Tag Archives: Water

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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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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Temporarily Passing Paris Climate Targets Could ‘Significantly’ Raise Tipping Point Risk: Study

“To effectively prevent all tipping risks, the global mean temperature increase would need to be limited to no more than 1°C—we are currently already at about 1.2°C,” noted one scientist.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 12-23-2022 by Common Dreams

Fire in the Amazon Photo: Luísa Mota/flickr/CC

Surpassing the global temperature targets of the Paris climate agreement, even temporarily, could dramatically increase the risk of the world experiencing dangerous “tipping points,” according to research published Friday.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) defines tipping points as “critical thresholds in a system that, when exceeded, can lead to a significant change in the state of the system, often with an understanding that the change is irreversible.” Continue reading

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Outlook ‘Grim’ Halfway Through Global Biodiversity Summit, Climate Groups Warn

“If Global North countries don’t compromise, the consequences will be dire,” said Greenpeace. “One million species are at risk of extinction, threatening the web of life that holds our planet together.”

By Julia Conley.  Published 12-15-2022 by Common Dreams

Primary Forest Alliance at COP15 on December 7, 2022. Photo: UN Biodiversity/flickr/CC

Disagreements over financing biodiversity protection, the piracy of natural resources, and commitments to protect at least 30% of the Earth’s land and water by 2030 are some of the top sticking points at the United Nations’ global biodiversity summit in Montreal, which is set to wrap up in just four days.

Following a walkout early Wednesday by developing nations outraged over the Global North’s opposition to creating a biodiversity fund, one anonymous negotiator at the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) wrote in The Guardian that the summit is at risk of amounting to more of what climate campaigner Greta Thunberg has called “blah blah blah.” Continue reading

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Indignation as Michigan Judge Drops Flint Water Charges Against GOP Ex-Gov Snyder

“The people of Flint deserve justice—and it’s unacceptable that the people responsible for Flint’s water crisis aren’t being held accountable,” said Food & Water Watch in response to the development.

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 12-9-2022 by Common Dreams

Former Gov. Rick Snyder Photo: Fox 17 screenshot

Environmental justice advocates on Friday condemned a move by a district judge in Michigan to drop two misdemeanor charges against former Republican Gov. Rick Snyder in connection with the 2014 Flint water crisis that killed dozens of residents of the predominantly Black city and poisoned thousands more.

The Detroit Free Press reports Genesee County Judge F. Kay Behm signed an order remanding willful neglect of duty charges against Snyder, who served two terms as Michigan’s governor from 2011 to 2019. Continue reading

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‘A Brazil of Hope’ as Leftist Lula Defeats Far-Right Bolsonaro in Presidential Runoff

The Workers’ Party candidate, who completed a remarkable political comeback less than three years removed from a prison cell, tweeted one word following his win: “Democracy.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 10-30-2022 by Common Dreams

Brazilian President-Elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Photo: Daya Laxmi Shrestha/Twitter

“A huge blow against fascistic politics and a huge victory for decency and sanity.”

That’s how RootsAction director Norman Solomon described Brazilian President-Elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s Sunday presidential runoff victory against far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro, the culmination of a most remarkable political comeback for a man who was languishing behind bars just three years ago.

With 99% of votes counted via an electronic system that tallies final results in a matter of hours—and which was repeatedly aspersed by Bolsonaro in an effort to cast doubt on the election’s veracity—da Silva led the incumbent by more than two million ballots, or nearly two percentage points. Continue reading

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