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Matthew and Sarah Elliott: How a UK Power Couple Links US Libertarians and Fossil Fuel Lobbyists to Brexit

DeSmogBlog - Sun, 11/18/2018 - 16:01
Read time: 27 mins

If you have detected a distinctly American flavour to the rampant lobbying in Westminster corridors over a Brexit deal, there is a good reason why.

A close look at the transatlantic connections of the London-based groups pushing for the most deregulated form of Brexit reveals strong ties to major US libertarian influencers. These include fossil fuel magnates the Koch brothers — known for funding climate science denial around the world — and the man who bankrolled Donald Trump’s campaign, Robert Mercer.

At the heart of this network lies a little-known power couple, Matthew and Sarah Elliott. Together, the husband and wife team connect senior members of the Leave campaign and groups pushing a libertarian free-market ideology from offices in Westminster’s Tufton Street to major US libertarian lobbyists and funders.

Collectively, the network aims to use Brexit as an opportunity to slash regulations in the UK, paving the way for a wide-ranging US-UK free-trade deal that could have disastrous consequences for the environment.

Tags: Matthew ElliottSarah Elliott55 Tufton StreetBrexitCharles G Koch Charitable FoundationMercer Family FoundationAtlas Economic Research Foundationcato instituteGlobal Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF)TaxPayers' Allianceinstitute of economic affairsInstitute of Free Trade (IFT)
Categories: G1. Progressive Green

As Wildfire Smoke Fills the Air, Farmworkers Continue to Labor in the Fields

Organic Consumers Association - Sat, 11/17/2018 - 14:47

As smoke from the Hill Fire and the massive Woolsey Fire began blanketing Oxnard, California, last Friday, a group of students from Oxnard Union High School gathered downtown to prepare carpools out to the fields to the south of the city.

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

Report: 90% of Pipeline Blasts Draw No Financial Penalties

DeSmogBlog - Sat, 11/17/2018 - 10:48
Read time: 3 mins

By Lorraine Chow, EcoWatch. Reposted with permission from EcoWatch.

A striking report has revealed that 90 percent of the 137 interstate pipeline fires or explosions since 2010 have drawn no financial penalties for the companies responsible.

The article from E&E News reporter Mike Soraghan underscores the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration's (PHMSA) weak authority over the fossil fuel industry for these disasters.

Tags: natural gas pipelinesPipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administrationfracking safetySafetyTransCanadaAtlantic Coast pipeline
Categories: G1. Progressive Green

$321 million to improve Hudson water quality

River Keeper - Fri, 11/16/2018 - 14:55

Water quality in the Hudson River and its tributaries will benefit from a $320.8 million investment announced by Gov. Cuomo this week. Made possible by the landmark commitments to improving water infrastructure by New York State lawmakers, 36 projects will be funded in the Hudson River watershed, with the help of $53.3 million in state grants. (In addition to these wastewater projects, many drinking water infrastructure projects were funded, but are not tallied here.)

The most significant state investments in water and wastewater infrastructure in a generation, the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act and Clean Water Infrastructure Act are chipping away at the estimated $80 billion statewide need — the largest in the nation.

Our data shows that roughly 80% of water samples from the Hudson River Estuary are safe for swimming. That’s dramatically better than a generation ago, thanks to past investments in wastewater treatment. Today, we need to rehabilitate, replace and upgrade much of those pipes, plants and pump stations in order to maintain the improvements we’ve achieved, and continue to make progress, including in our tributaries, where water quality is often much worse than in the Hudson itself.

Each day, nearly 350 million gallons per day of treated sewage is discharged into the Hudson and its tributaries, north of New York City. The Hudson and its tributaries need well over $1 billion in wastewater improvements. (New York City alone will need to invest multiples of that.)

That’s why these investments are so important.

Here are some highlights of the projects announced this week, that state grants will help to fund:

  • 23 projects totaling $118.0 million for the Hudson River Estuary watershed.
  • 9 projects totaling $179.8 million for the Mohawk River watershed.
  • 4 projects totaling $23.1 million for the Upper Hudson River watershed.

Monitoring projects by Riverkeeper, our partners and the 180 community scientists who volunteer time to gather samples, help point to where investments are most needed. But without money, there would be no investments. Riverkeeper has been a leader in the coalition that has advocated for more state spending on water infrastructure, including the landmark $2.5 billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act. Please help us keep up the momentum:

And please help us by sharing this message with others.

The post $321 million to improve Hudson water quality appeared first on Riverkeeper.

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

Scientist Replies to Aluminum Industry's and Medical Industry's False and Misleading Claims of Aluminum Safety

Organic Consumers Association - Fri, 11/16/2018 - 14:00

It is highly odd to see the Alzheimer’s Association and the World Health Organization describing a type of consensus that there is no role for aluminum as a primary cause in Alzheimer’s disease for one simple fact: amyloid, the gunk that gums up the brain in Alzheimer’s dementia, is part aluminum. In fact, this has been known since 1985.

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

How to Increase Lung Capacity

Organic Consumers Association - Fri, 11/16/2018 - 14:00

Because breathing is essential to life and your lungs are essential to breathing, I would like to share a number of tips to help you improve your lung capacity, which is a measure of how much air your body can use. As you may expect, your lung capacity can be improved through activities like diaphragmatic breathing, exercise and maintaining good posture.

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

Mass HPV Vaccination Plan for the U.S.

Organic Consumers Association - Fri, 11/16/2018 - 14:00

The American Cancer Society (ACS) has set an aggressive goal to achieve an 80 percent uptake rate among American children with two doses human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine by 2026. To gain that coverage, 14 million more preteen children would need to complete the two-dose series, for a total of 57.62 million doses above and beyond the number of vaccinations given to date.

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

Helping David Take on Goliath

Organic Consumers Association - Fri, 11/16/2018 - 14:00

Last year, environmentalists and organic farmers scored a win when the Maryland Legislature passed the Healthy Soils Program and Gov. Larry Hogan signed the bill. The program works to sequester the global-warming bad guy, carbon, in Maryland soil while increasing its biological activity.

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

USDA Won't Name Turkey Plants, Despite 164 Illnesses and 1 Death

Organic Consumers Association - Fri, 11/16/2018 - 14:00

The public doesn’t need to know which turkey plants have been found to be contaminated with a deadly strain of Salmonella that has infected people in 35 states, federal officials said yesterday in a strongly worded statement.

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

German Minister for Environment Pushing for End of Glyphosate

Organic Consumers Association - Fri, 11/16/2018 - 14:00

The German Federal Minister for the Environment, Svenja Schulze, is calling for pesticide-free compensation areas and a binding date for the phase-out of glyphosate. However, this has annoyed the Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture. EURACTIV Germany’s partner Der Tagesspiegel reports.

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

Video: The Department of Defense comes to Newburgh (finally)

River Keeper - Fri, 11/16/2018 - 13:50

Ophra Wolf, of the Newburgh Clean Water Project, questions Department of Defense officials at a public forum in Newburgh on November 15, 2018. (Photo by Dan Shapley / Riverkeeper)

On November 15, 2018, the Department of Defense hosted public events for elected officials and the public in the City of Newburgh, where the public water supply was contaminated by firefighting foam used at the Stewart Air National Guard Base. The meeting, the first of its kind to involve high-level Department of Defense personnel, occurred roughly two and a half years after the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation first identified Department of Defense activities at the base as the main source of toxic contamination in the Newburgh’s drinking water.

While the city’s taps are currently running clean with water purchased from New York City, the call to stop the flow of contamination at its source, the Air National Guard Base, has gone unheeded. Riverkeeper first called for that action two and a half years ago, and the call has been amplified repeatedly by New York State, elected officials at every level, non-profit organizations, and the public. The polluted water is currently bypassing the city’s reservoir, Washington Lake, and flowing via Silver Stream to Moodna Creek, both of which now have public health advisories against eating fish due to the contamination. Moodna Creek is a Hudson River tributary.

The Department of Defense meeting should have happened years ago, with the high-level attention and move to start a multi-stakeholder restoration advisory board. Officials acknowledged that the visit to Newburgh was “overdue,” that cleanup progress has grown “stagnant,” that Department of Defense has responsibility for paying for cleanup, and that they have a commitment to clearing the bureaucratic barriers to action. However, bureaucratic barriers remains the excuse they used for inaction on the critical step of stopping the flow of pollution from the Air National Guard Base. That’s not acceptable at this point. The one real test of their commitment is action.

Department of Defense officials also acknowledged a significant failure to include the community in the planning of this long overdue event. Despite the meeting taking place in the middle of the day preceding a major snow storm, with no child care or translation services, and with only a week’s notice, the public and press turned out strongly. You can watch the video of the public forum below. Featured speakers, introduced by Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus, were: Robert McMahon, Assistant Secretary of Defense Sustainment; and John Henderson, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment and Energy. Following their remarks, they respond to questions from the public, facilitated by Lisa Alvarez of Mount Saint Mary College.

The post Video: The Department of Defense comes to Newburgh (finally) appeared first on Riverkeeper.

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

Newburgh residents unsatisfied after PFOS meeting with military officials

River Keeper - Fri, 11/16/2018 - 12:29

The post Newburgh residents unsatisfied after PFOS meeting with military officials appeared first on Riverkeeper.

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

What Terrible Injustices Are Hiding Behind American Energy Habits?

DeSmogBlog - Fri, 11/16/2018 - 11:39
Read time: 7 mins

When someone charges a cellphone or flips on the lights, what costs are felt by the far-off communities that produced the coal or gas powering that home? What happens to those same communities when a utility decides to switch from coal power to natural gas? And what keeps these impacts of American energy habits hidden from view?   

New research helps provide some clarity. A study led by Noel Healy from Salem State University in Massachusetts analyzes the hidden but interconnected injustices that can occur throughout the world’s fossil fuel supply chains.

Tags: ColombiaIndigenous peoplesHuman Rightsjust transitionfrackingMassachusettscoal mininggreenwashing
Categories: G1. Progressive Green

Fighting to protect communities from U.S. coal and keep project approvals impartial

Ecojustice - Fri, 11/16/2018 - 11:02

Ecojustice lawyers were in court on Nov. 8 on behalf of Communities and Coal and two local residents who oppose the Fraser Surrey Docks coal facility. The debate over dirty U.S. coal has a Canadian connection. Coal is one of the dirtiest fossil fuels on the planet. In fact, according to our friends at the...

The post Fighting to protect communities from U.S. coal and keep project approvals impartial appeared first on Ecojustice.

Categories: G1. Progressive Green