Archive | Environmental

First responders sue Texas chemical plant for gross negligence

Harvey's aftermath: more fires expected at chemical plant

Seven first responders filed a lawsuit Thursday against a chemical company whose Houston-area facility exploded after Hurricane Harvey. The lawsuit against Arkema and three of the company’s executives is seeking over $1 million in monetary relief, and alleges that the company did not adequately warn law enforcement and public health agencies about hazardous materials at the… Continue Reading →

Billionaires who own GOP are stopping action on climate change

Irma Is Getting Stronger

Climate change is an issue that should not be partisan, yet in the United States, acceptance and belief in action on the issue are split down Party lines. This is because the wealthy interests who own the Republican Party don’t want action on climate change because it could cut into their profits, and they are the… Continue Reading →

Water, water, everywhere?

I live about a half-mile from the Delaware River, in a part of the city called the Riverwards. It’s very, very flat here.

I also live a half-mile south of a former chemical plant, and about a mile northwest of a major gas facility that stores liquified natural gas. (They call the ships that carry LNG “floating bombs.”)

I’m about three blocks north of Frankford Creek.

And now there’s this new hurricane, Hurricane Irma. Looks like it’s going to be a Cat 4, just like Harvey. They’re saying it might hit the East Coast in a week to ten days, although it’s still too early to tell.

As we just saw in Texas, an awful lot of people in America live sandwiched in between all kinds of potential threats. The less wealthy you are, the more likely it is. The job providers who get rich off these facilities live nowhere near them.

Bless their hearts.

Irma might turn out to sea and become what weather geeks call a fish storm. I hope so. But it does seem likely to hit the coast; we just don’t know how far north. The models are scary, but models aren’t the same as forecasts. If this was a forecast, I’d already be in my car and heading west:

Unzoned Houston

This is what happens.

As a reporter 30 years ago, I covered stormwater politics. What I learned is that flood maps aren’t updated, and that’s for a reason. As long as the official map says it’s okay to build, a politician can sign off on development that means campaign cash in his pocket. Then officials are interviewed after massive floods, saying “it’s a once-in-500-year event.” Only if you go by their old maps!

I also remember when Bill Clinton tried to pass a FEMA regulation that if your house was destroyed more than 50% by flooding, you would not be permitted to rebuild in the same place. Well, all those wealthy Republicans with beachfront properties were furious, and kicked up a major fuss. Their politicians got Clinton to withdraw the change.

This is what I hate about Republicans. They have completely abdicated any pretense of working for the common good, it’s all about their donors. Period. That’s why nothing was done about all the climate change warnings, and it’s why one of the first things Trump did was rescind all of the executive orders on climate that Obama put in place because Republicans refused to allow anything substantive to happen.

Now we have someone who hates environmental protection in charge of the agency charged with protecting the environment. Even Richard Nixon cared about the environment!

Trump’s lawyer sue Greenpeace, make jaw-dropping accusations


Still reeling from a D.C. district court loss in June, Energy Transfer Partners, the owner of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), has sued Greenpeace and other environmental groups in a $300 million racketeering case, accusing them of inciting terrorism, fraud and defamation and violating state and federal RICO laws. On Tuesday, ETP released a statement… Continue Reading →

The land of property rights, with one notable exception


Even if I didn’t have friends who were NDNs, just as a human being, it’s hard to mix the hypocrisy of taking Indian lands. Charlie Pierce:

LINCOLN, NEBRASKA—The involvement of the indigenous populations in both the United States and Canada in the opposition to various pipelines, including the Keystone XL, should come as no surprise. As we have said, the abuse and misuse of the eminent domain process in the construction of the pipeline here has been an effective organizing tool to bring together environmentalists and ranchers to oppose the project. And if it is nothing else, the history of the native peoples on this continent is the greatest example of eminent domain abuse in human history. They know better than anyone the feeling that greater forces from the outside can overwhelm and threaten long-standing ways of life.

On Tuesday, in a basement ballroom of a downtown hotel, the Ponca, Santee, Omaha, and Winnebago peoples organized a treaty among themselves, and several other tribes, expressing their opposition to the pipeline. From the start, here and in Canada, the indigenous peoples of the continent have been at the heart of the opposition to projects like this one, most visibly during the extended confrontation over the Dakota Access pipeline. In Nebraska, the alliance between Native Americans and ranchers, particularly over issues of eminent domain, not only was shot through with remarkable historical je ne sais quoi, it was a pragmatic decision based on common interests. People shouldn’t buy the right to steal your land. The Native people are familiar with this phenomenon and with how angry its victims can become.

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