Category Archives: environment

Work To Complete Disputed Dakota Access Oil Pipeline Underway

Construction of the Dakota Access pipeline under a North Dakota reservoir has begun and the full pipeline should be operational within three months, the developer of the long-delayed project said Thursday, even as American Indian activists vowed to fight in the courts to protect their water supply.

The Army granted Energy Transfer Partners formal permission Wednesday to lay pipe under Lake Oahe, clearing the way for completion of the 1,200-mile, $3.8 billion pipeline. ETP spokeswoman Vicki Granado confirmed early Thursday that construction resumed “immediately after receiving the easement.”

More from Talking Points Memo

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Cancer burger? Fast food wrappers contain carcinogenic chemicals, study says

The next time you get a craving for a greasy burger from the drive-thru, you may want to reconsider. A new study has found that fast food packaging contains cancer-causing chemicals – showing that the risk of quick meals goes beyond trans fats and calories.
It’s no secret that fast food contains a huge amount of oils, but in an effort to repel those oils, the packaging is actually posing a huge risk to consumers, according to a new study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology Letters.

In an effort to determine whether the wrappers contained harmful chemicals, the researchers gathered 400 take-out packaging samples from fast food restaurants across the US.

They then analyzed them for fluorinated chemicals, a family of chemicals which has been linked to kidney and testicular cancer, elevated cholesterol, decreased fertility, thyroid problems, changes in hormone functioning in adults, and adverse developmental effects and decreased immune response in children.

Forty-six percent of food contact papers and 20 percent of paperboard were found to contain the harmful chemicals.

But the problem wasn’t just contained to the wrappers. The chemicals were found to migrate from the packaging to the food itself.

“Food contact material is a direct route of exposure to these chemicals for us, it’s as if you were drinking them in your drinking water,” Tom Brunton of the Green Science Policy Institute, which was involved in the study, told CBS Bay Area.

Study co-author Graham Peaslee, a physicist at the University of Notre Dame, said he was “very surprised to find these chemicals in food contact materials from so many of the samples we tested,” according to a Green Science Policy Institute press release.

He went on to note that the chemicals are “persistent and some bioaccumulate in the body,” and stressed that “safer non-fluorinated alternatives” are available.

Co-author Dr. Arlene Blum of UC Berkeley and the Green Science Policy Institute also stressed that “we can stop using fluorinated chemicals where they are not necessary, such as in food packaging, and all be healthier.”

And although fluorinated chemicals are also found in everyday products including water-repellent outdoor gear, stain-resistant clothing and furniture, and non-stick pans, Brunton was quick to point out that they are likely the most harmful in the fast food context.

“You’re likely not going to get the same exposure from those products…you’re not eating your rain jacket…,” Brunton said.

The Green Science Policy Institute noted, however, that many major retailers have eliminated high-fluorinated chemicals from their products, and encouraged the fast food industry to do the same.

From Russia Today

Posted by The NON-Conformist

After court threat, state of Michigan removed Flint’s power to sue

Days after Flint Mayor Karen Weaver served notice that her city might file a lawsuit against the State of Michigan over the Flint drinking water crisis, the state removed Flint’s ability to sue.

Though Flint has not been under a state-appointed emergency manager since April 2015, the state still exerts partial control over the city through a five-member Receivership Transition Advisory Board, whose members are appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder.

The board moved quickly to change the rules under which Flint is governed so that the city cannot file a lawsuit without first getting approval from that state-appointed board.

In other words, Flint cannot sue the state without getting the state to sign off on it first.

More from Detroit Free Press

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Nuclear threats in US worse than previously known — study

Conflicting with a prior industry study, a new analysis claims 96 nuclear facilities in the US are less safe than reported, citing risks such as terrorism and sabotage. The study says there remain lessons to be learned from the Fukushima disaster.
Neglect of the risks posed by used reactor fuel, or spent nuclear fuel, contained in 96 above ground, aquamarine pools could cost the US economy $700 billion, cause cancer in tens of thousands of people as well as compel the relocation of some 3.5 million people from an area larger than New Jersey, a study released May 20 finds.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s study, ‘Lessons Learned from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident for Improving Safety and Security of US Nuclear Plants,’ is the second installment of a two-part study ordered by Congress on the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan. It not only cites, but also outright challenges a 2014 study by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the US industry’s regulator and enforcer of safety standards.

The spent fuel, The Academies’ study recommends, is safer in dry casks rather than pools, because of the risk of leaks, drawing water away from the irradiated nuclear rods. An accident, terrorist attack or malicious employee all pose greater dangers to the pools, the study says.

Aside from calling on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to offer a better evaluation of the health risks posed, The Academies study conducted by 17 engineers, nuclear physicists and other scientists demands the commission fulfill a 10-year-old promise to put together an impartial review of the surveillance and security policies on spent nuclear fuel.

“Even with the recommendations that the Academies’ board has put together,” Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman Scott Burnell responded, “we continue to conclude that spent fuel is being stored safely and securely in the US.”

“Nothing in the report causes immediate concern,” Burnell added, although the commission is planning a more formal follow-up later this year, according to The Center for Public Integrity.

Congress felt compelled to fund the study on Japan’s natural-turned-nuclear disaster to help prevent a similar accident from occurring in the US. On March 11, 2011, the Daiichi nuclear plant in Fukushima was thrashed by an earthquake and tsunami, leaving three reactors without power or coolants, which resulted in their radioactive cores melting down.

Pure luck kept the disaster from becoming even worse, The Acadamies found. Instead of Daiichi’s highly radioactive rods being exposed to oxygen, which would have sent over 13 million people packing from as far as 177 miles south in Tokyo, a leak happened to be situated between a fuel rod pool and a reactor core, which sent just enough coolant to keep the vulnerable rods from rising above the water. In the end, 470,000 people were evacuated and the still ongoing cleanup is estimated to cost about $93 billion.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s 2014 study put the highest odds of an earthquake happening near spent fuel storage at one in 10 million years, boasting that “spent fuel pools are likely to withstand severe earthquakes without leaking,” while the odds of a terrorist attack or internal subversion were deemed incalculable and left out of any risk assessment.

Calling that cost-benefit analysis “deeply flawed,” The Academies panel member Frank von Hippel, also an emeritus professor and senior research physicist at Princeton University, complained that the commission’s study also left out the impact on property contamination in a 50-mile radius of an accident, tourism rates and the economy, The Center for Public Integrity reported.

The new analysis also calls for new officially designated risk assessments of safety and financial impacts at the federal level as well as what improvements aboveground dry casks may bring compared to pools. The latter is estimated to cost upwards of $4 billion by the industry.

From RT

Posted by The NON-Conformist

 

Snyder emails detail state’s missteps in Flint crisis

Gov. Rick Snyder was advised in late September that the state bore responsibility for Flint’s water problems because former state Treasurer Andy Dillon made “the ultimate decision” to let the city leave the Detroit system, according to emails released Wednesday.

The city later turned to corrosive Flint River water that caused aging pipes to release lead into the drinking water.

Image: The Detroit News

The emails, detailed in 274 pages released by Snyder on Wednesday, offered a rare peek into the internal deliberations of the governor’s office, which is typically shielded from requests under the Freedom of Information Act.

They shed new light on Dillon’s role in approving a request in April 2013 by Flint officials to join other Genesee County communities as customers of the Karegnondi Water Authority after a half-century of buying drinking water from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.

More from The Detroit News

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Flint water crisis: American city still charging residents up to $200 a month for contaminated ‘toxic waste’ water

Image: Getty

Despite being several months into a contaminated water crisis that US president Barack Obama has declared a federal state of emergency, the city of Flint, Michigan is still charging residents up to $200 a month for their supply, it has been claimed.

Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) stands accused of ignoring months of concerning reports on the amount of lead in Flint’s drinking water, with the brown liquid reportedly making residents’ hair fall out and causing rashes on their skin.

10 people have also died from the pneumonia-like condition Legionnaire’s disease.

When tested by a team from Virginia Tech, the water was so contaminated with lead that the US Environmental Protection Agency branded it “toxic waste”.

More from Independent UK

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Internal Email: Michigan ‘Blowing Off’ Flint Over Lead in Water

Six months before Michigan’s governor declared a state of emergency over high lead levels in the water in Flint, his top aide wrote in an email that worried residents were “basically getting blown off by us.”

“I’m frustrated by the water issue in Flint,” Dennis Muchmore, then chief of staff to Gov. Rick Snyder, wrote in the email to a top health department staffer obtained by NBC News.

“I really don’t think people are getting the benefit of the doubt. Now they are concerned and rightfully so about the lead level studies they are receiving,” Muchmore said.

More from  NBC News

Posted by Libergirl