Archive | Environmental

Nuclear radiation, the gift that keeps on giving

Oh, look. Radiation along the Fukushima rivers up to 200 times higher than the Pacific Ocean seabed:

Tokyo, 21 July 2016 – Radioactive contamination in the seabed off the Fukushima coast is hundreds of times above pre-2011 levels, while contamination in local rivers is up to 200 times higher than ocean sediment, according to results from Greenpeace Japan survey work released today.

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Fukushima coverup

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I still remember how the commenters at C&L called me “crazy,” “paranoid” and “unscientific” for saying the meltdown was a lot worse than they were telling us:

TOKYO (AP) – The utility that ran the Fukushima nuclear plant acknowledged Tuesday its delayed disclosure of the meltdowns at three reactors was tantamount to a cover-up and apologized for it.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. President Naomi Hirose’s apology followed the revelation last week that an investigation had found Hirose’s predecessor instructed officials during the 2011 disaster to avoid using the word “meltdown.”

“I would say it was a cover-up,” Hirose told a news conference. “It’s extremely regrettable.”

TEPCO instead described the reactors’ condition as less serious “core damage” for two months after the earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, wrecked the plant, even though utility officials knew and computer simulations suggested meltdowns had occurred.

An investigative report released last Thursday by three company-appointed lawyers said TEPCO’s then-President Masataka Shimizu instructed officials not to use the specific description under alleged pressure from the Prime Minister’s Office, though the investigators found no proof of such pressure.
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How will the TPP affect the U.S.?

An independent federal report on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) found that the trade agreement between 12 countries would have only modest benefits to the U.S. economy and job growth. The report was mandated by US law as a final step before President Obama could send legislature to Congress for a vote.

The highly anticipated report, conducted by the US International Trade Commission, was revealed on Wednesday. It predicted that by 2032 the TPP would likely increase the national income by $57.3 billion a year, just 0.23% more than what it would be without the trade pact.

This falls short of what private studies had projected would be an increase of over $100 billion annually, including a study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics, which in January of this year estimated an increase of $131 billion in annual real income by 2030.

While the report projected US exports would increase, imports would grow at a faster rate with free trade partners in Japan, Malaysia and Vietnam. Job growth would also be modest in the US with a projected addition of 128,000 jobs by the 15th year of the TPP’s implementation, which is only 0.07% greater than baseline estimates.

 

Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, notes the unreliability of these types of projections because of their inability to account for future currency fluctuations and exchange rates.

Top White House trade representative, Michael Froman, who finalized the TPP at the end of last year, emphasized that the International Trade Commission report did not acknowledge the non-tariff benefits including measures to help American firms protect intellectual property, solidify more free and open Internet commerce and reduce the red tape and competition from state-subsidized foreign competitors.

“There has been tremendous focus on the impact on manufacturing,” said Joel Nied, the chairman of the Transactional Group of Price Benowitz, a US law firm that focuses on international business transactions, “but the agreement will have a profound impact on intellectual property protection issues for US companies as well.”

It is important to note that the US-led pact does not include China. Obama stated that the TPP is critical to securing US economic interests in Asia. The Pacific partnership includes Canada, Australia, Mexico, Singapore, Chile, Peru, New Zealand and Brunei, binding economies that constitute nearly 40% of global economic production.
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Small government and Zika

Florida Governor Rick Scott discuss his recent tornadoes with media in Deep Creek neighborhood of Port Charlotte.

So Rick Scott creates the bare-bones, “no such thing as climate change” government he wanted, and now he’s whining?

Amid warnings of a potential Zika “disaster” in Florida, Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday asked President Barack Obama for an extensive list of preparedness items from the federal government to fight the dreaded virus.

In a three-page letter to the President, Scott said some of the requested items were detailed in a May 12 meeting with Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, but have not been fulfilled.

“I cannot waste any time on disappointment. Florida needs action from the federal government now,” Scott wrote.

And then he mentions the real problem:

The governor also voiced unhappiness with inaction by the Republican-controlled Congress, which “has failed to act and they are now on vacation.”

Good

I’ll update with details when I have them.

UPDATE: I read somewhere later that the D.A. is doing this as a stunt, but we’ll see.

2ND UPDATE: Here it is.

FLINT, MI – Felony and misdemeanor charges have been issued against three state and city employees in connection to the city’s water crisis.

Genesee District Court Judge Tracy Collier-Nix authorized charges, Wednesday, April 20, for Flint employee Michael Glasgow and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality employees Stephen Busch and Michael Prysby.

Glasgow is accused of tampering with evidence when he allegedly changed testing results to show there was less lead in city water than there actually was. He is also charged with willful neglect of office.

Prysby and Busch are charged with misconduct in office, conspiracy to tamper with evidence, tampering with evidence, a treatment violation of the Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act and a monitoring violation of the Safe Drinking Water.

Oh boy

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I never like to read this:

A leak at the Hanford nuclear site in Washington state has prompted warnings of “catastrophic” consequences, as workers attempt to clean up more than eight inches of toxic waste from one of 28 underground tanks holding radioactive materials leftover from plutonium production.

Alarms on the site began sounding on Sunday, leading workers to discover 8.4 inches of toxic waste in between the inner and outer walls of tank AY-102, which has been slowly leaking since 2011 but has never accumulated that amount of waste before.

A former tank farm worker told local media that despite statements from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) that the spill does not pose a threat to public health, it should be considered a major problem.

“This is catastrophic,” the worker, Mike Geffre, who first discovered that the tank was failing in 2011, told King-TV on Monday. “This is probably the biggest event ever to happen in tank farm history. The double shell tanks were supposed to be the savior of all saviors [to hold waste safely from people and the environment].”

Flint mayor: Governor’s decision to drink Flint water ‘doesn’t impress me’

FIRST Robotics State Championship 2016

Flint, MI Mayor Karen Weaver was on my radio show Monday night, and I asked her about Governor Rick Snyder’s pledge to drink that city’s water for a month. COLMES: The governor of your state, Rick Snyder, said today that he was going to drink for a month, I guess to give people some comfort, what’s… Continue Reading →

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