Showing posts from November 7, 2014

New Study Finds Life-Threatening Formaldehyde Levels at Fracking Sites

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[The evidence continues to mount. *RON*]
by Amanda Frank, Center for Effective Government 5 November 2014

People living near fracking sites have reported health problems for years, with symptoms ranging from respiratory ailments to birth defects. But because air and water quality are often not monitored near fracking sites, surprisingly little is known about the overall public health impacts of the gas drilling process. To help fill the knowledge gap, a new study explores air quality at fracking sites across several states and finds numerous instances of toxic chemicals above national safety standards.

Coming Clean and Global Community Monitor conducted the air quality study in six states – Arkansas, Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Wyoming. It is the first peer-reviewed study on air pollution from fracking that uses samples from multiple U.S. sites.

Breathing Toxic Air

Local residents collected air samples near fracking wells and producti…

Harper Government To Buy At Least 4 F-35s By 2017: Pentagon Briefing

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[A profoundly disturbing waste of the taxpayers' money when weighed against all the important supports and services that Harper refuses to provide to Canadians in the name of austerity and "the economy." *RON*]
By The Canadian Press, Huffington Post, 7 November 2014

OTTAWA - The Harper government has signalled to Washington that it wants to buy at least four F-35 stealth fighters.

A leaked U.S. Department of Defence slide presentation shows Canada has asked to swap places with the U.S. Air Force and place the order in the current fiscal year, which means a possible delivery date of either 2016 or 2017.

The Oct. 27, 2014, briefing says the Americans would make it up by taking four of the aircraft Canada already planned to buy in 2019.

The U.S. said it would agree as long as the long-delayed development of the controversial fighters remains on track and that no other allies asked for a similar consideration.

The briefing by U.S. Lt.-…

Bush Family and Its Inner Circle Play Central Role in Lawsuits Against Denton, Texas Fracking Ban

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[Sheesh. This is just the kind of thing they call you a paranoid for if you say you believe in it. A truly globalized network of rich and powerful insiders, manipulating our democracy. No wonder those Bushs are always smiling! *RON*]
Steve Horn, DeSmog Blog, 6 November 2014

On November 4, Denton, Texas,became the first city in the state to ban the process of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) when 59 percent of voters cast ballots in favor of the initiative. It did so in the heart of the Barnett Shale basin, where George Mitchell — the “father of fracking” — drilled the first sample wells for his company Mitchell Energy.

As promised by the oil and gas industry and by Texas Railroad Commission commissioner David Porter, the vote was met with immediate legal backlash. Both the Texas General Land Office and the Texas Oil and Gas Association (TXOGA) filed lawsuits in Texas courts within roughly 12 hours of the vote taking place, the latest actions in…

Freight train carrying diesel plunges into river in Quebec

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[This was apparently only worthy of a brief note in a trade journal. Though the article says that "oil extended for about 20 kilometres out from shore," a government spokesperson would only acknowledge that there would be an "isolated impact". *RON*]

by The Canadian Press / Occupational Health & Safety Canada Magazine, 6 November 2014

SEPT-ILES, Que. (The Canadian Press) — Part of a freight train carrying diesel fuel plunged into a Quebec river on Thursday, leaving its conductor missing and a silvery layer of oil floating on the water.

The train, owned by Iron Ore Company of Canada, was made up of three locomotives and 240 empty cars.

The lead locomotive had a capacity of 15,000 litres and ended up fully submerged in the Moisie River on the remote North Shore, said IOC spokeswoman Claudine Gagnon.

It was unclear how many litres it contained at the time of the accident near Sept-Iles, about 900 kilometres from Montreal.

The loco…

More Than 600 Reported Chemical Exposure in Iraq, Pentagon Acknowledges

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[The Pentagon is certainly good at burying that which is inconvenient to it's purposes. This would never come out if it hadn't been reported by The New York Times. "Jordan Zoeller, former Army sergeant said at one point after he returned to the States and coughed up blood and lost consciousness, a regimental surgeon agreed to look into the episode. Nothing came of it, he said. 'No one ever believed me. They were like, Oh, that never happened.'*RON*]

By C. J. Chivers, New York Times, 6 November 2014

More than 600 American service members since 2003 have reported to military medical staff members that they believe they were exposed to chemical warfare agents in Iraq, but the Pentagon failed to recognize the scope of the reported cases or offer adequate tracking and treatment to those who may have been injured, defense officials say.

The Pentagon’s disclosure abruptly changed the scale and potential costs of the United S…

OECD Puts Weight Behind Calls For Less Euro Austerity

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[It's beginning to be possible to imagine the worm turning, if only to avoid more violent public outbursts. *RON*]

Marcel Michelson, Forbes, 7 November 2014

The OECD economic institute urged the European Union to ease its pace of austerity and boost demand to get the economy in a higher gear.

Presenting an advance Economic Outlook set of projections, the Paris-based international organization sees global GDP growth reach a 3.3% rate in 2014 before accelerating to 3.7% in 2015 and 3.9% in 2016. This pace is modest compared with the pre-crisis period and somewhat below the long-term average. It is also slightly lower than the last OECD forecast in September.

The organization urged for structural policies to boost growth.

Financial risks remain high and may increase market volatility in the coming period. There is an increasing risk of stagnation in the euro area. Countries must employ all monetary, fiscal and structural reform policies at their dis…

Brussels anti-austerity protest ends in clashes

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[The story made it into BBC at least so maybe we'll see it elsewhere today. Including The Telegraph and Deutsche Welle, where the numbers magically shrink to "tens of thousands." *RON*]

BBC News, 6 November 2014

Belgian police have used tear gas and water cannon against violent anti-austerity protesters in central Brussels after a largely peaceful march by about 100,000 workers.

Several vehicles were set alight by protesters who also hurled stones and flares at police. About 50 people were hurt and 30 detained, officials said.

Belgium's new government plans to raise the pension age, freeze wages and make public service cuts to meet EU targets.

Trade unions plan a series of strikes.

Thursday's march was one of Belgium's biggest labour demonstrations since World War Two.

Steelworkers, dockers and teachers were among the thousands who took part, protesting against government austerity policies.

Oil tumbles after OPEC cuts demand forecasts

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[The author says one thing for 90% of the story, then decides to switch tales. In any case, between the precipitously falling price of crude and Constitutional court cases and widespread public protests, things are not looking especially rosy for the oil industry these days! *RON*]

By Claudia Assis, Market Watch, 6 November 2014

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Crude-oil futures fell further on Thursday after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries cut demand forecasts for its oil and investors worried about the health of the eurozone’s economy.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures for delivery in December CLZ4, +1.00% fell 77 cents, or 1%, to settle at $77.91 a barrel.

December Brent crude LCOZ4, +0.69% on London’s ICE Futures exchange fell 9 cents, or 0.1%, to $82.86 a barrel.

Both benchmarks are down for five out of the past six sessions and off nearly 30% from a June peak.

In its annual world outlook releas…