Offering asides, recommended links, blogworthy quotations, and more, In Brief is the Northwest Progressive Institute's microblog of world, national, and local politics.

Tag Archives: Pollution

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Texas Republicans lobbied against imposition of safety rules on chemical plant that exploded

“The French company that says its Houston-area chemical plant is spewing ‘noxious’ smoke — and may explode — successfully pressed federal regulators to delay new regulations designed to improve safety procedures at chemical plants, according to federal records reviewed by International Business Times.”

Quotation

Although the Trump administration forces try to deny it, the science of climate change and its impacts are clear — and accepted by the vast majority of knowledgeable scientists. And the impact of coal dust on marine life is fairly well established. The Department of Ecology should therefore take a firm stand on behalf of sound science and strike a resounding blow against unreason by denying the permit for this unpopular, poorly conceived project.

— Michael Riordan: Say no to Longview coal terminal

Quotation

If the Legislature is not prepared to create a carbon tax that is scaled to meet the challenges we face, it will be up to the citizenry to live up to our great state’s rich heritage of environmental leadership and take decisive action to address climate change.

— Fawn Sharp and Matthew Randazzo V: Don’t bolster education funding by selling out our environment

Quotation

We advocate that you reject misguided advice that the Clean Power Plan be discarded; advice that, if followed, would assuredly lead to more litigation. Instead, we urge you to support the defense of this critically-important rule and the implementation of its carefully constructed strategies to reduce emissions from the nation’s largest sources.

— Excerpt from a letter to Donald Trump from attorneys general representing New York, California, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, the District of Columbia, Boulder (CO), New York City, Broward County (FL), and South Miami (FL).

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Big win for Earth’s climate: 170 nations agree to reduce use of planet-warming HFCs

Negotiators representing most of the world’s nations have agreed to a new legally binding accord that would significantly cut down on use of hydrofluorocarbons, a chemical coolant used in air conditioners and refrigerators. HFCs are a highly potent heat-trapping gas, considered to be a thousand times as potent as carbon dioxide. The new accord is an extension of the landmark Montreal Protocol negotiated in the 1980s, which phased out ozone-depleting CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons).

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Shell cancels major oil train project near Anacortes

“On the heels of the release of a draft environmental impact statement earlier this week, the Shell Puget Sound Refinery announced Thursday it is no longer pursuing the rail unloading facility addressed in the document,” the Skagit Valley Herald reports.

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At long last, Victoria region to get modern sewage treatment plant

Following decades of prodding, local leaders representing communities in the greater Victoria area have approved a plan to build a modern state of the art sewage treatment plant at McLoughlin Point in Esquimalt. When the plant is complete, Victoria will subject its sewage to a tertiary treatment process (the highest and best level available) instead of dumping raw sewage into the Strait of Juan de Fuca as it does today. The plant and related infrastructure is slated to be built by 2020.

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Hillary Clinton needs to take a stand against the Dakota Access Pipeline

“The fight at Standing Rock is a big damned thing,” writes Bill McKibben. “It’s a Flint-in-the-making, and it’s also a chance to for once do right by the continent’s oldest inhabitants. Surely Hillary Clinton can rise to the occasion. Can’t she?”

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Flooding of coast, caused by damage to the climate, has already begun

“For decades, as the global warming created by human emissions caused land ice to melt and ocean water to expand, scientists warned that the accelerating rise of the sea would eventually imperil the United States’ coastline. Now, those warnings are no longer theoretical: The inundation of the coast has begun. The sea has crept up to the point that a high tide and a brisk wind are all it takes to send water pouring into streets and homes,” the New York Times reports.

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Here’s how electric cars will cause the next oil crisis

“A shift is under way that will lead to widespread adoption of electric vehicles in the next decade,” writes Bloomberg’s Tom Randall.

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Seas are rising at fastest rate in last twenty-eight centuries

While Republicans deny the science of the climate crisis, the consequences continue to felt. This just in from the New York Times: “The oceans are rising faster than at any point in the last 28 centuries, and human emissions of greenhouse gases are primarily responsible, scientists reported Monday.”

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Federal Way votes to oppose Chinese-backed methanol plant in Tacoma

“Opposition against a proposed natural gas-to-methanol plant in Tacoma grew Thursday night with a unanimous vote against the project by the Federal Way City Council.” KING5 reports.

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FBI joins Flint drinking water investigation

The Detroit Free Press reports: “The FBI is now investigating the contamination of Flint’s drinking water, a man-made public health catastrophe, which has left an unknown number of Flint children and other residents poisoned by lead and resulted in state and federal emergency declarations.”

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Seattle seeks millions from Monsanto to clean up PCBs from Duwamish

The City of Seattle is suing megacorporation Monsanto for damages over the contamination of the Duwamish River, which became polluted with toxic chemicals due to the company’s manufacture of PCBs. Monsanto’s predictable response to the lawsuit has been to deny that it is responsible. In Monstanto’s world, accountability simply doesn’t exist.

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Flint water crisis: emails reveal Governor Snyder informed of problems a year ago

“According to newly released emails concerns over the water were dismissed by officials who blamed mayor for exploiting public panic,” The Guardian reports.

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Flint lead poisoning crisis: a cautionary tale about America’s water supply

The Christian Science Monitor explains why people are getting sick (and dying) from drinking the tap water in Flint, Michigan. The problems started after the City of Flint, at the behest of the Republican-controlled state government, switched its source of drinking water in an attempt to cut costs.

 

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Quotation

The idea that some trade agreement should force us to overheat the planet’s atmosphere is, quite simply, insane. But the oil industry is so used to always winning that I fear this kind of tantrum is predictable.

— 350.org’s Bill McKibben, responding to the news that oil giant TransCanada is suing the United States under NAFTA for $15 billion in damages following the rejection of its Keystone XL pipeline bid by President Barack Obama.

Quotation

Paris will be a watershed… It will be a dividing point in time between the fossil-fuel economy and the renewables era .

— Steve Howard, chief sustainability officer of the Swedish furniture retailer IKEA (Momentum is growing for an agreement to combat the climate crisis in Paris).

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TransCanada requests suspension of Keystone XL permit

Oil giant TransCanada has sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry asking it to “pause” its review of the Keystone XL pipeline, just days after Canadian voters swept Stephen Harper’s Conservative government out of power.

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Americans have never been so sure about climate change — even Republicans

“Three-quarters of Americans now accept the scientific consensus on climate change, the highest level in four years of surveys conducted by the University of Texas at Austin,” Bloomberg News reports. “The biggest shocker is what’s happening inside the GOP. In a remarkable turnabout, 59 percent of Republicans now say climate change is happening, up from 47 percent just six months ago.”

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Shell says it’s ending Alaska offshore oil exploration

In a huge victory for the environment, Royal Dutch Shell PLC says it has decided to cease searching for oil in the frigid Arctic “for the foreseeable future” after it didn’t get promising results from an exploratory offshore well.