Friday, April 28, 2006

Seven Years Bad Luck

Yep, there it is, scattered on the Stainmaster. Does this mean the Republicans will still control the House in November? Will Governor Granholm go down in defeat and the evil Republican Hordes assume control of Michigan? Will Al Gore ever defeat Manbearpig? Well, you can blame it all on the livingroom mirror.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

New rule for Great Lakes cleanup announced today

From EPA: Great Lakes Cleanup Projects Get New Direction
How and where contaminated sediment will be cleaned up in the Great Lakes is the subject of a new rule announced today by the Environmental Protection Agency. Acting under the authority of the Great Lakes Legacy Act, the agency has outlined how projects will be identified, selected and evaluated to clean up the sediment and reverse the environmental harm to Great Lakes rivers and harbors.

The cleanup of "areas of concern" has been a priority of the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration. Proposed funding for this effort has quintupled in four years. Congress appropriated $9.9 million in fiscal year 2004, $22.3 million in 2005, and $29.6 million in 2006 for Legacy Act cleanups. The president has requested $49.6 million in the proposed 2007 budget.

Additional funding comes from state and local partners, who contribute at least a 35 percent match for each project. A request for projects will be issued within 90 days after the rule is published in the Federal Register. Proposals may be submitted at any time.

Contaminated sediment is a significant problem in the Great Lakes basin. The United States and Canada have designated 41 areas of concern. In recent years, state and federal agencies have worked with local communities to clean up sediment through dredging and disposal, capping the contaminated material with clean material, allowing natural recovery of the materials in place, or a combination. From 1997-2004, approximately 3.7 million cubic yards of contaminated sediment were remediated from the Great Lakes Basin.

Projects that have received funding under the program: Ashtabula River in Ohio; the Black Lagoon in the Detroit River; Ruddiman Creek in Muskegon, and Hog Island, near Superior, Wis.

More information on Great Lakes Legacy Act:

More information on Contaminated Sediments Program:

Friday, April 21, 2006

Report Shows Continued Decline in Toxic Chemical Releases in Michigan

Total releases and disposal listed on the Toxic Chemical Release Inventory - reported by business - of chemicals in Michigan declined in 2004, a trend continued from 2003. The data shows the total discharges in the state to be 97 million pounds for the year, a decrease of over seven percent.

Oh great. A decrease of 7 percent. Now it's down to... 97 MILLION POUNDS!!! HOLY SHIT!!! 97 MILLION POUNDS! HOW MANY MORE CHILDREN'S CANCER HOSPITALS DO WE HAVE TO BUILD IN GRAND RAPIDS BEFORE SOMEONE IN LANSING GETS OFF THERE ASS AND PUTS A STOP TO THIS? Don't they see the correlation? This isn't good news, we should be lining up to kick every single one of our state legislators square in the nuts!

Read More

The Emerging Environmental Majority

Definitely worth reading and commenting on, Christina Larson on AlterNet:
Environmental policies have become increasingly popular over the past few years. Seventy-five percent of Americans in a 2005 Harris poll agreed with the statement, "Protecting the environment is so important that requirements and standards cannot be too high, and continuing environmental improvements must be made regardless of cost." Yet a shrinking minority of voters are willing to associate themselves with the loaded term "environmentalist." In the same poll, only 12 percent claimed that label. Americans like green, but they are less fond of greens. And that has been doubly true for outdoorsmen.

Read More

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Pennsylvania Fines MolyCorp $475,000 for water quality violations

Slag containing thorium and uranium that was generated by Molycorp's metal extraction process was disposed of on site, while wastewater containing high levels of soluble molybdenum, a mineral, was allowed to seep into the ground and contaminate the groundwater.

Read More:PA Department of Environmental Protection

So they did something right for once. But here's another press release issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, it's a perfect example of why everyone working there should be fired: EPA MERCURY REDUCTION RULE PENALIZES PA COAL, THREATENS PA COAL MINING JOBS This state agency is not looking out for the health of the environment or it's citizens if it is opposing anti-mercury regulation.

Michigan's Democrat Governor Granholm announces new mercury reductions

Mercury is a dangerous toxin that is linked to learning disabilities, lowered IQ, developmental delays, and other health problems especially in children. Mercury is emitted into the air through smokestacks, falls into our waterways in the rain and snow, and accumulates up the food chain in fish. Today in the U.S., one in six women of childbearing age has levels of mercury in her blood that would put a child at risk. We have the technology to virtually eliminate mercury from the largest source—power plants. We have the technology to stop using coal altogether.

On Monday, April 17, 2006 Governor Granholm announced that she will require power plants to reduce mercury pollution by 90 percent by 2015. These reductions will need to be adopted by the Legislature- please make sure to send the message to let your legislator know this is important to you!

This is an important step towards protecting children's health across Michigan. Your Representatives and Senators can continue this protection by supporting additional efforts to reduce mercury from Michigan and support an energy plan that promotes clean energy technologies that protect children's health.

The Michigan League of Conservation Voters has a pre-written support letter available for you to sign and email to Governor Granholm and your state legislator.

Over in Ubly, Michigan, windpower is on the rise. Thirty-two turbines are scheduled to arrive in Huron County this June, marking Michigan's full-scale leap into the wind energy industry. You can read all about the new wind farm on the Michigan Land Use Institute's website.

From Greenpeace: America's First Offshore Wind Farm Under Legislative Attack

Congress likes to talk about cleaning up their act in the wake of the
Abramoff scandal, but if you look behind the closed-door attack on
America’s first offshore wind farm, it’s business as usual.

On April 6, a closed-door congressional conference committee signed off
on an amendment to a bill that would grant veto power over the Cape Wind
offshore project to the governor of Massachusetts. Governor Mitt Romney
is an outspoken opponent of the project and if Congress accepts the
bill, it will no doubt be the end of Cape Wind.

And who was behind this back room deal? None other than Senator Ted Kennedy, in cahoots with big oil and mining industry lobbyists.

The Senate will decide this issue as soon as they return from Easter
recess. Contact your Senators TODAY before it is too late, tell them to take a
stand against special-interest politics and support America’s first
offshore wind farm. You can send a fax at

It’s time for Congress to step up on renewable energy and side with
common sense instead of big oil’s lobbying money. At a time when
President Bush admits America is addicted to oil, and global warming is
being felt now, we can't allow special-interest politics to kill this
important clean energy project.

PS- We're holding EMERGENCY RALLIES to SAVE CAPE WIND on Thursday, April 20 in at 5 key senate offices around the country.
If you live in or around Hartford, New York, Las Vegas, Minneapolis/St. Paul, or Providence CLICK HERE to learn more and RSVP to an event near you.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

National Parks about to be turned into Disneyland

New National Park Service management policies underfire, rightly so.

NPS is in the final stages of revising its policies on in-park promotion of corporate, organizational, and individual funders. Look out Grizzly bears, you're all going to be stuffed. AMFac and Xanterra Corp are coming to get you.

The first version of the revised management policies was leaked in August 2005. The second version contained many revisions, but critics such as the National Parks Conservation Association say it still jeopardizes park air quality and wilderness.
If substantial changes aren't made to the revised version, the parks will also be damaged by an increased emphasis on commercial and motorized vehicles, google the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees for that info.

NPS says the policy changes, which have drawn more than 50,000 public comments - mostly negative, are needed to address concerns such as homeland security, budget limitations, and urban encroachment, and that the integrity of the parks is not threatened.

NPS staff met in Denver April 10-14, 2006 to review the proposal, and a new version is expected to be sent out in mid-May 2006 for more review by NPS executives and an NPS advisory board. Park employees, but not the public, are then expected to get a 30-day crack at the policies beginning around June 1. The final version may be announced in the Federal Register around July 23, 2006. I'll put a link here later.

In addition to the management policy revisions, NPS is revising its direction on how to reward its corporate and individual sponsors. The revised Director's Order #21, which critics say would excessively commercialize parks, also drew thousands of public comments, mine included.

NPS says it has dropped its proposals to allow park employees to solicit donations; to allow placement of donor's names on surfaces such as paving bricks and benches; and to accept contributions from in-park concessionaire operators and the alcohol, tobacco, and firearms industries. The agency says its final version will allow recognition of funders through venues such as "discreet plaques" inside buildings, but that funders won't be given naming rights for park buildings or the parks themselves, and that no advertising or marketing will be allowed within park boundaries. The final version is expected to be released at the end of April 2006.

Many Senators and Representatives are weighing in on both of these issues. Some of these players are involved with the Senate Subcommittee on National Parks, whose planned April 2006 hearing on the management policy revisions has been delayed.

Stay on top of this one kids, it's important!

More environmental news than you can stand....

I was off my meds for a bit, the guys in the white lab coats had to put me in the little room with the padded walls... don't worry, I'm back, feelin' good and ready to spank the world straight.

I've added another feature in the right column. You're now getting a breakdown of brownfields, development, invasive species and water quality headlines for Michigan. This is a student run service available from Michigan State University, but I have faith that it will be helpful and useful to Black Bear readers. These are four issues that I randomly chose to highlight. If you'd like to see other issues on Black Bear Speaks, let me know. I can add additional issue oriented headlines simply.

I'm considering launching about a dozen more blogspot pages, all single issue orientated. If you think that that would be more useful or easier to read let me know.

Thanks for the recent compliments and suggestions. Folks have been writing me almost daily with input. I was up until 2am last night answering emails! Keep it up!!! Thanks for reading kids, you're making the world a better place by educating yourself on the issues that matter.

Hey, there's another anti-bush blog called Empires Fall just started by one of your fellow readers, Steven Barnes. Steve seems pretty pissed about the Redickicans, and deservedly so. Give 'em hell, Steve! With Steve's writing help, we will crush the Republican hordes. Michigan will remain a blue state, with a blue governor and blue senators. Lets' stomp them back into the stone age where they belong. Better Dead than Red!

Now, get your fat butt away from the computer screen and get out there and make a difference! (But read the news first!) Me? I'm going for a bike ride.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Black Bear Speaks and Newsvine

Hey kids, you can now find Black Bear Speaks articles on Newsvine. Check out

I'll be starting a regular feature column there as soon as I get my act together. Some of you know what that entails. For now, I've been posting the press release stories I've been receiving from environmental groups and government agencies. Usually I doctor these press releases quite a bit to add my own special bear flavoring, but a couple I just slapped up there straight from the source.

Let me know if things get sticky for ya. The bear is always here to help. (Dirty deeds done dirt cheap.)

Blessed Be!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Companies to Spend $30 Million on PCB Cleanup at the Lower Fox River and Green Bay Superfund Site

As the latest in a series of partial settlements aimed at cleaning up and restoring the Lower Fox River and Green Bay Superfund Site in northeastern Wisconsin, NCR Corp. (NCR) and Sonoco-U.S. Mills Inc. (Sonoco) have agreed to complete an important initial phase of the cleanup, the Justice Department and Environmental Protection Agency announced today. The two companies have agreed to spend an estimated $30 million on the expedited dredging and disposal of the most highly-contaminated sediments in the Fox River. This is one of the largest contaminated sediment sites in the United States.

Under the terms of the agreement, NCR and Sonoco will design and implement the cleanup project to dredge, dewater and dispose of the contaminated sediment, removing approximately 100,000 cubic yards of highly contaminated sediment downstream and west of the De Pere Dam. The removal of this substantial volume of contaminated sediments from the river will reduce exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and diminish downstream migration of PCBs to the bay. Dredging is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2007.

"The Fox River is the biggest source of PCBs flowing into Lake Michigan," said EPA Regional Administrator Thomas V. Skinner. "Cleaning up this hot spot is a major step toward eventually removing the Fox and Lower Green Bay from EPA's list of Great Lakes Areas of Concern."

The Lower Fox River and Green Bay Superfund Site encompasses a nearly 40-mile stretch of the Fox River and more than 1,000 square miles of Green Bay. Sediments in both water bodies are contaminated with PCBs that were discharged into the river in connection with past production and re-processing of PCB-containing "carbonless" copy paper at multiple facilities from the 1950s to the early the 1970s.

Substantial cleanup and natural resource restoration work at the site has already begun under a series of partial settlements. Between 1998 and 2000, two major sediment removal demonstration projects were completed in discrete areas of the river under agreements that the paper companies reached with EPA and Wisconsin. Those projects helped demonstrate that contaminated sediments at the site can safely and feasibly be dredged. Full-scale dredging in the uppermost segment of the river began last year under a 2003 settlement with two of the paper companies, P.H. Glatfelter Co. and Wisconsin Tissue Mills. NCR and another paper company, Fort James Operating Co., are currently performing detailed remedial design work for the downstream portions of the river under a separate Administrative Order on Consent, under the direction of the EPA. The paper companies also have paid more than $35 million for natural resource restoration projects under several of the partial settlements. The money from those settlements has been used to acquire wildlife habitat that will be protected as state-managed natural areas, to protect and propagate threatened native fish and bird species, and to preserve native plants and enhance bird habitat in areas such as the Green Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

In 2003, EPA and WDNR issued two Records of Decision (RODs) selecting the cleanup remedy for different portions of the Site. Taken together, the two RODs would require removal of approximately 7.25 million cubic yards of contaminated sediment at an estimated total cost of about $400 million.

PCBs do not break down readily by natural processes. They pose environmental and health threats to wildlife in the area and to people who eat fish from the Fox River and Green Bay. The PCBs at the site have caused adverse health effects and reproductive effects in fish and birds. Fish and waterfowl in the area are subject to human health-based consumption advisories.

The state of Wisconsin was a partner in today's consent decree, which was lodged today in United States District Court in Milwaukee and is subject to a 30-day public comment period. The state of Michigan and the Oneida Tribe and Menominee Tribe are also cooperating with the Untied States and Wisconsin in many aspects of the Fox River/Green Bay restoration program but are not parties to this particular settlement.

A copy of the consent decree is available on the Department of Justice Web site at:

Additional information on the Lower Fox River cleanup:

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Biden vs. McCain?

Do you think Democrat Senator Joe Biden can beat Republican Senator John McCain in the next presidential race?

Sign up to join Biden's campaign organizing staff here:

John Stewart blasted McCain last night on the Daily Show for speaking at the commencement address of Jerry Falwell's university this week. McCain is turning to the Christian right already. I have lost all respect for him.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Promoting Impeachment

The Washington Post ran a front-page story about impeaching President Bush, quoting two attorneys from the Center for Constitutional Rights.

You can also click here and send a pre-written letter to your congressperson. Don't you think you should make certain your representative supports the resolution to investigate impeachment? It is your duty as a citizen of this country to tell the President to go fuck himself.

Burn a Bush!

Of course, BLACK BEAR SPEAKS has no affiliation or financial connection with the Center for Constitutional Rights. (Just in case someone from Homeland Security is reading right now.)