Monday, March 31, 2008
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Friday, March 28, 2008
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should cease and desist from any additional statements regarding suicide related to this product. This product significantly enhances life instead of causing any negative thoughts or feelings. Reports to the contrary are outrageous. Televised reports from news services have stated that there have been 3 suicides out of 31 million Singulair users. The FDA is just as well to review the link between lightning strikes to asthma inhalers causing suicide. We have to state again that to have this pubicized in such a manner is not only unconscionable but also poses a serious risk to the public. AAEA appeals to news services to stop publicizing this fiction immediately.
It is being reported that the FDA is reviewing a handful of reports, not clinical studies, involving mood changes, suicidal behavior and suicide in patients who have taken Singulair. Singulair is used by millions of patients in the U.S. and was first approved in 1998. How the FDA could or would allow these reports to become public without any clinical studies, which are the standard tool for evaluating drug safety, is mind boggling. Published reports indicate that there were no suicides in the 11,000 patients enrolled in 40 Singulair trials. Now Merck will have to spend millions of dollars in advertising to reverse false impressions instead of lowering the price for those who need the medication but do not have health insurance. (The Washington Post)
Thursday, March 27, 2008
La Hague Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing Facility - Normandy, France
Standing feet above reprocessed nuclear fuel (I'm in the middle)
[Rest of tour party not members of NFR Coalition]
The Nuclear Fuels Reprocessing Coalition was established in 2002 to promote the construction and operation of nuclear fuels reprocessing facilities. NFR promotes reprocessing commercial spent nuclear fuel that is generated by commercial nuclear power plants. Reprocessing dramatically reduces the amount of high-level radioactive waste that would have to be stored in a geologic repository. The NFR Coalition is working to:
- Amend the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 with the Nuclear Waste Management Agency Act of 2008 to establish the United States Nuclear Waste Management Agency to manage all Federal and civilian spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste management programs currently under the control of the United States Department of Energy;
- Establish and operate low-level radioactive waste receipt, supplementary segregation, treatment and burial or monitored/retrievable storage facilities on a fee basis; and to promote spent nuclear fuel reprocessing as a viable technology to aid in achieving and maintaining our national security and National Energy Policy goals, and for its potential to significantly reduce the total volume of radioactive waste designated for disposal in a Federal geologic repository.
Utilities are also suing over the delay in opening Yucca Mountain.The U.S. Court of Claims decided in favor of Xcel Energy (formerly Northern States Power) for the sum of $116.5 million in Xcel's lawsuit against the Department of Energy over the federal government's failure to open the Yucca Mountain nuclear storage facility on time. Northern States Power originally filed the suit in 1998. DOE failed to provide suitable off-site commercial spent nuclear fuel (SNF) disposal to the commercial nuclear utilities per the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 1987; yet to date, over $30 billion dollars (including interest) has been paid into the Nuclear Waste Fund by the electric utility ratepayers.
Unfortunately, the projected date for completion of the geologic repository by the DOE to begin emplacement of SNF has recently been revised from 2010 to a new projected date of 2017, while the original Congressionally mandated date for having a geologic repository available was 1998. A fee of 1/10th of one cent (one mil) per kilowatt-hour of electricity generated by each nuclear power plant is paid into the fund. All settlements against the DOE are paid by the Judgment Fund, which is funded by our tax dollars. Understand why I am angry?
Current estimates indicate that program compliance costs are about 75 percent below those initially predicted by EPA. The auction includes two types of allowances: 125,000 offered for use in 2008 and 125,000 additional allowances offered seven years in advance to help provide stability in planning for capital investments. These advance allowances will be available for use in 2015. The number of allowances a source purchases will not permit them to emit SO2 at a level that would violate the health-based national ambient air quality standard.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Cities and performers:
New York, Central Park: country singer Ricky Skaggs,
Miami: Latin group Menudo, hip-hop group Arrested Development
Dallas: Los Lonely Boys
Denver: Neville Brothers
San Francisco, Golden Gate Park: Mickey Hart
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
The environmental movement remains monolithic in its opposition to nuclear energy. Although global warming is the most serious environmental issue facing the world today, and although nuclear power emits no greenhouse gases that cause global warming, green groups remain unalterably opposed to the technology. This opposition would appear to be illogical in the face of such a universally agreed upon global threat to life as we know it, but the fact remains that no environmental group publicly supports nuclear power. Not one. Nada. None. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid even uses this fact as a weapon in opposing Yucca Mountain as the national repository for spent nuclear fuel.
What is behind this phenomenon? Why would every single environmental group in the United States continue to oppose nuclear power when it is seemingly an off the shelf solution to the global warming problem? We have two hypotheses: 1) the groups continue to believe that the technology is dangerous - even more dangerous than global warming, 2) supporting nuclear energy would be a bad business decision. The environmental movement is a $6 billion per year industry and there is no funding for supporting nuclear power for the groups. No foundation is going to fund pronuclear activities. In fact, supporting nuclear power would render any group bold enough to step forward a pariah in the foundation community, which would be supported by condemnation from the entire environmental movement. Moreover, any green group executive director or board member would risk losing his or her job or board position by independently supporting nuclear power.
The nuclear industry might be salivating over a pending renaissance, but antinuclear groups are also salivating over, and still quietly working for, a resurgence in aggressive opposition to nuclear power, from funders and the general public.
Monday, March 24, 2008
We are still studying the energy penalties for these processes and the economics. We also believe that the transportation fuel should be used by the military with any excess sold in the marketplace. If you have any input we would appreciate it. In the Fischer-Tropsch model pictured above the coal would be replaced with carbon dioxide. (Additional Source: Ken Schultz)
"Instead of fighting this war, we could be freeing ourselves from the tyranny of oil, and saving this planet for our children. We could be investing in renewable sources of energy, and in clean coal technology, and creating up to 5 million new green jobs in the bargain, including new clean coal jobs. And we could be doing it all for the cost of less than a year and a half in Iraq."Friends of the Earth (FOE) has taken exception to Senator Obama's position on creating "new clean coal jobs." AAEA agrees with Senator Obama that 'green jobs' can come out of clean coal technology. We also share FOE's concern about mountaintop removal and its devastating effects on watersheds.
It will take a brand new way of thinking to make green jobs from coal mining and production of electricity. AAEA is promoting a process whereby the carbon dioxide can be converted into gasoline. (More)
"Before folks go running off to condemn Senator Clinton, reflect a moment on the following: The Clean Air Act created a sulfur doixide cap-and-trade program to implement an acid rain reducion program back in the mid-90s.
Prior to Congress passing that law, Congressman Henry Waxman (as dedicated an environmental legislator as ever there was) introduced a bill to pay for installation of a sulfur dioxide removal scrubber for the 50 largest sulfur dioxide emitting power plants. Environmental Defense argued against it and said 'let the market decide how utility companies will reduce sulfur dioxide by the least expensive means.'
Well, the companies have done just that. They quit buying and mining the high sulfur coal of Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky and shifted to the low sulfur coal seams in the high mountains of Appalachia. The US DOE Energy Information Administration Form 423 has the verifiable coal-purchase data to prove that fact. Go see for yourself.
When I once asked an Environmental Defense lobbyist how he defends SO2 cap-and-trade in light of mountaintop removal, he said "That was an unintended consequence". So, get the story straight and call back the mob." (From Grist Magazine Comment)
Friday, March 21, 2008
AAEA promotes effective alternatives to the Kyoto Protocol's arbitrary reduction targets and we also believe that Cap-and-Trade mechanisms can be leveraged to benefit people of color communities by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, provide economic incentives for such improvements and provide business opportunities for minority entrepreneurs. AAEA has also developed programs and mechanisms to provide minority communties with the tools to help make Cap-and-Trade programs effective globally and locally. The AAEA Environmental Justice Allowance Reserve (EJAR) provides oversight and protection mechanisms in a Cap-and-Trade program. We have also developed a Carbon Mercantile Exchange (CMX) and Green Carbon Bank (GCB) to directly participate in the management of carbon dioxide offsets.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Friday, March 14, 2008
Nationwide this regulation will help prevent 1,400 premature deaths, and 120,000 lost work days annually in 2030. The estimated annual health benefits arevalued between $8.4 billion and $12 billion. The rule cuts emissions from all types of diesel locomotives, including line-haul, switch, and passenger rail, as well as from a wide range of marine sources, including ferries, tugboats, Great Lake freighters and all types of marine auxiliary engines.
For the first time ever, this rule requires remanufacturing standards for marine engines, reductions in engine idling, and the use of after treatment technology that will further reduce diesel emissions. Phasing in tighter long-term standards for PM and NOx will begin in 2014 for marine diesel engines and in 2015 for locomotive engines. This new rule complements the Clean Air Nonroad Diesel Rule and the Clean Air Diesel Truck and Bus Rule, currently underway nationwide. For more information about this action visit: Clean Diesel Locomotive: Clean Diesel Marine: For more information about the: Heavy-Duty Diesel Trucks and Bus Program
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
The EPA's Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, which includes members from academia and private research institutions, recommended the standard be set between 60 and 70 parts per billion of ozone in order to protect human health. The previous primary and secondary standards were identical 8-hour standards, set at 0.08 ppm. Because ozone is measured out to three decimal places, the standard effectively became 0.084 ppm: areas with ozone levels as high as 0.084 ppm were considered as meeting the 0.08 ppm standard, because of rounding.
EPA will be sending Congress four principles to guide legislative changes to the Clean Air Act. According to EPA, these changes are needed to modernize the Clean Air Act. The four principles recommend that the Clean Air Act and the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS):
1) must protect the public health and improve the overall well-being of our citizens;The U.S. has made significant progress reducing ground-levelo zone across the country and EPA expects improvement to continue, as a result of regulations such as the Clean Air Interstate Rule, to reduce emissions from power plants in the East, and the Clean Diesel Program, to reduce emissions from highway, nonroad and stationary diesel engines nationwide.
2) should allow decision-makers to consider benefits, costs,risk tradeoffs, and feasibility in making decisions about how to cleanthe air;
3) should provide greater accountability and effective enforcement to ensure not only paper requirements but also air qualityrequirements are met, especially in areas
with the furthest to go in meeting our standards;
4) should allow the schedule for addressing NAAQS standards to be driven by the available science and the prioritization of health and environmental concerns, taking into account the multi-pollutant nature of air pollution.
Ozone can harm people’s lungs, and AAEA is particularly concerned about individuals with asthma or other lung diseases, as well as those who spend a lot of time outside, such as children. Ozone exposure can aggravate asthma, resulting in increased medication use and emergency room visits, and it can increase susceptibility to respiratory infections. Ground-level ozone is not emitted directly into the air, but forms when emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs)“cook” in the sun. Power plants, motor vehicle exhaust, industrial facilities, gasoline vapors and chemical solvents are the majorhuman-made sources of these emissions.
EPA estimates that the final standards will yield health benefits valued between $2 billion and $19 billion. Those benefits include preventing cases of bronchitis, aggravated asthma, hospital and emergency roomvisits, nonfatal heart attacks and premature death, among others. EPA’s Regulatory Impact analysis shows that benefits are likely greater than the cost of implementing the standards. Cost estimates range from $7.6 billion to $8.5 billion. As part of today’s action, EPA also has updated the Air Quality Index(AQI) for ozone to reflect the change in the health standard. The AQI is EPA’s color-coded tool for communicating daily air quality to the public.
For more details on the revised standards, visit: Ground Level Ozone. For more on the AQI and to see daily air quality forecasts, visit: Air Now (See Also The Washington Post)
Although AAEA does not have a position on the facility, we have discussed the project with Imani Kazana, a founding member of the neighborhood's Washington Gas Watch Alliance, Washington Gas representatives, and AAEA has presented testimony to the county council on the project. The utility stored natural gas -- but not LNG -- there for about 60 years before terminating operations several years ago. The Chillum facility already has some pipelines and according to Washington Gas, building a storage tank in another spot would require installing about 25 miles of pipes and cost $687 million. The Chillum tank is estimated to cost $164 million. (The Washington Post)
Unfortunately, Blacks do not own companies that provide energy products and services (except Case Lowell in Houston, Texas). Thus, Blacks do not own any of the energy infrastructure in the U.S. Unlike the mainstream environmental movement, many Blacks work for energy companies (see American Association of Blacks in Energy-AABE). However, because of the very large amounts of money needed to participate in an ownership capacity in the energy sector, to date, Blacks have not been participants. And energy companies do not seem to be interested in serving as mentors to minority entrepreneurs. It is a unique American weakness in our opinion for such partnerships could bring fresh perspectives and unique opportunities to both partners. One thing is for sure, China does not have this particular inefficiency.
Monday, March 10, 2008
The pharmaceuticals found include anti-seizure medication, two anti-inflammatory drugs, two kinds of antibiotics and disinfectant. Pharmaceuticals were found in the drinking water supplies of 24 of 28 U.S. metropolitan areas tested. The drugs were found in water treated by the Washington Aqueduct and include the pain medications ibuprofen and naproxen, commonly found in Aleve, carbamazepine, an anti-convulsive to reduce epileptic seizures and a mood stabilizer for treating bipolar disorders; sulfamethoxazole, an antibiotic that can be used for humans and animals in treating urinary tract and other infections; and monensin, an antibiotic typically given to cattle, and traces of triclocarban, a disinfectant used in antibacterial soaps. The amounts are extreme small, in parts per trillion, but they represent an emerging contaminant trend. The drinking water treatment facility uses chlorine as a disinfectant, which cannot neutralize pharmaceuticals. (The Washington Post)
In March 2005 we addressed "Black-on-Black Murder As An Environmental Issue."
Saturday, March 08, 2008
Which American energy source heats more homes and businesses than all others combined?
Which American energy source is used in nearly 70% more households today than in 1970 yet produces less greenhouse gas emissions?
Which American energy source allows consumers to heat their homes, feed their families and dry their clothing using 1/3 less energy than it did in 1980?
The answer given to each question is natural gas. It is sponsored by America's natural gas utilities.
Another set of ads by EnergyTomorrow.org, which says it represents The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Industry, states:
You may be surprised to learn that the profitability of America's oil and natural gas industry is far less than that of many other major industries. Part of the explanation is that it costs billions of dollars to explore for, produce, refine and distribute our products. In fact, U.S. oil and natural gas companies have invested $1.25 trillion since 1992. These massive investments have a single purpose: ensuring you have the reliable supply of energy you need to maintain your quality of life today and tomorrow.Still another set of ads by the American Clean Skies Foundation (CleanSkies.org) promotes Chesapeake Energy Corporation, which is a natural gas exploration and production company. The ads promote affordable, stable prices, domestic production for a stronger dollar, natural gas fueled vehicles to save $1 per gallon of gasoline of 'gasoline gallon equivalent,' clean electricity. Contact info: 750 1st Street NE, Suite 1100, Wash, DC 2002. 202-682-6294.
Then there is the ad by COMPETE, promoting electricity competition in the public interest. Compete is a national coalition of more than 190 electricity stakeholders promoting reliable, affordable electric power through competitive electricity markets. Located at: 1317 F St NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 2004. Joel Malina 202-735-6331.
Finally we notice Vestas, which calls itself No. 1 in modern energy. They simply show a large picure of windmills and ask the question: "How about competitive, predictable, independent, and fast and clean energy?"
It is being reported that Gore has accumulated a $100 million fortune since he left office, mostly from his Google options and royalties from his documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth." CIG was founded by former eBay president and billionaire Jeff Skoll, who was also executive producer of Gore's Oscar-winning documentary.
The brown paper bag test was a ritual once practiced by certain African-American sororities and fraternities who discriminated against people who were "too black". That is, these groups would not let anyone into the sorority or fraternity whose skin tone was darker than a paper bag. Spike Lee's film "School Daze" satirizes this practice. [source]Do whites use the brown paper bag test too? Do they favor lighter blacks? Think Colin Powell, Halle Berry, Barack Obama, Prince, Michael Jackson (both sides though), you get the idea. Are blacks darker than a brown paper bag discriminated against more than blacks lighter than a brown paper bag? There are notable exceptions: Condoleezza Rice, Vernon Jordan, Denzel Washington, Wesley Snipes, James Clyburn and Michael Jackson.
Thursday, March 06, 2008
Economics: Three times as many blacks as whites live below 125% of the poverty line. The black-white unemployment gap decreased between 2007 (45%) and 2008 (49%).
Education: The rate of enrollment for African-American students within the age range of 30 to 34 years of age increased from 7.2 percent to 10 percent, with much of the school enrollment occurring at the college level. The dropout rate for black high school students decreased from 15 percent in 2007 to 13 percent in 2008 and a 15 percentage decline in college enrollment for recent African-American high school graduates from 2007, with black students less likely to enroll compared to recent white high school graduates.
Health: The gap in total uninsured increased this year, with the index falling from 56 percent in 2007 to 53 percent in 2008. Black children were twice as likely to be uninsured compared to their white
Social Justice: The Social Justice sub index showed the most improvement, with jail sentencing for blacks decreasing 15 percentage points, from 93 percent in 2007 to 77 percent in 2008. Also, the average sentence for blacks decreased from 44 months to 40 months, while the average sentence for whites increased from 34 months to 37 months.
Civic Engagement: Civic Engagement is the only area in which African-Americans exceed whites. Black volunteerism in the U.S. Military reserves has slightly decreased over the last five years, possibly due the current war in Iraq.
The 2008 edition of SOBA presents the National Urban League’s Opportunity Compact, a comprehensive set of principles and policy recommendations designed to empower all Americans to be full participants in the economic and social mainstream of this nation. The cornerstones are supported by a list of 10 policy priorities:
1. Commit to mandatory early childhood education beginning at age three as well as guarantee access to college for all.
2. Close the gaps in the health insurance system to ensure universal healthcare for all children.
3. Establish policies that provide tools for working families to become economically self-sufficient.
4. Create an urban infrastructure bank to fund reinvestment in urban communities (e.g. parks, schools, roads).
5. Increase economic self-sufficiency by indexing the minimum wage to the rate of inflation and expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit to benefit more working families.
6. Expand “second chance” programs for high school drop outs, exoffenders and atrisk youth to secure GEDs, job training and employment.
7. Adopt the “Homebuyer’s Bill of Rights” as recommended by the National Urban League.
8. Reform public housing to assure continuing national commitment to low-income families.
9. Strongly enforce federal minority business opportunity goals to ensure greater minority participation in government contracting.
10. Build capacity of minority business through expansion of microfinancing, equity financing and the development of strategic alliances with major corporations.
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
- Lorraine C. Miller, Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives
- Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Congresswoman, Florida
- LTG Michael Rochelle, Deputy Chief of Staff, U.S. Army
- Lorenzo Creighton, President MGM Mirage
- Ernest G. Green, Little Rock Nine
- Matthew Fogg, U.S. Marshall, Department of Justice
AAEA worked with Matthew Fogg to help get the NO FEAR ACT passed. Mr. Fogg is a whistleblower and won a multimillion judgment against the U.S. Marshall's Service. AAEA also supports Speaker Pelosi's Greening the Capitol program. The recommendations in the preliminary report include (More):
- Operate the House in a Carbon Neutral Manner
- Shift to 100 percent Renewable Electric Power
- Aggressively Improve Energy Efficiency
- Adoption of Sustainable Business Practices
- Continued Leadership on Sustainability Issues
- Offsets to Ensure Carbon Neutral Operations
Monday, March 03, 2008
The North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC) is an environmental agreement that is a supplemental side-treaty of NAFTA signed in 1992 and went into effect at the same time as the main agreement. The agreement consists of a declaration of principles and objectives concerning conservation and the protection of the environment between the three countries. The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) was set up as part of the agreement.
The NAAEC was a response to concerns by environmentalists that the U.S. would lower its standards if the three countries did not achieve consistent environmental regulation. The NAAEC only obligates parties to enforce their own environmental laws. The NAAEC established the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation, a mechanism for addressing trade and environmental issues, the North American Development Bank (NADBank) for assisting and financing investments in pollution reduction, and the Border Environmental Cooperation Commission (BECC). The NADBank and the BECC have provided economic benefits to Mexico by financing 36 projects, mostly in the water sector. (Wikipedia)
Besides the probably false impression that NAFTA has cost Americans jobs, we do not believe it has caused any negative environmental effects. We support free trade. Global warming has not been affected one way or the other by the agreement. Maybe some product issues might be affected in some way, but even that is barely discernable in our opinion. Clearly immigration has not been affected for Mexicans are still flooding into the U.S.