Sunday, January 29, 2006

Illinois Launches First State Sponsored Program To Offer Greenhouse Gas Emissions Credits

Illinois is the first state in the U.S. to offer farmers and other landowners the opportunity to earn and sell greenhouse gas emissions credits by adopting conservation practices that limit levels of carbon dioxide and methane.

The Illinois Conservation and Climate Initiative a joint venture between the Chicago Climate Exchange, the Delta Institute, and an advisory committee composed of Illinois agriculture and conservation groups.

CCX is the only legally binding greenhouse gas emission reduction and trading system in the US. CCX allows the carbon benefits from conservation practices to be quantified, credited and sold to its members, including large companies, municipalities, and institutions, that have made a commitment to reduce their emissions.

The Delta Institute is a nonprofit that promotes environmental quality and community economic development. They are responsible for "aggregating" the credits from many different farmers and landowners in order to sell them in large blocks to CCX members. State agencies, including the Illinois EPA and Illinois DNR, are conducting outreach and education to identify farmers who want to voluntarily participate.

The program positions Illinois farmers to take advantage of the emerging market in emission offsets. Although the value of these credits usually represents a modest income, that could change. Carbon credits are much more valuable in Europe and Asia where mandatory greenhouse gas limits have been adopted.

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Friday, January 27, 2006

Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation reaches compromise with Nestle

A decision by Grand Rapids Circuit Court Judge Dennis Kolenda this week sets new water pumping limits agreed to by Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation and Nestle Waters North America, Inc.

Background: In November 2005, the Court of Appeals affirmed a 2003 trial court ruling that Nestle's pumping violated Michigan water law, but then reversed the trial court's injunction that stopped Nestle from pumping in favor of a determination by the Circuit Court which set allowable pumping limits.

This latest ruling allows Nestle to continue to pump and divert water at reduced levels from the Sanctuary Springs that form the headwaters of a branch of the Little Muskegon River. Nestle will also have to further reduce pumping limits during fish spawning and drier summer months. The limits are temporary pending further appeals regarding proper water law principles and the protection of the stream and lakes.

MCWC has achieved it's goal of setting pumping limits from the Sanctuary Springs that minimizes impacts to the stream, wetlands, and lakes during the very low periods. In the summer months, Nestle will be restrained to as little as 125 gallons per minute because of seasonally low flows or levels. These benchmarks will minimize serious harm to the entire sub-watershed pending any appeals.

"This is a significant achievement for MCWC and its many supporters," said Terry Swier, President of MCWC. "MCWC has won two court battles against Nestle and this stipulated order that restricts pumping is a positive step toward the enforcement of these victories. At least the most serious harm will be minimized while MCWC seeks a ruling from the appellate courts. The settlement allows Nestle to pump, for now, an average of 218 gallons per minute, as opposed to the 400 gallons per minute originally permitted by the State. The order also allows for payment of MCWC's costs and reserves for subsequent hearings the ability for the courts to impose stricter limits needed to prevent interference with an adequate water supply needed for the watershed and its ecosystem."

Jim Olson, attorney for MCWC, remarked, "The trial court and Court of Appeals in this case determined that pumping next to the headwaters of this stream causes unacceptable harm at levels permitted by the State. While this interim order doesn't finally resolve the dispute, the parties can now turn to the appellate courts to determine one of the major legal issues of our time." Olson continued, "Water supports our property rights, business, farming, and recreation. Nestle wants everyone to think that bottled water isn't any different than the water in beer or soda pop. But the truth is that the sale of water in a bottle or any sized container is still a diversion or export of water, and not a product to which water is added. This is about legal precedents concerning water, not beer -- water law precedents that are needed to protect those of us who live and earn a livelihood in Michigan. The last thing Michigan can afford is a legal precedent that would shift the law in favor of water exports with harm to our economy, environment, and security, and without the consent of Michigan's citizens."

Related Story: Bechtel Drops $50 Million Claim to Settle Bolivian Water Dispute
Bechtel, a global engineering and construction company based in San Francisco, today reached agreement with the government of Bolivia, dropping a legal demand for $50 million after a revolt over privatizing water services in the city of Cochabamba forced the company out of Bolivia in April 2000. Following four years of international public protest aimed at the companies, Bechtel and its chief co-investor, Abengoa of Spain, agreed to abandon their case.

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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Michigan Governor touts Alternative Energy Research Centers

"Kettering University in Flint, MAREC in Muskegon and Next Energy at Wayne State all are leading in the development of alternative energies," Granholm said in her State of the State address.

Here in West Michigan, The Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center is located within the Grand Valley State University campus in downtown Muskegon. Students at the center work on research, development, and new company start-ups.

The Center is off the grid entirely. It uses solar roof panels and an advanced storage battery and fuel cells. There are also plans to construct a manure-to-power plant that would take farm waste and transform it into gas that would drive an electrical turbine.

Click here to visit the Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center website.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Top Companies Go for Alternative Energy

The 2006 Top 25 green power purchasers are buying enough energy to power more than 300,000 homes a year, which is also comparable to removing the emissions of nearly 400,000 cars from the road annually. More than half of the Top 25 green power purchasers are comprised of U.S. corporations, a number that continues to increase every year.

The U.S. Air Force leads the green power Top 25 list, purchasing more than 1 million Megawatts annually for Air Force bases across the country. The Air Force has held the No. 1 spot since the Top 25 list started in September 2004. Whole Foods Market surpassed both Safeway, Inc., and Johnson & Johnson to lead all corporate purchasers after increasing their purchase to more than 450 thousand MWh annually. EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy follow the U.S. Air Force in purchase size for government institutions in the Top 25.

Green power is electricity generated from solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, and low-impact biomass and hydro resources. Green power accounts for nearly two percent of America's electricity supply, but voluntary purchasing of renewable energy is accelerating renewable energy development.

The Top 25, listed in order of purchase size:

U.S. Air Force, Whole Foods Market, Environmental Protection Agency, Johnson & Johnson, U.S Department of Energy, Starbucks, The World Bank, Safeway, Inc.,
U.S. General Services Administration, HSBC North America, City of San Diego, New Jersey Consolidated Energy Savings Program, Advanced Micro Devices/Austin, Texas Facilities, WhiteWave Foods, Staples, Austin (Texas) Independent School District, Mohawk Fine Papers, Inc., The Tower Companies, FedEx Kinko's, U.S. Amry/Fort Carson, University of Pennsylvania, Montgomery County, Md., Hyatt Regency, Western Washington University, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

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More Poison in Our Water

According to research by scientists at the Indiana University School of Public Health, Dechlorane Plus is in the sediment of lakes Erie and Michigan, present in air samples throughout the region and in the tissues of walleye, a popular game fish, in Lake Erie. Mirex/Dechlorane was manufactured at the facility formerly known as the Hooker Chemical Co., responsible for the Love Canal chemical disaster in Niagara Falls in the late 1970s that spawned the federal Superfund toxic cleanup program.

Read the rest of this article in the Detroit Free Press.

Feds ask companies for voluntary reduction in PFOA

PFOA is persistent in the environment, it has been detected in wildlife and humans, and animal studies conducted have indicated alarming effects.

PFOA, also known as C8 or Ammonium Perfluorooctanoate (APFO), is used in the manufacturing process of fluoropolymers. Fluoropolymers have beneficial properties, including fire resistance and oil, stain, grease, and water repellency. They are used to provide non-stick surfaces on cookware and waterproof, breathable membranes for clothing. PFOA can also be found as an impurity in the production of some products.

Participating companies will commit to reduce by 95 percent facility emissions and product content levels of PFOA, PFOA precursors, and higher homologue chemicals, by no later than 2010, with the year 2000 as the baseline for measuring reductions. The program also calls for companies to commit to work toward eliminating these sources of PFOA exposure five years after attaining the 95 percent reduction but no later than 2015. Companies are being asked to meet these commitments in the United States as well as in their global operations.

Also, participants are being asked to provide their commitment to EPA by March 1, 2006, and to submit their year 2000 baseline numbers for emissions and product content to EPA by Oct. 31, 2006. Annual public reports on their progress toward the goals will be due in October of each successive year. To ensure comparable reporting of reductions, participating companies must commit to work with EPA and others to develop and agree upon analytical standards and laboratory methods for these chemicals. EPA will also initiate efforts to add PFOA and related chemicals to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) to help monitor the results of the stewardship program.

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New Software Tool for Determining Cause of Ecological Harm to Rivers and Streams

A new web-based tool, the Causal Analysis/Diagnosis Decision Information System (CADDIS), will hopefully simplify determining the cause of contamination in polluted rivers, streams and estuaries.

Thousands of U.S. water bodies have been identified as polluted, and in many cases, the cause is unknown. There are many possible sources of pollution such as industrial waste, municipal sewage, agricultural runoff, naturally occurring minerals in rock and sand, and biological materials. Before restorative or remedial actions can be taken, the cause of pollution must be determined. By helping to find the source of contamination, state and local organizations will be better able to implement the Clean Water Act.

CADDIS provides a standardized and easily accessible system that should help scientists find, use and share information to determine the causes of pollution. Causal analyses look at stressor-response relationships, meaning the effect of a specific substance or activity (stressor) on the environment. Typical water stressors include excess fine sediments, nutrients, or toxic substances.

The version of CADDIS released today is the first of three. Future versions will include modules to quantify stressor-response relationships, and databases and syntheses of relevant literature on sediments and toxic metals.

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Faster Water Quality Tests for Safer Beaches

A new rapid method for testing beach water quality that will protect health by reducing the time for detecting bacterial contamination from 24 hours to just two. In tests done at two Great Lakes beaches, researchers verified that the more rapid method accurately predicts possible adverse health effects from bacterial contamination. The results of the study will help support new federal criteria and limits for water quality indicators in recreational waters.

A paper published in the January 2006 issue of "Environmental Health Perspectives," presents some of the first findings of the National Epidemiological and Environmental Assessment of Recreational (NEEAR) Water Study. NEEAR is a multi-year research project being conducted by EPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The first phase of the project assessed the new method in the Great Lakes. The next phase will collect and analyze similar data at ocean beaches.

The research used DNA analysis to quantify two types of bacteria, enterococci and bacteroides, in the water at two beaches on Lake Michigan and Lake Erie. The results of the water quality tests were then correlated to health surveys of beach-goers who swam at the beaches, by interviewing beach goers as they left the beach, and again by telephone 10 to 12 days after their beach visit.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Tittabawassee River Dioxin Contamination - Michigan's Toxic Cleanup Laws Under Attack in Legislature!

Dow Chemical's poisoning of the Tittabawassee River is a problem that the folks in Midland, Michigan will be dealing with for decades to come. Horrendous damage has been done and the negligence by Dow Chemical Corporation is reprehensible. But legislators are trying to protect Dow Chemical and propose changing how Michigan manages cleanup laws. HB4617 is opposed by every Michigan environmental group and the state Department of Environmental Quality.

The dioxin contamination stretches 22 miles downstream of the Dow Chemical Corporation's world headquarters and manufacturing plant located in the city of Midland. The Tittabawassee River connects to the Saginaw River and then flows out to the Saginaw Bay and Lake Huron.

Current levels of Dioxin toxicity are over 80 times the level deemed safe for human contact in residential areas. More than 2000 properties are contaminated in an area estimated to cover 16,000 acres spanning either side of 22 miles of river. The contaminated land is covered in homes, parks, churches, schools, farms, a national wildlife refuge, and many small businesses.

Here are 3 links to excellent, highly informative sources that include a historical perspective, maps and available research on the effects of this globally unprecedented level of dioxin contamination.

  • Michigan DEQ's Tittabawassee River page is very detailed, tons of information.
  • Tittabawasee River Watch is an organization of concerned property owners along the river promoting the protection of homes, health, and river. This website was created by victims of the contamination introduced by the Dow Chemical Company.
  • The Ecology Center of Ann Arbor is environmental activism at its best. These folks are well informed and they know how to raise hell.

    According to the folks at the Ecology Center, HB 4617 would remove the state's ability to designate some property as a "facility" or potentially contaminated. An amendment would also allow the polluter to decide whether a property can receive the designation.

    "The result will be more expensive cleanups, slower cleanups, and increased liability for individual property owners whose property may be contaminated. Residents may actually lose the ability to force polluters to pay! In addition, the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" provisions of the bill would prevent property owners from knowing that their property is contaminated, would prevent future owners from being informed, and would prevent the DEQ from doing anything about it, even if the property owners wanted help."

    Stand up and fight this bill. This bill is an attempt by the legislature to weaken the authority of the DEQ to protect the Great Lakes! Please email the Senate Majority leader and tell him you don't want the bill to move forward.
  • Tuesday, January 17, 2006

    What's new on the Black Bear's bookshelf

    I've been building my collection of books that I want/have/need. Check out the BLACK BEAR's bookshelf to find more cool stuff. Click any of the book covers below to find out more about that particular book.

    Garbage Wars: The Struggle for Environmental Justice in Chicago by David Naguib Pellow
    A study of the struggle for environmental equity, focusing on conflicts over solid waste and pollution in Chicago.

    The Future of the Wild: Radical Conservation for a Crowded World by Jonathan S Adams
    A new approach to conservation. The main strategy behind it involves using the latest in conservation science along with the desires of local communities to protect the places where people live and work. In this way, each small success moves conservationists closer toward creating huge protected landscapes large enough to support animals like bison and wolves. Only with freedom to roam through and between these lands, using wilderness corridors, can such large animals flourish.

    Hiking Michigan by Mike Modrzynski
    Lace up your boots and sample more than fifty of the finest trails in Michigan. From the wilderness areas of the Upper Peninsula - including Isle Royale National Park, the Porcupine Mountains, and Sylvania Recreation Area - to the High Country Pathway through Pigeon River State Forest in the Lower Peninsula, Michigan offers a full spectrum of hiking adventures. Wander the beaches of four of the five Great Lakes, traverse the rugged high ridges along the Greenstone Trail, or explore the vast forests of Sleeper State Park. Inside you'll find: up-to-date trail information; accurate directions to popular as well as less-traveled trails; difficulty ratings for each hike; detailed trail maps.

    Find more books: Outdoors, Nature, or Environmental Studies

    Monday, January 16, 2006

    States oppose Bush on new toxic regulation

    Attorneys general in 12 states said Friday that the Bush administration's plan to ease rules on reporting legal toxin releases would compromise the public's right to know about possible health risks in their neighborhoods. In a letter to the EPA, the state officials say the proposals, which include raising some reporting thresholds and moving from annual to biennial reports, would have the greatest harm in low-income neighborhoods where polluting facilities are often located.

    The Bush administration proposed the changes in September. as a way to reduce the regulatory burden on companies when they report their pollution to the EPA's Toxic Release Inventory Program.

    "This EPA move appears to be yet another poorly considered notion to appease a few polluting constituents at the expense of a valuable program," New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said.

    Also signing the letter were the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Vermont and Wisconsin. All are Democrats except Republican Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire.

    "The public has a fundamental right to know what hazardous materials their children and families are being exposed to," said Wisconsin Attorney General Peggy Lautenschlager.

    The proposed changes, which require congressional approval, would exempt companies from disclosing their toxic pollution on the long form if they claim to release fewer than 5,000 pounds of a specific chemical -- the current limit is 500 pounds -- or if they store it onsite but claim to release "zero" amounts of the worst pollutants. The chemicals involved include mercury, DDT, PCBs and other chemicals that persist in the environment and work up the food chain. Companies must report any storage of dioxin or dioxin-like compounds, even if none are released.

    The inventory program began under a 1986 community right-to-know law. If Congress agrees, the first year the changes could be possible would be 2008. EPA officials say communities will still know about the types of toxic releases, but not some details about how each chemical was managed or released.

    Source: Associated Press

    Michigan DEQ Urges U.S. Supreme Court to Protect Michigan's Waters

    The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality announced today its support for an amicus brief filed in the U.S. Supreme Court. DEQ Director Steven E. Chester requested the Michigan Attorney General to file the brief in support of the federal government position in a pair of cases initiated in Michigan. These two cases, John A. Rapanos v. United States of America, and June Carabell v. United States Army Corps of Engineers, both raise questions regarding the authority of the federal government to regulate the headwaters of traditionally navigable lakes and streams, along with the wetlands connected to those waters. The DEQ has urged recognition of the fact that protection of headwaters and tributaries to large lakes and streams is essential to the protection of the Great Lakes and other interstate waters.

    The Rapanos case arose from the filling of three wetland tracts in Midland, Bay, and Saginaw Counties without either a state or federal permit. DEQ staff initially investigated these violations, and the EPA started legal action. Criminal action was brought in one of the three cases, and Rapanos was found guilty of violating the wetland protection provisions of the Clean Water Act in a jury trial in March 1995. The case on appeal involves the civil enforcement action brought by the EPA.

    The Carabell case began after the DEQ denied a permit to fill over 12 acres of wetland in Macomb County. Although a state permit was issued following an administrative appeal, the federal government continued to assert that the proposed fill would violate federal standards, and refused to issue a permit.

    The Supreme Court's decision could impact not only wetland permit programs, but also limits on the discharge of pollutants, eligibility for participation in federal grant programs, and other aspects of the Clean Water Act. While some have attempted to frame the case as an issue of the right of states to regulate internal waters, Michigan's Friend of the Court brief demonstrates that, should federal jurisdiction be limited by the court, the failure of one or more states to protect tributaries from pollution or destruction could have a devastating impact on Michigan waters, and adversely impact migratory waterfowl, fish, and other animals.

    The amicus brief was filed jointly by the Michigan Attorney General, the Attorney General of the State of New York, and the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. At least 30 other state attorneys general have also signed this brief. A decision by the Supreme Court is anticipated during the summer of 2006.

    Find books on Wetlands

    Plating Shop Supervisor Sent to Prison For Abandoning Chemicals

    James A. Vaandering of Muskegon, MI was sentenced to 13 months in prison, a $1,000 fine, restitution of $151,000 for a Superfund cleanup, and to perform 300 hours of community service and serve three years of supervised release once he completes his prison term. He pleaded guilty to abandoning hazardous chemicals at the former Sealmore Corporation electroplating facility located in Muskegon, where he was a supervisor. According to the charges filed, the Sealmore Corporation facility was condemned in late 2000 and contained a number of chemicals and liquids in vats used in electroplating, including acid solutions containing hexavalent chromium and hydrofluoric acid. Hexavalent chromium and hydrofluoric acid are chemicals that can cause serious health problems. The case was investigated jointly by the Detroit Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality's Office of Criminal Investigations.

    Your car's fuel economy rating is about to go down

    To provide consumers with more real-world fuel economy information when shopping for cars, SUVs, and pick-up trucks, EPA is proposing new methods to determine the city and highway mpg estimates that appear on the window stickers. The new methods will take effect for model year 2008 vehicles, which will generally be available for sale in fall of 2007.

    Under the new methods, the city mpg estimates for most vehicles would drop 10 percent to 20 percent from today's labels, depending on the vehicle. The highway mpg estimates would generally drop 5 percent to 15 percent.

    Even with improved estimates, actual fuel economy will vary since no test can ever account for all individual driving styles, vehicle maintenance practices, and road conditions.

    Changes were last made in 1985. The proposed changes announced today will improve the estimates to better reflect real-world driving conditions, such as higher speed limits, greater traffic congestion and more use of power-hungry accessories, such as air conditioning.

    None of the changes proposed affect the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) program, which is administered by the epartment of Transportation. There are separate requirements for the test methods and procedures for determining fuel economy values under CAFE.

    Storm Water Rule Change Proposed to Comply with Energy Policy Act

    Revisions are being proposed to storm water regulations under the Clean Water Act to advance the comprehensive energy policy recently enacted by Congress. The proposed action, required by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, would modify National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System regulations to clarify that storm water discharges from oil and gas field activities do not require federal Clean Water Act permits. They are also encouraging voluntary application of best-management practices for oil and gas field construction activities to minimize erosion and control sediment. The proposed rule will be available for public comment for 45 days after publication in the Federal Register. For further information, including a copy of the proposed rule, visit:

    New Government Watershed Handbook Released

    A guide to watershed management to help various organizations develop and implement watershed plans is now available. The Draft Handbook for Developing Watershed Plans to Restore and Protect Our Waters is aimed toward communities, watershed groups, and local, state, tribal, and federal environmental agencies. This handbook contains in-depth guidance on quantifying existing pollutant loads, developing estimates of the load reductions required to meet water quality standards, developing effective management measures, and tracking progress once the plan is implemented. EPA will be accepting comments and suggestions on the document in the coming year to incorporate in the final version of the handbook. The handbook is available at:"

    Thursday, January 12, 2006

    Mountain Biking Association Gives Michigan Trails High Marks

    Michigan's mountain biking trails are among the best in the nation, according to the 2005 International Mountain Biking Association Report Card of each state's trail systems. Michigan earned a B+ rating, one of 12 states with this rating, ranking only behind Virginia, West Virginia, Utah, Arizona and Colorado. The ratings are based on percent of trails open to riding, threats to bicycle access and relationships with local riding organizations such as the Michigan Mountain Biking Association (MMBA). A complete report card and comments can be found at the organization’s Web site:

    Michigan state parks have 881 miles of non-motorized trails with 264 miles designated for mountain bike and bicycle use. There are 900 additional miles of non-motorized State Forest trails. Several state parks and recreation areas in southern Michigan are well-known for challenging trails. They include: Island Lake, Fort Custer, Pinckney, Brighton and Highland Recreation Areas. For additional information about these, or to find trail maps and additional places to find mountain biking opportunities throughout Michigan, visit DNR Trail search on the DNR Web site. Or click this link:

    Find books on Mountain Biking

    Spring Lake, MI gets $260,000 for brownfield development

    The Michigan DEQ announced today that the Village of Spring Lake in Ottawa County has been awarded a $90,000 Brownfield Redevelopment Grant and a $170,000 Brownfield Redevelopment Loan to address concerns at the former Miller-Smith Plating property. Brownfield properties are vacant or abandoned properties with known environmental contamination.

    The Mill Point Station Project in Spring Lake will return a contaminated and abandoned industrial facility and an adjacent contaminated and abandoned parcel to productive use. The funding will be used to conduct an environmental assessment on the 2.84-acre project area, demolish existing buildings, and start the clean-up.

    Investments of at least $4,200,000 in private funds are needed for acquisition of the property, construction, and furnishings required for new development to include professional and commercial area with a proposed bank, restaurant, and retail and office space. The Village of Spring Lake anticipates the development will bring 20 permanent new jobs to the community.

    Michigan's Brownfield Redevelopment Grant and Loan Program began in 1988 and has provided over $121 million for 296 projects statewide.

    Find books on brownfields

    Tuesday, January 10, 2006

    Companies ignore environmental laws in Great Lakes

    Here's a breakdown of 10 businesses that got nailed for breaking air quality and hazardous waste laws in the Great Lakes in the month of December. All of these companies were recently cited by the US Environmental Protection Agency Region 5, which encompasses the Great Lakes states. This information is publicly available on the EPA website also, but is not condensed into a single page format anywhere that I could find.

    No Canadian companies are mentioned here. If you have information on eco-crime in Ontario, feel free to send it to me. Check out a Black Bear post from last month if you are interested in information on Ontario's biggest polluters.

    Du-Kane Asphalt Co., Addison, IL. Du-Kane failed to maintain and operate its pollution control equipment at the company's bituminous asphalt manufacturing plant, causing the plant to exceed the 20 percent limit for opacity. Opacity means the amount of light obscured by visible particles such as smoke, ash and dust, and the plant's emissions were found to be blocking 75-85 percent of the light. An EPA inspector discovered the excessive emissions during a test in October. The test was done in response to a citizen complaint regarding visible emissions from the facility.

    Dana Container Inc. Detroit, MI. A $381,730 penalty for violations of federal hazardous waste regulations. Dana's truck container and tank cleaning facilities were cited for violating the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act requirements for managing hazardous waste.

    Doboy Inc., New Richmond, WI. $52,246 penalty for violation of federal hazardous waste regulations. The company failed to determine, from 2000 to 2004, if waste filters from its wet paint spray booth were hazardous. EPA and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources inspected the Doboy package-making facility in March 2004. Its manufacturing process produces paint waste that requires disposal in a hazardous waste facility.

    Keystone Steel & Wire Co., Peoria, IL. Keystone failed to apply the best available technology to control increased air pollutant emissions and failed to measure emissions of these pollutants in a timely manner.

    Wabash Alloys LLC, Cleveland, OH. $11,160 penalty. Wabash Alloys violated national clean-air emission standards for hazardous air pollutants by failing to comply with requirements for operating its scrap dryer afterburner. Wabash has certified that it is now complying fully with national emission standards for secondary aluminum production facilities.

    Domtar Industries Inc., Port Edwards, WI. Domtar violated the Clean Air Act by emitting excessive quantities of methanol from its pulp production process. Short-term exposure to methanol may result in visual problems, such as blurred or dimness of vision, leading to blindness. Long-term exposure may result in conjunctivitis, headache, giddiness, insomnia, gastric disturbances, impaired vision and blindness. Methanol is also a volatile organic compound that contributes to the formation of ground-level ozone or smog.

    Continental Tire North America Inc., Bryan, OH. Recent modifications of the plant increased emissions of naphtha, a volatile organic compound. Continental did not apply for a state permit that would require emission controls.

    Greif Brothers Corp., Alsip, IL, and H-O-H Chemicals Inc.,Palatine, IL . H-O-H Chemicals supplied and monitored chromium-based corrosion inhibitors for treating water used in the Greif Brothers two industrial cooling towers at the Greif Brothers metal drum production plant in Alsip. This is a violation of national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants. The chemicals used were sodium chromate and sodium dichromate, both hexavalent chromium compounds. Short-term exposure to hexavalent chromium can cause shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing. Long-term exposure can cause perforations and ulcerations of the nasal septum, bronchitis, decreased pulmonary function, pneumonia and other respiratory effects. Hexavalent chromium is also a known carcinogen.

    Del's Metal Co., Rock Island, IL. Del's Metal failed to test its sweat furnace emissions for dioxins and furans or to install an afterburner to destroy the dioxins and furans at the company's secondary aluminum production operation. The company did not comply with planning, notification and recordkeeping requirements. Dioxins may cause liver damage and probably cause cancer in humans, while furans also cause cancer.

    Lehigh Cement Co., Mitchell, IN. Lehigh failed to maintain cement kiln exhaust gas temperatures at levels that ensure compliance with dioxin and furan emission limits, failed to submit complete emissions reports and failed to comply with limits on opacity or the amount of light obscured by dust emissions.

    FBI investigates Catholics, PETA, ADC and Greenpeace for domestic terrorism

    We have to draw the line somewhere! Enough is Enough.

    According to new documents released on Dec. 20 by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the FBI is using counterterrorism resources to monitor and infiltrate domestic political organizations that criticize business interests and government policies, despite a lack of evidence that the groups are engaging in or supporting violent action.

    The ACLU said that the documents released on Greenpeace, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) show the FBI expanding the definition of 'domestic terrorism' to include citizens and groups that participate in lawful protests or civil disobedience.

    The documents released by the ACLU also include FBI observances on supposed Communist leanings of the Catholic Workers Group (CWG). In an e-mail to the counterterrorism unit, an unidentified official wrote, "the Catholic Workers advocated peace with a Christian and semi-communistic ideology." In another document, an agent writes, "Based on the author's interpretation of comments made by various CWG protestors, CWG also advocates a communist distribution of resources.

    Apparently, "Love thy neighbor as thyself" is now communism. Read the rest of this article then call your senator and ask to have Bush/Cheney impeached: FBI targeting US activist activities as 'domestic terrorism ' : SF Indymedia

    Sunday, January 08, 2006

    Blagojevich's plan to cut mercury pollution

    The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting fierce opposition from power-industry lawyers to Illinois' Governor Blagojevich's proposal to force coal power-plant operators to slash mercury emissions by 90 percent by June 30, 2009. The governor's plan goes well beyond the Bush plan, which calls for a 70 percent reduction by 2018. The fight is on.

    Read this article here: Gov's plan to cut mercury emissions fuels criticism

    Find books on mercury pollution

    Thursday, January 05, 2006

    WE Energy to build massive coal power plant on Lake Michigan shoreline

    "Opponents Maneuver to Thwart New Coal-Burning Efforts in Wisconsin"
    "Picture the serene waters of Lake Michigan, home to myriad plant and animal species; beloved by the fishermen, nature lovers and others who live by its shores. Then picture over a billion gallons of Lake Michigan water a day being sucked through giant underwater screens into a coal-burning power plant, part of the cooling system for a new facility a company called We Energies intends to build next to an existing coal-burning power plant on the lakeshore about 20 miles southeast of Milwaukee, Wisconsin."

    This story was originally published in March, but is still extremely relevant. You can find the rest of this article by Kari Lydersen on the New Standard site, Proposed Power Plant Challenges Great Lakes Ecosystem, Sovereignty. I posted another related article of my own way back in March, check the archive if you're interested.

    I'm a big fan of author Kari Lydersen's writing, and have been reading everything she writes on Alternet, LiP, etc. Besides the fact that she's a smokin' hottie (no joke), Chicago's Lydersen is a master of prose. Her work is always challenging, illuminating and insightful. The breadth of her work is extensive, covering a variety of critical issues.

    Lydersen's first book is Out of the Sea and Into the Fire: Latin American-U.S. Immigration in the Global Age Click the book cover to find out more.

    Canadian eco-orgs fight to keep Lake Ontario beaches clean

    "Two environmental organizations hope an Environment Ministry review nearing completion will recommend that Hamilton and three other Ontario cities be forced to make their beaches safe for swimming. Both the Canadian Environmental Law Association and the Lake Ontario Waterkeepers want the ministry to require Hamilton, St. Catharines, Toronto and Kingston to ensure beaches affected by combined sewer overflows be open for swimming 95 per cent of the time."

    Read More: Hamilton Spectator - News:

    Tuesday, January 03, 2006

    Ford Addresses Climate Change

    Found this on, here's the link: Ford Issues Climate Change Report

    "I am proud to say that Ford Motor Company is one of the first companies to have open discussions about climate change," said Bill Ford, chairman and CEO. "We see climate change as a business issue as well as an environmental issue and we're accelerating our efforts to find solutions. Addressing this issue will require collaborative action across all sectors of our society and I'm committing Ford Motor Company to do its part."

    C'mon Bill, you know you're just full of shit.

    Bill went on to say that "the good people of Michigan are going to hold me to my word. Ford is going to get rid of internal combustion engines right away, push newfangled technology and hire some folks in the Midwest who've been out of work for awhile. It would be nice if'n those folks could breathe the air, drink the water and had somethin' ta eat once in awhile. Excuse me, folks, I have to leave this press conference early as I'm going huntin'. Some ex-UAW organizers have been released on my ranch, and y'all know they're real tasty!"

    Great Lakes wolves to be taken off Endangered Species list

    "Load the guns Ma! I can finally start shootin' them dadburned wild dogs down by the railroad track!"

    Tracy, over at Great Lakes Radio Consortium, is reporting that grey wolves may soon be delisted in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. There's a 90-day public comment period scheduled, with each state adopting a species management plan. If you're one who stands up for the rights of critters, now is a good time to make your opinion known to those in power.

    Find books about Grey wolves

    Kunstler's Predictions for 2006

    Who the hell is Jim Kunstler anyway and why should you care?

    Jim Kuntstler's prophetic rants on Clusterfuck Nation are a gold mine of information. The author of The Long Emergency tells it like it is. His latest rant? $4/gal gas, housing market collapse, massive unemployment, the Dow at 4,000, hyperinflation, chaos in China, etc. This is not a short list, and it ain't very funny. Read up and get ready. Write me and tell me how you think you're going to prepare for the onslaught of '06 and beyond.

    Find a used copy of The Long Emergency

    Click here to find more books by Jim Kunstler

    Local Man begins manufacturing thermometers in kitchen using the mercury in his tap water

    Yes, I'm kidding, the real news is worse than that...

    What's in your water? A survey by the Environmental Working Group released on Tuesday found 141 unregulated chemicals and an additional 119 for which the Environmental Protection Agency has set health-based limits. Most common among the chemicals found were disinfection byproducts, nitrates, chloroform, barium, arsenic and copper. The research-and-advocacy organization compiled findings from the states that agreed to provide data they collected from 1998 to 2003. That data comes from nearly 40,000 water utilities, serving 231 million people. The utilities were required by federal law to report that data to consumers.

    Read more here:
    Public Data Show Chemicals in Tap Water

    Evangelical Christians to take on global warming

    What does the Bible say about global warming? Some evangelical Christian leaders hope to answer that question next year with a statement on climate change that could lend moral authority and political power to the much smaller number of environmentalists pushing the issue.

    Have they decided to burn all the books about global warming and kill the scientists?
    Now that they control the US government, the US military and most of corporate-america, conservative Christians definitely have the power to make a difference for planetary health. Let's hope they attack the problem with the same zeal they do everything else, or maybe not.

    Read the entire article at: The EnviroLink Network