A fire burns at the Tri-Chem Industries plan in Cresson, Texas on Thursday March 15, 2018. (Photo: KDFW/screenshot)
While the Trump administration continues its push to stymie and roll back federal regulations by fighting in court to uphold a delay of the Chemical Disaster Rule, hazardous materials crews are searching for a worker presumed dead after an explosion at a Texas chemical plant.
Two other workers were injured Thursday in the blast at the Tri-Chem Industries plant in Cresson, which is about 50 miles southwest of Dallas. Efforts to battle the blaze were temporarily halted by concerns about exposure to toxic fumes and the subsequent explosions. Continue reading →
A concerted push is underway in South America that could see the Guarani Aquifer, one of the world’s largest reserves of fresh water, soon fall into the hands of transnational corporations such as Coca-Cola and Nestle.
The Guarani Aquifer. Image: Public Domain via Wilimedia Commons
A concerted push is underway in South America that could see one of the world’s largest reserves of fresh water soon fall into the hands of transnational corporations such as Coca-Cola and Nestle. According to reports, talks to privatize the Guarani Aquifer – a vast subterranean water reserve lying beneath Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay – have already reached an advanced stage. The deal would grant a consortium of U.S. and Europe-based conglomerates exclusive rights to the aquifer that would last over 100 years.
Named after the Guarani indigenous people, the Guarani Aquifer is the world’s second largest underground water reserve and is estimated to be capable of sustainably providing the world’s population with drinking water for up to 200 years. Environmental groups, social movements, and land defenders warn that the exploitation of the freshwater reserve could see the 460,000-square mile (1.2 million sq. km.) reservoir sacrificed for the short-term profits of agribusiness, energy, and food-and-drink giants. Continue reading →
“For Tsleil-Waututh Nation, the People of the Inlet, it is our sacred obligation to protect the water,” the tribe said in a statement ahead of Saturday’s protest. And while they said they will continue their legal battle against the pipeline company in the court, they added, “In our opposition to Kinder Morgan, we are many people paddling in the same direction.” (Photo: ProtecttheInlet.ca)
Disregarding an injunction won by the pipeline company a day before the planned protest, thousands of people marched in Burnaby, British Columbia on Saturday to protest the expansion of a Kinder Morgan tar sands pipeline and export terminal that First Nations and climate justice campaigners say would threaten local waterways, erode Indigenous rights, and increase planet-warming carbon emissions.
When the Trump administration took office early last year, hundreds of staffers from lobbying firms, conservative think tanks and Trump campaign groups began pouring into the very agencies they once lobbied or whose work they once opposed.
Uranium – the raw material for nuclear power and nuclear weapons – is having a moment in the spotlight.
Companies such as Energy Fuels, Inc. have played well-publicized roles in lobbying the Trump administration to reduce federal protection for public lands with uranium deposits. The Defense Department’s Nuclear Posture Review calls for new weapons production to expand the U.S. nuclear arsenal, which could spur new domestic uranium mining. And the Interior Department is advocating more domestic uranium production, along with other materials identified as “critical minerals.”
What would expanded uranium mining in the U.S. mean at the local level? I have studied the legacies of past uranium mining and milling in Western states for over a decade. My book examines dilemmas faced by uranium communities caught between harmful legacies of previous mining booms and the potential promise of new economic development. Continue reading →
People take part in the Women’s March in San Francisco on Jan. 21, 2018. (Photo: Kathy Knorr/flickr/cc)bluebird womens march Women’s March SF Jan 21 2018
“Shocking,” “absolutely astonishing,” and “remarkable.”
That’s how climate scientists are describing the recent unusually warm temperatures in the Arctic.
As the Washington Postreported last week, the region is “stewing in temperatures more than 45 degrees (F) above normal. This latest huge temperature spike in the Arctic is another striking indicator of its rapidly transforming climate.” Continue reading →
A fracking well flare in Scott Township, Pennsylvania. (Photo: WCN 24/7/flickr/cc)
A court has once again rejected the Trump administration’s effort to suspend an Obama-era rule aimed at reducing releases of methane from oil and gas operations on federal and tribal land.
“The decision,” writes Meleah Geertsma, a senior attorney with NRDC, “once again sends a message to this administration that it will not get away with illegal handouts to industry, at the expense of Americans’ health and the environment.” Continue reading →
Americans spend about $16 billion per year on bottled water—which comes largely from the same sources as tap water. (Photo: Raul Pachecho-Vega/Flickr/cc)
Bottled water companies have relied on predatory marketing practices and exorbitant lobbying efforts to sell Americans on the inaccurate belief that pre-packaged water is cleaner and safer than tap water—a notion that is costing U.S. households about $16 billion per year.
In a new report entitled “Take Back the Tap,” Food & Water Watch explains that 64 percent of bottled water comes from municipal tap water sources—meaning that Americans are often unknowingly paying for water that would otherwise be free or nearly free. Continue reading →
Many rural areas in Puerto Rico remain without power, and San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz said Monday that privatization has directly resulted in delays to restoration. (Photo: Western Area Power/Flickr/cc)
As nearly 250,000 Puerto Ricans remain without power five months after Hurricane Maria struck the island territory—the longest blackout in U.S. history—the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) said Sunday it will reduce its operating reserve to save money, as the island’s government moves toward privatizing the authority.
A federal judge denied PREPA a $1 billion loan over the weekend, saying the authority could not prove it needed the additional cash injection. The company will now reduce its reserve by 450 megawatts, saving $9 million per month but likely resulting in more power outages. Continue reading →
Rather than heeding the warnings from the UN to open up Gaza’s blockade and allow vital aid, what we have witnessed over the course of the last decade is a periodic all-out Israeli assault on Gaza’s vital infrastructure.
Palestinian children fill their bottles with water from a UNICEF tap in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. Photo: UNICEF
Near the end of last month, Haaretz reported that, according to an expert hydrologist, 97 percent of Gaza’s drinking water has been contaminated by sewage and salt. The UN also confirmed that this was the case early last year, and clearly, the situation has remained unchanged even up until 2018. Robert Piper, the UN’s local coordinator for humanitarian and development activities, has called the situation “really very serious” and stated that “[w]e are falling far behind the demand for clean drinking water for Gazans.”
This kind of mistreatment is part and parcel of an overall package of deprivation that continues to plague the Palestinian people. There are some 2 million residents in Gaza affected by this egregious policy, famously one of the most densely populated areas on the planet. Gaza’s water resources are fully controlled by Israel and the division of groundwater is something that was provided for in the Oslo II Accord. However, despite the fact that under the Accord Israel is allocated four times the Palestinian portion of water resources, it has been revealed that Israel has been extracting 80 percent more water from the West Bank than it agreed to. Continue reading →