General EJ Issues

September 3, 2013

This page is being constantly updated! Be sure to check back regularly for latest updates on general environmental justice news!

Chemistry getting greener at Michigan companies, universities (12/18/13) Article about movement to make chemical manufacturing more environmentally friendly and how its gaining steam and turning Michigan into a national leader. (12/18/13)

Guess Who's Playing In The Super Bowl: Renewable Energy (12/4/13) Short but interesting article about PSEG (Public Service Energy Group) partnering with the NFL Environmental Program to provide the green power for Super Bowl XLVIII, the first Super Bowl held in the New York-New Jersey metro region. Posted 12/18/13

Grand Rapids environmental advocates join fellow lobbyists against Kellogg's Corporation (11/22/13) Article about the efforts of local environmental advocates, businesses, community organizations, and universities, with other groups across Michigan to lobby against Kellogg's questionable partnership with palm oil giant Wilmar International. Posted 12/18/13.

Michigan town looks forward to cleaning up mess left behind by chemical company (10/17/13). This news article speaks to the struggles residents of St. Louis face because of lingering impacts of chemical dumping by a company that has since moved. Posted 10/18/13.

Dioxin Levels in Food - Where's the beef? A blog post about a report by the U.S. EPA on levels of the toxic substance, dioxin, in the food supply. Its presence in the food supply exceeds safe levels. Posted 6/20/13.

Why Environmental Justice is Everyone's Issue (6/24/13). This article seeks responses from several environmental justice leaders on the question: Why is environmental destruction of residential neighborhoods allowed to happen in low-income and communities of color? Posted 6/25/13.

Environmental Regulations are $500 billion Risk to Shipowners (6/4/13). This article raises the fundamental issue critics of capitalism have: it values profit (money/wealth) over the lives and health of humans, plants, animals, ecosystems and the environment as a whole. Posted 6/6/13.

The Rise of the Native Rights-Based Strategic Framework (5/22/13). An article by Clayton Thomas-Muller discusses a variety of concerns with the environmental groups often at the table with policy makers. He discusses how most of the mainstream climate groups are not movement building groups, but policy oriented, which means that they see power as residing in the hands of legislators and not the people themselves. Posted 6/3/13.

Environmental Justice: The invisible hand and the invisible man (6/3/13). Article authors Cheryl Little and Michael Hancox offer market-based solutions to benefit environmental justice communities. Posted 6/3/13.

Innovative Approaches to Improving Health Outcomes in Environmental Justice Communities. This white paper includes innovative strategies used around the country to tackle the challenges faced by environmental justice communities. Note: to download the white paper, you will need to input an email. Posted 6/3/13.

Toxic Chemicals: A new push to get a grip (5/30/13). An NPR radio broadcast in which guest presenters reveal the weaknesses in regulations on toxics. On this webpage are links to additional materials on toxics. Posted 6/3/13.

Why Aren't Environmental Groups Divesting from Fossil Fuels? (5/2/13). Naomi Klein raises concerns that some of big green's most powerful players still invest in energy companies. Posted 6/3/13.

UN: Accelerating Biodiversity Loss a 'Fundamental' Threat to the "Survival of Humankind' (5/28/13). Andrea Germanos from Common Dreams reports on concerns raised by Zakri Abdul Hamid, founding chair of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, during the 7th Trondheim conference in Norway. Posted 5/31/13.

A River Runs Through It (5/22/13). Paul Greenburg reports on how the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico is the result of decades-long U.S. agricultural practices and investigates some of the promising solutions to fix its future. Posted 5/28/13.

Talking Garbage (5/23/13). Despite efforts to eliminate and reduce the amount of garbage being dumped into the sea from ships, up to 10 tons of garbage are still being deposited per mile of coastline each year. Posted 5/28/13.

NY's Toxic Disposal of Mercury Thermostats (4/18/13). An article by Dan Telvock in Investigative Post on New York's contamination of the environment with mercury. Posted 5/23/13.


U.S. shouldn't be enabling a destructive industry (2/8/14). An Op-Ed in which the author critiques the State Department's report on the environmental impacts of the Keystone XL and the justification for its construction. Posted 2/10/14.

Oil and Water: Tar sands crude shipping meets Great Lakes? (11/20/13). A recently published report cites gaps in the region's oil spill prevention and response measures. A link to the full report is at the bottom of the page. Posted 12/2/13.

Environmentalists demand new climate analysis for Keystone XL (6/27/13). Six environmental advocacy groups are calling for the State Department to redo an earlier assessment of Keystone XL's climate analysis. Posted 6/27/13.

Toxic Tar Sands: Profiles from the Front Lines. A publication by the Sierra Club that highlights people impacted by tar sands extraction and processing. Posted 6/13/13.

TransCanada Whistle-blower Warns of Shoddy Pipeline Practices (6/11/13). A news article that reports on a former employee of TransCanada Corp., the Canadian company leading the proposal for the Keystone XL pipeline, who testified before the Canadian Senate committee last week about its culture of noncompliance and coercion with practices that ignored legally required regulations. Posted 6/11/13.

Beyond Protest: First Nations Community Seeks Alternatives to Tar Sands Destruction (6/6/13). Clayton Thomas-Muller writes on his experience participating in the sacred Healing Walk, organized by teh Athabasca Keepers of the Water in For McMurray, Alberta (Canada). Posted 6/6/13.

Tar Sands Healing Walk July 5-6, 2013. A video spotlighting a gathering of First Nations and Metis in a Healing Walk focused on healing the environment and the people suffering from tar sands expansion. Posted 6/6/13.

Alberta First Nations Band Wins Right to Trial Over Oil Sands' Effect On Treaty Rights (6/4/13). The Beaver Lake Cree Nation argues that the so-called cumulative effect of oil sands and other industries such as mining and forestry violated their treaty rights. Posted 6/6/13.

Keystone XL Decision Will Define Barak Obama's Legacy on Climate Change (2/22/13). An old article that provides useful information about the dangers of tarsands oil extraction and refining. Posted 6/6/13.

Map: Another Major Tar Sands Pipeline Seeking U.S. Permit (6/3/13). Enbridge, Inc. is quietly building a 5,000 mile network of new and expanded pipelines.  The plans have escaped scrutiny because expansion has proceeded in segments.  Posted 6/6/13.

Tar Sands Supporters Suffer Setback as British Columbia Rejects Pipeline (6/3/13). Canadian province rejects plan for Enbridge Northern Gateway, saying the company failed to demonstrate adequate clean-up plan. Posted 6/3/13.

Lobbyists for Canadian Pipeline have deep ties to White House (5/31/13).  Pratap Chatterjee writes in CorpWatch that TransCanada and the provincial government of Alberta are paying former advisors to the Obama administration to help them lobby for the Keystone XL pipeline. Posted 6/3/13.

The Sticky Problems with Tar Sands (9/2/11). Christen Conger provides some basic important facts about tarsands. Posted 6/3/13.

Keystone questions persistent in U.S. (5/31/13). Trent Wilkie of the Sherwood Park News writes that Dave Quest, member of the Legislative Assembly of Strathcona-Sherwood Park (Canada), expresses frustration in what he believes is the lack of knowledge about what is going on with the oilsands and the pipeline. Posted 5/31/13.

Day 1: Spotlighting Crystal Lameman, Beaver Lake Cree Nation, Canada (11/12/12). An interview with Cree activist Crystal Lameman during a delegation the Nobel Women's Initiative led in October 2012 to the tar sands of Alberta, Canada. Video embedded in article. Posted 5/23/13.


Clean Energy - Extreme Energy (local/national)

Nuclear waste solution seen in desert salt beds (2/9/14).  The U.S. Department of Energy is now storing nuclear waste in underground rooms carved out beneath dried up salt beds. Posted 2/10/14.

Nusbaum: Dangers will come over time (1/15/14). Guest columnist and board certified neurologist E. Daniel Nusbaum writes about the dangers of pyrolosis, a form of trash burning that generates fuel for electricity. Posted 1/17/14.

Ripe for retirement: an economic analysis of the U.S. coal fleet - 2013 update. Updates to an earlier report demonstrates that as many as 329 coal-fire power generators in 38 states are no longer economically competitive when compared with more clean facilities. Posted 12/10/13.

Environmentalists press Detroit to stop incineration (11/20/13). Representatives of Zero Waste Detroit coalition contend that incineration is not a renewable source for energy, but one that is harmful. Posted 12/2/13.

Several articles on the dangers of hydraulic fracturing are shared here. Posted 11/13/13.
   Tiny Minnesota city draws a line in the frac sand boom
   Oklahomans claim fracking waste polluted their water
   North Dakota's salty fracked wells drink more water to keep oil flowing

Push for ethanol production carries cost to land (11/12/13). Clearing the land to grow corn for ethanol production has proven more harmful to the environment than politicians are willing to admit. Posted 11/13/13.

New research provides evidence of coal dust escaping from trains (11/4/13). Preliminary findings released indicate that coal dust remains in the air after passing through an area. Posted 11/5/13.

Coal industry's go-to law firm withheld evidence of black lung, at expense of sick miners (10/29/13). In this report, attorneys and law firms that have served and protected the coal industry at the expense of legitimate claims are exposed. Posted 11/4/13.

FACT SHEET: Trash Incineration ("Waste-to-Energy"). Mike Ewall from Energy Justice Network prepared a fact sheet about the burning of garbage for energy production. Posted 11/4/13.

Michigan, EPA rules for coal ash piles under debate (11/1/13). Apparently Michigan's handling of toxic coal ash is too loose for the feds standards. Posted 11/3/13.

As experts recognize new form of black lung, coal industry follows familiar pattern of denial (11/1/13). A new form of black lung disease that results from inhalation of coal dust is diminishing people's lives; however because it is new, the coal industry denies any culpability.

Coal industry, Hill allies target fine print of Obama climate plan (9/3/13). Article by the Center for Public Integrity provides an overview of coal supporters efforts to undermine any efforts by the EPA to regulate emissions.

Wisconsin waters threatened by tar sands crude oil expansion (7/4/13). An Op-Ed in the Journal Sentinal online. Posted 8/11/13.

Fervent foes devote their lives to fracking fight (7/4/13). Residents of southern New York have been fighting industry to tap into its rich Marcellus Shale deposits. Posted 7/30/13.

Cement industry is the most energy intensive (7/3/13). The cement industry is "the most energy intensive of all manufacturing industries, with a share of national use roughly 10 times its share of the nation's gross output of goods and services." Posted 7/30/13.
Here are two articles about individuals at the US EPA "giving advice" to Japan allowing HIGHER risks than for radioactive cleanup levels that the EPA allows in the US and the push by such folks to legalize weaker radioactive protection in the US via Protective Action Guides. Does the U.S. Advice on Disposing Fukushima Waste Apply Back Home? and EPA Documents Raise Doubts Over Intent of New Nuclear-Response Guide.

What is the best disposal option for the "Leftovers" on the way to Zero Waste? This is a summary of a study that explored methods for managing mixed-waste residuals to reduce the harm and risks to public health and the environment to identify the best one. Posted 7/3/13.

Burning Recycling (May 2013). A resource guide from the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives on the problems incineration pose for the environment and human health. Posted 6/27/13.

Waste to Energy a Health Hazard? (6/21/13). An article in which attorney Mike Ewall, Co-Director of Energy Justice Network speaks on the toxics released by waste-to-incineration schemes. Posted 6/26/13.

Coal-Fired Power Plants: Understanding the Health Costs of a Dirty Energy Source. An article published by Physicians for Social Responsibility. Posted 5/29/13.

How much of your "clean, renewable" energy comes out of a smokestack? (10/4/11). An analysis of what is considered renewable energy, with a particular focus and critique of biomass incineration. Posted 6/20/13.

"Renewable" biomass power cuts forests, pollutes the air, drains rivers and worsens global warming. Posted 6/20/13. A fact sheet giving specific examples of the environmental impacts of biopower.

Clearcut Disster: Carbon Loophole Threatens U.S. Forests (6/10). A report by the Environmental Working Group on the role of biomass in the Waxman Market energy bill and how it would blow the carbon cap out of the water. Posted 6/20/13.

Coal-Fired Power Plants: Understanding the Health Costs of a Dirty Energy Source. An article published by Physicians for Social Responsibility. Posted 5/29/13.

An Anti-Biomass Movement Beyond Borders [The Biomass Monitor] (5/15/13). A blog post by Josh Schlossberg on Energy Justice Network's website. Josh discusses the growing anti-biomass movement among grassroots organizations. Posted 5/16/13.

News -- Job Creation in Muskegon and Michigan is the Goal of New Energy Center Partnership, members say (5/7/13). An announcement summarized by Dave Alexander in All Michigan about a budding partnership to develop the alternative energy industry in Muskegon that may lead to jobs. Posted 5/9/13.

Clean Energy - Extreme Energy (global)

Red Lake Direct Action to stop Illegal Enbridge Pipeline (3/12/13). A video that shows a group, led by the Red Lake Band of Chippewa, opposing the expansion of the Enbridge pipeline. Posted 6/20/13.

History of Gasification of Municipal Solid Waste through the Eyes of Mr. Hakan Rylander (4/19/12). An interview with the former President of International Solid Waste Association reveals that there are no environmental/climate benefits of gasification unless inputs are homogenous; this isn't the case, however, no matter how much pre-treatment happens. Posted 6/11/13.

No Public Hearings Possible on Coal Terminal Expansion, Says Port Authority (6/4/13). In this article we are able to see that pass-the-buck dance that corporations and their government agency-supporters do when the public raises tough questions about the policies and practices that impact the health of the environment, people, and more. People are calling for public meetings, but are being denied. Posted 6/6/13.

Summary of the second Research Program on Particulate Matter (5/29/13). This paper reports that a major source of particulate matter, which includes soot and heavy metals, is traffic. And concentrations of soot and heavy metals are 2-3 times higher along busy streets and roads in the Netherlands. Soot and heavy metal have higher negative effects on human health than other components of particulate matter. Posted 6/3/13.

News -- Atmospheric Carbon Levels Hit Record High (5/10/13). A statement by the Union of Concerned Scientists on the unprecedented amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Posted 5/13/13.

Air Quality

Air pollution as a heart threat (11/15/13). New studies suggest that air pollution not only worsens cardiovascular disease, but can also cause it. Posted 1/17/14.

Air pollution from incinerators and reproductive outcomes (11/2013). A journal article that draws a connection between air pollution and pre-term births. Posted 10/30/13.

Ongoing exposure to vehicle exhaust a health risk: researchers (10/21/13).  A Canadian study that draws the connection between the development of asthma and pollutants from vehicles' tailpipes. Posted 10/22/13.

MIT study: More people die from pollution than car crashes (10/18/13).  The Deseret News reports that a "recent study by MIT found that the pollution caused by driving causes more early deaths in the United States than the number of people who die each year in traffic crashes." Posted 10/21/13.

Diesel fumes deemed as cancerous as asbestos and passive smoking (9/3/13). The World Health Organization has said that diesel exhaust causes cancer. Posted 9/3/13.

Dr. Frank Bures: Particulates pose danger (9/1/13). Dr. Bures clearly indicates that particulate matter impacts human and environmental health and defines precisely what it is. Posted 9/3/13.

Air pollution causes 200,000 early fatalities/year in the US (9/2/13). MIT's Laboratory for Aviation and the Environment tracked ground-level emissions from a variety of sources, finding that the biggest culprit was road transportation. Posted 9/3/13.

Why is killer Diesel Still Poisoning Our Air? (7/19/13). News article highlighting the impacts of diesel on human health. The WHO designated diesel fumes as a cause of cancer alongside asbestos and plutonium. The article focuses on high pollution in Europe, with London as the epicenter. Posted 7/21/13.

Forest Decline Due to Particulate Matter (6/19/13). The Environmental News Network reports that the particulate matter in air pollution is correlated to forest decline. Posted 6/24/13.

Autism: Harvard study confirms pollution link (6/18/13). David Danelski reports on a recent Harvard University study that confirms a link between autism and air pollution.  Specifically, pregnant women living in high-pollution areas are more likely to have children who develop autism. Posted 6/20/13.

Environmental Justice Groups Sue EPA for Failure to Enforce Clean Air Act (6/14/13). Caroline Selle reports on a lawsuit by 5 environmental justice groups who are suing EPA for failure to comply with the Clean Air Act. Posted 6/20/13.

Microsampling Air Pollution (6/3/13). Article reports on low cost strategies some citizens have taken to measure air quality throughout various neighborhoods. Air quality often varies from neighborhood to neighborhood; measures not picked up by larger air quality monitoring agencies. Posted 6/6/13.

Air Quality Egg. A community-led air quality sensing network that gives people a way to participate in the conversation about air quality. Posted 5/16/13.

Exercise and Air Pollution (5/29/13). Huffington Post blogger Ben Greenfield summarizes findings from several reports that draw linkages between exercising in polluted areas (outdoors) and higher instances of health problems. Posted 5/30/13.

Traffic Air Pollution Turns Good Cholesterol Bad (5/29/13). Environmental and Occupational Health expert Elizabeth Sharpe reports on a study that finds exposure to diesel exhaust may render good cholesterol incapable of fighting the bad, artery-clogging cholesterol that promotes heart attack and stroke. Posted 5/30/13.

Asthma Plagues Peace Bridge Neighborhood (5/25/13). A newspaper article by Dan Telvock in Investigative Post about the cumulative impact of truck pollution on asthma and respiratory problems among people living near the Peace Bridge, which connects Buffalo, NY to Canada. Research and researchers cited in this article may have some value to researchers and activists in Detroit. Posted 5/28/13.

The Hidden Danger of Car Exhaust (5/26/13).  David Williamson reports on a recent study published by the American Heart Association journal links atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) to car exhaust. Posted 5/28/13.

Voluntary Clean Truck Programs Reduce Emissions at Ports, but Fall Short of Clean Air Goals (5/15/13). An a summary by Narcelo Norsworthy of a new peer reviewed study by Environmental Defense Fund called Emissions reduction analysis of voluntary clean truck programs at US ports. Posted 5/16/13.

Why Living Near a Busy Road Could Be Dangerous for Your Child's Health: Traffic pollution linked to diabetes risk (5/9/13). An article posted in Britain's Daily Mail Reporter. The author reports that living "near a busy road and increased levels of pollution from cars and lorries significantly raised the risk of insulin resistance in ten-year-olds, scientists found." Posted 5/14/13.

Residents Near U.S. Ports Say Expansions Taking Heavy Toll (5/5/13). An article that appears in the Washington Post.  The concerns raised in this article are similar to those shared by folks in SW and other parts of Detroit who are subjected to high levels of truck pollution. Posted 5/6/13.

Problems of Diesel. An informational page on the Clean Air Task Force's website. It provides a short overview on the health and climate-related problems that diesel causes. Posted 5/6/13.

Pollution Reporters: State of the air report from the American Lung Association (5/3/13). A summary of a recently released report from ALA. A link to the report can be found here.  Viewers can look up information by county. Posted 5/6/13.

Long-term Traffic Pollution Exposure Linked to Atherosclerosis (5/1/13). A summary of a recently published study by Hagen Kalsh, MD. Results showed that proximity to major roads and small particulate matter were associated with increasing atherosclerosis. Posted 5/6/13.