Tag Archives: Environment

Brazil’s Indigenous peoples survived Bolsonaro. Now Lula has won, what next?

Bolsonaro’s genocidal policies devastated Indigenous communities. After four years of trauma, they can breathe again

By Sarah Shenker.  Published 2-3-2023 by openDemocracy.

Indigenous women in Brazil have led protests during Bolsonaro’s rule.. Photo: Survival International

The news broke on 28 October 2018. Through the crackle and hiss of the radio, we made out one sentence: “Jair Bolsonaro has been elected president of Brazil.”

It was a long way from Brasília to Maçaranduba, an Indigenous community in the Amazon rainforest, but the significance of the news was clear. Some of our Awá and Tenetehar friends paced up and down, others held their heads in their hands. One let out a visceral scream, before reaching for a bottle of sugarcane spirit. Continue reading

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Advocates Cheer Revival of Bill to ‘Restore Critical Protections’ to Arctic Refuge

“We need a law on the books that will affirm these lands are not for sale, preserve the wilderness of the Coastal Plain, and uphold the sovereignty of Arctic Indigenous peoples,” said Sen. Ed Markey, one of the bill’s lead sponsors.

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 2-1-2023 by Common Dreams

A polar bear rests on a barrier island in the Beaufort Sea in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. (Photo: YangTS/flickr/cc)

Indigenous, climate, and conservation advocates on Wednesday welcomed the reintroduction of congressional legislation to restore protections and prevent fossil fuel development in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), along with Reps. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), reintroduced the Arctic Refuge Protection Act, the continuation of legislative efforts dating back to the 1980s to protect the critical wilderness and its inhabitants. Continue reading

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GOP House Puts Big Oil’s Revolving Door Into High Gear

These lobbyists are not getting hired to advocate for American energy consumers—they will push an agenda that benefits the new majority’s donors no matter what it costs taxpayers.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 1-27-2023 by Common Dreams.

Nancy Peele, chief of staff to House Natural Resources Committee Chair Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.), is a former fossil fuel lobbyist for companies responsible for the 2010 Gulf oil spill. (Photo: Nancy Peele/LinkedIn)

An analysis published Friday by the nonpartisan watchdog Accountable.US revealed that numerous former fossil fuel lobbyists are being hired to work for the Republican-controlled 118th Congress, including in high-level positions on the House Natural Resources Committee.

“As the Republicans majority begins the new Congress, former oil industry lobbyists will have new and growing influence as top staffers for congressmen on key committees,” the analysis states. Continue reading

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EPA Allowing Vast Oil Refinery Waste to Pollute US Waterways

“It’s high time for EPA to crack down on the toxic pollution from oil refineries that’s threatening both wildlife and human health,” said one environmental justice advocate.

By Kenny Stancil  Published 1-26-2023 by Common Dreams

Exxon Mobil Refinery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Photo: WClarke/Wikimedia Commons/CC

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is failing to uphold its legal obligation to regulate the nearly half-billion gallons of toxic wastewater that petroleum refineries dump into the nation’s waterways on a daily basis, according to an exhaustive study published Thursday.

The Environmental Integrity Project (EIP), a watchdog founded by former EPA enforcement attorneys, analyzed publicly available records and found that in 2021 alone, the 81 refineries across the U.S. that discharge into rivers, streams, and estuaries released 1.6 billion pounds of chlorides, sulfates, and other dissolved solids harmful to aquatic life; 15.7 million pounds of algae-feeding nitrogen; 60,000 pounds of selenium, which can cause mutations in fish; and other pollutants, including cyanide; heavy metals such as arsenic, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, and zinc; and petrochemicals like benzene. Continue reading

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Biden Admin Still Pushing Trump-Era Legal Positions After Two Years in White House

“As the previous administration violated legal and ethical norms at every turn, Attorney General Merrick Garland’s choice of continuity with the Trump DOJ’s positions erodes the integrity of the very institution he is determined to protect,” said one researcher.

By Kenny Stancil.  Published 1-20-2023 by Common Dreams

Merrick Garland and Chuck Schumer in 2016 Photo: Senate Democrats/flickr/CC

Two years after President Joe Biden was inaugurated, his administration continues to advance Trump-era legal positions in dozens of court cases, a progressive watchdog group revealed Friday.

Former President Donald Trump’s Department of Justice (DOJ) “consistently made a mockery of the law throughout his four years in power,” the Revolving Door Project (RDP) noted in the latest release of its long-running litigation tracker. Continue reading

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Eating One Freshwater Fish Equals a Month of Drinking Water With ‘Forever Chemicals’: Study

“The extent that PFAS has contaminated fish is staggering,” said the lead researcher, advocating for “a single health protective fish consumption advisory for freshwater fish across the country.”

By Jessica Corbett.  Published 1-17-2023 by Common Dreams

Yet another study on Tuesday raised the alarm about the dangers of “forever chemicals,” revealing that eating just one locally caught freshwater fish in the continental United States can be equivalent to drinking contaminated water for a month.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are widely called forever chemicals because they persist in the human body and environment for long periods. Despite public health concerns, the manufactured chemicals have been used in products ranging from firefighting foam and waterproof clothing to nonstick pans and food packaging. Continue reading

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Researchers Warn Great Salt Lake’s Retreat Threatens Crucial Ecosystem, Public Health

“The lake’s ecosystem is not only on the edge of collapse. It is collapsing,” said one ecologist.

By Julia Conley.  Published 1-7-2023 by Common Dreams

Scientists are warning Utah officials that the Great Salt Lake is shrinking far faster than experts previously believed, and calling for a major reduction in water consumption across the American West in order to prevent the lake from disappearing in the next five years.

Researchers at Brigham Young University (BYU) led more than 30 scientists from 11 universities and advocacy groups in a report released this week showing that the lake is currently at 37% of its former volume, with its rapid retreat driven by the historic drought that’s continuing across the West. Continue reading

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Nobody loved you, 2022

From devastating floods in Pakistan to Italy’s far-right PM to overturning Roe v Wade, this was a year of extremes

By Adam Ramsay  Published 12-30-2022 by openDemocracy

A flooded village in Matiari, in the Sindh province of Pakistan. Photo: Asad Zaidi/UNICEF

How do you turn 365 days experienced by eight billion people – and billions more other beings – into some kind of story?

Maybe you start with some events?

In which case, 2022 was the year that Covid vaccines kicked in. Daily global deaths hit 77,000 on 7 February, and have declined fairly steadily ever since. It was the year Russia invaded Ukraine, the first war between major European powers since 1945. Continue reading

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‘Huge News’: Alaska Native Group Secures Protections for Land Eyed by Pebble Mine Developers

An Alaska Native village corporation drove the effort to conserve 44,000 acres of land in the Bristol Bay region, home to the world’s largest salmon fishery.

By Julia Conley  Published 12-22-2022 by Common Dreams

The proposed site for Pebble Mine Photo: Jason Sear/KDLG

In partnership with a national conservation group, an Alaska Native village corporation owned by people of Dena’ina descent announced Thursday that it’s secured protections for 44,000 acres of land and waters that have been targeted by developers of the proposed Pebble Mine—creating the latest roadblock for a project that tribal leaders and conservationists warn would threaten the world’s largest wild salmon fishery.

The Conservation Fund, a nonprofit, announced that following an 18-month fundraising campaign, it has purchased three conservation easements for the land near Bristol Bay, surrounding Knutson Creek, Iliamna River, and Pile River. The easements cover part of the land on which developers have sought to build a mining road to transport ore from the proposed copper and gold mine. Continue reading

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‘Huge Win’: Court Finds EPA Approval of Bee-Killing Sulfoxaflor Unlawful

“It’s long past time for the EPA to take meaningful action to protect our most imperiled wildlife and put protections in place for endangered species before approving use of toxic pesticides on millions of acres of crops,” said one advocate.

By Kenny Stancil  Published 12-21-2022 by Common Dreams

Earthjustice attorney Greg Loarie said on December 21, 2022 that “scientists have long said systemic insecticides like sulfoxaflor are behind the unprecedented colony collapse of the last few years.” Photo: Charlesjsharp/Wikimedia Commons/CC

In a major victory for pollinators and other wildlife, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit on Wednesday ruled that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s registration of the bee-killing insecticide sulfoxaflor is unlawful.

In response to a legal challenge brought by the Center for Food Safety and the Center for Biological Diversity, the court argued that the EPA’s 2019 decision authorizing the expanded use of sulfoxaflor across more than 200 million acres of pollinator-attractive crops violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The court gave the agency 180 days to collect public comment and issue a new decision on the insecticide, which is produced by Corteva, formerly Dow AgroSciences. Continue reading

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