Category Archives: environment

Flint Water Crisis: 6th Michigan Official Charged with Involuntary Manslaughter

A special prosecutor on Monday, Oct. 9, filed additional charges against Michigan’s chief medical officer, accusing her of involuntary manslaughter and misconduct in office in the devastating Flint water crisis.

The announcement came during a court hearing for Dr. Eden Wells on other charges related to the contamination crisis, The Detroit News reported. Prosecutor Todd Flood of the state’s attorney general’s office said the new charges were spurred by “new revelations” stemming from testimony during a preliminary hearing last week against Heath and Human Services Director Nick Lyon, who’s also charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Flood declined to say what those revelations were, however.

“I really can’t get into the details of it, but I think we’d be derelict if we didn’t charge her,” Flood told reporters after the hearing. “Based on a new review of other documents and testimony that came out last week, we believe that discovery put us in this place.”

Five other people, including Lyon, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s drinking water chief Liane Shekter-Smith, Office of Drinking Water supervisor Stephen Busch, Flint’s former water department manager Howard Croft and ex-emergency manager Darnell Early, have been charged in connection to a deadly outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in Flint from 2014-15. The attorney general’s office said officials knew about the uptick in Legionnaire’s cases but didn’t notify the public until 2016.

In addition to manslaughter, Wells was also charged with obstruction of justice and making a false statement related to the outbreak, which was linked to 12 deaths and 79 illnesses, according to the newspaper. The obstruction charge carries a sentence of up to two years  in prison while manslaughter could result in a 15-year prison stint and a $7,500 fine.

The Legionnaires probe is part of the larger investigation into how Flint’s water supply became tainted after the city began drawing water from the Flint River in April 2014. Many have blamed the outbreak on the water supply switch, as lead from old pipes leached into the water supply and sickened thousands.

Wells’ next hearing has been rescheduled for Nov. 6.

By Tanasia Kenney/AtlantaBlackStar

Posted by The NON-Conformist

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Mexico, Donald Trump, Hurricane Maria: Your Wednesday Briefing from The New York Times

Powerful quake kills hundreds in Mexico.

Rescue crews are scrambling to pull survivors from the rubble after an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.1 struck on Tuesday, killing more than 200 people.

At least 21 children died when a school collapsed, and the toll across the country is expected to rise. We mapped the extensive damage in Mexico City, and have video from the moment the quake hit.

It struck less than two weeks after an 8.1-magnitude temblor in the south of the country, which killed at least 90.

Image: Pedro Pardo/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Trump brings America First to the U.N.

It was President Trump’s first address to the General Assembly. He used the world’s most prominent stage on Tuesday to threaten to “totally destroy North Korea” and to denounce Iran as a “rogue state.”

More from Apple News

Posted by Libergirl

 

After Backlash, French President Vows To Rebuild St. Martin, Diversify Economy

Nearing the end of a sweeping visit to assess the devastation wrought by Hurricane Irma, French President Emmanuel Macron has promised to rebuild the wrecked island of St. Martin and diversify its economy away from tourism.

Image: ENA-POOL/SIPA/SPPFR

In further responses to complaints that his government didn’t do enough to handle Irma’s wrath, Macron also promised to evacuate residents of his country’s Caribbean territories and provide services and shelter for those who choose to stay.

Macron stayed overnight on St. Martin, reportedly sleeping on a camp cot, and was heading Wednesday to the heavily-damaged island of St. Barts with the French health minister, who has warned about diseases spreading on the islands after water supplies, electricity and communication were knocked out for days.

“What we have seen today are people determined to rebuild and return to a normal life,” Macron said Tuesday in a news conference. “They are impatient for answers and some are very, very angry. The anger is legitimate because it is a result of the fear they have faced and of being very fatigued. It is certain that some want to leave, and we will help them in that effort.”

He said France was bringing in air-conditioned tents so children can start classes again soon, and that a center would be established by Monday to begin processing requests for financial help.

More from Talking Points Memo

Posted by Libergirl

Egypt finalizes deal with Russia for first nuclear plant


Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi hold a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit in Xiamen, Fujian province, China, Monday, Sept. 4, 2017. Russian media said Monday that Egypt has finalized a deal to build a nuclear power plant with funding from Moscow after nearly two years of negotiations. (MENA via AP) (Associated Press)

CAIRO — Russian media say Egypt has finalized a deal to build a nuclear power plant with funding from Moscow after nearly two years of negotiations.

The reports Monday came after Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in China, where they were attending a summit.

The nuclear plant will be built in Dabaa, about 130 kilometers (80 miles) northwest of Cairo on the Mediterranean coast.

Egypt’s presidency says el-Sissi has invited Putin to Egypt to mark the start of construction.

In 2015, Egypt signed an agreement with Russia to build a four-reactor power plant. It will receive a $25 billion Russian loan to cover 85 percent of the plant, with a capacity of 4,800 MW.

From Associate Press

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Rush “Bimbo” Is Now Running From Irma, Days After Mocking Storm as Liberal Conspiracy

Conservative broadcaster Rush Limbaugh seems to have abandoned his plans to ride out Hurricane Irma at his Palm Beach home, where he records his radio show, after originally downplaying the risk of the storm as the product of a giant conspiracy.

Irma is currently grazing by Cuba, possibly on its way to make landfall on Limbaugh’s doorstep, though forecasts still provide for a wide variety of possibilities. The National Hurricane Center’s 11 a.m. ET advisory Friday placed all of coastal South Florida in hurricane and storm surge warnings.

More than 100,000 Palm Beach residents were ordered to evacuate as of Friday at 10 a.m., the Miami Herald reported, including President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club. The uber-wealthy area hosts a gaggle of conservative celebrities’ homes.

On Tuesday, Limbaugh said that he wasn’t a meteorologist, but rather the “go-to-guy” in his circles for hurricane advice. He painted the storm’s early forecasts as a grand conspiracy between local retailers and media, meteorologists and public officials hungry to sell the public on the reality of climate change.

More from Mother Jones

Posted by Libergirl

Here’s Who’s Getting Paid to Destroy the Endangered Species Act

A small yet vocal group of congressmen are gearing up this summer to dismantle the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Campaign finance records of these lawmakers reveal that they have all taken significant money from extractive industries frustrated by the law’s protection of critical habitat for endangered species.

The ESA has proven to be a powerful, effective conservation safeguard. More than 99 percent of species that have been designated for federal protection continue to exist in the wild today, including the bald eagle, grizzly bear, the leatherback sea turtle and the Florida manatee.

bald eagle
Image: Electric Light and Power

But the work of the ESA has only grown more urgent as many scientists agree that the planet is either on the cusp of or already experiencing a sixth mass wave of extinction. A study last week by Stanford scientists found that a significant number of plant and wildlife populations are growing dangerously thin.

Earthjustice is working with coalition partners to oppose efforts on Capitol Hill to weaken protections for endangered species. The public can also make a difference in this fight—despite the big money from fossil fuel industries funding opponents of the ESA—by contacting their Congressional offices (use this call-in tool to be directly connected).

The assault on the ESA comes in the form of dozens of legislative proposals and amendments tacked onto spending bills.

One bill that’s expected to be introduced in a matter of weeks is the handiwork of Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

A Republican from Wyoming, Barrasso shares something in common with other politicians who have made it a legislative priority to weaken or undermine this conservation law. He’s received substantial campaign contributions from extractive industries that wish to exploit public lands for mining, drilling and other environmentally destructive operations. Across the American West, for instance, the fossil fuel industry is often pitted against conservationists because habitat for the imperiled sage grouse overlaps with lands eyed by industry for mining or drilling.

More from Ecowatch

Posted by Libergirl

Botched nuclear shipment puts pressure on Los Alamos to make changes

Small amounts of radioactive material being transported incorrectly has led to the firing of several employees after an incident at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, the prominent facility that specializes in nuclear weapons.

Last month, federal regulators launched an investigation into the lab after small amounts of nuclear materials were shipped by air, instead of by ground, as they were intended to be. They were supposed to be sent to facilities in California and South Carolina aboard a commercial cargo plane. Air transport of these materials is not allowed due to US regulations, according to a press release by the National Nuclear Security Administration.

The laboratory has said it will not comply with requests to provide any details about the mistakes of its employees in connection to last month’s error and have said that everyone involved in the mishap has been held to account for their actions, according to the Associated Press.

The lab has transferred the duties related to certain nuclear shipments to another division in the wake of the accident. They have also created more controls for the making of shipment labels.

A spokesman for Los Alamos said “the lab is putting into place laboratory-wide measures to significantly reduce the likelihood of similar events occurring,” the Albuquerque Journal reported.

The lab also said in a statement that “although these shipments arrived safely at their destinations and no one was hurt, this mistake, taken together with other mistakes in recent years, is unacceptable and is in the process of being addressed promptly and thoroughly.” They went on to say “our response to this incident is not business as usual,” the AP reported.

Nuclear watchdog groups spoke out following the incident and said that the lab was lucky to avoid a disaster because its packaging of materials allowed for possible rapid pressure changes.

No contamination or loss of radioactive material was found after tests were done on the shipments when they arrived at their destination.

Los Alamos is currently preparing to ramp up production of a key plutonium component for the US cache of nuclear weapons. Federal regulators, which are composed of an independent panel, have opened up a review of the lab’s track record and its ability to work safely with plutonium, the AP reported.

The lab is operated by Los Alamos National Security LLC, which is a private consortium, which includes the University of Southern California and Bechtel. Following performance reviews that were deemed unsatisfactory, the federal government made the decision to not extend the consortium’s more than $2 billion annual operating contract past 2018. The feds have also started to compose and rebid the contract. There has been increased criticism of Los Alamos after many articles were written by the Center for Public Integrity about federal regulators’ interest in safety lapses at the lab, according to the Journal.

From RT

Posted by The NON-Conformist