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Protecting our Environmental Resources
Updated: 20 hours 37 min ago

Remember Victory Gardens? Fight Climate Change in Your Own Garden

Tue, 11/13/2018 - 09:26
“Sustainable” has been coopted to greenwash bad practices. “Regenerative farming” : no chemicals, biodiversity, feeding and protecting soil (carbon farming). Green America website Fight Climate Change in Your Own Garden

By Deonna Anderson, YES! Magazine 13 November 18

Your backyard could be the next front in the war against global warming.

uring World War I, Americans were encouraged to do their part in the war effort by planting, fertilizing, harvesting, and storing their own fruits and vegetables. The food would go to allies in Europe, where there was a food crisis. These so-called “victory gardens” declined when WWI ended but resurged during World War II. By 1944, nearly 20 million victory gardens  produced about 8 million tons of food.

Today, the nonprofit Green America is trying to bring back victory gardens as a way to fight climate change.

That’s according to Jillian Semaan, food campaigns director at Green America, who added that the organization wants “to allow people to understand shifting garden practices towards regenerative agriculture and what it means for reversing climate change and sequestering carbon out of the atmosphere and putting it back into the soil.”

The organization is doing that through an educational video and a mapping project. Recently, more than 900 people added their gardens or farms to the Climate Victory Garden map that tracks U.S. agricultural activities that use regenerative practices.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said—and continues to reiterate—that carbon sequestration accounts for a large portion of global agricultural mitigation potential. Globally, agriculture accounts for 11 percent of greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans, according to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. But a movement called regenerative agriculture is pushing for farming practices that improve, conserve, and build up soil (and soil carbon). Experts say that practices that increase soil carbon—known as carbon farming—could curb emissions.

Over the next two years, Green America plans to educate people on the benefits of regenerative agriculture through its Climate Victory Gardens campaign. It is producing videos that will explain regenerative practices, and staff members will attend conferences to encourage gardeners and farmers to join the movement. By 2020, it hopes to have at least 5,000 gardens and farms on its map.

In its recently released campaign video, Green America describes five ways to make “climate victory gardens” using regenerative practices—such as ditching chemicals, covering soil, and encouraging biodiversity. In addition to helping reverse climate change, regenerative practices also produce healthier soil that in turn produces healthier food.

“Soil health is so powerful, and we as a society, we as a people, need to understand what we’re putting in our bodies, and it all starts with the soil,” Semaan said. “It all starts with what we are about to eat, but we can’t have healthy food if we do not have healthy soil.”

 

 

 

FULL STORY & COMMENTS
Categories: G2. Local Greens

BP’s defense attorney for oil spill confirmed by Senate to become nation’s top environmental lawyer

Mon, 11/12/2018 - 16:10
SWAMP WATCH  “The person serving in this position must uphold and enforce our nation’s environmental laws without reservation or ideology,” Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) said Thursday in a statement released after he voted against the nominee. Clark’s record, however, at both the Department of Justice and in private practice “shows him to have strong opposition to critical environmental protections, including EPA’s efforts to curb climate change, using best available science in policymaking, and safety requirements for offshore oil and gas operations,” Carper said. “The American people expect and deserve much better from the nation’s top environmental lawyer.” BP’s defense attorney for oil spill confirmed by Senate to become nation’s top environmental lawyer Jeffrey Bossert Clark will head the Justice Department’s environmental defense division. Mark Hand BP’s defense attorney tapped for Trump’s environmental team

Clark’s past work experience also includes four years as deputy assistant attorney general in the same DOJ division during the George W. Bush administration.

After BP’s massive 2010 Deepwater Horizon rig blowout and subsequent oil spill, Clark successfully defended the company against “a multibillion-dollar appeal brought by 11 Louisiana parishes,” his law firm says. Clark was also lead counsel on BP’s appeal of the historic damages awarded in the Deepwater Horizon case, which was prosecuted by the same division of the Justice Department that Clark will now run.

“The person serving in this position must uphold and enforce our nation’s environmental laws without reservation or ideology,” Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) said Thursday in a statement released after he voted against the nominee. Clark’s record, however, at both the Department of Justice and in private practice “shows him to have strong opposition to critical environmental protections, including EPA’s efforts to curb climate change, using best available science in policymaking, and safety requirements for offshore oil and gas operations,” Carper said. “The American people expect and deserve much better from the nation’s top environmental lawyer.”

In a 2010 talk at the Federalist Society’s National Lawyers Convention, for instance, Clark said the Obama administration’s policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions were “reminiscent of kind of a Leninistic program from the 1920s to seize control of the commanding heights of the economy.”

At the convention, Clark also blasted the Environmental Protection Agency, saying its “overly ambitious agenda needs to be checked by judicial review.”

More recently, Clark has argued that administrative agencies, like the EPA, are acting well beyond their constitutional authority. “The agencies aren’t even acting like a junior varsity Congress,” Clark complained last year during a panel hosted by the Center for the Study of the Administrative State. “It’s more like they are a wayward football team. They are calling their own plays.”

Ken Cook, president of the nonprofit Environmental Working Group, expressed disappointment with the Senate’s confirmation of Cook. In a statement Thursday Cook said, “The guy who defended the company that caused the worst oil spill in U.S. history is not likely to aggressively go after corporate environmental outlaws.” 

#Climate, #Department Of Justice, #Jeffrey Bossert Clark, #Politics

BP’s defense attorney for oil spill confirmed by Senate to become nation’s top environmental lawyer Jeffrey Bossert Clark will head the Justice Department’s environmental defense division. Mark Hand SHARE

On October 11, 2018, the U.S. Senate confirmed Jeffrey Bossert Clark as assistant attorney general for environment and natural resources. CREDIT: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call SHARE -->

The Senate on Thursday narrowly confirmed Jeffrey Bossert Clark, a lawyer who defended BP after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, to be assistant attorney general for the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Environment and Natural Resources Division.

In the 52-to-45 vote, Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) joined all Republicans present in voting to confirm Clark.

The DOJ office handles all environmental litigation, including bringing both civil and criminal cases against companies and individuals that violate pollution control laws. The office is responsible for enforcing the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Safe Drinking Water Act and other major federal environmental laws.

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the nomination of Clark — a partner at the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis LLP — in the summer of 2017. But the White House had to renominate him this year because the full Senate failed to vote on his nomination before the end of 2017.

At his confirmation hearing in June 2017, Clark declined to answer whether he believes greenhouse gases endanger public health. “It’s pretty simple: Do you believe that greenhouse gases are a threat to Americans’ health and safety?” Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said after repeated attempts to get him to answer the question.

 

BP’s defense attorney tapped for Trump’s environmental team

Clark’s past work experience also includes four years as deputy assistant attorney general in the same DOJ division during the George W. Bush administration.

After BP’s massive 2010 Deepwater Horizon rig blowout and subsequent oil spill, Clark successfully defended the company against “a multibillion-dollar appeal brought by 11 Louisiana parishes,” his law firm says. Clark was also lead counsel on BP’s appeal of the historic damages awarded in the Deepwater Horizon case, which was prosecuted by the same division of the Justice Department that Clark will now run.

“The person serving in this position must uphold and enforce our nation’s environmental laws without reservation or ideology,” Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) said Thursday in a statement released after he voted against the nominee. Clark’s record, however, at both the Department of Justice and in private practice “shows him to have strong opposition to critical environmental protections, including EPA’s efforts to curb climate change, using best available science in policymaking, and safety requirements for offshore oil and gas operations,” Carper said. “The American people expect and deserve much better from the nation’s top environmental lawyer.”

In a 2010 talk at the Federalist Society’s National Lawyers Convention, for instance, Clark said the Obama administration’s policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions were “reminiscent of kind of a Leninistic program from the 1920s to seize control of the commanding heights of the economy.”

At the convention, Clark also blasted the Environmental Protection Agency, saying its “overly ambitious agenda needs to be checked by judicial review.”

More recently, Clark has argued that administrative agencies, like the EPA, are acting well beyond their constitutional authority. “The agencies aren’t even acting like a junior varsity Congress,” Clark complained last year during a panel hosted by the Center for the Study of the Administrative State. “It’s more like they are a wayward football team. They are calling their own plays.”

Ken Cook, president of the nonprofit Environmental Working Group, expressed disappointment with the Senate’s confirmation of Cook. In a statement Thursday Cook said, “The guy who defended the company that caused the worst oil spill in U.S. history is not likely to aggressively go after corporate environmental outlaws.”

#Climate, #Department Of Justice, #Jeffrey Bossert Clark, #Politics

 

 

 

FULL STORY & COMMENTShttps://thinkprogress.org/bps-defense-attorney-for-oil-spill-wins-confirmation-as-nations-top-environmental-lawyer-2dff4b73422a/

Categories: G2. Local Greens

Trump administration waives 28 environmental and health protections to build border wall in Texas

Mon, 11/12/2018 - 15:59
“Scientists, environmental advocates, and residents have all pushed back on the wall’s construction. In addition to threatening scientific research in general, many say the project will harm biodiversity and fail to account for climate change. Those who live in the area may suffer health risks with so many environmental laws suspended, in addition to seeing their properties divided and their way of life massively shifted. For Texans, the wall poses a direct threat to the state’s beloved parks and outdoor spaces. In July, state media began reporting that the wall could force the Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park to close, shuttering one of the top bird-watching destinations in the country. The park is the headquarters of the World Birding Center.” Trump administration waives 28 environmental and health protections to build border wall in Texas Laws relating to clean water, endangered species, and the rights of Native Americans are among those listed. E.A. Crunden Twitter Effective Wednesday, the Trump administration will suspend nearly 30 laws, most of which focus on environmental protections, in order to proceed with construction on border wall gates and infrastructure in South Texas, despite outcry from environmental groups in the state.

In an announcement Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said it would waive 28 laws in order to accelerate construction in Cameron County, Texas on President Donald Trump’s long-touted wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The area includes spots adjacent to wildlife refuges, like the Lower Rio Grande National Wildlife Refuge. The waiver allows the administration to suspend laws protecting clean air and water, in addition to public lands and endangered wildlife. Among those laws waived are the Endangered Species Act, the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Migratory Bird Conservation Act, and the American Indian Religious Freedom Act.

Effective Wednesday, the Trump administration will suspend nearly 30 laws, most of which focus on environmental protections, in order to proceed with construction on border wall gates and infrastructure in South Texas, despite outcry from environmental groups in the state.

Green groups slammed the announcement and expressed concern over its long-term implications for both people and the environment.

“Waiving environmental laws forgoes the opportunity to fully examine the impacts, mitigation strategies and alternatives,” said Luke Metzger, executive director of Environment Texas, in an email to ThinkProgress. “This is an irresponsible move which puts wildlife and Texas parks at risk.”

In a statement on Tuesday, the Center for Biological Diversity, a national, nonprofit conservation organization, also called attention to the health implications for residents in the area.

 

CREDIT: Kara Clauser / Center for Biological Diversity

“This adds insult to injury for Cameron County, where the government has already run roughshod over property owners and decimated the environment to build border walls,” said Laiken Jordahl, a borderlands campaigner with the organization. “Trump’s latest waiver continues to chip away at crucial protections for people and wildlife in the Rio Grande Valley. They deserve clean air, clean water and the same legal rights as everyone else in the country.”

Eleven locations are listed in the online waiver posting as being slated for gate installation. Those gates are meant to close-off some of the current gaps in the roughly 700 miles of border wall fencing already in existence in South Texas. DHS has issued similar waivers in past months for related projects as the Trump administration has pushed forward with efforts to construct and fortify the border wall.

Thousands of scientists warn Trump’s border wall will threaten biodiversity Scientists, environmental advocates, and residents have all pushed back on the wall’s construction. In addition to threatening scientific research in general, many say the project will harm biodiversity and fail to account for climate change. Those who live in the area may suffer health risks with so many environmental laws suspended, in addition to seeing their properties divided and their way of life massively shifted. For Texans, the wall poses a direct threat to the state’s beloved parks and outdoor spaces. In July, state media began reporting that the wall could force the Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park to close, shuttering one of the top bird-watching destinations in the country. The park is the headquarters of the World Birding Center.

And while Congress has worked to protect the neighboring Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge, such efforts have come at the expense of the National Butterfly Center, not far from the Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park.

The barriers put in place to protect the Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge will notably create a “no man’s land” over some 6,500 acres. Wildlife will likely be trapped when the Rio Grande floods, creating serious issues in the region.

“From blocking the path (and food sources) of wildlife to exacerbating flooding for Rio Grande communities, the border wall will clearly have a major impact on the environment and public safety,” said Metzger.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has previously indicated that gate installation would begin in October. A number of private landowners in Cameron County say they have already had their land seized to accommodate the wall.

FULL STORY & COMMENTS
Categories: G2. Local Greens

Thank you Veteran’s for your honor, courage and commitment to protect the USA

Mon, 11/12/2018 - 09:23
We honor all the veterans who willing gave their lives so our country can be called the land of the brave and the free. COUNTRY FIRST…your country called and you came…..

Categories: G2. Local Greens

Trump celebrates Veterans Day by pushing to disenfranchise overseas military voters

Mon, 11/12/2018 - 09:16
Trump celebrates Veterans Day by pushing to disenfranchise overseas military voters According to Florida law, ballots from military personnel overseas must be counted if they arrive by November 16. Lindsay Gibbs Twitter Nov 12, 2018, 10:20 am Trump began Veterans Day weekend by refusing to attend a ceremony honoring fallen American soldiers due to rain, and he is ending it by attempting to disenfranchise members of the U.S. military who live overseas, and still want to participate in the American democracy that they are putting their lives on the line to protect.  SHARE

US President Donald Trump speaks at the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System in Las Vegas on September 21, 2018. – Trump will take part in a signing ceremony for a bill appropriating funds for energy and water, military construction and veterans affairs. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

On Monday morning, President Donald Trump tweeted that it was time to call the Florida election in favor of the Republican candidate for Governor, Ron DeSantis, and the Republican candidate for Senate, Rick Scott, because the leads these two men had on election night have been tightening as votes have continued to be counted.

Trump said that “large numbers of new ballots showed up out of nowhere” and that “many ballots are missing or forged.”

“Must go with Election Night!” the leader of the free world tweeted.

That’s bad news for the military. Ballots from overseas citizens and military voters had to be postmarked by November 6, 2018, which was election day. But as long as the ballots arrive by November 16, the law mandates that they must be counted. “A 10-day extension exists for overseas voters. The overseas voter’s vote-by-mail ballot must be postmarked or dated by Election Day and received within 10 days of the election in order to be counted, provided the ballot is otherwise proper,” according to the official website of the Florida Division of Elections.

Trump and many of his allies in the GOP have been in full meltdown mode since Election Day, as votes in many key races in Florida, Arizona, Georgia, and other states, have continued to trickle in and close the gap in races that appeared to be huge victories for the Republican party.

On Friday, Trump said that there should be a new election in Arizona because of “fraud.” There is no evidence of fraud, and on Sunday night, the Cook Political Report called the race in favor of Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) over Trump ally Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ).

Because of the tightened margins, both the Governor and Senator races in Florida are in a recount.

None of this is unusual. It often takes weeks for vote counts to be finalized and made official — as of Sunday night, only one of the fifty states certified its final election results. Typically, the public isn’t invested in that process because the vote counts aren’t close enough for it to matter.

This is lost on Trump, though. “An honest vote count is no longer possible-ballots massively infected,” he tweeted.
Categories: G2. Local Greens

It’s Veteran’s Day: White House confirms Trump will not visit Arlington cemetery on Veteran’s Day as rain is expected

Mon, 11/12/2018 - 09:07
Is it all about the hair? White House confirms Trump will not visit Arlington cemetery on Veteran’s Day as rain is expected

by David Edwards Raw Story

The decision comes after Donald Trump on Saturday rain checked a ceremony honoring fallen American World War I heroesThe White House on Monday confirmed that President Donald Trump will not visit Arlington National Cemetery on Veteran’s Day.

Trump on campaign trail….rain NOT deterrent.

According to Washington Post correspondent Josh Dawsey, the White House announced “a lid” on presidential movements at 10 a.m. ET, meaning the president is not scheduled to leave the White House for the remainder of the day.

Although President Barack Obama visited Arlington National Cemetery for Veterans Day services on several occasions, President Trump has chosen to avoid the remembrance of military deaths at the national cemetery.

Weather.com forecasted a 100 percent chance of rain at Arlington National Cemetery on Monday.

 

FULL STORY & COMMENTS
Categories: G2. Local Greens

Trump blames fires, erroneously, on California forest management. Firefighters call it a ‘shameful attack’

Mon, 11/12/2018 - 08:38
“Mr. President, with all due respect, you are wrong. The fires in So. Cal are urban interface fires and have NOTHING to do with forest management. Come to SoCal and learn the facts & help the victims,” the Pasadena Firefighters Assn. said on Twitter. Trump blames fires, erroneously, on California forest management. Firefighters call it a ‘shameful attack’

By Hector Becerra

Nov 10, 2018 | 5:55 PM

Firefighter Brittney Bebek, with LA City Station 93 puts out hot spots on Hitching Post Lane in Bell Canyon. (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

California firefighters criticized President Trump for a tweet Saturday that incorrectly stated that this week’s devastating fires were the result of poor forest management.

“There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!” Trump wrote.

It was not the first time Trump has blamed California for destructive wildfires with dubious claims.

California Professional Firefighters President Brian Rice said Trump was out of line.

“The president’s message attacking California and threatening to withhold aid to the victims of the cataclysmic fires is ill-informed, ill-timed and demeaning to those who are suffering as well as the men and women on the front lines,” Rice said in a statement. “At this moment, thousands of our brother and sister firefighters are putting their lives on the line to protect the lives and property of thousands. Some of them are doing so even as their own homes lay in ruins. In my view, this shameful attack on California is an attack on all our courageous men and women on the front lines,” he added.

Trump said poor forest management policies caused the fires plaguing the state, even though the massive Woolsey fire didn’t occur in a forest.

The Woolsey fire started near Simi Valley in a hillside area next to the old Santa Susana Field Lab and quickly spread into nearby suburban communities.

Some firefighters took to social media to point out the distinction.

“Mr. President, with all due respect, you are wrong. The fires in So. Cal are urban interface fires and have NOTHING to do with forest management. Come to SoCal and learn the facts & help the victims,” the Pasadena Firefighters Assn. said on Twitter.

Experts have said forest management was not a factor in California’s two most destructive fires: the Camp, which has burned more than 6,000 structures this week in Paradise, and the Tubbs fire last year in wine country.

Forest thinning would not have stopped either fire. Fueled by dry grass growing amid scattered pine and oak trees, the Camp fire tore across land thinned by flames just 10 years ago. The Tubbs fire burned grassy oak woodlands, not timber land.

At a late-afternoon news conference Saturday on the Woolsey fire, state Sen. Henry Stern (D-Canoga Park) urged Trump to support California rather than make political comments.

“I would beg the president to pursue a major disaster declaration, and not make this a political incident,” he said. “We have many parties, many views out here. And this is really not about politics. It’s about people.”

Trump has threatened to cut off funding over fire policy before, but has never been specific. California officials have rejected his criticism and said he’s playing politics.

Environmentalists believe Trump is trying to use fire prevention as an excuse to raid California’s forests.

In early August, Trump tweeted: “California wildfires are being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amounts of readily available water to be properly utilized. It is being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. Must also tree clear to stop fire spreading!”

The tweet tied fires that had been ravaging Northern California at the time to complaints by members of the state’s Republican congressional delegation about environmental protections that have reduced water deliveries to San Joaquin Valley agriculture.

Trump’s declaration was quickly disputed, with fire officials pointing out that that water is not used for firefighting and that there is no shortage of water available for firefighters. They also noted that water plays a relatively small role in wildland firefighting, which focuses primarily on fire breaks and fuel clearance.

“We’re having no problems as far as access to water supply,” Scott McLean, deputy chief of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said in response to the president’s August tweet. “The problem is changing climate leading to more severe and destructive fires.”

In October, Trump once again leveled criticism at the state’s fire management strategy during a Cabinet meeting. The president again threatened to withhold unspecified funding from California.

“I say to the governor, or whoever is going to be the governor of California, you better get your act together,” Trump said. “We’re just not going to continue to pay the kind of money we’re paying because of fires that should never be to the extent.”

The president added: “It’s a disgraceful thing. Old trees are sitting there, rotting and dry. And instead of cleaning it up, they don’t touch them.”

As with many things involving Trump, his attacks on California fire management sparked an intense Twitter debate Saturday.

“This is an absolutely heartless response. There aren’t even politics involved. Just good American families losing their homes as you tweet, evacuating into shelters,” wrote entertainer Katy Perry. div#tl_outer { background-color: #fff; } #tl_inner { border-top: 1px solid #ddd; }

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Categories: G2. Local Greens

CARB: Nov 15 in Sacramento: Forest Offsets / Carbon Trading = Climate Disruption

Sun, 11/11/2018 - 10:32
Nov 15 in Sacramento: Forest Offsets / Carbon Trading = Climate Disruption Movement  Rights:

Removing tree canopy destroys the watershed, depleted groundwater and raises temperatures.

Forest Offsets are Carbon Trading = Climate Disruption

RSVP to the Facebook event page here

Carbon trading mechanisms allow the fossil fuel industry to continue to emit carbon into the atmosphere, as well as devastate the health of communities living near extraction sites, infrastructure projects and refineries. Tropical forest offsets impact Indigenous people who have protected their living forests for thousands of years and have been shown to be ineffective & divide communities. The tropical forest offsets that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) is promoting are false solutions in light of the recent Intercontinental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report which indicates that to prevent climate catastrophe the world must dramatically cut emissions at source in the next 12 years.

You are invited to join us at the CARB meeting on November 15th to say NO to the Tropical Forest Standard (TSF) for a rally at 8am. We will post where this issue is on the agenda when it is posted.

We demand that CARB reject consideration of tropical forest carbon credits into California’s cap and trade system.

  1. Offsets achieve nothing to reduce the emissions that are poisoning California communities.
    • They do not result in a reduction of emissions, but rather allow big polluters such as refineries to release more greenhouse gasses legally.
    • This further harms our communities, who have historically suffered from carbon co-pollutants.
    • It distracts from the only strategy that can work: ending emissions at their source.
  2. Tropical forest offset programs pose serious risks to human and indigenous rights.
    • The market linkages proposed by CARB subject Indigenous Peoples to grossly disproportionate economic power, intimidation, and coercion and typically fail to obtain meaningful Free, Prior, Informed Consent.
    • Programs such as REDD+ (project or jurisdictional) have resulted in land grabbing, and put indigenous peoples at risk of displacement and/or loss of control of their forests, their way of life, cultures, food security, and sovereignty.
    • They are rife with corruption and conflicts of interest, which CA cannot police.
  3. Tropical forest offsetting has been discredited as an environmental strategy.
    • Offsets do not work: they allow certain, permanent harm (more GHGs) in exchange for the fallacy of hoped-for uncertain, temporary carbon sequestration.
    • Offset programs (REDD+ etc.) fail to address the drivers of deforestation.
    • Because of such flaws, no compliance market in the world accepts REDD+ credits.
  4. CARB fails to consider the scientific evidence against tropical forest offsetting.
    • It is ignoring the extensive, peer-reviewed literature by independent researchers documenting the environmental and social failures of REDD+.
    • It has relied too much on organizations and consultants with careers and personal stakes in offsetting projects and policies.
    • The proposed TFS, fails to provide a plan consistent with California’s legal requirement that emissions reductions be “real, additional, quantifiable, permanent, verifiable and enforceable”.

 

Categories: G2. Local Greens

New glyphosate warning for women’s hygiene products

Sun, 11/11/2018 - 10:26
Note cotton and gauze used for medical procedures had residues in 100% of samples tested. 85% of Tampons Contain Monsanto’s ‘Cancer Causing’ Glyphosate

Glyphosate, a widely popular herbicide that has been linked to cancer by the World Health Organization’s cancer research arm, was detected in 85 percent of cotton hygiene products tested in a preliminary study from researchers at the University of La Plata in Argentina.

Sixty-two percent of the samples also tested positive for AMPA (or aminomethylphosphonic acid), a derivative of glyphosate.

“Eighty-five percent of all samples tested positive for glyphosate and 62 percent for AMPA, which is the environmental metabolite, but in the case of cotton and sterile cotton gauze the figure was 100 percent,” Dr. Damian Marino, the study’s head researcher.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

According to Revolution News, the samples—which included gauze, swabs, wipes and feminine care products such as tampons and sanitary pads—were purchased from local supermarkets and pharmacies in the La Plata area.

The findings were presented last week at the third national congress of Doctors of Fumigated Towns in Buenos Aires.

“Eighty-five percent of all samples tested positive for glyphosate and 62 percent for AMPA, which is the environmental metabolite, but in the case of cotton and sterile cotton gauze the figure was 100 percent,” Dr. Damian Marino, the study’s head researcher, told the Télam news agency (via RT.com). An English translation of the Télam report can be read here.

“In terms of concentrations, what we saw is that in raw cotton AMPA dominates (39 parts per billion, or PPB, and 13 PPB of glyphosate), while the gauze is absent of AMPA, but contained glyphosate at 17 PPB,” said Dr. Marino.

Dr. Medardo Avila Vazquez, president of the congress, said (via RT.com) that the result of this research is “very serious when you use cotton or gauze to heal wounds or for personal hygiene uses, thinking they are sterilized products, and the results show that they are contaminated with a probably carcinogenic substance.

“Most of the cotton production in the country is GM [genetically modified] cotton that is resistant to glyphosate. It is sprayed when the bud is open and the glyphosate is condensed and goes straight into the product.”

Glyphosate is the key ingredient in biotech giant Monsanto’s Roundup, the most popular weedkiller in the U.S. “Roundup Ready” cotton, soy and corn crops have been genetically modified to withstand application of the herbicide.

In fact, farmers sprayed 2.6 billion pounds of Monsanto’s glyphosate herbicide on U.S. agricultural land between 1992 and 2012, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

In 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that adoption of genetically modified-varieties, including those with herbicide tolerance, insect resistance or stacked traits, accounted for 94 percent of the nation’s cotton acreage.

The graph below from the U.S. Department of Agriculture indicates an upward trend on the country’s adoption of genetically modified soybean, corn and cotton.

 

Monsanto maintains the safety of their product, citing its approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which “classified the carcinogenicity potential of glyphosate as Category E: ‘evidence of non-carcinogenicity for humans.'”

Monsanto is also demanding a retraction of the World Health Organization’s classification of glyphosate as a possible carcinogen.

This is not the first time that the chemical makeup of feminine care products has been put under the lens. A 2013 report by Women’s Voices for the Earth detailed how the feminine care industry sells products containing unregulated and potentially harmful chemicals, including preservatives, pesticides, fragrances and dyes. FULL STORY & ORIGINAL LINK
Categories: G2. Local Greens

Delivering the Goods – Candidates Support

Sun, 11/11/2018 - 10:07
Coast Action Group: Delivering the Goods – Candidates Support I have sent you (all) several messages pertaining to wildfire management and the misdirection inherent in State Policy ( new Statute – SB 901 ) – where the Statute allows for, and supports , forest thinning and fuels management (targeted 500,000 acres per year – supported by $200 million dollars per year from the Cap and  Trade funds).     This statute is a knee-jerk, not well thought out, response to these issues – designed to make it look like something was really happening (and with language  that deals with PG & E responsibility – which is a complicated issue that requires its own process).  SB 901 – allows for commercial timber harvest, and related operations – including road construction –  that is not subject to future agency and public review.  These actions can be very damaging to our watersheds. 

To  date there has been little acknowledgement that the most damaging fires, for the most part, were not in forested areas. They were in chaparral, grassland, oak woodland  and lightly populated conifer areas.   There appears to be a misdirection of management disciplines that are needed to address these issues.  There is not enough resources and money to make a dent with these management philosophies (fuel reduction in areas that promptly regenerate,  green belts that are expensive and will  not work and are not feasible on a reasonable scale, reduction of forest inventories as some sort of panacea).

Mature, well managed forests have less propensity for damaging wildfire and threat to humans.  Mega fires – pushed by significant winds  and drier climate – are uncontrollable and a threat.
It will take a major change in planning (including mandatory fire hardening upgrades in construction codes) – and new eyes looking at issues to effect any reasonable future change.

I am asking your paper to look at this issues with new eyes and support reasonable actions that would provide future benefits through appropriate management and planning.

Please take a look at the LA Times Article – attached

——————————— Previous Message

PD Staff

I was not surprised, but was disappointed, with the PD’s support for Jim Wood, et al, for (in your words) for delivering the goods in wildfire response (with the approval of SB 901)
My disappointment arises from some misplaced expectation that PD staff would actually put some effort into assessing the issue of what goods were actually delivered.

The forest management aspect of SB 901 was written and supported by industry that allows for the cutting of larger trees that are not a source of fuel ladder or load causing wildfire threat.  With questions of how really to manage wildfire fuel load reduction – the issue is quite open as to what resources are to be expended, where they will be expended, and how this is to be managed and paid for.  In my mind (and it will probably be proven to be) this is just another government screw up – due haste and a lack of study and planning (supported by experts) that is needed.

Funds supporting such operations are not necessarily in place.  The State (it is not clear which agency – Calfire or the Air Resources Board) must complete GHG analysis before funds are available. And…the “mandated” 200 million to be spent each year needs to be parceled out across the State.

Additionally, as I had mentioned, any such fuel load reduction work in fire prone chaparral/grassland/mixed conifer areas would need to be periodic – as there is rapid regeneration in these areas. Any such work will need to be assessed and managed so as not to produce negative water quality effects – flooding and erosion.

Little effort is being put into community planning for areas of wildfire risk. There are many areas that already developed in such wildfire risk areas.  The idea of protecting these areas with greenbelts is economically and physically impossible.  There is not enough money to support Greenbelts and they will provide little help in the face of a moving fire pushed by 70 mph winds.

So what goods were actually delivered and will anything effective really occur?  Possibly the PD might look into that question.   Do your research – before you report.

Alan Levine
Coast Action Group
Affiliate of Redwood Coast Watersheds Alliance
126 Steiner Ct.
Santa Rosa, CA 95404

Categories: G2. Local Greens

Clueless in DC: In Victim-Blaming Response to California’s Wildfires, Trump Ignores ‘Inextricable’ Link to Climate Crisis

Sun, 11/11/2018 - 09:59
Scrubbing government websites to remove the word “climate change” and suppressing science doesn’t mean climate change isn’t happening…..this administration supports corporate loggers and fossil fuel donors. Clueless in DC: In Victim-Blaming Response to California’s Wildfires, Trump Ignores ‘Inextricable’ Link to Climate Crisis

“The lives of billions of people, Californians included, are at risk because of the denial of the Trump Administration.”

by Julia Conley, staff writer

The Camp Fire, burning through parts of Northern California, is now the state’s most destructive wildfire ever. (Photo: CNN/Twitter)

Critics of President Donald Trump shredded his first public comments of California’s most recent wildfires on Saturday, denouncing both the cruelty of a victim-blaming tweet he posted and the president’s active curtailing of efforts to curb the climate crisis, which has exacerbated extreme events like the fires.

Trump threatened early Saturday morning to end federal support for California’s efforts to fight wildfires like the ones raging in the northern part of the state as well as near Los Angeles, scolding the state for what he deemed poor forest management.

The president’s tweet came hours after he declared a state of emergency in California, opening up federal funds to help local and state officials battle the Camp Fire in the northern town of Paradise as well as the Woolsey and Hill Fires in the south.

“There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!”

It also followed reports that at least nine people have been killed by the Camp Fire, now the most destructive blaze in the state’s history. More than 50,000 people have been forced to evacuate due to the fire and more than 6,700 buildings have been destroyed—including more than 80 percent of the homes in one town.

In Southern California, more than 200,000 residents have had to evacuate due to the fires raging near Los Angeles.

Several critics condemned the president for ignoring the reality of the climate crisis, as he has during other extreme weather events—while taking direct action to stop national and global efforts to curb the carbon emissions that have contributed to the planet’s rising temperature and the resulting hurricanes, droughts, and wildfires.

“While California’s climate has always been fire-prone, the link between climate change and bigger fires is inextricable,” wrote Kendra Pierre-Louis at the New York Times.“Behind the scenes of all of this, you’ve got temperatures that are about two to three degrees Fahrenheit warmer now than they would’ve been without global warming,” Dr. Park Williams, a bioclimatologist at Columbia University, told the Times. “In pretty much every single way, a perfect recipe for fire is just kind of written in California. Nature creates the perfect conditions for fire, as long as people are there to start the fires. But then climate change, in a few different ways, seems to also load the dice toward more fire in the future.”

As he did last summer as fires raged in the state and elsewhere in the West, Trump alluded to forest management reforms in California as the solution to wildfires—comments which critics have said are the president’s way of lobbying for forests to be opened up to the logging industry.

As Common Dreams reported in August after Trump’s earlier comments on wildfires, experts say cutting down more trees would do little to help California avoid blazes like ones that have swept through the state this week.

“A logging company would like to come in and remove the big, granddaddy trees that are really valuable as timber,” Kodas told Wyoming Public Media at the time. “Most of what needs to be removed from these forests are brush, scrub, small, spindly trees that have been sick that have almost no economic value.”

 

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Categories: G2. Local Greens

He’s just not that in to you: How the Trump Administration Is Putting Our National Parks at Risk

Sat, 11/10/2018 - 09:37
He’s just not that into you….he caters to corporate raiders and polluters…. SWAMP WATCH How the Trump Administration Is Putting Our National Parks at Risk

By Daria Bachmann, The Revelator

09 November 18

illions of acres of ecologically and culturally important public lands could face permanent damage or destruction under President Trump’s energy-dominance agenda, experts warn. “The Trump administration’s ‘energy dominance’ agenda is prioritizing oil and gas development above all other uses of public lands,” says Laura Peterson, attorney with Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, a nonprofit organization that seeks to protect Utah’s red rock wilderness. “In pursuit of that quixotic goal, it is sacrificing Utah’s wildest and most remote lands.” Earlier this year the Department of the Interior ordered the Bureau of Land Management to simplify and streamline the oil and gas leasing process to lessen what it called “unnecessary impediments and burdens” on developers. The Trump administration says this is critical to America’s energy independence. Environmental experts, however, have sounded alarm over drilling in close proximity to national parks, national monuments and other areas with significant cultural, ecological and historical resources.

No longer in monument. Cliff dwelling in Dark Canyon Wilderness area. NYTimes.

In Utah hundreds of thousands of acres of land previously closed to development are being auctioned off for oil and gas leasing.

The most recent leases took place this past September, when 109 oil and gas leases consisting of more than 200,000 acres of federal public land were up for grabs. Some of the parcels were less than two miles away from Horseshoe Canyon near the Canyonlands National Park and a few miles further from the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Horseshoe Canyon contains, according to the National Park Service, some of the most significant American Indian rock art in North America, including the Great Gallery — a world-renowned panel of well-preserved, life-sized figures with intricate designs.

Some of the September leases covered small territories, while others were quite large. Seventy-two leases spanned 158,944 acres in the remote San Rafael Desert, a scenic area with mesas, cliffs and canyons, as well as the northern Dirty Devil River area, an 80-mile tributary of the Colorado River.

All told the September oil and gas lease sale fetched over $3.3 million. The biggest buyer was a Canadian company, North American Helium, which submitted the month’s highest bid of $435,591 for a 1,970-acre lot in northwest Colorado.

Interestingly, despite being publicized as a successful sale, the September lease didn’t actually generate the anticipated interest. Only 69 out of 109 parcels were auctioned off, and many of the sites leased for bargain-basement prices. More than 40 lease parcels sold for as little as $2 per acre, while 40 parcels didn’t receive bids at all.

Peterson says the lack of infrastructure in Utah’s remote areas kept many developers at bay.

“There is little to no existing infrastructure for development and there is not a significant amount of oil and gas resource there,” she says.

But lack of oil doesn’t always translate to “no sale.” Dave Nimkin, senior regional director for the southwest region of the National Parks Conservation Association, says buyers often purposefully tie up large swaths of land without prior analysis or scrutiny. Companies and individuals then hold on to the purchased land for years, hoping it will become an asset when oil prices go up.

Utah is a prime example of this “lease and hold” strategy. At the end of the 2016 fiscal year, approximately 2.9 million acres were leased to oil and gas operators, but only about 1.1 million acres were in production.

Previously protected cultural site.

The companies leasing the lands “are not necessarily in business of energy development,” Nimkin says. “They are really speculators looking to sell that asset for greater value than what they paid.” Whether the sites are oil-rich or not, both recent and proposed future lease sales in Utah have included lands rich in cultural, historical, ecological and biological resources.

For example, Peterson says a March 2018 lease sale included parcels near Bears Ears, Hovenweep and Canyons of the Ancients national monuments, as well as in the Alkali Ridge and along the Green and San Juan rivers.

“That lease sale was especially egregious,” Peterson says, “because of the parcels that are incredibly rich in cultural resources — in areas like Recapture Canyon, Mustang Mesa, Alkali Ridge and Montezuma Creek. The sites in that area include ancestral Puebloan habitation sites, structures, storage facilities, short term camps, limited activity areas, petroglyphs and pictographs and artifacts.”

Environmental regulations that govern oil and gas leases are an important determinant of how much drilling is allowed in a given area. These regulations have undergone significant changes over the past decade, culminating with the recent rollbacks by the Trump administration that aimed to facilitate oil and gas development in the areas that have previously been off the table.

The issue dates back to an earlier era. During the Bush administration, six “resource-management plans” — land-use plans that provide a framework for managing BLM-administered lands over the next 15 to 20 years — were completed in Utah in August 2008, sparking protests from environmental groups. Some alleged that the timing of the release was politically motivated, as the Bush administration was about to leave office, making it difficult to review the six massive documents.

The plans were ultimately pushed through in the same year, which critics say in many ways emboldened oil and gas development that had previously been subject to review and assessment.

That slowed, temporarily, under the Obama administration, when Interior Secretary Ken Salazar put a moratorium on 77 oil and gas leases that the Bush administration had granted on the doorstep of the Arches National Park.

Salazar introduced leasing reform to address a system that was close to the breaking point, with nearly half of all proposed parcels receiving community protests and a substantial proportion resulting in litigation, according to the BLM. As a result, a new tool called “master leasing plans” was launched by the agency in 2010. The plans served as guide to facilitate balanced leasing and development of energy resources on public lands while protecting wildlife, natural resources and outdoor recreation.

The lease plans engendered a stakeholder process that assessed potential impacts before formalizing the leases.

However, the Trump administration ditched master leasing plans along with all of the preliminary steps that were required before gas and oil lease sales could take place with a single goal to expedite oil and gas leases.

Compounding the problem, the BLM has recently reduced its public comment period in the lease sale process.

Before the September lease sale in Utah, the agency didn’t allow the public to comment on its environmental analysis and allowed only written “scoping comments — a much more limited form of comment that prioritizes “substantive comments” regarding a project’s impact and ignores opinion statements — during a 15-day period in July. During that time the public had no information beyond the location of the lease parcels, according to the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance.

It’s not just the public that’s been cut off. Nimkin says the National Park Service, the BLM’s sister agency, is now consulted only “marginally,” and even local BLM managers and state directors are often disconnected from the process.

“The ability of BLM local officials to make decisions based on their own discretion has now been taken away from them,” Nimkin says. “We are being told that virtually every deferral choice for any lease sale is being made at the highest level in the Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C.”

This lack of public comment has already proven, at least in part, to be illegal. On Sept. 21 a federal judge temporarily blocked a Trump administration policy that would have drastically limited public involvement in oil and gas leasing decisions. According to the preliminary injunction order, issued by U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Ronald E. Bush, lease sales scheduled for December in greater sage-grouse habitat spanning hundreds of thousands of acres across the interior West must now include 30-day public comment and administrative protest periods. The injunction stemmed from a lawsuit by the Western Watersheds Project and the Center for Biological Diversity (publisher of The Revelator).

The December lease sale was supposed to be conducted in accordance with the BLM’s Instruction Memorandum 2018-034, similar to the September lease sale, which severely limited public involvement.

The BLM’s Utah office didn’t respond to numerous requests for comment seeking to find out how the agency plans to handle the December lease sale in light of the ruling.

No matter how they move forward, however, the December lease sale is poised to be the largest in Utah in more than a decade, with 225 parcels encompassing 329,826 acres of federal public lands.

That sale includes wilderness areas in Book Cliffs, the White River area, Labyrinth Canyon and Four Corners region, according to Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance.

Other parcels are located in or near culturally rich landscapes, including Nine Mile Canyon and the Alkali Ridge Area. In addition, there are 159 parcels in the Uinta Basin, a geologic structural basin in the eastern part of the state that already suffers from some of the worst air quality in the nation because of increased oil and gas development. Environmental experts are worried that those problems will only worsen with expanded energy development.

In addition, tourism and outdoor recreation, which generate $12.3 billion a year in Utah, could be at risk. Peterson fears that tourists and outdoor recreation enthusiasts are not going to come “to explore pump jacks and pipelines.”

Cedar Mesa area of Bears Ears National Monument

Looking further ahead, the BLM recently released a draft “resource management plan” that would open to development 2 millions of acres in southeastern New Mexico, where deposits of oil are said to be second only to Saudi Arabia.

While the plan would allow developers to tap large deposits of oil in the region, which includes part of the Permian Basin, critics say the passage of this first major resource management plan under the Trump administration could also pave the way for the unrestricted energy development in other western states.

The BLM’s Carlsbad field office, the busiest in the nation for oil and gas drilling, is in the middle of the resource plan revision process. A draft published Aug. 3 would determine how the region’s resources will be managed for the next 20 years. The draft features four alternatives for development of oil, natural gas and mineral extraction with the overarching goal of balancing the extraction industries with preservation of natural resources and public lands, according to the Carlsbad Current Argus.

Judy Calman, staff attorney at New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, a nonprofit dedicated to protection of New Mexico’s wilderness areas, says there’s a lot of pressure on the Carlsbad field office from the Trump administration and from the companies who want to develop the area.

“I think the field office is seeing a lot of direction from D.C. about what kind of decisions to make, and I think it’s like a microcosm of the Trump administration’s energy policy,” she says.

The draft covers numerous ecologically important regions, including more than 130,000 acres bureaucratically defined as “lands with wilderness characteristics,” which have been documented during separate inventories conducted by the BLM and the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance.

Although these lands have been determined to meet the BLM’s wilderness characteristics criteria, this alone does not guarantee they will be preserved. The agency can formally recognize these areas and can also decide to manage them for preservation. Without recognition, these lands will be up for grabs for oil and gas companies, according to the Wilderness Alliance website.

Separately the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance has proposed four new Areas of Critical Environmental Concern — units of public land spanning over 550,000 acres that protect important grassland habitat for birds of prey, riparian ecosystem components, nest colonies for great blue heron and culturally significant salt playas from fast-track oil and gas development.

In certain situations this type of designation can provide additional protection for lands that do not qualify as having wilderness characteristics but nonetheless are important for their wildlife, cultural or other resource values, according to the Wilderness Alliance website.

Of special concern is Carlsbad Caverns National Park, which famously boasts more than 100 miles of caves. Oil and gas development can already be seen from the park, and research is still being conducted on the network of caves inside and outside the caverns regarding the potential impacts that oil and gas development may have on the park.

About 75 percent of land managed by the Carlsbad field office is either already under development or about to be developed because it has been leased. In 2018 the office received 1,533 applications to permit drilling — the highest number in 10 years.

Calman says while the proposed plan is still under review her organization is trying to protect whatever little is left undisturbed.

“The Trump administration has this energy dominance thing and it seems like it’s playing out here in southeast New Mexico,” Calman says.

Unlike the oil and lease sales, the proposed resource management plan still had a public comment period, which closed on Nov. 6. The BLM also held eight public meetings across New Mexico in September.

The plan was in actually the works under the Obama administration for eight years, but the Trump administration has proposed to include areas that were previously closed to development.

According to a report by High Country News, the Carlsbad Field Office initially planned to protect certain areas for wildlife scenic or cultural values that are not included in the new version. For instance, maps drafted in 2016 show that the BLM’s preferred alternative included more extensive protection for grasslands west of Artesia, a town with a population of 12,000 people.

The BLM’s New Mexico office also didn’t respond to numerous requests for comment regarding how the organization plans to address environmental concerns and when the agency plans to finish the proposed resource management plan.

Some worry that with its passage the agency will prioritize oil and gas development over managing the area for multiple use, meaning the country will see a major shift in public-land management.

The 90-day public comment period on the draft resource management plan started Aug. 3 and closed Nov. 5. Calman says throughout that period, her organization was still trying to convince the BLM to make changes to the document and prioritize conservation over development.

“This is the first one,” Calman says. “I think it’s a good opportunity to stop it before it gets rolling too much.”

But other projects loom not far behind, and that could have a lasting impact. “In its quest for energy dominance, the administration is leasing more remote, wild and sensitive areas,” Peterson says. “That push is both unnecessary and misguided. Once these sensitive landscapes are gone, we cannot get them back.”

 

 

 

 

FULL STORY & COMMENTS
Categories: G2. Local Greens

Holiday Networking Party & Environmental Awards

Sat, 11/10/2018 - 09:18
Holiday Networking Party & Environmental Awards

 

SCCC Holiday Party Flyer_2018

Thursday, December 6, 2018, 5 – 8 pm
Benefit for the Environmental Center of Sonoma County.

 Join members of local environmental groups for good food, wine, hot cider and music with the NewGrange Jam Band – Bluegrass with a holiday theme!

 Hosted by the Sonoma County Conservation Council, the Sierra Club Sonoma Group, and the Sebastopol Grange.

 This year SCCC is proud to present awards for Leadership in Post-Fire Ecosystem Regeneration to Betty Young and Caitlin Cornwall.

 Location – 6000 Sebastopol Ave/Hwy 12, (approx. 2.5 miles west of Fulton Rd.)

$30 per person includes dinner and one drink!

Tickets online at http://www.envirocentersoco.org/hnp/index2017.html    or mail a check to SCCC, PO Box 4346, Santa Rosa, CA 95402, or at the door.

Volunteers needed to bake, set up, clean up and drink service.

To help or for more information, contact Wendy Krupnick, 544-4582, wlk@sonic.net

 

Categories: G2. Local Greens

OPINION: A perspective on the wild side about proposed cannabis farm in Graton

Fri, 11/09/2018 - 11:30
Sonoma Gazette: OPINION: A perspective on the wild side about proposed cannabis farm in Graton

Nov 3, 2018

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By Meghan Peterman

Natural History of 2595 Railroad Street, Graton

Many concerns have been shared by the community in regards to the harmonious setting of the two properties recently sold along the West County Trail. This space is currently zoned for agriculture and for myself, as a naturalist, is where my concern resides.

Unfortunately, the monetary value of nature is often unrecognized or underestimated and is not given adequate consideration in land-use planning or development decisions. As the population of a region grows, the economic value of its natural lands increases, but only if the health of the ecological and hydrological systems is maintained. Some of the most important ecosystem services rendered by natural lands include maintenance of biological diversity, groundwater recharge, nutrient recycling by wetland areas, flood prevention through water retention, and pollination of crops and natural vegetation.

The property on the west side of the West County Trail is a part of the Atascadero wetland system. Along the west end of this property runs the Atascadero Creek. This rivulet and its major tributaries are an important natural resource which historically supported steelhead trout, California freshwater shrimp, and have served as habitat for the endangered Coho salmon.

Throughout the winter season, these fields annually flood, not only providing a habitat for migrating birds, but also creating a space for flood prevention and groundwater recharge. Furthermore, Hallberg Butterfly Gardens, a nature reserve, resides on the east side of the two plots and these properties serve as the last open space accommodating wildlife to forage and pass through this lateral corridor. A disruption in the availability of these fields affects the diversity and well being of the animals residing on the Hallberg preserve which continues to serve as an ecological learning center for local schools, community and visiting tourists.

With the increasing development of monoculture farming in our county I hope that we can propose a long-term plan of a complete transition for this land to serve as an open space, reestablishing native plants, for wildlife to prosper and the community to enjoy. In circumstances in which this could not be accommodated, I would implore our guidelines to require all parties being considered for this space to not only accommodate our natural resources, but assist in helping them prosper and therefore support a sustainable utilization of the rich biodiversity that inhabits our county.

Categories: G2. Local Greens

What real leadership looks like: UK renewable energy capacity surpasses fossil fuels for first time

Fri, 11/09/2018 - 09:50
Remember when President Jimmy Carter put solar panels on the White House and Reagan took them down? UK renewable energy capacity surpasses fossil fuels for first time

Renewable capacity has tripled in past five years, even faster growth than the ‘dash for gas’ of the 1990s

@adamvaughan_uk

A turbine at Green Rigg windfarm in Northumberland. Photograph: Murdo Macleod/Guardian

The capacity of renewable energy has overtaken that of fossil fuels in the UK for the first time, in a milestone that experts said would have been unthinkable a few years ago.

In the past five years, the amount of renewable capacity has tripled while fossil fuels’ has fallen by one-third, as power stations reached the end of their life or became uneconomic. The result is that between July and September, the capacity of wind, solar, biomass and hydropower reached 41.9 gigawatts, exceeding the 41.2GW capacity of coal, gas and oil-fired power plants. Imperial College London, which compiled the figures, said the rate at which renewables had been built in the past few years was greater than the “dash for gas” in the 1990s.

Dr Iain Staffell, who undertook the research, said: “Britain’s power system is slowly but surely walking away from fossil fuels, and this quarter saw a major milestone on the journey.”

However, the amount of power from fossil fuels was still greater over the quarter, at about 40% of electricity generation compared with 28% for renewable sources.

In total, 57% of electricity generation was low carbon over the period, produced either by renewables or nuclear power stations.

In terms of installed capacity, wind is the biggest source of renewables at more than 20GW, followed by solar spread across nearly 1m rooftops and in fields. Biomass is third.

In the past year, coal capacity has fallen by one-quarter, and there are only six coal-fired plants left in the UK.

Coal operators have been affected by the UK’s carbon tax on electricity generation, as well as competition from gas, though they have enjoyed a recent fillip from high gas prices.

Fortunes for new gas power stations are mixed. This week, the German energy company RWE said it was freezing plans for a new 2.5GW gas plant in Tilbury, Essex. However, UK-listed SSE said it had broken ground on Tuesday on a new 840MW gas power station in Lincolnshire.

The Imperial College London research, which was commissioned by the gas, coal and biomass company Drax, also found the cost of balancing the energy system had risen to a 10-year high of £3.8m per day between July and September.

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Categories: G2. Local Greens

With a dozen investigations going: Zinke prepares to leave Trump’s Cabinet

Fri, 11/09/2018 - 09:33
SWAMP WATCH Zinke prepares to leave Trump’s Cabinet

The news comes just a day after Trump told reporters that word on Zinke’s fate may come ‘in about a week.’

11/08/2018 05:19 PM EST

Updated 11/08/2018 08:42 PM EST

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has been exploring potential roles with Fox News, the energy industry or other businesses amid growing signs that he will leave President Donald Trump’s Cabinet as he faces investigations into his ethics, according to people knowledgeable about the discussions.

The news comes just a day after Trump told reporters that word on Zinke’s fate may come “in about a week” — and as the president is in the early stages of what could be a dramatic post-election house-cleaning of Cabinet officials and top aides, starting with Wednesday’s ouster of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Two of those people said Zinke has reached out to Fox to inquire about working at the conservative news channel as a contributor.

Zinke’s outreach was a further sign that the former Navy SEAL and Montana congressman is seeking new employment opportunities. Zinke is also looking for positions on energy company boards of directors or private equity firms, sources have said — posts that one watchdog group said could pose conflict-of-interest problems for his current job running Interior.

People close to Zinke said he has made it known he plans to resign his position by the end of the year. He has yet made no such announcements, though, and he said Wednesday on Twitter that he “look[s] forward to working” with newly elected members of Congress.

Spokespeople for the Interior Department and News Corp., Fox News’ parent company, did not immediately reply to questions from POLITICO. But Interior’s press office went on Twitter to dismiss the possibility of Zinke joining Fox, writing: “It’s laughably false and belongs in The Onion.”

A contract with Fox would be unlikely unless Trump asks Rupert Murdoch, the media mogul who owns News Corp., one source told POLITICO. There is no indication the network has responded positively to Zinke’s overtures or expressed interest in bringing him on board.

The secretary, whose job includes oversight of vast stretches of the nation’s energy and mineral wealth, has faced increasing questions about his future as investigations have intensified into his use of taxpayer’s money, handling of a proposed Connecticut gambling casino and relations with the industries he regulates. Those include a probe of a land development project in Zinke’s hometown of Whitefish, Mont., that is backed by the chairman of the giant energy company Halliburton, which POLITICO first reported in June.

Interior’s inspector general’s office has referred at least one of its probes to the Justice Department, which could decide whether to pursue its own investigation or weigh criminal charges, according to multiple news reports.

Expectations of his departure mark a significant change in fortunes for Zinke, who has enjoyed what one former White House official calls Trump’s affection for his bluntness and charisma. Just months ago, Zinke even offered himself as a possible replacement for another embattled Cabinet member, then-EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, the former White House official told POLITICO this week.

Trump has praised Zinke’s work at Interior but said this week that he plans to look at the investigations — and hinted Wednesday that a decision could come soon.

“We’re looking at that, and I do want to study whatever is being said,” Trump said during a news conference at the White House. “I think he’s doing an excellent job, but we will take a look at that, and we’ll probably have an idea on that in about a week.”

Should Zinke be in job talks with an industry he regulates, such as oil and gas, he may run into trouble with federal ethics laws, an attorney at the watchdog group Campaign Legal Center said Thursday.

According to federal statute, Zinke must recuse himself from any decisions at Interior that could affect the business of any company he is seeking employment with, said Delaney Marsco, the group’s ethics counsel. The group is considering filing a complaint on the matter, Marsco said.

“These recusal obligations apply regardless of whether the communications are indirect, and even if Zinke isn’t serious about the job and never takes it,” Marsco told POLITICO.

Zinke has also had designs on higher office. He was widely seen as a likely challenger this year for Democratic Montana Sen. Jon Tester until Trump picked him for Interior secretary — a process that the president’s son Donald Trump Jr. played a role in. And Zinke may eventually decide to try his hand in the Montana governor’s race in 2020, though he would probably face stiff competition in the Republican primary, political consultants in the state have said.

Besides Zinke, Republicans believed to be interested in the 2020 race include Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte, state Attorney General Tim Fox, Secretary of State Corey Stapleton and state auditor Matt Rosendale, who narrowly lost a challenge to Tester this week.

Zinke may face a new challenge if he tries to run in his old state: As Interior secretary, he has shrunk the boundaries of several national monuments that protect swaths of western land from uses like drilling and mining. That helped advance Trump’s energy policies but has been unpopular with Montanans, analysts in the state have said.

“I imagine he’ll face a crowded primary if he does [run], and I don’t think he’d be guaranteed the nomination by any means,” said Brandon DeMars, senior associate at Montana-based political consultancy Hilltop Public Solutions.

Zinke’s outreach to private equity would have followed a meeting he had with financiers last year in New York City. During an official trip in early September 2017, he was scheduled to meet with representatives of private equity firms Cornell Capital and Harvest Capital; hedge fund Kore Capital; Ken Pontarelli, a Goldman Sachs alumnus specializing in energy companies; and Brian O’Callaghan, head of the Wall Street headhunting firm CPI, according to documents released to the Sierra Club under the Freedom of Information Act.

Zinke’s official calendar shows he was in New York City at the time the meeting was scheduled to take place, but offers no details on his activities on those days except that he visited Fox Studios NYC.

Interior’s inspector general opened an investigation in July into the Montana land deal, which involves a proposal backed by Halliburton Chairman David Lesar to build a hotel, retail shops, a microbrewery and other amenities near the center of Whitefish, a popular resort area. The project is near land that Zinke and his wife, Lola, own through various LLCs, as well as a 14-acre plot owned by a foundation Ryan Zinke created.

Lola Zinke gave the Lesar-backed development a crucial assist by agreeing in writing to let the developer use some of the foundation’s land for a parking lot, POLITICO reported in June. The developer has suggested that Ryan and Lola Zinke would get to own and operate the microbrewery, Whitefish city planner David Taylor told POLITICO.

Before the parking lot agreement was signed, Ryan Zinke met at Interior Department headquarters with Lesar and the other developers and discussed the project with them over dinner, POLITICO reported.

Zinke has dismissed POLITICO’s reporting as “fake news,” and his attorney said last week that the “Secretary has done nothing wrong.”

 

 

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Categories: G2. Local Greens

A major climate change lawsuit is on hold. Again……

Fri, 11/09/2018 - 09:20
While the planet burns, our “leadership” protects wealthy corporations…..”The Justice Department this week filed even more motions to stop the trial and have the case dismissed. “The federal government, by engaging in filing all these motions and petitions, is very, very scared of the evidence we’re going to put on at the trial,” Philip Gregory, co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs, told Vox.A major climate change lawsuit is on hold. Again. Children are suing the government for contributing to climate change, but the Trump administration wants to stop the case. By Umair Irfan Updated Nov 8, 2018, 6:48pm EST

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ShareA major climate change lawsuit is on hold. Again. Earth Guardians Youth Director Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, one of the plaintiffs in the Juliana v. US climate lawsuit, speaks outside the US Supreme Court in 2017.Robin Loznak/Our Children’s Trust Update, November 8: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals granted part of the Trump administration’s motion for a temporary stay of the Juliana v. US lawsuit. Trial preparations are still going ahead, but the plaintiffs have 15 days to file a response. Read more about the background of the case and the stakes below.

In a surprise decision late Friday, the Supreme Court cleared the way for Juliana v. US, a major lawsuit filed by young people against the US government for failing to limit the effects of climate change. It’s not yet clear if the case will go to trial, but attorneys on both sides will meet on Thursday with Oregon District Court Judge Ann Aiken to decide if and when the trial will begin.

The case includes 21 plaintiffs between the ages of 11 and 22, who began testing the idea that a safe climate is a civil right when the suit was first filed in 2015. It argues that the US government pursued policies that harmed the climate, thereby robbing the children of a “climate system capable of sustaining human life.” As redress, they want the government to take action to fight climate change.

“The youth of our nation won an important decision today from the Supreme Court that shows even the most powerful government in the world must follow the rules and process of litigation in our democracy,” the plaintiffs said in a statement. “We have asked the District Court for an immediate status conference to get Juliana v. US back on track for trial in the next week.”

A lower court ruled earlier this year the case could go to trial, and that trial was expected begin at the United States District Court in Oregon on Monday, October 29.

But then late last month, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts issued a temporary stay of the case to consider a request from the Justice Department for a stay to halt the case. The Supreme Court’s temporary stay sent the plaintiffs scrambling to put together a brief in time to keep the case moving forward on schedule.

On Friday, the court denied the government’s request for a stay, though Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch would have granted the application, according to the court order. The Supreme Court also suggested that a federal appeals court should consider appeals on other grounds before the case heads to trial in district court.

The Justice Department this week filed even more motions to stop the trial and have the case dismissed. “The federal government, by engaging in filing all these motions and petitions, is very, very scared of the evidence we’re going to put on at the trial,” Philip Gregory, co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs, told Vox.

Several legal analysts told Vox that the Supreme Court’s temporary stay of a case in a lower court was unusual, but the action signaled that the high court is very interested in the issues at play and that the justices expect the case could have significant ripple effects.

“It reflects the unfortunate politicization of climate change,” said Michael Burger, executive director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University. “[It’s] such a hotly political issue that Justice Roberts feels empowered to reach down and interfere with the normal proceedings of the courts because of that.”

Now the federal government is arguing that there is no constitutional right to an environment free of climate change and that the children don’t have standing to make such a claim. But both sides agree that the case is not a question of the science.

“This is not an environmental case, it’s a civil rights case,” wrote Our Children’s Trust, the nonprofit that is backing the lawsuit, in a press release.

The US government, the defendant, has argued that the case has no basis in the law.

“In our view, the Oregon lawsuit is an unconstitutional attempt to use a single court to control the entire nation’s energy and climate policy,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Wood, who is helping represent the US government in the suit, at a law conference in October. “It is a matter of separation of powers and preserving the opportunity in our system of government for those policies to be decided by the elected branches, not the courts.”

But in its filings, the government cited the harms from costs of litigation as the reason it was seeking a stay, essentially arguing that it is a waste of time and money to litigate a claim that would likely be dismissed. The plaintiffs responded in their brief last week that the cost and length of legal proceedings “are not a legitimate basis to stop a trial on the constitutional rights of children.”

For climate change activists, the courtroom is one of the few remaining options for enacting policies to limit greenhouse gases, as the White House scarcely acknowledges climate change and Congress remains deadlocked.

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Categories: G2. Local Greens

In ‘Loud and Clear’ Rebuke of Factory Farming, California Passes World’s ‘Strongest Animal Welfare Law’

Fri, 11/09/2018 - 09:10
In ‘Loud and Clear’ Rebuke of Factory Farming, California Passes World’s ‘Strongest Animal Welfare Law’

While some animal rights advocates argue Proposition 12 won’t prevent routine cruelty, its passage “clearly shows pro-animal-rights voter sentiment.”

by Jessica Corbett, staff writer

12 Comments

California voters this week passed Proposition 12, heralded by supporters as the world’s strongest livestock protections. (Photo: Mercy for Animals/Flickr/cc)

In a clear rebuke of factory farming, California voters on Election Day passed the “ground-breaking” Proposition 12, which is being celebrated by some advocates as the world’s “strongest animal welfare law for farmed animals in history.”

Backed by 61 percent of voters, Proposition 12 establishes “minimum space requirements based on square feet for calves raised for veal, breeding pigs, and egg-laying hens”—which includes chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, and guinea fowl—and and bans the sale of veal, pork, and eggs from livestock from other states that are confined in spaces deemed too small under California’s standards.

The ballot measure—which builds on Proposition 2, passed by voters in 2008—has two rounds of new rules. By 2020, calves must have at least 43 square feet of usable floor space and hens at least 1 square foot. By 2022, breeding pigs and offspring must have at least 24 square feet of space and hens must be kept in indoor or outdoor cage-free housing systems based on the United Egg Producers’ 2017 cage-free guidelines.

“California voters have sent a loud and clear message that they reject cruel cage confinement in the meat and egg industries,” declared Kitty Block, acting president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. “Thanks to the dedication of thousands of volunteers and coalition partners who made this victory happen, millions of veal calves, mother pigs, and egg-laying hens will never know the misery of being locked in a tiny cage for the duration of their lives.”

“California voters have sent a loud and clear message that they reject cruel cage confinement in the meat and egg industries.”
—Kitty Block, Humane Society

“From voting at the ballot box to shopping at the supermarket,” said ASPCA president and CEO Matt Bershadker, “consumers have played a significant role in demanding more humane food choices by rejecting cruel and unsafe methods still commonplace at industrial-style factory farms.”

“Democrats; Republicans; vegans; omnivores; and people of all ages, genders, and races banded together to pass the historic measure, sending a clear message: California voters believe animal cruelty is wrong,” wrote Elizabeth Enoch in a blog post for Mercy for Animals. “As a movement, we clearly have incredible power to make progress for animals when we galvanize support from people of all walks of life.”While supported by the majority of voters and a coalition of animal rights groups, not all activist organizations backed the ballot measure—particularly because of its provisions about egg-laying hens.

Friends of Animals, which advocates for veganism, had called it a “scam” that “won’t do anything to spare the lives of animals.” PETA, which claims that “the only way to reduce chickens’ suffering is to stop supporting the egg industry by simply not eating eggs,” also came out against the measure, arguing it “still allows tens of thousands of hens to be crammed into giant warehouses and does nothing to prevent routine cruelty.”

As journalist Glenn Greenwald, a vocal advocate of animal rights, concluded, although the anticipated impact of the measure left activists divided, ultimately, its passage “clearly shows pro-animal-rights voter sentiment.”

California wasn’t the only state to adopt new animal rights rules on Election Day. Florida’s Amendment 13—which aims to phase out greyhound racing by 2020—also passed after receiving support from 69 percent of voters across the state. The Committee to Protect Dogs, which backed the ban, called it “a knock-out blow to a cruel industry that has been hurting and killing dogs for nearly a century.” This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License Common Dreams: This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don’t survive on clicks. We don’t want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can’t do it alone. It doesn’t work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do.

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Categories: G2. Local Greens

Gazette: What’s Wrong with Sonoma County’s Cannabis Ordinance?

Thu, 11/08/2018 - 09:28
Wine & Water Watch supports sensible regulations that do not build in perpetual conflict between commercial enterprises vs. neighborhoods and protects our environmental resources. What’s Wrong with Sonoma County’s Cannabis Ordinance?

By SOS Neighborhoods

Sonoma County’s newly-approved Cannabis Ordinance fails to protect the environment from self-monitored, unenforced, and unpermitted land alteration. The ordinance fails to protect rural neighborhoods by allowing commercial cannabis operations to reside within a few feet of neighboring homes. The County does not have enough resources to properly inspect or enforce the current ordinance.

Save Our Sonoma Neighborhoods has been heavily involved with the Board of Supervisors, Code Enforcement, its Cannabis Program team, and its Planning Commission to create policy, raise awareness of real evidence of the negative impact to both neighborhoods and the environment and to shape meaningful policy considerations to improve the County’s cannabis ordinance.

Despite this, County officials continue to promote permits which do not allow for any public comment.

County staff and supervisors have visited residential homes which sit 125 feet from a cannabis grow building and experienced first-hand the odor, noise and blight nuisance. However, the County continues to ignore these issues.

Sonoma County’s current cannabis ordinance states: “Medical cannabis uses shall not create a public nuisance or adversely affect the health or safety of the nearby residents or businesses by creating dust, light, glare, heat, noise, noxious gasses, odor, smoke, traffic, vibration, unsafe conditions or other impacts, or be hazardous due to the use or storage of materials, processes, products, runoff or wastes”.

The County is ignoring its own ordinance regarding protecting residents’ safety, security and right to enjoy their private property.

Four fed-up families in Petaluma, who were negatively impacted by noise and odor from a neighboring cannabis business, had to file a lawsuit against their grower for County officials to finally take action and shut down the cannabis site.(SEE No Pot on Purvine).

Ironically, the county recently issued a press release proclaiming progress to “right the cannabis ship” with cannabis operation shutdowns and assessing fines. There are now two full-time employees to enforce all county-wide cannabis land use codes. Yet we still have cannabis cultivators in the middle of neighborhoods who have no county-issued use permit to operate. Neighborhoods adjacent to the high-value cash crop continue to have concerns about the self- monitoring water consumption and insufficient fire road access.

This will become everyone’s problem if we don’t speak up now.

Sonoma County’s Board of Supervisors deliberated on October 16 and voted on a revised cannabis ordinance that provided several more favorable conditions for growers, including increasing use permits to 5 years prior to recognizing that such a business should not be 10 or 300 feet from a bedroom window (as is allowed today), allowing an additional 25% cultivation area for propagation, and allowing variances to park setback requirements for growers. This makes it much easier for commercial cannabis facilities to be located very close to all our parks. The Board did vote to require new applications to be on parcels of at least 10 acres, but will grandfather in all permits and pipeline applications on smaller parcels.

This pro-grower proposal strengthens a cannabis business’ position inside neighborhoods and closer to schools and parks, before addressing neighborhood compatibility and public health and safety

The County wants residents to prove and argue that living within a few feet of cannabis plants negatively impacts their home and life — for residents to “have a voice in the permit process.”

Who will win that battle?

Those who don’t know how to navigate government process – or the beneficiaries and consultants to cannabis revenue and county tax revenue?

We believe that Sonoma County officials are NOT protecting its residents from cannabis-related crime in neighborhoods, fire risks and environmental damage due to lack of code enforcement:

1) Commercial marijuana facilities do not belong in residential neighborhoods regardless of zoning: They belong in industrial zones.

2) Fire safety practices are not being followed by Sonoma County officials: Despite suffering one of the state’s deadliest and largest wildfires in October 2017, Sonoma County is completely ignoring road and fire safety issues by allowing commercial marijuana businesses to operate in remote areas accessed by narrow, winding one-lane roads which places residents’ lives at risk. This violates common sense.

3) Sonoma County is ignoring environmental laws in its unyielding support of the cannabis industry: This County’s most flagrant disregard for environmental laws is its purposeful and deceptive use of a “Negative Declaration” for the Medicinal Cannabis in County Cannabis Ordinance enacted in 2016. County officials claim by bringing illegal growers “out of the shadows and into the regulated market”, the impact to the environment would be positive.

Instead of shrinking the illegal sector while growing the legal one, the ordinance has simply added one on top of the other. And now the County is expanding the scope of cultivation and manufacturing to include recreational marijuana in addition to medical marijuana; this should trigger a full Environmental Impact Report (EIR). The entire program must be halted until a thorough EIR can be conducted.

SOSN demands the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, the Planning Commission and staff fully address all of our neighborhood concerns, and suspend all cannabis permitting until a new ordinance can be drafted and approved. The new ordinance must support the interests of ALL Sonoma County residents, not just those of the Commercial Cannabis Industry.

Call to action:

1. Get engaged in our cause and learn more. Like us on Facebook and join sosneighborhoods.com This impacts all Sonoma County residents.

2. Donate to sosneighborhoods.com. We need to cover many costs including printing, mailers, website maintenance, legal action, lobbying.

3. Write to the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors voicing your concerns and objections to this failed policy.

For further information and to receive all supporting information for the details outlined above: contactinfo@sosneighborhoods.com

Save Our Sonoma Neighborhoods(SOSN) is a grassroots group of Sonoma County citizens advocating to improve Sonoma County’s Cannabis Land Use Ordinance that currently endangers Sonoma County residents, their homes, property values, environment and safety. We call for a moratorium on all new cannabis permits until a new ordinance is drafted and approved, one which supports the interests of ALL Sonoma County residents.

Comments: Nov 3, 2018 “Thanks to the author for making excellent points regarding this issue. My opinion: vineyards and pot farms need to be regulated with the same constraints that provide protection for neighboring residents. I live near a well-known vineyard and it is a reality for me that at a certain point in the growing cycle it begins to smell like I’m in a bottle of wine sitting on my porch. The county needs to apply equal justice to wine and weed growers to protect residents.” – Beef Mcwin
Categories: G2. Local Greens

Werner Baumann, CEO of Bayer: people sick from Roundup are just “nuisances”

Thu, 11/08/2018 - 09:06
Pesky Cancer Victims? November 7, 2018 Organic Consumers Association

by Julie Wilson             

There are about 8,700 lawsuits pending against Monsanto, by people who allege that exposure to Roundup weedkiller is responsible for their cancer. Most of the people behind these lawsuits have stories not unlike the one told by Dewayne Johnson, during his landmark jury trial which resulted in a unanimous decision against Monsanto.

Like Johnson, many of these people have non-Hodgkin lymphoma—or they have family members who have already died from the disease. They face long, grueling trials as they go up against the biotech behemoth.

To Werner Baumann, CEO of Bayer (which acquired Monsanto last year for $63 billion), these people are just “nuisances.”

According to a recent Reuters report, Baumann told reporters:

“If we can settle nuisances at some point where the defense costs in preparing cases are higher than potential settlement amounts, we will of course consider it from an economic standpoint.” 

No wonder. After all, Bayer could end up on the hook for $800 billion in liability—a possibility that has made shareholders of the German company very unhappy.

But whatever Bayer decides—go to trial or settle—Baumann told reporters he’s clear on one thing:

“We will resolutely and with all means defend ourselves in this (glyphosate) litigation.”

Defending the indefensible

On an August conference call following the verdict in the Johnson trial, Baumann promised investors the agrochemical company would defend glyphosate, and in the meantime, continue business as usual.

“Nothing has changed concerning our strategy. We want to make sure that glyphosate will continue to be available to our key stakeholders as an excellent, safe and very important tool for modern agriculture.” In other words, Bayer intends to do everything in its power to keep glyphosate on the market—despite a U.S. court’s determination that the weedkiller causes cancer. For Bayer, “business as usual” means profits before human health.

In the meantime, Bayer wants the rest of the world to think that the company is focused on sustainable farming practices that benefit farmers, consumers and the planet.

Bayer tweeted last month about hosting an international group of food bloggers at one of its Forward Farms in Abbenes, North Holland, where the topic of discussion was reported to be “sustainability.”

The farm is one of several around the world that make up Bayer’s ForwardFarming network, a project designed to bolster the idea that Bayer cares about the environment. Bayer currently has Forward Farms in the U.S., Latin America and in various parts of Europe including Italy, France, Belgium and Berlin.

Precision pesticide-spraying—‘holistic’ and ‘sustainable’?

Bayer describes its ForwardFarming project as “an initiative that works with independent farms around the world to help advance sustainable agriculture.”

So, what is it exactly that Bayer is doing that’s sustainable? Promoting GPS technology that helps farmers spray pesticides with precision, glyphosate included. According to Bayer’s website, “digital farming techniques, such as GPS informed precision spraying . . . are all demonstrated on the fam.” These tools allow farmers “to take a holistic approach to sustainable farming.”

Holistic approach? Don’t be fooled by Bayer’s feelgood choice of words, as the agrochemical giant’s definition of “holistic” simply means more glyphosate. Bayer even goes as so far to say that without glyphosate, soil organic matter would suffer, and climate change would actually get worse.

Those claims contradict the latest research, which shows that over time, over time, the application of crop chemicals, such as glyphosate, destroy beneficial bacteria in the soil, which reduces soil fertility and causes soil carbon to escape into the atmosphere where it contributes to a warming planet.

The real future of farming—organic and regenerative

Organic agriculture, on the other hand, prohibits the use of toxic crop chemicals and is repeatedly proven to boost soil health, increase yields and fight climate change, all while supporting farmer livelihood.

Regenerative agriculture, with its focus on biodiversity and soil health (which increases the soil’s capacity to retain water during periods of drought), has the potential to build resilient local farming systems that provide abundant, nutritious food.

Both time and research have shown that industrial, chemical-intensive agriculture is not the solution to feeding the world, and is in fact moving us backwards in terms of being able to solve world hunger, while at the same time reversing global warming.

If the prospect of billions of dollars in settlements from Roundup cancer lawsuits isn’t enough to scare Bayer off of glyphosate, we’re not sure what will. But one thing is for sure—increasing consumer demand for clean, healthy and pesticide-free food is driving the world’s food system away from toxic chemicals and toward a system that promotes healthy humans, healthy animals and healthy soil. No matter what Bayer says.

If you’d like to honor Johnson, a former school groundskeeper who is now terminally ill with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, help OCA and other organizations get Roundup out of schools.

Julie Wilson is communications associate for the Organic Consumers Association (OCA). Katherine Paul, associate director, contributed to this article. To keep up with OCA news and alerts, sign up for our newsletter.

Categories: G2. Local Greens

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