Showing posts from August 8, 2017

Today's Trumpery


Canada’s Environmental Fines are Tiny Compared to the U.S.

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["Our laws are weak." For the largest environmental disaster in BC history there have been no charges, no fines, no penalties at all. *RON*]

Carol Linnitt, DeSmog Blog, 3 August 2017
This week marks the three-year anniversary of the Mount Polley mine disaster, which sent 24 million cubic metres of mining waste into Quesnel Lake, making it one of the worst environmental disasters in Canadian history.

It’ll be a stinging reminder of the tailings pond collapse for local residents, especially considering no charges have been laid against Imperial Metals, owner and operator of Mount Polley.

Come August 5 it will be too late for B.C. to lay charges, given a three-year statute of limitations — however federal charges can be laid for another two years.

But here’s the thing: under the federal Fisheries Act, Mount Polley can receive a maximum of $12 million in fines: $6 million for causing harm to fish and fish habitat and $6 million for dumping de…

#Flint: An Update and a Reminder That It Has Been 1,196 Days Since the Mich. City Had Clean Drinking Water

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[More than three years have passed and three levels of government haven't been able to get clean drinking water flowing. *RON*]

Monique Judge, The Root, 3 August 2017

The people of Flint, Mich., still do not have clean water in their taps, but what they do have is a three-and-a-half-year legacy of bureaucratic bullshit and red tape, lead poisoning, outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease, sick babies and children, and a whole lot of back-and-forth between the city and the state over who is going to fix the various problems related to the crisis and how.

As you may recall, Flint’s water problems started in April 2014 when the city, then under state control, switched its water source from the city of Detroit to the Flint River. The untreated water from the river was highly corrosive and caused lead to leach into the city’s pipes, leading to contaminated tap water for the residents.

Many government officials of have been charged with crimes in the sub…

Venezuela Is Collapsing

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[Could a civil war be next? Interview with Stanford political scientist Terry Lynn Karl. “We are witnessing the collapse of a large, modern, wealthy country that has both a democratic and an authoritarian tradition. It’s only a few hours from the United States, and it has the world’s largest supply of crude oil. Venezuela is a powder keg, and the worst-case scenario is now civil war. That scenario would create a refugee crisis. It could spread instability. It would spread even more criminality into Central America and the Caribbean” *RON*]
Isaac Chotiner, Slate, 2 August 2017

In a contentious and highly irregular election on Sunday, Venezuela voted for the creation of a new constituent assembly, which would give President Nicolás Maduro increasing control of a divided and chaotic country. Since the vote, Maduro’s government has continued to arrest representatives of the country’s beaten-down opposition, and the Trump administration is placing new…

Internal EPA Documents Show Scramble For Data On Monsanto’s Roundup Herbicide

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[Toxicity, cancer and regulatory capture. The documents raise questions about how and why regulators for years have failed to require robust testing on what is the world’s most widely-used weed killer. *RON*]

Carey Gillam, Huffington Post, 7 August 2017

As agrochemical giant Monsanto Co. faces a growing wave of U.S. lawsuits over its top-selling Roundup herbicide line, among its key defense arguments is that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has long backed the safety of the weed-killing products.

And indeed, the EPA has been a stalwart supporter of Monsanto Co.’s claims of safety, assuring the public that there is nothing to fear from the company’s cocktail of chemicals. But internal agency documents, released in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, indicate that as recently as last year, the agency had holes in its data files when it comes to the actual Roundup formulations used by consumers, farmers and others around …

North-south health divide more stark than ever as study finds 'alarming' rise in northern people dying prematurely

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['Death records tell a tale of two Englands, north and south, divided by resources and life expectancy' *RON*]
Andrew Griffin, The Independent, 8 August 2017

People in the north are far more likely to die young, according to an "alarming" new study.

Dying early is 20 per cent more likely for people who live in the north of England and the government needs to invest urgently to fix the problem, the scientists behind the research said.

The problem is particularly stark among very young people: there were 29 per cent more deaths among 25-34 year olds in the north in 2015, and a 35-44 year old is a full 49 per cent more likely to die suddenly if they live in the north rather than the south.

The number of premature deaths among middle aged adults in the north started to go up quickly in the mid-90s, rising sharply and consistently until 2015.

The research looked at data from the Office of National Statistics to compare the whole English p…