IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: The buck stops with President Obama on the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline; Spontaneous nuclear reaction at the Fukushima nuclear power plant; Belgium to phase out nukes, too; This week's toxic fossil fuel spill, now in Lake Michigan; PLUS: Occupy your Junk Mail! ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): GOP-led House Panel to Vote on Non-Existent EPA Dust Rule; TX Billion-dollar Drought Ripples Through Global Markets; Traditional Farm Methods Help Climate Adaptation; Climate Science Witch Hunt Update; Low But Possibly Harmful BP Gulf Oil Spill Contamination .... PLUS: City Smog Linked to Cognitive Deficits in Children ... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Spontaneous nuclear reaction at the Fukushima nuclear power plant
- TEPCO Detects Signs of Nuclear Fission at Fukushima, Raising Leak Risk (Bloomberg):
Tokyo Electric Power Co. detected signs of nuclear fission at its crippled Fukushima atomic power plant, raising the risk of increased radiation emissions. No increase in radiation was found at the site and the situation is under control, officials said.
- Fukushima: Fallout Forensics Hike Radiation Toll (Nature News):
The disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in March released far more radiation than the Japanese government has claimed. So concludes a study that combines radioactivity data from across the globe to estimate the scale and fate of emissions from the shattered plant.
- Radiation Cleanup Confounds Japan (Wall St. Journal):
Nearly eight months after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident scattered radioactive material over surrounding communities, Japan still is struggling to figure out how to clean up the mess, exacerbating fears about health risks and fanning mistrust of the government.
- Belgium to Phase Out Nuclear Power, Too:
- Belgium Agrees On Conditional Nuclear Exit Plans (reuters):
Belgium's political parties have reached a conditional agreement to shut down the country's two remaining nuclear power stations, owned by GDF Suez unit Electrabel, a government spokeswoman said Monday.
The plan for a shutdown of the three oldest reactors by 2015 and a complete exit by 2025 is conditional on finding enough energy from alternative sources to prevent any shortages.
- Coal Ash Waste Spills Into Lake Michigan:
- Bluff Collapse at Power Plant Sends Dirt, Coal Ash Into Lake (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel):
A large section of bluff collapsed Monday next to the We Energies Oak Creek Power Plant, sending dirt, coal ash and mud cascading into the shoreline next to Lake Michigan and dumping a pickup truck, dredging equipment, soil and other debris into the lake.
- WI Coal Ash Spill Photo Gallery (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)
- Ash Landfill Could Have Caused Mudslide (Racine Journal Times)
- Officials study effects of Lake Michigan ash spill (AP):
Decades-old coal ash hurled from the grounds of a Wisconsin power plant into Lake Michigan during a landslide this week probably doesn't pose a significant environmental risk, experts said Wednesday.
It will take several days to complete the analysis, said Phillippa Cannon, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Of particular concern were heavy metals such as arsenic, lead and mercury found in the ash from coal incineration
About 2,500 cubic yards of ash, or enough to fill about 200 dump trucks, may have reached the water, utility spokesman Brian Manthey said.
The material has the potential to smother fish habitat and pollute sediments near the lakeshore, said Val Klump, director of the Great Lakes WATER Institute in Milwaukee.
- The Buck Stops with Obama on Keystone XL Pipeline Decision:
- VIDEO: Uncut: KETV's Rob McCartney Interviews President Obama on the Keystone Pipeline: (KETV Omaha)
- Obama to make decision on controversial oil pipeline (Washington Post):
Referring to the State Department, Obama told KETV, "They'll be giving me a report over the next several months and, you know, my general attitude is: What is best for the American people? What's best for our economy both short term and long term? But also: What's best for the health of the American people?"
"We don't want, for example, aquifers" to be adversely affected, he said, adding, "folks in Nebraska obviously would be directly impacted, and so we want to make sure we're taking the long view on these issues."
- Keystone XL decision might be delayed: State Department
- TransCanada Profit Rises on Pipeline Returns, Power Generation (Bloomberg)
- TransCanada CEO Paints Grim Outcome If Keystone Delayed (Financial Post)
- President Obama Implies He Will Rule On Keystone XL Pipeline (LA Times)
- Obama: Keystone XL Pipeline Decision Will Be Made With Health, Economic Factors Taken Into Account (Reuters)
- State Department Defends Contractor Chosen for Pipeline Study (NY Times)
- Press Secretary Tries To Walk Back Obama's Responsibility For Keystone XL Decision (Think Progress Green)
- Nebraska Lawmakers Move to Reroute TransCanada's Keystone XL Oil Pipeline (Bloomberg)
- TransCanada To Nebraska: Altering Keystone XL Pipeline Route Would Be Unconstitutional (Huffington Post Green)
- People-Powered Climate Justice Day at OCCUPY Wall Street:
- VIDEO: After NYPD Takes Their Gas Generators, Occupy Wall Street Builds Bike-Powered Generator (Think Progress Green):
Last week, the New York Police Department and Fire Department seized a number of gas-powered generators from the Occupy Wall Street encampment, claiming that they were a fire hazard. Yet as temperatures drop, protesters continue to need generators for their needs. So Time’s Up! — New York City’s Direct Action Environmental group — decided to help out with a bit of ingenuity. The group built its own bicycle-powered generator that generates power simply by pedaling. The group needs more funds to build more generators and is accepting donations online.
- Bicycle Generator: Sustainability=Survival at 'Occupy' Protest (Bloomberg)
- VIDEO: Occupy Wall Street Builds Bike-Powered Generators (Care2)
- Occupy Wall Street Day of Climate Justice: To bring environmentalist forces and voices together to holistically inform political, economical and social debates inside and outside OWS. (NY General Assembly)
- VIDEO: Green issues and greenbacks: Occupy Wall Street connects the dots (Grist):
OWS's environmental working group put the Climate Justice Day event together in five days, hosting workshops at New York City's Zuccotti Park on topics such as fracking and sustainable economics.
Throughout the day, speakers drew connections between the economy and the environment. "Every bank which you are down here protesting finances extreme energy --- fracking, tar sands development, mountaintop removal, deep water drilling," said Gasland documentary director Josh Fox after a "mic check" to the crowd.
- Occupy Wall Street shows its greener side in weekend shout fest (Greenwire)
- VIDEO: Quote of the Day: David Suzuki on the Occupy Wall Street Movement (Treehugger):
Why are we rapidly exploiting finite resources and destroying precious natural systems for the sake of short-term profit and unsustainable economic growth? What will we do when oil runs out or becomes too difficult or expensive to extract if we haven't taken the time to reduce our demands for energy and shift to cleaner sources?
Why does our economic system place a higher value on disposable and often unnecessary goods and services than on the things we really need to survive and be healthy, like clean air, clean water, and productive soil? Sure, there's some contradiction in protesters carrying iPhones while railing against the consumer system. But this is not just about making personal changes and sacrifices; it's about questioning our place on this planet.
- Safe Water for Millions of Families? Nov. 21 Determines That (Save the Delaware River)
- NOV. 6: NEW Tar Sands Action Protest Against Keystone XL Pipeline
- November 6th: Tar Sands Action Returns to DC (Tar Sands Action.org):
One year from the next election, we will return to DC to try to encircle the White House to ask President Obama to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. The action begins at 2 pm in Lafayette Park.
- Tim De Christopher's Call to join Nov. 6 Tar Sands Action (Peaceful Uprising):
As much as I'm enjoying my time in prison, I'm a little jealous of the folks who get to participate in the uprising that's happening right now. If I wasn't here, I'd probably either be on Wall Street or Freedom Plaza in DC. But on November 6th, I would definitely be outside the White House to show Barack Obama how many people are committed to stopping the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. There's a deep instinctual sense of intimidation that comes from being completely surrounded, and that might be healthy for our president right now.
- November 6th: Tar Sands Action Returns to DC (Tar Sands Action.org):
- OCCUPY Your Junk Mail!:
- VIDEO: Put your junk mail to work keeping Wall Street occupied (Grist):
You can occupy Wall Street and do something with that junk mail besides just chucking it in the bin. Sure, it'll still end up in the recycling eventually, but it won't be any MORE trashed than before, and in between it can do some good. (Plus, if enough people do this, maybe they'll quit sending the damn things.) Here, let this guy who kind of reminds me of Ben from Parks & Rec tell you all about it.
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- City Smog Linked to Cognitive Deficits in Children, The Atlantic (The Atlantic)
- PRAY HARDER: Texas drought has caused $5.3 billion in losses in the agricultural sector, set to last into next year at least (Grist)
- Northrop Grumman Climate Scientist: 'Radical Changes' Are Needed" (Think Progress Green):
Speaking at a federal sustainability conference, one of Northrop Grumman's top climate scientists expressed grave concern about society's resilience to global warming.
"I don't think the the will is there yet anywhere to make rapid changes to put in place mitigation strategies to make a significant dent in the trends that we're seeing. I have concerns and I don't see the radical changes that I think are needed are happening fast enough."
- What could possibly go wrong?: Concerns Are Raised About Genetically Engineered Mosquitoes (NY Times):
These mosquitoes are genetically engineered to kill - their own children.
But the research is arousing concern about possible unintended effects on public health and the environment, because once genetically modified insects are released, they cannot be recalled.
- The REAL Controversies & Uncertainties in Climate Science, Explained (Greenwire):
"I was just updating my graph, and I noticed that, 'Hey, this is increasing,'" [atmospheric scientist John] Barnes said during a recent interview. It was unexpected. Where were these particles coming from, without a Pinatubo-style eruption? "No one had seen that before," he said.
Barnes had uncovered a piece of a puzzle that has provoked, frustrated and focused climate scientists over the past half decade. It is a mystery that has given cover to forces arrayed against the reality of human-driven global warming. And it is a question that can be easily stated: Why, despite steadily accumulating greenhouse gases, did the rise of the planet's temperature stall for the past decade?
- House Panel to Vote on Non-Existent EPA Dust Rule (Washington Post):
Republicans in a House subcommittee will vote Thursday to stop enforcement of a nonexistent rule on dust which EPA says it has no intention of ever issuing.
- EPA Promises 'Flexibility on Sewage Overflows in Victory for Strapped Cities (Greenwire):
A new EPA guidance promises flexibility in enforcing sewage overflow limits on cash-strapped cities who can not afford to upgrade their systems.
- Traditional Farm Methods Help Climate Adaptation: (Reuters) :
Traditional agriculture methods could help protect food supplies and make agriculture more resilient to the effects of climate change, a report by the UK-based International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) said on Monday.
- Climate Science Witch Hunt Update: Judge Restricts Release of Emais Among Climate Scientists (LA Times):
A county Circuit judge in Virginia has sided with the University of Virginia's effort to restrict the release of personal emails from one of its former faculty members. The decision late Wednesday would allow the university to alter an agreement it had reached with the American Tradition Institute, which was seeking communications between Michael Mann, a physicist and climate scientist, and other scientists from 1999 to 2005, when Mann was employed by the university.
- Baltimore Scientists Find Low But Possibly Harmful BP Gulf Oil Spill Contamination (Baltimore Sun):
Scientists from the National Aquarium and the Johns Hopkins University say they've found low but potentially harmful levels of toxic oil contaminants in the Gulf of Mexico months after the Deepwater Horizon well blowout was capped.
- Ammonia Leak At CA Nuke Plant Prompts Alert (AP):
A non-radioactive ammonia leak at a Southern California nuclear plant prompted an emergency alert and precautionary evacuation of nearby workers before it was contained Tuesday, authorities said.