Tag Archives: environmental

Can’t make this stuff up: judge finds eco-protestor guilty before trial ends

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On Tuesday 27 June, Reading Township NY judge found Seneca Lake gas storage protestor Tom Angie guilty before his team had the chance to present his defense. Schuyler County Assistant Distract Attorney John Tunney, who was prosecuting the case for the county, attempted to explain to the judge that a ruling under these circumstances is not binding – or even legal.

EcoWatch reported on the judge’s response:
Justice Berry then reiterated his verdict, saying, “I still find him guilty.”

The results: Berry, “agreed to recuse himself in this and all future trials involving Seneca Lake gas storage protesters, he granted the prosecutor’s motion to declare a mistrial in Angie’s case and I got a good laugh.

As my mother liked to say, real life is infinitely loonier than fiction.

Obama calls on NEPA to create awareness of environmental costs

enviro impact assessment
Source: NEXCO East
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) was signed into law New Year’s Day of 1970 by President Nixon. And, it’s what Obama committed to use before Christmas 2014 for bringing commonsense guidance to every sort of government construction project. Wildlife Defenders writer Noah Matson points out: “NEPA is one of the most important environmental laws that most people have never heard of.”

Obama isn’t calling for government agencies to pick the most eco-friendly approach to development. But he wants NEPA protocol to be followed: it calls for an analysis of the environmental impact of every project being planned, giving government staff the chance to weigh the financial costs of building against the environmental ones. This brilliant approach will forever change the development game, as truth is an irresistibly compelling force and when people are forced to look upon it, they can’t avoid being transformed. Until now, environmental costs of construction have been disregarded through the simple expedient of ignoring that they exist.

Matson says:

One of the key ways that NEPA advances this policy is by instituting a sound, transparent planning approach to large-scale government decisions. Before taking an action that could have a significant effect on the environment, NEPA requires those involved to develop alternative ways to achieve the same goal, and to evaluate the environmental impacts (good and bad) that each different approach would have. For instance, if the goal is to enable commuters to travel between two cities, the alternatives might be a highway that cuts straight through a wetland, a longer highway going around it, or a new rail line. NEPA requires the agency to lay out and weigh the pros and cons of each approach.

We can expect GOP politicians to stand on their heads and bawl like babies to protest meaningful ecological analysis of any development project. They’re only about profit at this point; are owned by major corporate interests and have put concerns for nature, clean air and water on the shelf. But NEPA is a good thing, and pulling it more effectively into play is a characteristically impressive Obama policy move.

Other Resources:
View NEPA compliance documentation
More on NEPA by Environmental Law Institute

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Support for Environmental Activists

Center for Health, Environment & Justice
PO Box 6806, Falls Church, VA 22040
703-237-2249 | chej@chej.org
The Center for Health, Environment and Justice can help you and your community if you are facing an environmental health risk. From leaking landfills and polluted drinking water to incinerators and hazardous waste sites, we can help you take action towards a healthier future. Call us.

Bottled water is soooo bad – for health, environment, budgets & waste streams

Ban the BottlePeople have no idea how bad bottled water is – for the health of the world, their communities and their bodies. Bottled water is also a social justice issue.

Let’s start with the health issues: single use bottles contain BPA which leeches into water, especially when stored in hot temperatures. Plus, bottled water contains more bacteria than tap water. Stop Corporate Abuse explains,

Bottled water is often sold with images of snowy peaks and pristine rivers with slogans boasting the “pure fresh taste.” Through marketing that presents bottled water as somehow cleaner or safer than tap water, the bottled water industry has effectively cast doubt on the quality of America’s tap water. In 2003, a Gallup poll found that one in five people was drinking only bottled water, largely because of such doubts.

However, the “alternative” sold by these corporations is often a matter of perceived quality rather than an actual substantive difference. In reality, close to half of all bottled water is basically bottled tap water – sold back to consumers for thousands of times the price.

What’s more, bottled water is subject to far less independent regulation and oversight than our public water systems. The Environmental Protection Agency has jurisdiction over public water systems, while the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for overseeing bottled water quality. Both agencies use a similar set of quality standards. While these standards are similar on paper, the FDA lacks adequate capacity to effectively monitor the industry, and largely relies on bottlers to police themselves.

Next, consider the environmental impact to manufacture plastic bottles; spend the energy to put it into bottles and ship it to distributors, then transport it to stores and refrigerate it until a customer spends up to $2 to buy a bottle. Pablo Pastër of Triple Pundit calculated the natural resource cost to be close to 7 times the amount of water actually contained in the bottle, plus a bunch of fossil fuel.

Taxpayer cost: even small towns spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to buy bottled water, instead of investing in tap water infrastructure, and the management and treatment of stormwater. Is this how you want your taxpayer dollars being spent?

We’re not done yet. Empty bottles still need to be thrown out! Stop Corporate Abuse tells us that according to the US Government Accountability Office (GAO),

… about three-quarters of the water bottles produced in the United States in 2006 were discarded and not recycled. Each year more than four billion pounds of PET plastic bottles end up in landfills or as roadside litter … Waste generation has a huge monetary impact on municipalities… Assuming the average national tipping fee of $35 per ton, these four billion pounds of plastic waste cost US cities at least $70 million annually, not including the costs of collection, trucking and litter removal.

Finally, people have begun to fight back against bottled water abuse.

Concord, Massachusetts has become one of the first communities in the U.S. to ban the sale of single-serving plastic water bottles … Octogenarian Jean Hill lead the charge, telling The New York Times in a 2010 interview, “The bottled water companies are draining our aquifers and selling it back to us.” She declared, “I’m going to work until I drop on this.”

And you can fight back too. Try a campaign in your own town or school. Here are some resources to get you started:
Ban the Bottle
The Water Project

Nestlé in line for Hall of Shame Award over bottled water

Take back the tapNestlé hoards our world’s fresh water, marks it up 53 Million percent and spends enough on advertising to make you like paying for it. The company is highly effective in helping kill babies by means of watered-down infant formula; sucking up indigenous people’s water supplies in developing countries to bottle and sell in America for astronomical sums; and they’ve got cruel child labor practices in place that Executive VP Jose Lopez says have been company norm, “For as long as we’ve been using cocoa.”

Nestlé shamelessly carries out these acts in order to make $35 Billion profit, putting bottled water in the category of a serious social and environmental justice concern. And according to Daisy Luther of The Organic Prepper, that’s why Nestlé has been nominated for a 2013 Corporate Accountability International Hall of Shame Award. See for yourself: in this YouTube video, Nestle’s CEO remarks on the increasing scarcity of water.

The one opinion, which I think is extreme, is represented by the NGOs [NGOs = Non-Government Organizations], who bang on about declaring water being a public right. That means as a human being you should have a right to water. That’s an extreme solution.

Not bad enough yet? How about throwing a GMO connection into the ring: Nestlé has one of those too. Luther reports:

Monsanto and Nestle are firmly on the same team – Nestle donated over $1 million to the campaign against GMO labeling in California and their CEO has claimed that in 15 years of consumption, no one was every harmed by eating GMOs.

While the world’s attention has been on Monsanto’s corruption of the food supply, Nestle has been quietly draining water sources around the globe and marking it up a mind-blowing 53,908,255%, while the rest of us must deal with droughts, regulations on wells and rainwater, and rising prices.

Just remember, Nestlé’s propaganda statements are so not true. They are just empty marketing words.

The Nestle website touts the slogan: Good Food, Good Life is the promise we commit to, everyday, everywhere – to enhance lives, throughout life, with good food and beverages.

Be a smart world citizen and forget bottled water, like these plumbing shop owners have. The benefits are only a bunch of big fat lies. Drink free tap water instead and help improve our world by doing just a little bit every day to improve our environment and our water quality.