IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Aid slowly reaches Pakistan as historic flooding continues; Plastic Bag Wars in California; Another BP employee pleads the 5th; Those hungry, hungry microbes ... PLUS: The 5th Anniversary of the Drowning of New Orleans ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Fossil fuel industry outspends enviro groups 7-to-1; Obama Admin sides with nuisance polluters; Billionaire Koch brothers waging a war against Obama & the environment; Teens carry 30 per cent more BPA than rest of population; Egg recall exposes flaws in nation's food safety system; Why eggs became a hazard; U.S. rejected hen vaccine despite success in UK; China traffic jam could last weeks; German scientist hands Putin frosty climate rebuke; Hot river forces costly nuke plant shutdown in TN ...PLUS: Peak Helium? Get ready for the $100 party balloon ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- U.S. Expands Support For Pakistan Flood Relief (U.S. Dept. of State)
- Pakistan's flood victims give USAID chief an earful (CNN)
- U.S. aims to wash away hatred in Pakistan flood relief work: Washington hopes its rescue missions and millions of dollars of aid in flood-ravaged Pakistan will help chip away at the deep-seated dislike and mistrust that many Pakistanis have for America. (LA Times)
- Plastic Bag Backers Donate to California Lawmakers Ahead of Bill's Vote (Sacramento Bee):
With California lawmakers poised to vote on a historic effort to phase out plastic grocery bags, the American Chemistry Council is going all out to stop the proposal before the Tuesday legislative deadline.
The Virginia-based interest group, whose members include Exxon, Dow and plastic bag manufacturers, is a well-known player in California, where it has battled environmental bills and anti-plastic city ordinances it contends hurt businesses...
- Ad Skewers Plastic Bag Ban Proposal: American Chemistry Council Says Measure Bad For Economy (KRCA Sacramento)
- Washington D.C.'s Plastic Bag Tax Is Working Really Well (Seattle Times)
- Reusable shopping bags: Spreading germs or spreading fear?: The American Chemistry Council underwrote the research project, which was conducted independently of the organization. (San Jose Mercury News)
- Yes, It's True: California is Banning Plastic Bags (Treehugger)
- Plastic Bags Used in DC Drop From 22 Million to 3 Million a Month (Treehugger):
Charging a nominal fee for each one will slash those numbers by huge margins, if the precedents are any indicators. In Washington DC, for instance, plastic bag use dropped from 22 million to 3 million a month after the 5 cent ban took effect.
The plastic bag banning bill is expected to breeze through the state Senate, and then it only needs a signature from Governor Schwarzenegger, which he has said publicly he will provide.
- Reports of Dead Oil Greatly Exaggerated? (Julia Whitty, Mother Jones)
- Found it!: BP's Missing Oil: Do NOT look at these pictures if you'd like to believe there isn't still a ton of oil all over the Gulf (Mac McClelland, Mother Jones)
- BP engineer who wrote telling e-mails pleads the Fifth to avoid testifying at oil spill hearings (NOLA.com)
- Halliburton employee warned BP that oil well plan was risky, he testifies at oil spill hearings (NOLA.com)
- BP not learning from disasters, investigator charges (LA Times)
- BP Engineers grapple with new complications: The engineering ordeal should be completed by the week after Labor Day, but Allen said he could not guarantee the timing. "We cannot attach a timeline yet, because we do not know the condition of the pipe," he said.(LA Times)
- Coast Guard Hearings: Deepwater Horizon supervisor confirms leaks in blowout preventer, lack of certification (NOLA.com): Transocean apparently ignored safety regulations, testimony at oil spill hearings in Houston shows.
- Coast Guard Hearings: Deepwater Horizon was described incorrectly as 'self-propelled,' Marshall Islands rep tells stunned oil spill hearing investigators (NOLA.com)
- Why do so few media mention that 'unknown-microbe-ate-whole-plume' study was funded by BP? (Daily Glob, SEJ)
- LISTEN: BP Funds Oil-Eating Microbe Study: Diane Rehm Show (Diane Rehm Show)
- ANALYSIS: How reporters mangle science on Gulf oil (CNN)):
When researchers present what the media perceive as "big" findings --- as my colleagues and I did last week in reporting a plume of oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil well in the Gulf of Mexico --- it is incumbent on scientists and journalists to keep the results in perspective and refrain from veering into misleading waters.
Unfortunately, in this case, both parties failed.
- ANALYSIS: Science is messy. Should we tell the readers? Tell our editors? Or would that discourage attention to the endeavor we love? Do we still have to follow the money? (Knight Science Journalism Tracker)
- Microbes are breaking down Gulf of Mexico oil spill with unexpected speed, researcher says (NOLA.com):
Alan Mearns, a senior staff scientist in NOAA's emergency response division, described the work as significant. "Research about the biodegradation rate of the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil is critical to the understanding of the fate of what remains in the Gulf. This study shows that microbes are quickly degrading some components of subsurface oil found in the deep ocean without creating hazardous dead zones. NOAA will continue to monitor and test for subsurface oil and its impacts on the gulf ecosystem," he said in an e-mail message.
- Deep-sea plumes: A rush to judgment?: Studies yield data - but a paucity of information (Science News)
- Dire Predictions for Drilling Ban in Gulf Are Not Yet Seen (NY Times)
- President Barack Obama's planning for expansion of offshore oil drilling questioned : Environmental officials should have been consulted, panel chairmen say (NOLA.com)
- BP Abandons Arctic Drilling Plan: BP has scrapped plans to drill in the Arctic, where a new oil rush is expected, amid fears such a move would be "political madness" after the Gulf oil spill, Britain's Guardian daily said Thursday.
- Sea turtle nests to remain on beaches of Northwest Florida, Alabama (Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission)
- Sticking a Happy Face on Katrina: Telling only the happy half of the story isn't just a disservice to some abstract principle like truth or fairness; it's a very real disservice to the people on the ground (Mother Jones):
I brought one of my friends from San Francisco here to visit me-a gal who ingests a lot of news-and she could not believe the extent of the destruction she saw. It's awfully irresponsible to say all that stuff about recovery without also mentioning that you can't even count the blocks that are still half-full of empty, broke-down houses, or that Pitt's 50 new houses dot an area that lost 4,000-an area people sometimes compare to Hiroshima because its torn-up roads, total lack of streetlights, and abundance of overgrown lots contribute to a vast and penetrating emptiness.
- SPECIAL COVERAGE: KATRINA FLASHBACK: Reporters with the New Orleans Times-Picayune Remember (NOLA.com)
- Study: Learning From Katrina: Lessons from Five Years of Recovery and Renewal in the Gulf Coast (Institute for Southern Studies): Our report finds that many of the problems exposed in the botched federal response to the storm--from breakdowns in disaster planning to a misguided and mismanaged recovery--have yet to be addressed in Washington.
- 'We Knew the Story Was Not Done': Spike Lee discusses the making of his new documentary about the ongoing impact of Hurricane Katrina and the state of New Orleans today. (Newsweek)
- WATCH: Did Hurricane Katrina Change Towns For Good?
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- Pro-Environment Groups Outmatched, Outspent 7-to-1 in Battle Over Climate Change Legislation (Open Secrets.org):
ExxonMobil, the industry leader in 2009, spent $27.4 million in lobbying expenditures that year --- more than the entire pro-environment lobby.
And in July, congressional debate on global warming stopped cold.
In other words, Goliath whipped David.
- "Stabbed in the Back": Obama sides with nuisance polluters (Daily Kos)
- Teens carry 30 per cent more BPA than rest of population: Teenagers may carry the highest levels of bisphenol A - about 30 per cent more than the rest of the population, according to the first national survey about the compound conducted by Statistics Canada, but exposure to the estrogen-mimicking chemical is widespread, with detectible levels in 91 per cent of Canadians. (Globe & Mail UK)
- Analysis: Egg Recall Exposes Flaws in Nation's Food Safety System: But the way the responsibilities and resources are divided up can seem so illogical that some of the bureaucrats themselves have called for change. There are few places where that is more evident than in the regulation of eggs.(NY Times)
- Why Eggs Became a Hazard: Food Safety Experts and Industry Reps Debate Causes, Solutions to Egg Recall (NY Times):
Food safety experts, and critics of the intensive American farming methods that have produced cheap eggs and meat, have pointed out that Europe has made progress in recent years through the use of vaccines in eradicating salmonella infection. But in the U.S., where the number of outbreaks increased in the 1970s and 80s and has only recently leveled off, the food safety system has failed to eliminate the threat of salmonella. Why is that?
- China Traffic Jam Could Last Weeks: Officials say 60-mile long traffic jam could last into September (Wall St. Journal)
- German scientist hands Putin frosty climate rebuke (AFP):
In 2003 Putin amazed scientists when he speculated that a global warming by "two or three degrees" could be a good thing for Russia as its people would no longer need fur coats and its agricultural production could rise.
A German female scientist working at the station however showed no fear in making her opinion clear to the Russian strongman.
"The burning of various kinds of fuel has a far greater effect on climate than these methane emissions," said Inken Preuss quoted by Russian news agencies.
"Climate change has never happened like now and mankind is making a large impact," she added.
- Explosive Expose: Covert Operations: The billionaire Koch brothers who are waging a war against Obama. (Jane Mayer, New Yorker Magazine):
David H. Koch his brother Charles are lifelong libertarians and have quietly given more than a hundred million dollars to right-wing causes, all under the radar.
- Hot river forces costly cutback for TVA: The Tennessee Valley Authority has lost nearly $50 million in power generation from its biggest nuclear plant because the Tennessee River in Alabama is too hot. (Chattanooga Times Free-Press)
- Peak Helium: Get Ready For The $100 Party Balloon (Live Science)"
Rather than sell off the entire helium reserve, the federal government might consider keeping a strategic supply for a future world where helium looks increasingly scarce, the report said.
"If this path continues to be followed, within the next ten to fifteen years the United States will become a net importer of helium whose principal foreign sources of helium will be in the Middle East and Russia."