Hopefully – a trend: New York state to ban fracking

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The more I’m reading about the health and environmental impacts of fracking, the more I’m convinced we’re a long way from this being a safe system for drilling for gas and oil.

Oh we get the take from Big Oil and Big Gas – that it’s completely safe and the people who live around the fracking wells have nothing at all to be afraid of. We hear that the chemicals that the industry refuses to disclose but are pumping into the ground are very safe.

Don’t be concerned about your neighbors being sick. Look at the pretty towers rising across the horizons. Think of them as towers of gold and magic.”

The industry doesn’t have a great track record for safety. And even when full-on, horrible disasters strike, like the Gulf Oil Gusher, the industry blows off concerns and underplays the extent of the impacts.

Should people have trusted the cigarette manufacturers when for decades they claimed smoking was safe? Naah – I think I’ll trust science; thank you.

Of late, we’re seeing more research bubble to the surface on fracking. The news that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is ready to ban fracking in his state offered up more news about the dangers.

But while Cuomo seems to be ready to take this positive step, reports indicate his administration had previously attempted to delay and soften a report about the dangers of fracking.

A Capital New York article from early October reports in the final version of the report, “some of the authors’ original descriptions of environmental and health risks associated with fracking were played down or removed.”

So even in state that might become the first to ban fracking, the coverup on the dangers of the practice was well underway.

I’m just not going to trust the states or the industry, in claiming the chemicals are safe. Why would be that naive?

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Wacky Mentality at the forefront this month

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Maybe it’s the approach of Halloween or maybe it’s a decay of common sense, but we’re seeing an ever-growing level of Wacky Mentality in recent news reports.

But first, a commercial break: A new, regular video feature is coming soon for the Pack Mentality Blog. Stay tuned for more details. Hint: It will be a news show like no other.

Now – on to the latest Wacky-ness:

Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying was quoted this week as stating that allowing all people to vote in a democracy would give too much power to the poor.

So you oppress people into poverty and then cry-baby that letting them vote would give them a stake in their government. That’s wacky and evil.

The national government in China has presented a plan where the people of Hong Kong could vote on their leaders, but only among a list of candidates hand picked by the sitting government.

We’ve got our own problems with voting laws in some US states. I hope leaders in these regions don’t get any new ideas from China.

Allowing fracking companies to keep the list of chemicals they use secret from the public is more than wacky – it’s sneaky, underhanded wacky. But this is exactly what the government is currently doing.

An Environmental Integrity Project report notes the companies don’t even have to obtain a permit to inject potentially-dangerous chemicals into the ground. Why? – because the lobbyists keep reminding the politicians about those big campaign donations.

And get this, it’s called the “Halliburton Loophole.” If that’s not a slap in the face to the environment and to the public across the board, I don’t know what is.

And if both of those stories weren’t enough for the week …

Cigarette manufacturer Reynolds American – in 2014!! – is finally banning the act of smoking in its offices. Most indoor areas will be off limits to smoking, but the company will set up smoking rooms.

It took Reynolds this long to consider the health of its employees. That’s stunning, even for a cigarette company.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

BP Translated: “Whaaaaa, no fair; Everybody’s pickin’ on us ’cause we polluted the Gulf”

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So BP has huge hand in the worst man-made environmental disaster in US history and now the company talking heads want to downplay the horrible impacts.

Geoff Morrell, the senior vice president of U.S. communications and external affairs at BP, penned an op-ed for Politico Magazine, which published the drivel on Tuesday of this week. It’s seems the endless train of propaganda-filled TV ads weren’t enough.

The headline of the op-ed (or in this case – odd-ed) – “No, BP Didn’t Ruin the Gulf.”

Morrell fails to mention impacts on the ocean floor in the Gulf of Mexico and the coral reefs and fails to touch on the impacts to wetlands and marshes along the coast.
Earlier today, Media Matters noted the misleading nature of the op-ed. And of course, BP seems to want us to forget the horrible images we saw as oil-coated animals suffered and died.
PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Manufacturer of d-CON rodent poison reaches agreement with EPA

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Reckitt Benckiser, the manufacturer of d-CON rat and mouse poisons, has reportedly agreed to stop selling some its products that contain chemicals the EPA has deemed to be a risk to people, pets or wildlife.

Twelve products are on the list and they will no longer be distributed beyond March 31, 2015.

The EPA has included information – on the linked page above – for people who want to dispose of any of these products they already purchased.

Consumers who wish to dispose of any of the d-CON mouse and rat poison products listed above should contact their state or local waste disposal program or service for information on proper disposal in their community. These pesticides are harmful to the wildlife, so consumers who have opened containers should not discard them outdoors or dispose of them in sinks or toilets.

Consumers can contact their local government for recommendations on how to dispose of unwanted or unused pesticide products.

My wife and I have always been leery of rat and mouse baits/poisons and do not use them for fear of the possible ingestion by our pets.

This case is an important example of how the EPA does protect us. I keep reading about uninformed politicians who want to shut down the EPA. What a look at how we’d live without the EPA? – Just take a look at China and the areas where the air is thick with smog and rivers are toilets.

We need the EPA.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Predictions that environmental rules would devastate coal plant were completely wrong

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When it was announced three years ago that a coal-fire power plant in Pennsylvania would have to reduce its output of pollution into the air, the anti-environment crowd and operators of the plant cried that there would be horrible consequences.

None of it happened; the predictions were wrong and now we have more proof that environmental regulations can protect us, without shutting down local economies or the national economy.

Sure, there are upfront costs. But then again, in many cases we’re talking about companies that pay CEO’s massive salaries each year. A report just came out noting the median CEO pay in the US has topped $10 million per year. (Note that is the MEDIAN annual paycheck.)

It’s like Donald Sterling, who is crying about the millions he will have to pay in capital gains tax if he sells the LA Clippers – for over a billion dollars – some reports suggest $2 billion.

Boo hoo hoo. Cry me an ocean. Poor little fella. He might ONLY profit in the hundreds of millions of dollars or maybe exceeding a billion. These people are so far removed from the rest of the population, they must have nose bleeds while looking over their portfolios, bank accounts and stock holdings.

So in getting back to the coal-fired plant, the Associated Press reports

GE Energy Financial Services, the plant’s majority owner, now says it can do it — and without electricity bills increasing for the two million households it provides with power.

And guess what. People are being employed to make the upgrades.

The article does note another company filed for bankruptcy this year, when faced with having to put in place protections for the local environment. But we don’t know the underlying details about this case.

If the Pennsylvania plant can do it, why not others. That facility will invest $750 million in protecting the people. The article explains how important the move is:

Last year, the facility, released 114,245 tons of sulfur dioxide, more than all of the power plants in neighboring New York combined.

Suggesting a company’s profits are more important than protecting the lives of citizens is more than clueless and wacky. We’ve known about the devastating impacts of pollution on our air, water and ground for decades. Companies should have been spreading out their investments in protecting the public for decades. Then, the financial impacts would not have been so large in one chunk.

But instead, too many industries have poured untold millions each year into campaign donations to elect anti-environment candidates. That money could have been used to protect the environment. It’s a really moronic way to go about polluting and putting the public health at risk.

 

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Trailer: Drill, Spill, Repeat? – It can happen again in the Gulf of Mexico

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Oceana has released a trailer for its new documentary concerning the BP Oil Gusher – and the ongoing threats four years later.

For more information, go to Oceana.org.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Former TransCanada employee has harsh words for company’s practices

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A former TransCanada Corp. employee testified last week about the company before a Canadian Senate committee and used phrases such as a “culture of noncompliance” and “coercion” and “deeply entrenched business practices that ignored legally required regulations and codes” and “significant public safety risks” – according to an articled posted Tuesday on the Huffington Post website.

And of course, all of this related to the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline that would carry tar sands oil from Canada, through the US and on to the Gulf Coast. After the hearing, Evan Vokes told the Huffington Post – “It’s organized crime, in my opinion.”

Big Oil’s safety record across the board and over many, many years is poor at best – from the Exxon Valdez to the Gulf Oil Gusher to another recent pipeline spill to many other spills and disasters in the United States and worldwide.

Who could honestly say they’d want work done around their homes by companies with sort of track record? But because it’s Big Oil, some people and some politicians will give them a pass every time. Remember in the few years leading up to the Gulf Oil Gusher how many politicians praised Big Oil as having a great safety record. That turned out to be huge strike out.

I tend to not trust people who get it all wrong to this extent. We should all be concerned with what could happen with the Keystone XL Pipeline. And because it might not be running through your state, it doesn’t mean you should not be concerned.

 

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Studies showing dispersants used during BP Gulf Oil Gusher are destroying marine animals

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The fear was there during the BP Gulf Gulf Oil Gusher, that not only was the oil killing marine wildlife – but also the chemicals being used to “clean up” the mess.

Now, it seems studies are showing the dispersants were toxic too.

An article on TakePart.com suggests – “everything from microscopic organisms to bottlenose dolphins are now paying the highest price.” But at the time, BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley downplayed the use of the product. Should we be surprised? – No.

But as of last year certainly, scientists were finding horrible deformities in animals. We are not seeing enough in the media about this. And while the suffering goes on under the surface of the water, BP continues to play those ads, patting itself on the back as a hero to the Gulf Region.

The national media should be covering this story. I realize there are a lot of really important stories at the forefront right now and I fully understand this. But I’m also seeing reality show news and other crap. While the media reports what a music or TV celebrity is up, a tragedy continues to unfold.

Take Part also published a gallery to show the impact on sea life.

Continue reading

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic