[Mb-civic] Security action alert, Bush homeland destruction, and "It's the Climate Changing, Stupid!"

ean at sbcglobal.net ean at sbcglobal.net
Tue Sep 21 16:07:29 PDT 2004

Today's email has 3  items, all pretty short:  1st a quick important online 
action alert that you can do in a minute, 2nd a short example of the Bush 
administration's true face: destroying communities and the environment (in 
this case West Virginia, not Iraq), 3rd and most important: "It's the Climate 
Changing, Stupid!."



Don't Let Congress Screw Up Chemical Security!

 It's been more than three years since the terrorist attacks on September 11 
and not once has Congress acted to safeguard our nation's chemical plants. 
A terrorist attack or accident could easily turn the highly toxic chemicals 
found in these facilites into weapons of mass destruction. There are 
thousands of these plants across the country that pose serious risks to 
surrounding communities. This week, the U.S. Senate is expected to vote for 
the first time ever to regulate this hazardous industry. 

Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) is planning on attaching a chemical security 
amendment to the '9/11 Commission Bill' due to come to the Senate floor. 
Unfortunately, Senator Inhofe's bill is industry-friendly and riddled with 
loopholes. It does not address the only real solution to protecting America 
from dangerous chemicals - switching to safe alternatives. 

Luckily, other senators will be on hand to oppose this inadequate legislation. 
Many are already working on a second degree amendment to replace 
Inhofe's bill, or at the very least strengthen it. 

But we need the support of more senators to make sure this happens. 
Contact yours today and urge them to oppose Inhofe's bill and vote in favor 
of REAL chemical security regulations based on Senator Jon Corzine's bill 
(S. 157). 


Tracking the Bush Administration's Environmental Misdeeds

September 20, 2004


In the bad old days, rural people with limited ways to make a
living were told they had a choice: jobs or a healthy
environment. But even that heartbreaking choice has disappeared
for West Virginia's coal country residents. 

Key changes in coal mining regulations by the Bush
administration have fueled a boom in a devastating method known
as mountaintop removal, which is not only blasting mountaintops
to smithereens and wreaking environmental havoc, but is also
shattering countless lives and even communities. 

Despite the devastating impact on citizens in the affected
areas, the Bush administration has taken a series of measures to
make it even easier for corporations to continue the blasting.
In March 2002, the administration re-classified mining waste and
debris, and defined it as "fill"--thereby freeing the companies
from restraints under the Clean Water Act. 

Last spring new guidelines were promulgated to allow coal
companies to dig trenches as substitutes for streams that were
buried under waste. Administration officials also intervened to
block a federal scientific panel from recommending limits on the
size of mountaintop removal projects. 

Another administration "clarification" of the Clean Water Act
would exempt coal companies from a 20-year old rule barring
mining from within 100 feet of a stream. Still in the works: a
proposal to reduce the obligation of the federal government to
monitor state mining agencies. Certain oversight duties would
become "discretionary," rather than required by law. 

"Mountaintop removal removes jobs and entire communities" said
Julia Bonds of Coal River Mountain Watch, whose family has lived
in the area for nine generations. Bonds, a grandmother who has
led a grassroots effort to stop mountaintop removal, told
BushGreenwatch that those who "talk about jobs... are not
telling the entire truth." She noted that an underground mine
used to employ 100 to 150 people, while mountaintop operations,
which use massive equipment and high explosives, get by with 25.

"Show me the prosperity. I can't find it anywhere...These huge
machines don't live in our communities; they don't pay taxes;
they don't buy in local stores. " 

Mountaintop removal isn't only starving people, it is driving
them from their homes because of the constant blasting, the
suffocating clouds of coal dust, the pollution in streams,
contaminated well water, and life-threatening floods caused when
headwater valleys are filled with rock debris, and torn-away
trees no longer absorb rain. [1] 

Mountaintop mining has buried or damaged more than 1,200 miles
of streams and destroyed 380,000 acres of forest, according to a
federal environmental impact statement. 

"My community no longer exists," Bonds said. Ten years ago a
subsidiary of Massey Energy began removing the mountaintop above
the town of Packsville, which was home to roughly 100 families. 

As the mountaintop disappeared, the town was overrun by
poisonous rattlesnakes, copperheads and hungry bears, which
raided garbage and broke into houses. Bonds and her family were
the last to leave Packsville. [2] 

Some who have witnessed the toll fear that people are not only
losing their past, but also their future. Teresa Caruthers, a
nurse who spent a year at the National Mine Health and Safety
Academy in West Virginia, said the beauty of the region's
forests and mountains could provide the basis for a sustainable
economic future. But the local people won't even have that left.

"They literally blow up mountains," said Caruthers, who watched
the process. "They turn a beautiful mountain into a barren piece
of ground where nothing will ever grow again because they've
removed the topsoil." 


[1] Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition,
http://ga3.org/ct/I71g7oM1RjF4/ .
[2] Coal River Mountain Watch,


It's the Climate Changing, Stupid

Earth Meanders
By Dr. Glen Barry

There has never been a more critical political issue than climate change,
yet both candidates for U.S. President are virtually silent on the matter.
I am appalled at the lack of attention paid to the issue of climate change
in the American campaign for President.

The conventional wisdom sold to us by corporate greens is that Kerry is an
environmental crusader. What a lie. Yes, President Bush has turned his
back on the Kyoto protocols. But Kerry did so first, voting against Kyoto
when Clinton was president.

The world needs a visionary and statesman like leader. On issues of war
and peace, there is virtually no difference between the candidates.
Neither candidate is green, just as neither is for peace. We are
witnessing an unprecedented failure to lead.

There exists a complete and utter failure to grasp what is at stake with
rapidly progressing climate change - the survival of civilization,
continued maintenance of the Earth, and danger of authoritarian responses.

Health care, Iraq, gay marriage and abortion are dreadfully important
issues. Yet they pale in significance to the threat posed by climate
change and ecological collapse which may make much of the World
uninhabitable and incapable of supporting advanced, affluent human

Because of failed American leadership on climate change, there exists a
great deal of ignorance and apathy on the subject amongst the public.
Firstly, the term "climate change" is more accurate than global warming.
Though on average global temperatures are rising, the most serious impacts
will be lack of consistent climatic patterns and increased weather

One recent major finding is that much of the increased heat has been
absorbed by the oceans, making it likely if not probable that hurricanes -
which are strengthened by warm ocean water - are becoming more powerful.

The best science based estimate is that fossil fuel emissions must be
reduced by 70% in order to avert global ecological and social Armageddon.
Yet both candidates shamelessly pander over modest and overdue gasoline
price increases. Cheap gas is killing the Earth.

The technology already exists to stabilize the climate.  Recently
scientists identified 15 technologies that are ripe for large-scale use.
They recommended a portfolio of energy efficiency, solar energy, wind
power and limited nuclear energy; and the preservation or enhancement of
"natural" sinks for carbon dioxide such as rain forests, as well as the
conservation tillage techniques on farms.

First climate skeptics doubted the science. Now they say we must adapt, it
is too late to mitigate the effects.  The oil and coal industries daily
perpetuate a crime against humanity - seeking to emit every last bit of
carbon dioxide before embracing a clean energy economy.

Russia is the wild card on which the modest, yet important and historical,
Kyoto process depends. But it is preocccupied and quite likely to kill off
the international treaty - which took more than 10 years to negotiate - by
delaying its decision to the point where it is too late for countries to
adopt in time to cut emissions.

Tony Blair has recently claimed the mantle of climate change leadership,
such as it is, warning that climate change has the potential to unleash a
global human and economic catastrophe if left unchecked. Mr. Blair spoke
of the need recently for a "green industrial revolution" - it remains to
be seen whether outputs will equal rhetoric.

Things are playing out as I and other ecologists intuited they would some
decades ago. The great civilizations are in their death throes - striking
out at terror which is really just their own reflection, and denying their
dependence upon the natural world.  Humanity is pressing up against real
biophysical restraints in terms of climate as well as water, forest and
ocean ecosystems.

Climate change is the most immediate manifestation of disregard for
ecological systems upon which all life depends. It is a matter of prudence
as a society to respond with utmost urgency to implement a clean energy

The result of failure to adjust to climate change will be societal ruin.
Shall we proceed, evolve or die?  Around the World we must vote, as if our
life depends upon it, for who you think will best address climate change
and related social justice and equity issues.

** Earth meanders is a series of personal essays regarding environmental
sustainability and related matters. 


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Action is the antidote to despair.  ----Joan Baez
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