IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Toxic algae bloom in South Florida ruins 4th of July for tourism industry; U.S. Senate moves fast to nix Vermont's GMO labeling law; Royalty reform for Big Coal's public lands scam; Oakland City Council bans coal export terminal; PLUS: Solar-powered NASA spacecraft reaches orbit around Jupiter... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): A Model for ‘Clean Coal’ Runs Off the Tracks; The Alabama Landfill That Brought Noise, Health Woes, and a Lawsuit; TCEQ: Contested Coal Mine Can Release Wastewater Into Drinking Supply; Agency OK With Race Through Nevada Desert; Critics Cry Foul; Canada’s Pipeline Watchdog Secretly Talks Safety With Industry; Bornean Orangutan Declared ‘Critically Endangered’ As Forests Shrink; Floods in China kill almost 130, wipe out crops... PLUS: Modernizing The Grid: A Tugboat 'Trying To Turn A Big Ocean Liner'... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- U.S. Senate moves fast to nix Vermont's GMO labeling law:
- G.M.O. Labeling Bill Clears First Hurdle in Senate (NY Times):
The approval is a big win for food companies, farm groups and the biotech industry, which began pushing for a national standard last year to head off a Vermont labeling law that went into effect last Friday.
- Is the Senate About to Put a Halt to GMO Labeling? (Mother Jones) [emphasis added]:
[I]f a bi-partisan deal cobbled together last Thursday in the Senate Agriculture Committee gets signed into law, widespread labeling likely won't come to pass. Instead, food companies will have the option of disclosing GM ingredients on their products with QR codes that can be read by smartphones, accompanied by only the words "scan here for more food information"—without direct on-package mention of GMOs.
- Money tossed on Senate floor as Vermont’s Sanders and Leahy protest federal GMO bill (RT):
Sanders opposes the bill in part because it would pre-empt a law passed in his home state of Vermont that requires a written label instead of a scannable code.
- GMOs Are Probably Safe. They Should Still Be Labeled. (Mother Jones) [emphasis added]:
[T]he case for labeling comes down to how GM crops are regulated. The spread of GM crops has caused a dramatic uptick in herbicide use on America's farmland...Recent announcements from two of the main government agencies that oversee GMOs demonstrate just how fragmented and ineffective the regulatory process is....the USDA vets new GM products on a very narrow basis. The whole problem of resistance and the gusher of herbicides triggered by it does not figure into its decisions.
- Florida's dangerous toxic algae bloom prompts state of emergency:
- VIDEO: Sen. Marco Rubio Tours Algae Bloom Plaguing Waterways, Seeks Emergency Declaration (Space Coast Daily, WPTV News)
- Florida may spend millions battling stinky algae blooms (AP)
- Climate Denier Marco Rubio Tries To Tackle Toxic Florida Algae, Is Baffled By Cause (Climate Progress):
[T]his isn’t just about getting rid of 2016’s coastal algal blooms. This is also about the ongoing pollution of the lake, the paving-over of the Everglades, a lack of water storage, a risk of levee breach, and Florida’s seasonal cycles of rain and drought.
- Florida's coral reef system in rapid decay, scientists say (CNN):
"We didn't think this would happen for another 50 or 60 years," said Chris Langdon, a marine biologist at the University of Miami, who published a new report on the health of the reef in May. "This study showed a whole new thing we didn't even know was threatening them."
- Big royalty reform for Big Coal on public lands:
- The Coal Industry Will Have To Rip Off Taxpayers Another Way (Climate Progress)
- Now there’s one less way for Big Coal to screw over Americans Grist)
- Final Federal Coal Leasing Rule Will Help Ensure Taxpayers Receive Their Fair Share (Public Citizen):
The rule addresses so-called ‘captive transaction’ abuses where coal companies would sell coal to an affiliate at a below-market price for the sole purpose of paying smaller royalties on the lower price. This is significant, as 42 percent of the coal produced in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin was sold through such captive transactions, depriving taxpayers, local schools and other beneficiaries of royalties.
- Coal dust kills 23,000 a year in Europe:
- Coal dust kills 23,000 per year in EU: report (Phys.Org):
Lung-penetrating dust from coal-fired power plants in the European Union claims some 23,000 lives a year and racks up tens of billions of euros in health costs, an NGO report said Tuesday...The medical treatment required, as well as reduced productivity caused by absence from work, amassed "substantial costs" of 32.4 billion to 62.3 billion euros ($36 billion to $70 billion), said the report.
- Coal Dust Causes 23,000 Premature Deaths In The E.U. (Climate Progress)
- Oakland City Council bans proposed coal export terminal:
- Oakland bans coal shipments in a blow to planned export facility (LA Times):
Oakland city leaders have voted overwhelmingly to ban the storage and handling of coal within city limits, dealing a likely fatal blow to an effort to build what would be the largest coal export facility in California.
- Utah Legislature OKs $53 million cash swap to fund Oakland coal port (Salt Lake Tribune)
- NASA's solar-powered Juno spacecraft reaches orbit around Jupiter:
- Juno is Powered by the Sun, and That’s a Big Deal (Air & Space Magazine):
Powering a large spacecraft in the “low intensity, low temperature” (LILT) conditions of the outer solar system using solar arrays alone used to be considered impossible, and is still a challenge. Most solar cells are designed for sun-friendly Earth environments, and they can have very different results in a LILT environment. And, like a cheap string of Christmas tree lights, one malfunctioning solar cell can affect other healthy cells in the same string.
- >How the end of the Cold War forced NASA to make its Jupiter spacecraft solar-powered (Quartz):
But if NASA had had its way, it would never have chosen this path.
- NASA's Juno Spacecraft Breaks Solar Power Distance Record (NASA)
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- A Model for ‘Clean Coal’ Runs Off the Tracks (NY Times):
A Mississippi project, a centerpiece of President Obama’s climate plan, has been plagued by problems that managers tried to conceal, and by cost overruns and questions of who will pay.
- The Alabama Landfill That Brought Noise, Health Woes, and a Lawsuit (Inside Climate News):
The mostly working-class, black neighborhood of Uniontown, Ala., claimed a coal ash landfill was ruining their community. They got sued for it.
- TCEQ: Contested Coal Mine Can Release Wastewater Into Drinking Supply (Texas Observer):
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality approved expanding a wastewater permit for a South Texas coal mine over vocal opposition from locals Wednesday.
- Agency OK With Race Through Nevada Desert; Critics Cry Foul (AP):
Conservationists are crying foul over U.S. land managers' initial conclusion that there are no environmental concerns with an off-road race that will cross 650 miles of Nevada desert and cut through a new national monument.
- Modernizing The Grid: A Tugboat 'Trying To Turn A Big Ocean Liner' (E&E News):
The U.S. electric power grid is one of the biggest, most costly machines on Earth.
- Canada’s Pipeline Watchdog Secretly Talks Safety With Industry (National Observer):
Canada’s pipeline watchdog has given two of North America’s largest energy companies up to six months to fix what industry insiders have described as a series of 'ticking time bombs.'
- African Officials Appalled As EU Opposes A Total Ban On Ivory Trade (Guardian UK):
European commissions’ opposition to a proposed global ban will spell the beginning of a mass extinction of African elephants, warn officials from 29 African states".
- Bornean Orangutan Declared ‘Critically Endangered’ As Forests Shrink (Guardian UK):
The Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) is now critically endangered according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This change means that both species of orangutan now face an “extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.”
- Double shock of El Nino, La Nina could affect more than 100 million people: U.N. (Reuters):
The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimates that more than 60 million people, two thirds of them in east and southern Africa, are facing food shortages because of droughts linked to El Nino, a climate phenomenon that occurs when water in the Pacific Ocean becomes abnormally warm.
- Floods in China kill almost 130, wipe out crops (Reuters):
Severe flooding across central and southern China over the past week has killed almost 130 people, damaged more than 1.9 million hectares of crops and led to direct economic losses of more than 38 billion yuan ($5.70 billion), state media said on Tuesday...More than 1.3 million people have been forced out of their homes, it said.
- Warning from the past: Future global warming could be even warmer (Niels Bohr Institute):
“The research shows that climate sensitivity was higher during the past global, warm climate than in the current climate. This is bad news for humanity as greater climate sensitivity from warming will further amplify the warming..."
- 7 Things You Should Do After Watching ‘How to Let Go of the World’ (Eco Watch):
'How to Let Go of the World' is unlike any other documentary you’ve ever seen on climate change. Traveling to 12 countries on six continents, the film acknowledges that it may be too late to stop some of the worst consequences and asks, what is it that climate change can’t destroy? What is so deep within us that no calamity can take it away?
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