children and the environment


Green funerals are all the rage now.

http://www.greenlifestylemag.com.au/node/302/full

Dying to be green

G Magazine

Eco funeral alternatives that allow you rest in harmony with the Earth

My mother wants to be composted when she dies. Not just in a figurative “give my body to the Earth” way, but in a way that befits someone whose passion for gardening knows no bounds.

Her final act will be to produce the lushest crop of tomatoes and zucchini her garden and this world has ever seen. I’m not entirely sure what the health department will make of this request, but my mother doesn’t care. She’ll be dead.

As the Baby Boomers enter their twilight years and begin to consider the details of their demise, it’s no surprise that this enterprising generation are pushing the boundaries when it comes to their funerals. And with the environment front and centre of society’s conscience, many are planning their funerals with future generations in mind.

“There’s a global movement towards green burial,” says Zenith Virago, death consultant and president of the Natural Death Centre Australia in Byron Bay.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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I asked the question last week about how these recent river pollutions reflect on the environment be damned attitude that you find in much of the South East. I mean really everyone in the world knows that America is one of the great violaters of the environment worldwide. But hell, it is not like the other major countries care. Russia and China are nothing but open sources on the Earths skin and they have been at it longer than we have. Still, when you have the interface between a major polluter and local government like North Carolina then bad things are bound to happen.

 

Ash decisions: North Carolina helped river-ruining Duke Energy duck pollution complaints

 

Ash decisions: North Carolina helped river-ruining Duke Energy duck pollution complaints

coal-ash-river-north-carolina
Duke Energy

Last year, North Carolina’s top environmental regulators thwarted three separate Clean Water Act lawsuits aimed at forcing Duke Energy, the largest electricity company in the country, to clean up its toxic coal ash pits in the state. That June, the state went even further, saying it would handle environmental enforcement at every one of Duke’s 31 coal ash storage ponds in the state — an act that protected the company from further federal lawsuits. Last week, one of those coal ash storage ponds ruptured, belching more than 80,000 tons of coal ash into the Dan River.

Now, environmental groups and former regulators are charging that North Carolina Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, who worked for Duke for 30 years, has created an atmosphere where the penalties for polluting the environment are low.

The Associated Press reports that McCrory’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources blocked three federal Clean Water Act suits in 2013 by stepping in with its own enforcement authority “at the last minute.” This protected Duke from the kinds of stiff fines and penalties that can result from federal lawsuits. Instead, state regulators arranged settlements that carried miniscule financial penalties and did not require Duke to change how it stores the toxic byproducts of its coal-fired power plants. After blocking the first three suits, which were brought by the Southern Environmental Law Center, the state filed notices saying that it would handle environmental enforcement at every one of Duke’s remaining North Carolina coal ash storage sites, protecting the company from Clean Water Act lawsuits linked to its coal waste once and for all.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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I know this area is where the mantra – Government is BAD was born. Mainly because of integration and the regulation of tobacco. This attack on all things paid for by taxes has continued unabated for the last 60 years. But really, 2 major rivers have suffer significant contamination in the past month and nothing has been done? Nothing. West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and now North Carolina and Virginia, and no legislation has been proposed. We do not even have testing to find out what these contaminates really are and no studies in the chemical to say even what the chemical does. Really?

http://news.yahoo.com/nc-river-turns-gray-sludge-coal-ash-spill-024204513.html

NC river turns to gray sludge after coal ash spill

Associated Press

ON THE DAN RIVER, N.C. (AP) — Canoe guide Brian Williams dipped his paddle downstream from where thousands of tons of coal ash has been spewing for days into the Dan River, turning the wooden blade flat to bring up a lump of gray sludge.

On the riverbank, hundreds of workers at a Duke Energy power plant in North Carolina scrambled to plug a hole in a pipe at the bottom of a 27-acre pond where the toxic ash was stored.

Since the leak was first discovered by a security guard Sunday afternoon, Duke estimates up to 82,000 tons of ash mixed with 27 million gallons of contaminated water has spilled into the river. Officials at the nation’s largest electricity provider say they cannot provide a timetable for when the leak will be fully contained, though the flow has lessened significantly as the pond has emptied.

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And earlier this was West Virginia.

Federal grand jury investigates West Virginia chemical spill

By Drew Griffin. David Fitzpatrick and Patricia DiCarlo CNN

(CNN) — A federal grand jury investigation has been launched into the West Virginia chemical spill that left 300,000 people unable to use their water supply, CNN learned Tuesday.

Sources familiar with the grand jury’s activities tell CNN that subpoenas have been issued requiring testimony for what one federal official confirms is a criminal investigation.

Meanwhile, an independent water test conducted at CNN’s request has found trace levels of the chemical 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, or MCHM, remain in both untreated river water and tap water from two homes in Charleston.

The results by TestAmerica found the chemical is within the safe level of 1 part per million set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; whether that level is safe is disputed

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Go there and read. More next week.

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But do not ask this guy. He thinks it all is in Paul Ehrlichs head. I believe it to be real and that It started sometime around the year 2000. Furthermore this whole artificial fight is capitalism’s attack on a concept that would be its death knelll.  The “no growth” concept that it predicts would end capitalism as we know it, and that is why a Chicago economist attacked it. The problem of making predictions (as Ehrlich did) is that if they don’t come true then the nah sayer can come back and say, “see I told you so”.  It is also so first world centered, nor does it take into account the wars created by our trying to squeeze more people into a tighter spaces. The best estimate is 5 million people have died of starvation from global warming alone. But it isn’t happening here so it “ain’t happening”…in a dumb ass sort of way…

 

http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/remember-future_774768.html#

Remember the Future?

The population bomb was ticking, and apocalypse was next in line .??.??.

Jan 27, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 19 • By PATRICK ALLITT

(excerpted from below the 4rth paragraph)

Julian Simon, meanwhile, became a professor of business at the University of Illinois. In the late ’60s, he, too, worried about overpopulation; but a closer look at the issue led to a change of heart. He discovered that population growth and economic growth usually went together and that there was no evidence of food shortages. The chronic problem of American agriculture, in fact, was overproduction. Population was rising because fewer children were dying and life expectancy kept increasing. That was good news, surely. Quite apart from a decline in agonizing bereavements, said Simon, children once doomed but now destined to survive might go on to be the next Einstein or Beethoven.

Simon also believed in the free market, whose long-term effect was to make products and raw materials not costlier and rarer but cheaper and more abundant. Occasional shortages stimulated increases in efficiency, the invention of better techniques, and the use of new materials.

Irritated that Paul Ehrlich was making a fortune with his apocalyptic prophecies while he, Julian Simon, labored in obscurity, Simon issued a challenge in 1980: Let Ehrlich choose any five commodities and then watch their prices either rise or fall over the next decade. If the prices rose, Ehrlich would seem to be right about shortages; if the prices declined, Simon would seem to be right that things were becoming more plentiful. Ehrlich accepted the challenge and the two men agreed on $1,000 worth of five metals: copper, chromium, tungsten, nickel, and tin. They agreed that, 10 years later, the loser would mail a check to the winner for the difference above or below $1,000.

The Chronicle of Higher Education called it “the scholarly wager of the decade,” and Ehrlich had some cause to feel confident. In the two recent oil crises of 1973 and 1979, gasoline prices had risen sharply while drivers fumed about shortages and long lines at the pump. Copper was in short supply and costlier every year. President Carter had donned a chunky sweater in the White House and ordered federal thermostats turned down to a chilly 65. Believing Ehrlich’s claim that the age of austerity was here to stay, the president had also commissioned the Global 2000 report, whose prognosis for the future was even grimmer than that of The Limits to Growth.

 

 

 

 

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No Frackers will go to jail if they violate WHAT LAWS? IDNR might as well give away the state of Illinois to being totally trashed. Where will the Fracking start? In our State Parks?

Day 49   1/2/13

Topic:  Fines penalties, suspensions and revocations

For regulations to work, levied fines must exceed the financial benefit a company gains by violating the rules. None of the rulemaking sanctions meet this criterion. This results in the other 150 pages of rules being essentially meaningless because they will be ignored.   The draft rule sanctions place the Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act (HFRA)  on the road to failure before the first permit is issued.

Examples:

  1. Section 1-100(b) of the law specifies misdemeanor and felony criminal charges for a number of violations of the law.  Yet there are NO criminal charges in the rules
  2. In Section 1-60(a)1-6 of the law, there are six (6) grounds for suspension or revocation of a permit.  These are re-listed with a 7th in section 245.1100 of the rules.  But the very next  section of the Rules–245.1110–reduces the grounds for an immediate permit suspension to one: “an emergency condition posing a significant hazard to the public health, aquatic life, wildlife or the environment.” This is the most stringent requirement of the seven grounds listed in section 245.1100.  Why bother to list seven possible grounds for permit suspension or revocation in section 245.1100 if you then require the Department to identify the most stringent criteria for an immediate suspension.
  3. Section 1-60(b) of the law requires a much lower standard of proof to suspend, revoke or deny a permit than the rules (245.1110).  Under the law, the Department need only serve notice of its action (to suspend, revoke or deny), including a statement of the reasons for the action.
  4. In the law, if a well operator’s permit has been suspended, the burden of proof is on well operator to prove that the identified problem is “no significant threat to public health, aquatic life, wildlife, or the environment” [Section 1-60(d)].  In the rules, this phrase becomes something IDNR must prove before ordering a permit suspension [Rule Section 245.1100(b)3A].
  5. Sections 1-100 and 1-101 of the law have some stiff penalties that accrue on a daily basis until the reason for the fine is corrected.  These fines can go as high as $50,000 per violation and up to $10,000 per day.  These are replaced by fines so trivial ($50-$2500) that it will cost the IDNR more to impose and collect a fine than the dollar value of the fine itself.

Revisions Needed:  Return to the standards of the law with regard to fines, penalties and revocations.

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Go there and comment. We are done with this.
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What the hell would the public know about their own self interest. Everybody outside of Chicago is just dumb hicks anyways.

Day 29 12/13/13 

Today’s Topic:  Who a potentially affected party must petiton in order to participate in a hearing.

Section 245.270 Public Hearings

The Act’s provision affording public hearings are critically important to ensuring that the public has the ability to fully understand hydraulic fracturing permits that may affect them, and challenge them if appropriate. We are therefore concerned that some aspects of the draft rules governing hearings could potentially undercut the robust public participation envisioned in the statute.

Section 1-50(b) of the Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act says any person having an interest that is or may be adversely affected [by a fracking permit], can petition the Department for participation in a hearing.

But Subsection 245.270(a)(6) of the Rules raises the bar, requiring the request for hearing to be served upon the Hearing Officer, the Department, and the ap

Seriously, this means that they can brink “stuff” into this state with no inspection and inject it into our soils? That is off the charts.

 

Today (Sunday, 12/1/13) is Day 17 of the IDNR Comment Period on Fracking.  Thanks for hanging in there with us even on this holiday weekend!
Day 17 
Topic – The term “Competitive Value” is not defined but affords fracking operators the right to withhold chemical disclosure
Section 245.720(d) of the Proposed Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act administrative rules, states: IDNR allows permit applicants to withhold chemical disclosure information under a claim of “trade secret” if they can establish that (1) the information has not been published, disseminated, or otherwise become a matter of general public knowledge, and (2) the information has competitive value.
Problems with this section:
  1. “Competitive value” is not defined in the various administrative code definitions.
  2. There is no IDNR administrative criteria provided which is the basis of “competitive value” other than, apparently, a self-identified one provided by the fracking operator.
Why these are problems:
  1. Undefined and catch-all allowances for generic “competitive value” open the door for any and all dangerous chemicals to be undisclosed simply based on the operators desire to do so.
  2. Individual ingredients in the various chemical products used during hydraulic fracturing cannot be considered trade secrets under the criteria “competitive value”. The regulations should be revised to state that information on file with IDNR must be disclosed to the public.
  3. Raising such an allowance for a fracking operator to not disclose potentially dangerous chemicals based on “competitive value” automatically gives them more power than the basic claim of the law which is to protect the environment of Illinois.
Revisions Needed:
  1. “Competitive value” must be fully defined within the rulemaking.
  2. Competitive value must not in any way supersede a determination of the public right to know and the basic legislative and Illinois Constitutional provision of a healthy and safe environment for its citizens.
  3. Any conflict between “competitive value” and the public right to know must be decided on the inherent protection of the citizens and the environment.
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Yes and the damage they will do is a lot more than 50,000 $$$ they initially put up.

 

Today (Thursday, 11/28/13) is Day 14 of the 49-day Comment Period on Fracking.  On this Thanksgiving Day, we are thankful for your comments to IDNR.
Topic – Inadequate Bonding Requirements for Fracking Companies
  • Click the button: Subpart B:  Registration and Permitting Procedures
  • In the “Section” dropdown box, click:  245.220 Permit Bonds or Other Collateral Securities
  • Submit your comment/s (below)
  • Click “Submit”
Section 245.220 states, “The bond shall be in the amount of $50,000 per permit or a blanket bond of $500,000 for all permits.” (Section 1-65(a) of the Act)
Comment:  Plugging a well alone costs more than $50,000. In the study “Who Pays the Cost of Fracking?: Weak Bonding Rules for Oil and Gas Drilling Leave the Public At Risk”, PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center reported documented instances in which fracking wells have cost $700,000 or more to plug.  What is the motivation for the operator to not simply forfeit the bond when they shut down?  Furthermore, drilling companies typically frack a string of wells and not just one.  If they are cutting corners, using improper well-casings for example, or not sealing them correctly, the violation is likely to occur at each site.  One $500,000 bond for perhaps as many as 100 -150 well sites is as unacceptable as a $50,000 for one well site.
If the purpose of the bond is to protect the state from expenses incurred from an accident or violation, then the bond must be sufficient to cover those occurrences.  It makes no sense to offer a blanket bond—like some bargain basement “buy 2 pairs of socks and get a third pair free”.  Each well should be bonded individually and in the amount necessary to cover real and imagined damages as outlined by the PennEnvironment study.
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alt

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Go there and comment. More later.

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If Frackers screw up then they should lose their permits plain and simple. And if they lose a number of permits they should lose their ability to operate in Illinois. That is plain and simple.

Please send comment of the day:
We made an error on today’s comment which went out earlier today.  The Subpart is K, not A.  If you haven’t already sent your comment, please click K, not A.  If it’s not too much to ask, and you’ve already sent your comment, could you please do it again with the correct Subpart?  Thanks so much!  We are very sorry for this inconvenience–just operating on too little sleep!
Today (Moday, 11/25/2013) is Day 11 of the IDNR 45 day comment period on fracking.  Thank you for all of the comments you’re making!
Today’s comment is on the need to revoke permits when a fracking company doesn’t follow guidelines in building or testing a well.
Here’s what to do to make your comment today:
Comment:  Section 245.1100 states that the Department may revoke for a wide variety of infractions:
“The Department may, through the enforcement process set forth in this Subpart, suspend or revoke a high volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing permit, order actions to remediate, or issue administrative penalties for one or more of the following causes…”
The rules are too lax when the violation involves failing to follow guidelines when building/developing a well or testing its integrity.  In those circumstances, the rules should require mandatory revocation of the permit.
Rationale.   Provisions in Section 1-70 of the Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act (Well preparation, construction, and drilling) require adherence to the American Petroleum Institute (API) standards when developing and testing oil and gas wells.  A strong case can be made that these are the most important sections in the law because their objective is to reduce the risks of well blowouts, fires and explosions along with the attendant risks of injury or death to workers, adverse public health outcomes to nearby residents, and the pollution of groundwater, air, and soil.
There are reasons why failure to adhere to section I-70 must result in permit revocation:
  1. If well operators shortcut the well development standards in Sec. 1-70 or if the well fails any of the required tests in Sec. 1-70, the adverse events cited above become much more likely.  Pollution of aquifers is also much more likely and this pollution can be easily overlooked.
  2. Other states have experienced major problems with some rogue companies that systematically and persistently engage in high-risk, cost-cutting violations of regulations, such as these.  If some companies are allowed to violate Section 1-70, others will follow their lead.
  3. It was the violation of the provisions in Sec. 1-70 that lead to the Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico on 20 April 2010.  That explosion claimed 11 lives and led to the largest environmental disaster in American History.
Automatic permit revocation for violations of Sec. 1-70 could prove to be one of the more effective ways to insure higher levels of safety and environmental protection in areas where fracking will occur.
If the IDNR is not serious about strict enforcement of Sections 245-520/580, then it has already nullified one of the most important set of regulatory standards for the oil and gas industry.
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Go there and comment. More today.

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City and county governments?  We don’t care about your stinking City and County governments. Drill baby drill.

 

 

Today (Saturday, 11/23/2013) is Day 9 of the IDNR 45 day comment period on fracking.  You’re all doing a great job sending in your comments.  We’re a fifth of the way through the comment period.  Let’s keep the pressure on. 

Today’s comment is on the Local Control

Here’s what to do to make your comment today:

·         Click the button: Subpart A: General Provisions

·         In the “Section” dropdown box, click 245.210 Permit Application Requirements

·         Submit your comments (below)

·         Click “Submit”

Comment:

This section states that “when an application is made to frack a well site located within the limits of any city, village or incorporated town, the application shall state the name of the city, village, or incorporated town and be accompanied with a certified copy of the official consent for the high volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing operations to occur from the municipal authorities where the well site is proposed to be located.  No permit shall be issued unless consent is secured and filed with the permit application.”

This is excellent for municipalities but what about counties???

*  The intent of the legislation was to recognize that local units of government should have decision-making power regarding whether to allow fracking in their jurisdictions.  

*  This section demonstrates blatant disregard for the realities of the geography of fracking in Illinois regarding cities compared to counties.  Little if any fracking is anticipated within the cities of Carbondale, Marion, Decatur or other metro areas affected by the majority of fracking land leases.  If prior notification and an intentional process of permitting is important for metropolitan communities, why are the proposed rules silent regarding neighborhoods in counties and the families living there?

*  There is no substantive difference between a municipal or county government in Illinois in its powers other than the issue of Illinois Constitutional Home Rule.  However, the lack of county Home Rule has never preempted a county power to issue permits on mineral or oil extraction.  Numerous county governments have long histories and traditions in the permitting process regarding mineral and drilling industries. As the current fracking law is largely silent on the issue of county control, IDNR rules should err on the side of history and citizen decision-making. 

*  Counties and municipalities of government tax, employ law enforcement, provide social services and infrastructure.  The rules provide no explanation why citizens residing in counties of Illinois should have less input regarding fracking permits.  The regulatory differentiation between the rights of residents in municipalities vs. counties creates a group of second class citizens. These second class citizens have fewer rights in their ability to participate and ultimately determine the type and quality of energy extraction allowed in their neighborhoods.

*  There is no reasonable expectation that the personnel at IDNR have any better or more clear understanding of the will of citizens in counties regarding fracking permits than the residents themselves.  As the proposed IDNR rules envision municipalities empowered to decide fracking sites, what possible argument does IDNR have that it is better equipped or knowledgeable on the needs of residents living in Illinois counties? 

510 E. Washington St. Suite 309
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Go there and comment. More tomorrow.

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