Trump’s EPA Greenlights a Nasty Chemical. A Month Later, It Poisons a Bunch of Farmworkers.

GR:  Trump’s head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, is a corporate shill who’s been placed in charge of limiting corporate excesses. Of course, people, wildlife, and natural ecosystems will suffer.

Pgian/iStock

“On May 5, more than 50 farmworkers outside of Bakersfield, California, were exposed to a highly toxic pesticide that apparently drifted from a nearby field—at a high enough level that “twelve people reported symptoms of vomiting [and] nausea and one person fainted,” reports the television news station Kern Golden Empire. “An additional twelve workers did not show signs of any symptoms,” the station reported. “However more than half of the farm workers left before medical aide arrived.”

“Public health authorities took the poisoning quite seriously. “Anybody that was exposed, that was here today, we encourage them to seek medical attention immediately. Don’t wait. Particularly if you’re suffering from any symptoms. Whether it’s nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, seek medical attention immediately,” Michelle Corson, public relations officer at Kern County Public Health, said in an announcement to the TV station.

“According to the news report, the poisoning was caused by a chemical called chlorpyrifos. A spokeswoman for the Kern County Department of Public Health said the department assumes chlorpyrifos was the active ingredient in the pesticide in question, but the matter is still under investigation by the Kern County Department of Agriculture and Measurement Standards. A spokesman for that office said test results pinpointing the chemical are pending but would not be done for at least a week. Dow AgroSciences, one of the main makers of the chemical, did not respond to phone calls and emails.

“Many public health experts, scientists, and environmentalists have for years been pushing for a ban on chlorpyrifos, and last year it was looking like the Environmental Protection Agency intended to instate one. According to the National Pesticide Information Center, exposure to the chemical through inhalation can cause initial symptoms like “tearing of the eyes, runny nose, increased saliva and sweat production, nausea, dizziness and headache,” followed by possible “muscle twitching, weakness or tremors, lack of coordination, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and pupil constriction with blurred or darkened vision.” Chlorpyrifos is an endocrine disrupter, and major studies (here, here, and here) have found strong evidence to suggest that even at very low doses, the chemical triggers effects among children ranging from lower IQ to higher rates of autism. More here.

“But in March, the EPA abruptly changed its stance on chlorpyrifos, greenlighting it instead of banning it. The decision, among the first major ones made by Scott Pruitt in his tenure as EPA chief, caused outrage in public health circles. Dow AgroSciences applauded the decision. “Dow AgroSciences remains confident that authorized uses of chlorpyrifos products offer wide margins of protection for human health and safety,” the company declared in a press release.” –Tom Philpott (More: Trump’s EPA Greenlights a Nasty Chemical. A Month Later, It Poisons a Bunch of Farmworkers. | Mother Jones.)

Intelligence community to Trump: When it comes to global warming, you’re wrong

GR: Trump would prefer a few ignorant cheering supporters to a thoughtful response to dangers in the world. Of course, the U. S. oil-money Congress has its own reasons for denying climate change. “. . . the intelligence report also says that biodiversity losses from pollution, overexploitation and other causes is “disrupting ecosystems that support life, including humans.”

Remember, prepare, practice and be ready now. Courtesy U.S. Army graphic (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

“Each year the intelligence community puts together a “Worldwide Threat Assessment” report, and it inevitably scares the hell out of Congress and the public by detailing all the dangers facing the U.S. (Hint: there are a lot of them.)

“This year’s report, published Thursday and discussed at a congressional hearing, makes for particularly disquieting reading.

“While it focuses on the increasing danger that North Korea’s nuclear weapons program poses as well as cyberterrorism threats, one environmental concern stands out on the list: climate change.

“According to the new report, delivered to the Senate Intelligence Committee by Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence (DNI), warns that climate change is raising the likelihood of instability and conflict around the world.

“This is surprising given the Trump administration’s open hostility to climate science findings.

“The trend toward a warming climate is forecast to continue in 2017,” the report states, noting that 2016 was the hottest year on record worldwide. Climate scientists have firmly tied this to human-caused emissions of greenhouse gases, though the report does not make that link.

Norfolk Naval Base, the largest in the world, is experiencing flooding from sea level rise. 9 Flattops at Norfolk naval base, December 20, 2012 : From bottom to top, front to back: Aircraft carrier DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (CVN 69) Aircraft carrier GEORGE H. W. BUSH (CVN 77) Aircraft carrier ENTERPRISE (CVN 65) Amphibious assault ship BATAAN (LHD 5) Aircraft carrier ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN 72) Aircraft carrier HARRY S TRUMAN (CVN 75) Amphibious assault ship WASP (LHD 1) Amphibious assault ship KEARSARGE (LHD 3) Amphibious landing platform dock NEW YORK (LPD 21) A T-AKE dry cargo ammunition ship Amphibious assault ship IWO JIMA (LHD 7) and various cruisers, destroyers, frigates and submarines of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet. By: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ernest R. Scott

“This warming is projected to fuel more intense and frequent extreme weather events that will be distributed unequally in time and geography. Countries with large populations in coastal areas are particularly vulnerable to tropical weather events and storm surges, especially in Asia and Africa,” the report states.

“The report also cites worsening air pollution in urban areas around the globe, potential water resources conflicts in places like the Middle East. Interestingly, the intelligence report also says that biodiversity losses from pollution, overexploitation and other causes is “disrupting ecosystems that support life, including humans.”

“The rate of species loss worldwide Is estimated at 100 to 1,000 times higher than the natural background extinction rate, according to peer-reviewed scientific literature,” the report states.

“The findings in this report are surprising considering the Trump administration’s hostility to mainstream climate science findings and policies aimed at cutting emissions of greenhouse gases that are warming the planet. Some agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Interior Department, have gone so far as to take down pages devoted to peer-reviewed scientific reports on climate change.

“For example, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt has said he does not believe that carbon dioxide is the main driver of global warming. This view goes against thousands of peer reviewed climate studies, as well as findings from his own agency.” –Andrew Freedman (Continue reading: Intelligence community to Trump: When it comes to global warming, you’re wrong–Mashable.)

Zinke Releases National Monument Hit List

GR:  The anti-nature Trump administration guided by our corrupt congress, has launched yet another attempt to enrich the fossil-fuel industry. This attempt is aimed at the nation’s national monuments. And for what? We do not need the fuels. Industry administrators are simply too lazy to switch their focus to renewable energy. So, now we have to cite both sloth and greed as the human forces behind the “death-to-nature” actions of the Trumpeters.

Bears Ears National Monument. Photo by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management.

“President Trump’s Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, today released his list of National Monuments he intends to dismantle.

“On the chopping block, more than 11 million acres of public lands in the American West. These lands include the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, Canyons of the Ancients in Colorado, Grand Canyon-Parashant in Arizona, Gold Butte in Nevada, Craters of the Moon in Idaho, Giant Sequoia in California, and many more.

“Make no mistake, this is a hit list. In spite of Zinke’s claims otherwise, the American public has made their voices heard loudly and clearly over the years as Presidents have designated deserving American natural and cultural treasures as National Monuments. Since their designations, Americans far and wide have continued to voice support for protection.

“It’s not a surprise. These public lands are truly majestic and unmatched. They’re also major economic boosters. It’s no wonder that even the State of Utah, which is opposed to National Monuments, touts Monuments like the Grand Staircase-Escalante as “phenomenal” landscapes in an effort to drive tourism and generate revenue.

“If anything is unprecedented, it’s Trump’s attack on these American treasures.

“Zinke’s announcement today kicks off a process that will surely lead to the diminishment or dismantling of protections for all of these places. Trump himself called these National Monuments “abuses,” a pretty strong indicator of where this process is going to end up.

“And while Zinke’s move is clearly being driven by the anti-public lands movement, this movement itself seems to be fueled largely by fossil fuel interests.

Bears Ears by Tim Peterson

“As we wrote earlier, the Bears Ears National Monument in particular is squarely in the crosshairs of fracking companies. Other Monuments, including Grand Staircase-Escalante (which has already experienced oil spills), Canyons of the Ancients (CO) (which has already been extensively developed by oil and gas companies), Upper Missouri River Breaks (MT), Grand Canyon-Parashant (AZ), Basin and Range (NV), and Carrizo Plain (CA) also all have potential for fracking.” –Jeremy Nichols (Continue reading: Zinke Releases National Monument Hit List – ClimateWest.)

Merkley, Sanders goal: U.S. on all renewables by 2050

GR:  The U. S. has begun adopting renewable energy. For instance, the number of us solar jobs (not even counting wind) surpassed coal, oil, and gas jobs officially in late 2015 (https://www.bloomberg.com). This story shows some of the powerful support behind the 100 by ’50 Act (100% by 2050). It also includes links to background information as well as the bill and the bill summary.

People in my community are switching to rooftop solar power. The switch stabilizes their costs and gives them independence from power failures of all kinds. Those that live in shaded homes like mine or in multi-family apartments are switching using the Green-e Program.

Look at the list of seven core components of the transition plan and see if you agree that it is sensible. The story from KTVZ.com reporting from Senator Merkley’s home state lists the component near the end:

“Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT), along with Senators Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and Cory Booker (D-NJ), introduced landmark climate legislation Thursday that would transition the United States to 100 percent clean and renewable energy by no later than 2050.

“The “100 by ’50 Act” lays out a roadmap for a transition to 100% clean and renewable energy by 2050. It is the first bill introduced in Congress that will fully envision a transition off of fossil fuels for the United States.

“America is home to innovative entrepreneurs and scientists who have tackled many challenges in our nation’s history — from harnessing electricity, to putting a man on the moon, to curing disease,” said Merkley. “The power to end the use of fossil fuels and completely transition to clean and renewable energy is within our hands, but just as with the moon landing, we need a roadmap, a goal, and a passionate, shared national commitment to get us there.

“If an asteroid were hurtling its way through space towards our planet, we would do everything in our power to stop that asteroid. Our commitment to fighting climate change should be no less. Starting at a local, grassroots level and working toward the bold and comprehensive national vision laid out in this legislation, now is the time to commit to 100% by 2050.”

“The good news is that despite President Trump, we are winning this battle,” said Sanders. “In Vermont and all over this country, we are seeing communities moving toward energy efficiency and we are seeing the price of renewable energy plummet. Our job is to think big, not small. We can win the war against climate change. We can win the war in transforming our energy system and put millions of people to work doing that. We can create a planet that will be healthy and habitable for our children. There is no issue more important.”

“It is no longer a question of if we can power our country with 100 percent renewable energy, it is a question of when,” said Markey. “We know that we have 100 percent of the clean energy resource potential in the United States. And we have 100 percent of the technological capability to achieve this goal. As President Trump launches attacks on investments in climate science and energy innovation, now, more than ever, we need to stand up and fight for our clean energy future. I thank Senators Merkley and Sanders for their help leading this historic clean energy revolution.” –KTVZ.com (Continue reading: Merkley, Sanders goal: U.S. on all renewables by 2050 – KTVZ