticides, numerous human poisoning have been reported. It is slightly toxic via the oral route and dermal route. Malathion is rapidly and effectively absorbed by practically all routes, including the gastrointestinal tract, skin, mucous membranes, and lungs. Carbaryl causes an array of serious neurotoxic effects in animals, including irreversible neurological damage and behavioral disturbances.

The buffers reinstated under the agreement were previously required by a 2004 court order after the federal courts ordered EPA to consult with the Fisheries Service over the impacts of these chemicals on the imperiled salmon. That injunction expired when the Fisheries Service completed its analysis of these chemicals in 2008 and 2009. While the Fisheries Service required EPA to adopt extensive permanent protections to keep these deadly chemicals out of salmon streams within one year, the agency failed to take action, leaving salmon and steelhead with no protection from these neurotoxic chemicals. The agreement resolves litigation filed by these groups in 2010 to compel EPA to adopt permanent protective measures in line with the Fisheries Service’s findings. This settlement will end years of litigation and save taxpayer money by allowing the EPA to focus its resources on permanent solutions.

Clean water is essential for human health, wildlife and a balanced environment; however water is being polluted at extremely high rates with chemicals, pesticides, nutrients, metals and other contaminants. According to Beyond Pesticides’ Eating with a Conscience database, over 50 pesticides are known surface or groundwater contaminants, according to data from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) or Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Read Organic Land Management and the Protection of Water Quality, a fully cited fact sheet by Beyond Pesticides, or download our shorter, bi-fold brochure version for more in depth information on how organic practices can protect water quality.

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

Sources: EarthJustice, http://www.beyondpesticides.org
Image: Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides

shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Mon, 18 Aug 2014 16:23:47 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/54815-following-lawsuit-epa-restores-stream-buffers-to-protect-salmon-from-pesticides.html
Energy Department Reports Highlight Strength of U.S. Wind Energy Industry http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/54814-energy-department-reports-highlight-strength-of-u-s-wind-energy-industry.html Washington, D.C.—(ENEWSPF)—August 18, 2014. The U.S. continues to be a global leader in wind energy, ranking second in installed capacity in the world, according to two reports released today by the Department of Energy. Wind power is a key component of the nation’s all-of-the-above strategy to reduce carbon pollution, diversify our energy economy, and bring innovative technologies on line. With increasing wind energy generation and decreasing prices of wind energy technologies, the U.S. wind energy market remains strong and the U.S. is moving closer to doubling renewable electricity generation from energy resources like wind power yet again by 2020.

“As a readily expandable, domestic source of clean, renewable energy, wind power is paving the way to a low-carbon future that protects our air and water while providing affordable, renewable electricity to American families and businesses,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “However, the continued success of the U.S. wind industry highlights the importance of policies like the Production Tax Credit that provide a solid framework for America to lead the world in clean energy innovation while also keeping wind manufacturing and jobs in the U.S.”

Wind Technologies Market Report

After modest growth in 2013, total installed wind power capacity in the United States now stands at 61 gigawatts (GW), which meets nearly 4.5 percent of electricity demand in an average year, according to the 2013 Wind Technologies Market Report, released today by the Energy Department and its Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.  The report also found that wind energy prices – particularly in the Interior region of the United States–are at an all-time low, with utilities selecting wind as a cost-saving option.

With utility-scale turbines installed in more than 39 states and territories, the success of the U.S. wind industry has had a ripple effect on the American economy, spurring more than $500 million in exports and supporting jobs related to development, siting, manufacturing, transportation and other industries.

Distributed Wind Market Report

In total, U.S. turbines in distributed applications, which accounted for more than 80 percent of all wind turbines installed in the U.S. last year, reached a cumulative installed capacity of more than 842 MW–enough to power 120,000 average American homes–according to the 2013 Distributed Wind Market Report, also released today by the Energy Department and its Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. This capacity is supplied by roughly 72,000 turbines across all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In fact, a total of 14 states, including Iowa, Nevada and California, among others, now each have more than 10 MW of distributed wind capacity.

Compared to traditional, centralized power plants, distributed wind energy installations supply power directly to the local grid near homes, farms, businesses and communities. Turbines used in these applications can range in size from a few hundred watts to multi-megawatts, and can help power remote, off-grid homes and farms as well as local schools and manufacturing facilities.

For more information on these two new reports – including infographics, video and updated interactive map – visit www.energy.gov/windreport. Join us Tuesday, August 19, to discuss key findings from the reports on a live Twitter chat about wind energy in America.

Source: energy.gov

shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Mon, 18 Aug 2014 16:22:09 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/54814-energy-department-reports-highlight-strength-of-u-s-wind-energy-industry.html
Governor Quinn Signs Legislation to Ban Smoking on State University Campuses http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/54812-governor-quinn-signs-legislation-to-ban-smoking-on-state-university-campuses.html Also Signs New Law to Restrict Display of E-Cigarettes Across Illinois

CHICAGO--(ENEWSPF)--August 18, 2014.  Governor Pat Quinn yesterday signed legislation to prohibit smoking on the campuses of all state-supported colleges and universities. The smoking ban takes effect July 1, 2015 and applies to both indoor and outdoor spaces on campuses. The Governor also signed a law to restrict the display of e-cigarettes. Today’s action is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to protect and improve the health and well-being of all people in every community across Illinois.

“Illinois’ college students shouldn’t be subject to unwanted cigarette smoke on the campuses they call home,” Governor Quinn said. “We want all schools to be healthy, clean and productive places of learning for Illinois’ bright young minds. This new law will improve the health of our students and encourage healthier lifestyles after college graduation.”

Senate Bill 2202, sponsored by State Senator Terry Link (D-Waukegan) and State Representative Ann Williams (D-Chicago), creates the Smoke Free Campus Act that prohibits all smoking on state-supported college and university campuses in Illinois beginning July 1, 2015.

"Smoke free policies have been proven to result in lower smoking prevalence rates. That's one of the many reasons the American Lung Association is proud to have worked alongside state legislators on the Smoke Free Campus Act,” American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest CEO Lew Bartfield said. “In addition, the new law will provide a healthy learning environment that promotes health and wellness for students, faculty, staff and visitors at all public colleges and universities in Illinois. The law not only minimizes toxic secondhand smoke exposure but also improves the campus environment by reducing smoking related litter. We applaud the Illinois State Legislature and Governor Pat Quinn for passing and signing the Illinois Smoke Free Campus Act."

“Smoking remains the leading preventable cause of death,” Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck said. “Smoke-free campuses make it more difficult for students and staff to smoke, thereby decreasing the number of people who smoke, and reducing the number of people who start.”

Exceptions to the law are made for smoking inside privately owned vehicles traveling through campus and certain activities allowed under the Federal American Indian Religious Freedom Act. A companion bill signed today by Governor Quinn, House Bill 3961, allows smoking on campus inside parked, non-state-owned vehicles. The Smoke Free Campus Act requires each institution to establish a community task force by December 31, 2014 to coordinate the implementation of the act.

Currently in Illinois, the following universities and colleges are smoke-free: Aurora University, Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing, City Colleges of Chicago (7 colleges), College of DuPage, Danville Area Community College, Greenville College, Hannibal LaGrange University, McHenry County College, Olivet Nazarene University, Rush University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Illinois at Chicago, Waubonsee Community College and Wheaton College.

Additionally, there are current efforts to establish smoke-free/tobacco-free campuses at Southern Illinois University and Illinois State University. The other state-supported higher education institutions that would be mandated to become smoke-free include: Chicago State University, Eastern Illinois University, Governors State University, Western Illinois University, Northern Illinois University, Northeastern Illinois University and any community college subject to the Public Community College Act. Other states with colleges and universities that have 100 percent smoke-free policies include: California, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.

“A college education can put people ahead in life, but smoking can do just the opposite,” Senator Link said. “This new law will clear the air on campuses statewide and help produce healthier graduates.”

"This is a continuation of the efforts of Smoke Free Illinois to protect Illinoisans from the very significant danger of secondhand smoke," Representative Williams said. "This initiative will extend important public health protections to those studying, working and living at our public college and university campuses."

Governor Quinn today also signed House Bill 5868, sponsored by State Representative Kathleen Willis (D-Northlake) and State Senator John G. Mulroe (D-Chicago), which requires that alternative nicotine products such as e-cigarettes be displayed under the same restrictions as cigarettes. The products must be sold from behind a counter, in an age-restricted area or in a sealed case, and may not be dispensed from a self-service display. A previously passed law prohibits the sale of alternative nicotine items to those under 18 years of age. House Bill 5868 is effective Jan. 1, 2015.

“While many residents may use e-cigarettes to kick bad habits, these products have no place within arm’s reach along the aisles of our pharmacies and grocery stores,” Governor Quinn said. “This new law will ensure e-cigarettes are safely displayed behind the counter, where they belong.”

Governor Quinn has long supported public health improvement measures in Illinois. Shortly after taking office in 2009 the Governor signed Senate Bill 2757, which strengthens enforcement of the Smoke Free Illinois Act by providing additional guidelines for writing citations.

In 2012, Governor Quinn signed into law a $1 per pack increase in the price of cigarettes, providing $350 million in revenue and dollar-for-dollar federal matching funds of $350 million for Medicaid. The American Cancer Society estimated the increase would prevent some 77,000 young people from smoking and prompt an additional 60,000 adults to quit. In 2013, Governor Quinn signed a law that bans the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors.

Source: illinois.gov

shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Mon, 18 Aug 2014 16:11:44 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/54812-governor-quinn-signs-legislation-to-ban-smoking-on-state-university-campuses.html
Chicago City Council Health Committee to Hold Hearing on Mental Health Clinic Closures Tuesday, August 19 http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/54808-chicago-city-council-health-committee-to-hold-hearing-on-mental-health-clinic-closures-tuesday-august-19.html After 3 years demanding voices of those affected be heard, Mental Health Movement gets city to hold hearings

CHICAGO—(ENEWSPF)—August 18, 2014. Since before the City of Chicago close 6 of its 12 public mental health clinics over two years ago, the Mental Health Movement - led by those who access services at Chicago's mental health clinics - has been demanding hearings by Chicago's Committee on Health and the Environment about mental health in Chicago. No specific mental health hearings happened in the run-up to or the aftermath of the clinic closures - until now.

On August 19th at 1pm in Council Chambers, people affected by the clinic closures, other mental health consumers, experts, advocates, providers and others, will present testimony to the city of Chicago about the impact of clinic closures, the mental health needs of Chicago and the Mental Health Movement's demands of the city:

Re-open the closed clinics as a first step towards a real plan to heal Chicago by providing access to quality public community mental health for all Chicagoans 

Join a Medicaid provider network like County Care. The clinics need the revenue and people should be able to use city services regardless of insurance type.

Substantially increase funding and staffing for city mental health clinics in the 2015 budget. 

Testimony will show how many people fell into severe depression, addiction, psychosis, incarceration and general crisis due to losing their clinics and/or therapists. It will show how the City cannot account for thousands of clients that were on its books prior to clinic closure. It will show how the Cook County Jail has become a warehouse for people unable to access mental health care in their communities. It will show how important public safety-net services are. It will show how vast the overall unmet need for mental health services in Chicago is. It will show how the City's current policies of steering away people with insurance and refusing to join any insurance provider networks is starving remaining city clinics. And it will present the above immediate demands to reverse course so that Chicagoan's can have the opportunity to heal.

shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Mon, 18 Aug 2014 15:53:02 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/54808-chicago-city-council-health-committee-to-hold-hearing-on-mental-health-clinic-closures-tuesday-august-19.html
Following Prolonged Water Shut-Offs, Food & Water Watch and Allies Urge Obama Administration to Declare Public Health Emergency in Detroit http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/54788-following-prolonged-water-shut-offs-food-water-watch-and-allies-urge-obama-administration-to-declare-public-health-emergency-in-detroit.html Social Justice Organizations Demand Economic Relief for Affected Residents 

Washington, D.C.--(ENEWSPF)--August 15, 2014. Today, a coalition of over fifty social justice organizations including Food & Water Watch urged President Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell to declare the ongoing water crisis in Detroit a public health emergency. The groups have asked the Obama administration to make money available from the Public Health Emergency Fund to restore water service to residents affected by the shutoffs.

“Thousands of Detroit families do not have running water in their homes for drinking, hygiene and sanitation,” said Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. “This is a growing public health crisis that the Obama administration has the power to stop. It is completely unconscionable that anyone would be forced to endure these conditions.”

In March, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, under the direction of state-appointed Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, announced an aggressive campaign to disconnect the water service of thousands of households that are either $150 or 60 days behind on their water bills. In Detroit, 38.1 percent of residents, including more than half of children there, live in poverty. Over the last decade, residential water charges have more than doubled.

By mid-July, the department had disconnected the water service of some 17,000 households, affecting more than 46,000 people. Only about 55 percent of households are reconnected within 24 hours. On July 21, following large protests, widespread media scrutiny and a lawsuit challenging the shutoffs, the water department announced a 15-day suspension on new service disconnections. During this period, however, the department continued to disconnect customers. Upon the expiration of the limited respite, which was extended for an additional 10 days, the department will again shut off water service to as many as 3,000 households a week. About 90,000 customers are at risk of losing water service.

Maude Barlow, national chairwoman of the Council of Canadians, a social advocacy group, has already petitioned the United Nations to step in. According to Barlow, “Taking tap water away from people who cannot afford it is not only a public health emergency but also a blatant human rights violation. We cannot stand by while countries abdicate their responsibility to protect our most vulnerable populations.”

“Mayor Duggan’s 10 Point Plan falls short of addressing the crisis at hand. The People’s Water Board Coalition stands firm on its demand that Governor Snyder, Emergency Manager Orr and Mayor Duggan turn the water back on and extend the moratorium on shutoffs indefinitely,” added Tawana Petty, an activist with the People’s Water Board Coalition. “We also ask that Detroit’s leaders enforce the People’s Water Affordability plan and abandon all plans to privatize Detroit’s water.”

Some water privatization experts, including Hauter, believe that the water shutoffs in Detroit are a precursor to leasing or selling the city’s water system to a private entity. But relinquishing public control of Detroit’s water system is likely to exacerbate current access and affordability issues. “Around the world, we’ve seen myriad problems linked to privatizing water systems,” said Hauter. “Under a private provider, Detroit is likely to experience degraded service, reductions in the water system’s workforce and higher bills. It is not the answer to Detroit, or any city’s, water woes.”

Food & Water Watch works to ensure the food, water and fish we consume is safe, accessible and sustainable. So we can all enjoy and trust in what we eat and drink, we help people take charge of where their food comes from, keep clean, affordable, public tap water flowing freely to our homes, protect the environmental quality of oceans, force government to do its job protecting citizens, and educate about the importance of keeping shared resources under public control.

Source: http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org

shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Fri, 15 Aug 2014 17:05:27 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/54788-following-prolonged-water-shut-offs-food-water-watch-and-allies-urge-obama-administration-to-declare-public-health-emergency-in-detroit.html
Marriage Means Faster Wage Growth for Men, But Not for Women http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/analysis/54787-marriage-means-faster-wage-growth-for-men-but-not-for-women.html Tightly cropped image of a groom placing a wedding band on his bride's finger. (stock image)ANN ARBOR--(ENEWSPF)--August 15, 2014.  Saying "I do" at a young age isn't always the best career option for women.

After the wedding vows are said, gender inequality with wages begin as marriage is associated with fast wage growth for men but slow growth for women, a new University of Michigan study found.

Indeed, the cumulative effects of marriage are driven by different factors. For men, the positive wage link is attributed to increased participation in productivity-enhancing work experience. Women's negative association between marriage and wage growth is usually caused by childbearing, said Siwei Cheng, the study's author and graduate student in the U-M Department of Sociology.

"Marriage in today's American society operates as a de-equalizing force that drives up the gender wage gap over individuals' lives," said Cheng, who will present her findings Saturday (Aug. 16) at the annual American Sociological Association in San Francisco.

Marriage is "a major turning point that shapes the individual's trajectory in subsequent years," she said. The wage effect of marriage occurs through a cumulative process that unfolds slowly over life, which results in the gender wage gap widening every year.

"This could be a reason why some women nowadays 'rationally' choose to delay their marriage for the benefits of their careers," said Cheng, who is also a graduate student in the Population Studies Center at the Institute for Social Research.

Cheng analyzed data from a national sample of more than 12,600 people who reported their hourly wage, marital status, years of marriage and work experience.

According to this sample, at age 23, women married three years earlier than men, whose median age was 26 years. Men have a longer tenure with their employer and work more hours, the respondents reported.

On average, men and women's wages both increased over time, but men experienced faster growth.

Childbearing, the study noted, substantially impedes women's advancement, especially when compared to her single counterparts. Factors such as psychological strain due to work-life conflict or discrimination from the employer may pose extra impediments to married mothers' wage growth, Cheng said.

Source: umich.edu

shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Fri, 15 Aug 2014 16:58:07 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/analysis/54787-marriage-means-faster-wage-growth-for-men-but-not-for-women.html