That rotten stench in the air? It’s the smell of deadly gas and secrecy

GR:  Having had local experience with government cover-up of hazardous conditions, I am not surprised that Canadian officials would cooperate with the fossil-fuel industry to hide the truth from endangered citizens. We sometimes ask industries to regulate themselves, but as you will read, this doesn’t always work very well.

Dairy Carbon Footprint (sodeliciousdairyfree.com)

The lack of concern for human injury is just one facet of government-industry collusion. Conditions that impact vegetation, wildlife, and whole ecosystems receive even less concern. Reporters do not mention the broader issue because the damage is not directly experienced by people and because most of us do not understand what is happening. Nevertheless, ecologists have studied the impacts and costs to nature and human society. They’ve published the results. We all need to read a little more and work a little harder to understand the consequences of our behavior whether it is criminal acts by government and industry personnel or the byproducts of acts as simple as drinking a glass of milk.

“As the number of shale oil wells has soared in Saskatchewan, the risk of hydrogen sulphide leaks has multiplied. A year-long investigation reveals what the government and industry knew — and kept from the public.” — Robert Cribb et al. (Continue: That rotten stench in the air? It’s the smell of deadly gas and secrecy | Toronto Star).

Coincidence or Collusion? Records Show EPA Slowed Glyphosate Review in Coordination With Monsanto

GR: The case for collusion looks stronger than the one for coincidence. This story makes one think of our lying president and the fear that the lies and corruption by our government will begin to seem normal and acceptable. We definitely need to drain the swamp, and I want to start seeing that Progressives include all the means by which private companies influence government in their platforms. What the story by Carey Gilliam, introduced below, shows is that for-profit businesses and the government employees/agencies they influence are willing to support deadly weed herbicides with little regard for human and ecosystem health. The EPA, USDA, and everyone involved needs to advocate safer means of weed control.

“Newly released government email communications show a persistent effort by multiple officials within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to slow a separate federal agency’s safety review of Monsanto’s top-selling herbicide. Notably, the records demonstrate that the EPA efforts came at the behest of Monsanto, and that EPA officials were helpful enough to keep the chemical giant updated on their progress.

“The communications, most of which were obtained through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, show that it was early 2015 when the EPA and Monsanto began working in concert to stall a toxicology review that a unit of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was conducting on glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s branded Roundup herbicide products. The details revealed in the documents come as Monsanto is defending itself against allegations that it has tried to cover up evidence of harm with its herbicides.

“The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a federal public health agency within the CDC that is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is charged with evaluating the potential adverse human health effects from exposures to hazardous substances in the environment. So it made sense for the ATSDR to take a look at glyphosate, which is widely used on U.S. farms, residential lawns and gardens, school playgrounds and golf courses. Glyphosate is widely used in food production and glyphosate residues have been found in testing of human urine.

“The ATSDR announced in February 2015 that it planned to publish a toxicological profile of glyphosate by October of that year. But by October, that review was on hold, and to this date no such review has yet been published.

“The documents reveal this was no accident, no bureaucratic delay, but rather was the result of a collaborative effort between Monsanto and a group of high-ranking EPA officials.” –Carey Gilliam (Continue reading: Collusion or Coincidence? Records Show EPA Slowed Glyphosate Review in Coordination With Monsanto.)

Poison Papers: Monsanto Knew PCBs Were Toxic for Years But Sold Them Anyway

GR:  Monsanto is facing enormous financial penalties for their continued production and sale of toxic chemicals. This post (and earlier stories) discusses PCBs. Other reports describe similar indefensible production and sale of ecosystem destroying and cancer causing herbicides. I guess that once the company directors decided that profits were more important than the health and life of people and natural systems, they would sell any profitable chemical they could produce. The company strategy includes controlling government regulations and regulators.

“Washington could have an ace up its sleeve in its major lawsuit against Monsanto over PCB (polychlorinated biphenyls) contamination throughout the state.

“Before switching operations to agriculture, Monsanto was the primary manufacturer of PCBs, which was used for paints, electrical equipment and other products, from 1935 until 1977. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned PCBs in 1979 due to its link to birth defects and cancer in laboratory animals. PCBs can have adverse skin and liver effects in humans and can also linger in the environment for many decades.

“But according to documents published by The Poison Papers project, a new online archive of more than 20,000 documents obtained from federal agencies and chemical manufacturers, Monsanto possibly knew as early as the 1960s—at least a decade before the federal ban—that PCBs were harmful to public health and the environment but continued to manufacture and sell the widely used product anyway.

“Washington assistant attorney general Bill Sherman told the Guardian that the archive contained information the state was previously unaware of.

“If authentic, these records confirm that Monsanto knew that their PCBs were harmful and pervasive in the environment, and kept selling them in spite of that fact,” he said. “They knew the dangers, but hid them from the public in order to profit.”

“Sherman cited a particular Monsanto pollution abatement plan from October 1969 that was published in the Poison Papers archive. A section of the plan titled, the “damage to the ecological system by contamination from PCBs,” states: “The evidence proving the persistence of these compounds and their universal presence in the environment is beyond questioning.”

“Further, the document says that “direct lawsuits are possible” because “customers using the products have not been officially notified about known effects nor [do] our labels carry this information.” –Lorraine Chow (Continue: Poison Papers: Monsanto Knew PCBs Were Toxic for Years But Sold Them Anyway).

Armed with smartphones, Cameroon forest defenders take on illegal loggers

GR: Around the world, legal and illegal resource use is destroying wildlife habitat, eroding soils, and polluting water. Earth has been no match for humans, either those believing they are practicing sustainable harvest, or those just wanting wealth.

“KADEY, Cameroon, In an innovative push to combat illegal logging and the corruption that enables it, community volunteers in Cameroon are being trained to use smartphones to take geo-tagged images of freshly cut stumps and relay the information to the authorities.

“Under a partnership between the government and environmental groups, young people are using satellite-linked phones to document tree-cutting in areas where logging is not allowed.

“They can then upload the photos and make toll-free calls to report the suspicious activity, not just to the police and forest ministry, but also to the National Anti-Corruption Commission, said Bangya Dieudonne, a forestry and wildlife official in Kadey, in the country’s East Region.

“Getting these three institutions informed makes it difficult for forest exploitation criminals to bribe their way through,” he said.

“Training frontline forest defenders aims to reduce illegal deforestation, which is depriving the government of billions of CFA francs in income, hurting communities that make their living from the forest, and making the country more vulnerable to the effects of climate change, officials said.

“With corruption continuing to hamper forest management, new and stronger measures are needed, Dieudonne said.

“So far, more than 100 people have been trained as community “forest defenders” in the East Region and other areas where logging has been especially prevalent, officials said.” –The Local Africa News (More: Armed with smartphones, Cameroon forest defenders take on illegal loggers • The Local Africa News.)