IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Coal boss convicted in deaths of 29 miners is sentenced to just 1 year in prison; Sec. of State John Kerry tells private sector to pick up the pace on clean energy; Saudi Arabia planning ahead for world without oil; BP's $20b Gulf oil spill settlement now tax-deductible; PLUS: Dam good news for salmon and people on the Klamath River in Oregon... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Wind and Solar Are Crushing Fossil Fuels; Frack Wastewater May Be Messing With Hormones; Oklahoma Governor Declares State of Emergency Over Wildfires; Soil Could Be The Key To Fighting Climate Change; Banned Chemical From Hospital IVs Linked To Attention Deficit Disorder; PFOA Testing Expanded To Include 11 More Vermont Sites; Almost Half Of Natural World Heritage Sites Are Threatened By Industry; Smithsonian Gives Nod to More 'Dark Money' Funding for Willie Soon... PLUS:Big Seed: How Industry Turned From Small-Town Firms To Global Giants... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Coal Boss Don Blankenship Sentenced to 1 Year In Prison for Deaths of 29 Miners:
- Blankenship Gets Maximum Sentence: One Year In Prison, $250,000 Fine (Charleston Gazette-Mail):
Former Massey Energy Co. CEO Don Blankenship, who rose from humble beginnings in Mingo County to become the wealthy and powerful chief executive of one of the region's largest coal producers, will serve one year in prison and pay a $250,000 fine for a mine safety criminal conspiracy, a judge decided Wednesday.
- VIDEO: Emotional Reaction to Don Blankenship Sentencing from Victims' Families (WCHS & WVAH TV, Charleston, WV)
- Families react to Blankenship verdict: 'I hold a tombstone; you hold nothing' (Charleston Gazette):
"The lost coal miners were great coal miners," Blankenship, the former Massey CEO and a towering figure in coal country, told the court. For the families, many of whom sat through Blankenship's entire two-month trial, it wasn't enough. Not nearly.
- 6 Years After Coal Blast Killed 29, Former Coal Baron Heads To Jail For Workplace Safety Convictions (Climate Progress) [emphasis added]:
This is believed to be the first time a high-ranking corporate executive will see prison time for workplace safety convictions following an industrial accident...He knew that you simply could not mine the amount of coal he demanded with the limited amount of people he was willing to devote and the resources that he was willing to devote without breaking the law. And he kept right on doing it.".
- Safety Last: One of the most reprehensible bosses in recent history is finally facing justice. (Slate, 9/30/15):
It is the first time in 150 years of Appalachian mining that the top boss of a coal firm has ever had to answer for how he ran his company. "It's unusual for a CEO to be indicted on criminal charges, but for the coal industry, it is really unprecedented," says Pat McGinley, a law professor at West Virginia University. "It's never really happened in the last century where you have had countless disasters killing thousands of miners," he says. "It is unique."
- BP Oil Spill Settlement Concludes With A Huge Tax Deduction:
- U.S. PIRG Statement in Response to Finalized BP Oil Spill Settlement (US Public Interest Research Group):
The Department of Justice had an opportunity to set a precedent in this case, and we are disappointed that the agency chose to instead continue subsidizing BP's wrongdoing.
- In BP's Final $20 Billion Gulf Settlement, U.S. Taxpayers Subsidize $15.3 Billion (Forbes):
That means American taxpayers are contributing quite a lot to this settlement, whether they know it or not. BP can write off the natural resource damages payments, restoration, and reimbursement of government costs. Only $5.5 billion is labeled as a non-tax-deductible Clean Water Act penalty.
- Sec. of State John Kerry Urges Private Sector to Step Up On Clean Energy:
- VIDEO and Transcript: Sec. Kerry's Remarks at Bloomberg New Energy Finance Summit (US State Dept.):
"Government can provide the structure, the incentives, the framework, but… it's the private sector that will ultimately take us to the finish line...Clean energy is one of the greatest economic opportunities the world has ever seen."
- John Kerry Urges Business to Act on Climate Change (TIME):
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday called on private businesses to move rapidly away from fossil fuels-both to prevent devastating climate change and to drive global economic growth.
- The Final Legal Chapter of the BP Oil Spill: (The Atlantic)
- Saudi Arabia Prepares For A World Without Oil:
- Saudi Arabia's Deputy Crown Prince Outlines Plans: Transcript (Bloomberg)
- VIDEO: Saudi Arabia Plans $2 Trillion Megafund for Post-Oil Era: Deputy Crown Prince (Bloomberg):
"IPOing Aramco and transferring its shares to PIF will technically make investments the source of Saudi government revenue, not oil," the prince said in an interview at the royal compound in Riyadh that ended at 4 a.m. on Thursday. "What is left now is to diversify investments. So within 20 years, we will be an economy or state that doesn't depend mainly on oil."
- Saudi Arabia to Sell Stake in Parent of State Oil Giant by 2018 (Bloomberg)
- Saudi Arabia Plans $2 Trillion Megafund for Post-Oil Era: Deputy Crown Prince (Bloomberg)
- Landmark Agreement to Remove Klamath River Dams:
- Klamath Dam Removal And Conservation Deals To Get Second Life (KLCC):
Now groups that supported the original plan have figured out a way to move forward without federal lawmakers. The flashiest part involves removing the dams --- the biggest project of its kind in U.S. history and the piece of the bargain that area tribes, fishing groups and conservationists have been pushing for.
- The Latest Deal To Undam The Klamath: Breaking It Down (Oregon Public Boradcasting):
It's not every day that the governors of both Oregon and California, the U.S. Interior secretary and the head of a major power company - as well as representatives of multiple tribes all gather at the mouth of a river. But then, Wednesday was an historic day for the Klamath River.
- Klamath River dams moving toward removal despite congressional barriers (LA Times)
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- Wind and Solar Are Crushing Fossil Fuels (Bloomberg) [emphasis added]:
The reason solar-power generation will increasingly dominate: It's a technology, not a fuel. As such, efficiency increases and prices fall as time goes on. What's more, the price of batteries to store solar power when the sun isn't shining is falling in a similarly stunning arc.
- In W. Virginia, Frack Wastewater May Be Messing With Hormones (Environmental Health News):
Waste leaching from frack disposal wells are the likely source of a spike in endocrine-disrupting compounds in downstream waterway-a troubling sign given the roughly 36,000 disposal sites across the U.S.
- The Latest: Oklahoma Governor Declares State of Emergency (AP):
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has declared state of emergency in 10 new counties to aid local jurisdictions affected by wildfires.
- Soil Could Be The Key To Fighting Climate Change (Climate Progress):
A new study published in Nature suggests that the key to fighting climate change could be under our feet.
- Banned Chemical From Hospital IVs Linked To Attention Deficit Disorder (Washington Post):
A chemical used to make plastic IV tubes and catheters has been linked to attention deficit disorder in children who received treatment for a serious illness, according to a new study.
- PFOA Testing Expanded To Include 11 More Vermont Sites (Vermont Public Radio):
Gov. Peter Shumlin has announced that the state will test additional manufacturing sites around Vermont for PFOA, a suspected carcinogen that's been found in North Bennington and Pownal.
- Big Seed: How Industry Turned From Small-Town Firms To Global Giants (NPR):
Most food, if we trace it back far enough, began as a seed. And the business of supplying those seeds to farmers has been transformed over the past half-century. Small-town companies have given way to global giants.
- Almost Half Of Natural World Heritage Sites Are Threatened By Industry, New Report Says (Climate Progress):
Sub-Saharan Africa has the most World Heritage sites at risk, but even developed countries like the United States and Canada are harming some of their sites with development.
- Fiji Braces For 2nd Cyclone, Thousands Shelter In Evacuation Centers (Reuters):
Cyclone Zena, a category three tropical storm with winds in excess of 120 kph (75 mph), is set to hit Fiji within 24 hours as the South Pacific island nation struggles to recover from a devastating cyclone in February.
- Smithsonian Gives Nod to More 'Dark Money' Funding for Willie Soon (InsideClimate News):
The Smithsonian Institution's new transparency policy hasn't kept prominent climate contrarian Wei-Hock "Willie" Soon from reeling in $65,000 in "dark money" to fund a secret research project.
- A Tiny Island Territory Has An Ambitious Plan For Ocean Protection (Climate Progress):
The reserve, which would be named Rahui Nui No Tuhaa Pae (“the big rahui of the Austral Islands”), would ban fishing 20 nautical miles out from the islands, creating buffers around the islands where locals can fish for subsistence. This ensures that island residents can still fish for a living, but that fish that live in the deep sea are protected.
- White House Warns Congress: Fight Zika Or Live To Regret It (CNN):
The White House on Wednesday issued a dire warning to Republicans in Congress: Spend money to prevent the Zika virus from spreading within the United States or regret it later.
- Industry Groups Ask Federal Court To Review DOL's Silica Rule (The Hill):
Industry groups are challenging President Obama's rule to protect workers from exposure to harmful silica dust.
- New Study: "Acidic Pacific: Act Now, or West Coast Pays Dearly (Seattle Post-Intelligencer):
Buildup of carbon dioxide is changing the chemistry of the world's oceans, threatening coastal economies and ecosystems --- nowhere more than on the Pacific Coast, according to an expert study released Monday.
- Scientists nearly double sea level rise projections for 2100, because of Antarctica (Washington Post) [emphasis added]:
Scientists behind a new study published in the journal Nature used sophisticated computer models to decipher a longstanding riddle about how the massive, mostly uninhabited continent surrendered so much ice during previous warm periods on Earth. They found that similar conditions in the future could lead to monumental and irreversible increases in sea levels.
- Want to fight climate change? Here are the 7 critical life changes you should make (Grist) [emphasis added]:
So, given the imperfections of this world, what is a lone wolf such as yourself to do? Here are some conclusions gleaned from this study: 1. Buy the most fuel-efficient car you can afford, then drive it as little as possible....
FOR MORE on Climate Science and Climate Change, go to our Green News Report: Essential Background Page
- Video Proof That Global Warming is a 'Hoax'!: NASA Temperature Data 1888-2011 (The BRAD BLOG):
- NASA climate change video: This is the U.S. in 2100 (NASA).