Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Cardinal Turkson Laudato Si On Care for our Common Home - United Nations...

Greenpeace continues to protest against drilling in the Arctic

Greenpeace continues to protest against drilling in the Arctic playing beautiful music in front of Shell's HQ. They created a very artistic website showcasing the compositions, performances and campaigns: 

In their last performance today at 12:30 GMT, singer songwriter Charlotte Church joined the young performers. You can see and the campaign on the below YouTube video. Amazing crowd! The music starts about half way in.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Deep Well Injection in Michigan: Deepening Our Understanding and Exploring What We Can Do About It

Sierra Club Michigan Chapter Aug 21, 2015

What do you know about deep injection wells in Michigan? If the answer is "not much," then please consider joining us on Sep. 26 at Alma College for an important workshop about the environmental risks this activity (taking place in counties around the state) poses to our water quality and environment. 

Injection well
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has received applications for permits for deep well injection activity in more than a dozen counties. Is your county one of them? What does it mean for you and your family? Find out at our workshop Sep. 26!

WHATDeep Well Injection in Michigan: Deepening Our Understanding and Exploring What We Can Do About It
WHEN: Sat., Sep 26, 10am - 2pm
WHERE: Alma College, 614 W. Superior St., Alma; Room L4 of the DOW/KAPP Bldg.
Permits for injection wells containing hazardous substances posing a serious threat to water quality are increasing in Michigan, yet most people including local public officials know little about them. In an effort to educate Michigan citizens and local governments, Sierra Club has paired with Grobbel Environmental & Planning Associates to present a workshop on about the history, purpose and risks of injection wells in Michigan. 
Christopher P. Grobbel, PhD, is an environmental consultant based in Traverse City and  MSU professor of environmental planning and management, environmental impact assessment, environmental law, and sustainability studies. 
Christopher P. Grobbel, PhD, will present "Deep Well Injection in Michigan: Deepening Our Understanding and Exploring What We Can Do About It" on Saturday, Sep. 26, from 10am - 2pm at Alma College, 614 W. Superior St. The event takes place in Room L4 of the DOW/KAPP building. 
Grobbel will lay out the context for this activity in Michigan and then explore the environmental risk associated with it and how the public can get involved in the process. Grobbel's presentation will cover the history and regulatory framework of injections wells, the technology and geology involved in Michigan, and dangers such as spills and seismic activity.  
On or before Sep. 18: $25 general public/$15 students (with ID). The cost covers lunch and all conference materials.
After Sep. 18: $35 for the general public; $20 for studentsFinal registration deadline is Sep. 25. No walk-ins. 
To register, email me at or call 616-805-3063. I hope to see you on September 26th in Alma!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Community Meeting: Nexus and ET Rover Natural Gas Pipelines

Nexus and ET Rover Natural Gas Pipelines Community Meeting
August 25, 7:00 PM
Pittsfield Township Hall, 6201 W Michigan Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48108


ET Rover

August 25, 7:00PM @Pittsfield Township Hall, 6201 W Michigan Ave Ann Arbor, MI 48108
ET Rover and Nexus are proposed pipelines that will carry fracked gas along parallel routes from
Pennsylvania through Ohio, Michigan, and into Ontario, Canada. A panel will  present landowner, law, and environmental perspectives on the pipelines, followed by a Q&A period for additional questions or concerns.

This meeting is supported by:  FOOD & WATER WATCH  (
         THE SIERRA CLUB  (

Monday, August 17, 2015

Environmentally Concerned Citizens of South Central Michigan (ECCSCM) Water Monitoring Results, 8.12.15

ECCSCM completed its third round of water monitoring tests for our 2015 Water Monitoring Project on August 12, 2015.  We are monitoring 8 sites in the Bear Cr./Black Cr./Raisin and lower (MI) Bean Cr./Tiffin/Maumee watersheds this year.
 Please find the results on the spreadsheet attached.  Numbers in bold either meet or exceed MI water quality standards or the EPA-recommended maximum levels. All eight sites had excessive phosphorus levels.  Multiply the orthophosphate (PO4) result by .3262 to obtain P.  Michigan does not have water quality standards for phosphorus for non-point sources, but it is <1 mg/L (ppm) for point sources (industry, municipal wastewater treatment plants).  The safe level for aquatic life is <.05 mg/L, and the danger level is .1 mg/L. Four sites, Deline Dr. Extension, Durfee Cr., Shierson Dr., and Rice Lake Dr., had levels at or above 1,000 mg/L which is the MI limit for partial body contact - E. coli. Three sites, Carter Dr., Silver Cr., and Shierson Dr., had nitrate levels that were either at or above the MI water quality standard. Four sites, Rice Lake Dr., Bovee Dr., Durfee Cr., and Carter Dr. had dissolved oxygen levels that were below the MI water quality standard for warmwater streams, and two - Rice Lake Dr. and Durfee Cr. had levels that were too low to sustain aquatic life. Dead fish were reported at the Rice Lake Drain sampling site.  This observation was reported on 8.12.15 to MDEQ, USF&W, and DNR.  In addition to excessive E. coli, excessive phosphorus, and extremely low dissolved oxygen, the ammonia level at Rice Lake Drain was .3 mg/L.  From the EPA:  "Manure, and wastewater containing manure, can severely harm river and stream ecosystems. Manure contains ammonia which is highly toxic to fish at low levels. Increased amounts of nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus...can cause algal blooms which block waterways and deplete oxygen as they decompose.This can kill fish and other aquatic organisms, devastating the entire aquatic food chain." 

In fact, the test results at seven of our sites showed the presence of ammonia, and the highest level was at the Deline Drain Extension.

A picture of one of the dead fish at Rice Lake Drain

The results can be downloaded here.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

One Year In FLIR: Exposing Invisible Fracking Air Pollution

By Hillary Lewis,
August 13th, 2015
Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 9.07.18 AM

One year ago, thanks to the generous support of Earthworks members, we bought a FLIR Gasfinder camera to expose otherwise invisible air pollution from fracking and drilling operations.
With this camera, we are able see what industry is trying to hide, and show that fracking isn’t clean or safe. We put the results of this technology in the hands of everyday citizens living with oil and gas in their backyard so they can see what’s really going on and demand action.
Read the full story here.

Study: Fracking In The Delaware River Basin Would Threaten Health Of 45,000

By Natasha Geiling,
August 13th, 2015
Encompassing the longest free-flowing river in the eastern United States, the Delaware River Basin also happens to sit partially on top of the Marcellus Shale, the second largestgas field in the world. To date, a moratorium put in place by the Delaware River Basin Commission has kept gas companies out of the Delaware River Basin — but environmental groups worry that without a permanent ban, the basin could be opened to fracking at a moment’s notice.
The Delaware River, the longest free-flowing river in the eastern United States.
Now, a new study seeks, for the first time, to quantify the environmental impact of opening the Delaware River Basin to fracking — and what natural gas extraction could mean for the communities that call the region home.
Read the full story here.
Download the Study here.

Friday, August 14, 2015

‘Do no harm’: Medical professionals urge Wellcome Trust to end fossil fuel investments

Dear members of the Wellcome Trust executive board,
We write as concerned health professionals and academics in relation to the Guardian’s Keep it in the ground campaign calling on the Wellcome Trust and Gates Foundation to divest from the world’s 200 largest fossil fuel companies over the next five years.
The Wellcome Trust is an outstanding philanthropic institution whose work has a profound impact on the health and wellbeing of millions worldwide. We congratulate the Trust on its leadership in promoting and funding research into the impacts of climate change, and hope that this work will continue to grow in line with the urgent threat to human health and survival. However, we were disappointed to learn of the Trust’s decision to continue to invest in fossil fuel companies.
It is uncontested that the majority of carbon reserves listed on stock exchanges must remain underground if we are to avoid exceeding a 2C rise in global mean temperature and the catastrophic health impacts this would have. Our current business-as-usual trajectory commits us to over 2C warming – a point scientists have described as the threshold between “dangerous”and “extremely dangerous” – within decades.
As the Trust acknowledges, avoiding this scenario demands an urgent transition towards clean energy. Its view, as set forth by Professor Jeremy Farrar, is that engagement with fossil fuel companies’ boards is a more effective way to support such a transition than divestment. However, there is little or no evidence to suggest that this approach holds a realistic prospect of reducing global fossil fuel production sufficiently in the limited time available.
We believe a complete transformation of the energy sector is needed, driven by strong climate policies, and that divestment has greater potential to bring this about. The ethical and financial case for fossil fuel divestment is well founded and has been supported by the president of the World Bank and the director-general of the World Health Organisation (WHO), both public health physicians. Through the political change it has helped catalyse, the same strategy played a vital role in the movements against apartheid and tobacco. As such, we welcome the statement that the Trust would consider this step if engagement proves ineffective.
Our primary concern is that a decision not to divest will continue to bolster the social licence of an industry that has indicated no intention of taking meaningful action. Indeed, many of these companies continue to use their considerable influence to delay political action, as tobacco companies have done previously. Shell’s lobbying against binding EU renewables targets and its decision to drill for Arctic oil, which cannot safely be burned, give additional cause for alarm. Further, having a financial interest in the extraction of “unburnable” reserves may restrict organisations’ capacity to advocate effectively for the policy framework that is needed.
Lastly, divestment rests on the premise that it is wrong to profit from an industry whose core business threatens human and planetary health, bringing to mind one of the foundations of medical ethics – first, do no harm. We believe that, in aligning organisations’ investments with their aims and values, it goes beyond a “grand gesture”. The question is not only one of direct, short-term impacts, but of leadership. Health organisations such as the Wellcome Trust have considerable moral and scientific authority, and a decision to divest has the potential to influence policy-makers, other investors and the public, in the UK and internationally.
We thank the Trust for its openness to dialogue and its commitment to transparency, and request that you make public what, specifically, the Trust aims to achieve through shareholder engagement, and by when. We would particularly like to know at what point Trust will divest should these aims not be met, whether on a company-by-company or sector-wide basis.
Yours sincerely,
The undersigned: signed by almost 1,000 global health professionals. Full list here.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Spokane sues Monsanto over Spokane River contamination

The city of Spokane is suing the international agrochemical giant Monsanto, which it blames for pollution in the Spokane River.

Read the story here.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

A little older - but still newsworthy: Tracks reopen after second Montana train derailment

 on Jul 18, 2015 
CULBERTSON, Mont. – Railroad tracks have reopened in northeast Montana as crews continue removing wreckage from a crude oil train derailment.

Watch a video of the accident site and read the entire story here.

This went down quite lucky but it shows how unsafe oil transports are. The track records of trucks are not much better - and pipelines have their own risks and issues.
Again this all just shows that is time to phase out fossil fuels and intensify the use of clean renewable energy from wind, sun and hydro...

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Big-Ag-Fueled Algae Bloom That Won't Leave Toledo's Water Supply Alone

The Big-Ag-Fueled Algae Bloom That Won't Leave Toledo's Water Supply Alone

| Wed Aug. 5, 2015 6:05 AM EDT

A vast Lake Erie algae bloom returns, captured by a NASA satelite on July 28. 

The citizens of Toledo, Ohio, have embarked upon their new summer ritual: stocking up on bottled water. For the second straight year, an enormous algae bloom has settled upon Lake Erie, generating nasty toxins right where the city of 400,000 draws its tap water. Read the entire story here.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Group starts process to sue US agency over pipeline plans

Group starts process to sue US agency over pipeline plans

Sunday, August 2, 2015

More Details about the Procedures Involved in EPA vs. Savoy

Natalie M. Topinka
Environmental Scientist
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 5 Air Enforcement and
Compliance Assurance Branch
77 West Jackson Boulevard (AE-17J)
Chicago, IL 60604
ph: (312) 886-3853
fax: (312) 692-2410

To clarify, enforcement settlements, including the full settlement documents which describe the terms of the settlement and amount of penalty assessed, are public records. There is not even a need to send a Freedom of Information Act request for these documents because they will be published on EPA's Region 5 enforcement website when they are finalized. However, it is the discussions which lead to the settlement that are confidential, as is the case with any legal dispute between two parties.

Regarding the penalty, EPA does not have the authority under the Clean Air Act to designate a recipient of the penalty dollars. However, in some cases, a company may voluntarily choose to mitigate a portion of the penalty by performing a Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP), which EPA encourages to be performed in the community of the violating facility. In this way, the settlement of a Clean Air Act violation may be able to achieve additional environmental benefits (above and beyond correction of the original violation). A SEP must meet specific criteria according to the SEP policy approved by Congress, and EPA cannot require a company to perform a SEP as part of a settlement. See this link for more information about SEPs:

Protecting the environment is everyone's responsibility.  Help EPA
fight pollution by reporting possible harmful environmental activity.
To do so, visit EPA's website at