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The Administrative State Moves To Show Who’s Boss On Energy Policy

By Francis Menton | Manhattan Contrarian |  July 08, 2022

Last Thursday, June 30, the Supreme Court issued its decision in West Virginia v. EPA, holding that, absent a further explicit statute from the Congress, the EPA did not have the authority to orchestrate its planned fundamental restructuring of the electric power generation sector of the economy. More generally, the Supreme Court stated that in cases involving “major questions,” including regulations that affect large portions of the economy, the government must demonstrate “clear congressional authorization” to support a sweeping effort to regulate.

Do you think that such a Supreme Court decision might cause the various regulatory bureaucracies to slow down and reconsider a little before plowing ahead with other dubious plans for fundamental economic restructurings? That’s not how these bureaucracies work. And such is most particularly the case with regard to regulators of the energy sector, sometimes known as “climate change” arena, where the bureaucrats are burning with a righteous religious fervor that they believe entitles them to cast the evil sinners into the fires of hell.

And thus, contemporaneous with the Supreme Court’s decision, several agencies promptly doubled down on efforts to strangle the oil and gas industries with regulatory restrictions, essentially daring the courts or anyone else to stop them. Thousands of pages of statutes give them thousands of arguments to claim they have the “clear congressional authorization,” any one of which arguments might stick. They are now out to show who’s boss.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan wasted no time in getting a statement out on the afternoon of June 30. Excerpt:

[W]e are committed to using the full scope of EPA’s authorities to protect communities and reduce the pollution that is driving climate change. . . . EPA will move forward with lawfully setting and implementing environmental standards that meet our obligation to protect all people and all communities from environmental harm.

In other words, we will just have to find other ways to implement the restrictions that we want to implement. The very next day, July 1, David Blackmon at Forbes reported that “EPA Targets Permian Basin, Widening Biden’s War On Oil And Gas.” The Permian Basin is currently the most productive oil and gas region in the United States, providing about 40% of the oil production and 15% of the gas of the entire country. The Permian Basin is also the site of about 40% of the nation’s active drilling rigs. And so it seems that EPA is gearing up to declare the Permian Basin a so-called “non-attainment area” with respect to ozone. Blackmon:

[T]he Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced [this week that] it may soon issue a ruling declaring that vast parts of the Permian Basin are in “non-attainment” status under the agency’s ozone regulations. If such a declaration is made, it will constitute a direct governmental assault on what is by far America’s most active and productive oil-producing region and its second most-productive natural gas area.

What would be the effect of such a declaration on current and future U.S. domestic oil and gas production? Blackmon again:

Placing the Permian Basin in non-attainment status would force a significant reduction in the region’s rig count, severely limiting the domestic industry’s efforts to increase U.S. oil production at a time when the global oil market is already severely under-supplied.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott promptly called on the Biden Administration to back off, saying that an EPA “non-attainment declaration “could interfere in the production of oil in Texas which could lead to skyrocketing prices at the pump by reducing production, increase the cost of that production, or do both.” But Blackmon notes that the plan comes from an office headed by a Biden-appointed anti-fossil-fuel activist, and thus is likely a core element of the administration’s program:

Mr. Biden appointed Joe Goffman, another of the many anti-fossil fuel activists that now hold senior posts at his various agencies, to head up EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation on an acting basis. That appointment might have been made with this specific policy action in mind.

Meanwhile, over at the Interior Department, July 1 was also the day for issuance of a statutorily-mandated five-year off-shore oil and gas leasing plan. Nicholas Groom at Reuters has a summary here. The bottom line is, we’re going to completely shut down leasing off both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, but maybe we’ll allow a little in the Gulf of Mexico or the Cook Inlet (Alaska). The number of auctions over the five-year period will be in the range of “zero to eleven,” and supposedly we’ll take public input as to which way to go. But Interior Secretary Deb Haaland in a statement left no doubt as to where she wants and expects this to come out:

“From Day One, President Biden and I have made clear our commitment to transition to a clean energy economy,” Haaland said in a statement. “Today, we put forward an opportunity for the American people to consider and provide input on the future of offshore oil and gas leasing. The time for the public to weigh in on our future is now.”

There is a 90 day period for public comment. You can be sure that environmental activist groups will flood the zone with thousands of comments to support the approach of the “zero” option of ceasing all further off-shore leases.

Other agencies were eerily silent in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s June 30 decision. Notable among those were the SEC and the Federal Reserve, both of which have recently ventured into adding “climate change” to their missions with only the most questionable of statutory support. Neither has given any indication of an intention to slow down.

And then on July 2, President Biden issued his now-famous tweet blaming the rising price of gas at the pump on gas station owners:

My message to the companies running gas stations and setting prices at the pump is simple: this is a time of war and global peril. Bring down the price you are charging at the pump to reflect the cost you’re paying for the product. And do it now.

A bureaucracy-wide campaign is ongoing under this guy’s direction to suppress oil and gas production in any way they can think of, and yet he has the gall to blame high prices on “companies running gas stations,” the majority of which are small independent businesses. At this point Biden has become malicious.

July 11, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | , , | Leave a comment

US Supreme Court Limits Use of Clean Air Act in Major Blow to WH’s Climate Change Policy

Samizdat – 30.06.2022

The reduction of emissions, decrease in the use of fossil fuels and development of effective green energy sources are among the top priorities of Biden’s declared Build Back Better agenda. The latter already suffered a major blow last year when part of the legislation that was supposed to fund climate policies failed to pass Congress.

The US Supreme Court has ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency interpreted the Clean Air Act – the country’s main anti-air pollution law that allows the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions – too broadly, and ordered to limit its use. Six justices deemed “conservative” supported the decision, while three “liberal” justices opposed it.

The court specifically ruled that the EPA does not have the authority to limit emissions from power plants using the Clean Air Act.

The decision comes as a response to an appeal by 19 states, coal companies and power plants to prevent the EPA from abusing broad authority to regulate emissions. They asked the US Supreme Court to allow them greater flexibility in phasing out emissions-intensive plants, namely coal ones so that they could provide services reliably.

The ruling might undermine Joe Biden’s planned efforts to propose mandatory emission reductions at power plants in the US by the end of the year. It is supposed to be the first step in the POTUS’ broader plan to have the country’s power generation emissions-free in 13 years.

The idea of regulating power plant emissions dates back to the Obama administration and its plans to pass the Clean Power Plan that would have explicitly given the government the tools to retire emissions-intensive coal plans. The act was effectively blocked by a 5-4 US Supreme Court decision in 2016 and shelved for good under the Donald Trump administration.

Regardless of the Democrats’ efforts, the US power plant emissions have actually already sunk below the levels that should have been achieved only by 2030 under Obama’s original plan. They were achieved thanks to closures of the very same coal plants driven by market mechanisms [fracked gas].

June 30, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | , , | Leave a comment

Millions Face New Fluoridation Threats

By Stuart Cooper | Fluoride Action Network | June 21, 2022

The published science over the past decade has taught us a lot about water fluoridation, about both the very real and significant side effects inflicted on the public, but also about the credibility of those who continue to vouch for its safety.

At this point, the question we must ask isn’t whether the overwhelming risks outweigh the theoretical scant benefits, or whether more research is needed to draw strong conclusions. No, the only appropriate question now is: How much more harm will the promoters and regulators of fluoridation allow the practice to inflict on the public?

Without the Fluoride Action Network, our coalition partners, and people like you taking a stand, their answer will be a resounding, “a lot more harm!” With their credibility and influence at stake after defending fluoridation for more than 75 years, they’ve sadly shown that they’ll not only be the last to act, but that they plan to double down until we stop them.

As we speak, tens of millions of residents currently living on community water systems with no added fluoride throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand are facing the imminent threat of having their water dosed with hazardous fluoridation chemicals.

The CDC has announced a new strategy and helped develop a new technology to fluoridate an addition 19+ million Americans, which will also eventually expand to Canadians, Australians and likely others.

Meanwhile, the governments in the U.K. and New Zealand have exploited the recent pandemic to pass sweeping health care reform bills that effectively include nationwide fluoridation mandates due to decades of strong pushback from residents and elected officials at the local level, keeping fluoridation at bay.

Fluoride Has Already Damaged the Teeth of Millions

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s own data taken from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) has repeatedly found that our children in the United States are significantly overexposed to fluoride, evidenced by skyrocketing rates of dental fluorosis.

Fluorosis is a biomarker of toxicity from ingested fluoride, and is a permanent tooth defect, causing unsightly discoloration and mottling of the teeth, weakening the enamel and resulting in increased dental decay.

Ingesting fluoridated water — particularly in reconstituted infant formula — and processed foods made with fluoridated water are recognized as the primary sources of exposure, though swallowing toothpaste and fluoride prescriptions also contribute.

2015 review of the practice of fluoridation by the Cochrane Collaboration, the gold standard for evidence-based reviews of health interventions, found that “there is a significant association between dental fluorosis (of aesthetic concern or all levels of dental fluorosis) and [water] fluoride level.”

The CDC reported that 41% of adolescents (12 to 15) had dental fluorosis in 2004. At the time this was an increase of over 400% from the rates found 60 years prior. Then the 2012 survey found that the rate jumped significantly to 65+% of adolescents with dental fluorosis.

Now, according to a recent study (Yang, June 2021) published in the journal Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety using the data from the NHANES 2015-16 survey, the “prevalence of dental fluorosis was 70% in the U.S. children.”

This means that the teeth of millions of children, teens and adults have already been damaged by overexposure to fluoride during development, and the CDC, along with the other promoters of fluoridation are fully aware. However, the teeth are not the only tissues in the body that are harmed by or accumulate fluoride. There is no apparent reason, therefore, why fluoride’s effects on the body would be limited to the teeth. As noted by renowned dentist and researcher Dr. Hardy Limeback:

… it is illogical to assume that tooth enamel is the only tissue affected by low daily doses of fluoride ingestion.

NHANES data has been used in recent published and peer-reviewed studies to link fluoridated water with a number of additional side-effects, including earlier onset of menstruation for black teens, sleep disorders in adolescents, increase uric acid levels in the blood, and kidney and liver impairment in adolescents.

Additional studies on fluoridation have also recently found higher rates of hip fractures, disruption of the endocrine system, and increased rates of hypothyroidism.

Fluoride Is the New Lead

There is now a large body of government-funded research indicating that fluoride is neurotoxic, and is associated with lowered IQ in children and a significant increase in ADHD diagnosis and related behaviors in children at doses experienced in fluoridated communities. Experts in the toxicology have likened the size of the effect to that from lead.

To date, 69 human studies, most from endemic fluorosis areas in China, have associated lowered IQ with fluoride exposure. The highest quality fluoride brain studies have been published since 2017, when the first of five NIEHS-NIH (National Institutes of Health) funded prospective-cohort studies was published (Bashash et al., 2017) finding an association between fetal exposure to fluoride and lowered IQ in Mexico.

A year later, another NIH-funded study found an increase in ADHD symptoms associated with in utero exposure to fluoride (Bashash et al., 2018).

Over the next two years, two more of these government-funded studies found similar results, linking fetal exposure to fluoridated water in Canada to lowered IQ (Green et al., 2019), and finding that bottle-fed infants in fluoridated communities in Canada had a significantly lowered IQ compared to bottle-fed infants in non-fluoridated communities (Till et al., 2020).

And just last year, the fifth NIH-funded study (Cantoral et al, 2021), found that for every 0.5 mg increase in dietary fluoride intake during pregnancy was associated with a 3.10 to 3.46-point lower cognitive score in boys. The authors stated:

“Fluoride is not an essential nutrient and … fluoride ingestion in pregnancy does not strengthen enamel during tooth formation in the fetus but has been associated with increased risk of neurotoxicity, even at optimal exposure levels …

These findings suggest that the development of nonverbal abilities in males may be more vulnerable to prenatal fluoride exposure than language or motor abilities, even at levels within the recommended intake range.”

I strongly urge you to watch and share this recent 20-minute PowerPoint presentation by professor Christine Till, Ph.D., lead author of some of these landmark fluoride studies, explaining her team’s research and findings.

In 2021, the first benchmark dose analysis conducted on maternal fluoride exposure and neurotoxicity to the fetus was published in the journal Risk Analysis (Grandjean, 2021). Benchmark doses analyses are used by the EPA and toxicologist to determine at what level a substance starts to cause harm. It is well established that a loss of one IQ point leads to a reduced lifetime earning ability of $18,000.

The analysis confirmed that extremely low fluoride exposure during pregnancy impairs fetal brain development, finding that a maternal urine fluoride concentration of only 0.2mg/L — which coincides with the level in water (0.2ppm) — was enough to lower IQ by at least 1 point.

This is four times lower than the current government “recommended” level of 0.8ppm in fluoridated communities. It’s also six times lower than the level that was recommended as “safe” by the CDC, HHS, and the American Dental Association for over 60-years up until 2011 (1.2ppm).

For perspective, A urinary fluoride (UF) concentration of 0.2mg/L is far below what a pregnant woman in a fluoridated community would have, as confirmed by two recent studies. A recent study of pregnant women in fluoridated San Francisco, California, found a mean UF concentration of 0.74mg/L. A second study with participants in fluoridated communities across Canada found a mean UF concentration of 1.06mg/L.

Both studies also found that the UF levels were significantly lower for the participants living in the non-fluoridated communities. The authors of the benchmark dose analysis stated:

“These findings suggest that fetal brain development is highly vulnerable to fluoride exposure … and provide additional evidence that fluoride is a developmental neurotoxicant (i.e., causing adverse effects on brain development in early life).

Given the ubiquity of fluoride exposure, the population impact of adverse effects from fluoride may be even greater than for other toxic elements like lead, mercury, and arsenic … and the benchmark results should inspire a revision of water fluoride recommendations aimed at protecting pregnant women and young children.”

These authors are hardly alone in comparing fluoride’s neurotoxic impact to the well-established harm of lead:

  • Dr. Dimitri Christakis, MPH, and Dr. Frederick Rivara, MPH, editors for the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) on their podcast (around 4:25): “[The 4.5 IQ loss is] An effect size which is sizeable — on par with lead.”
  • Christine Till, PhD, co-author of several landmark fluoride/neurotoxicity studies, on Canada’s CTV“4.5 points is a dramatic loss of IQ, comparable to what you’d see with lead exposure.”
  • David Bellinger, Ph.D., MSc, Harvard professor of neurology, on NPR“It’s actually very similar to the effect size that’s seen with childhood exposure to lead.”

Other experts, including Linda Birnbaum PhD, former Director of the National Toxicology Program, stress the need to avoid fluoride:

“Given the weight of evidence that fluoride is toxic to the developing brain, it is time [to] protect pregnant women and their children [and recommend they] reduce their fluoride intake.”

There are now nine fluoride mother-offspring studies linking fluoride exposure to harm, and 23 studies published on the association between fluoride exposure and reduced IQ since 2017.

How FAN Responded to the Science

Because of the growing list of published fluoride-IQ studies, and the downplaying of their importance by pro-fluoridation advocates such as the Division of Oral Health at the CDC and the American Dental Association, FAN embarked on two initiatives in 2016.

First, we requested the National Toxicology Program undertake a systematic review of ALL the studies (animal, human and cellular) pertaining to fluoride’s potential to damage the brain. The NTP agreed with our request, and they plan to publish the final results of their multiyear review of fluoride neurotoxicity any day now. In the two first drafts the NTP concluded, “that fluoride is presumed to be a cognitive neurodevelopmental hazard to humans …”

The review drafts identified over 100 studies showing adverse effects including IQ loss and increased ADHD. Among 27 studies designated as high quality, 15 show fluoride injury at the same exposure levels found in community fluoridation programs.

Second, we petitioned the EPA under provisions in the Toxic Substances and Control Act to ban the deliberate addition of fluoridation chemicals to the drinking water supply because it poses an unreasonable risk to the developing brains of children. The EPA’s lack of action led to FAN suing them in federal court.

The initial phase of the trial was held in June 2020, concluding with the judge saying, “I don’t think anyone disputes that fluoride is a hazard.” However, the court is awaiting the final NTP report before moving forward with the final phase of the trial. Here is a short video update on the lawsuit from FAN’s attorney.

This past year, FAN embarked on a two more initiatives. We communicated with the U.S. surgeon general about the risk posed by fluoridation to developing children, and asked that he take action to warn parents.

We also initiated a dialogue with CDC officials (see initial letter signed by 112 professionals) that ultimately led to them organizing presentations for their leadership from several fluoride/neurotoxicity study authors, Dr. Bruce Lanphear, Christine Till, Ph.D., and Dr. Philippe Grandjean on their research.

How Promoters Have Responded to the Science: A New Threat

It has been six months since the CDC heard the presentations on neurotoxicity from the three veteran researchers, and it’s been over a decade since the CDC acknowledged that fluoridation has damaged the teeth of millions.

Yet, the CDC, along with the EPA, World Health Organization, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Dental Association and their state level peers not only have failed to warn residents about the dangers posed by fluoridation, but have continued advocating for fluoridation expansion in spite of the science.

The CDC has partnered with the chemical industry to target 19 million residents in 32,000 small and medium sized communities across the United States that do not add fluoridation chemicals to the public drinking water. Using your tax dollars, the CDC provided upward of $2 million dollars in funds to private business to develop a fluoridation delivery product for water systems serving between 50 and 10,000 people.

The widespread sale and promotion of this new product began in January throughout the U.S., but is also planned for Canada and Australia in the near future. The American Dental Association has joined the CDC in pushing this new strategy.

In July of 2021, the CDC held a “Public Health Grand Rounds” presentation on fluoridation. While there was no mention of the large number of new studies linking low levels of fluoridated water to neurotoxicity, it was an infomercial for a new technology that the CDC and ADA were calling “a game changer” in their efforts to expand fluoridation.

Below is a slide from that presentation, where you can see they intend to increase the percentage of fluoridated water systems from 73% to 77% — representing 19 million people on 32,000 water systems — by 2030.

This goal isn’t exactly new. The CDC and ADA have utilized a number of strategies over the past decade to expand the practice, but largely due to FAN and our network of local volunteers and professionals, the number of fluoridating communities has actually decreased, while the population served has increased slightly due to urban growth.

To accomplish this significant increase over the next eight years, they intend to utilize a new fluoridation system specifically designed to be simple and cheap enough for even the smallest water systems, which could include private systems, or even colleges and public schools.

They’re calling it the “New Wave Fluoridation System.” It utilizes compacted sodium fluorosilicate in a tablet form designed to dissolve over time in a small amount of water, much like the deodorizer tablets used in urinals.

We have learned that this process started in 2013, when CDC’s chief fluoridation engineer, Kip Duchon, suggested that the CDC help develop a product that was feasible for small and rural communities. Soon thereafter the CDC announced a Small Business Innovation Research grant opportunity — providing upward of $2 million — for private business to develop and test the idea.

KC Industries, of Mulberry, Florida, was awarded at least two large grants, one to develop the tablet and the other to develop the injection/feeder system.

KC Industries is a small chemical manufacturer with a handful of employees. According to their website, “The plant was built by Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Corporation and began producing Sodium Fluorosilicate in 1957 as a raw material to manufacture aluminum.”

KC Industries purchased the facility in 1999 and appears to have focused heavily on the “dry” fluoride drinking water additive market with sodium fluoride. Here is their page on their sodium fluoride product; it’s worth a quick look.

Over the past 20 years, more communities have switched their additive to fluorosilicic acid, which is an incredibly dangerous and corrosive liquid, but is cheaper. This led to a massive decline in sales of dry additives, and KC Industries’ profits.

According to their press release, they were struggling until the CDC’s grant, which they say provided “a new lease on life” for the chemical company. They’re expecting “an immediate return on investment” as communities clamor for the new system.

KC Industry representatives have said that interest in the system has come from around the world. The first community to use the product as part of a free pilot project is Cleveland, Georgia. Other communities that have signed on include Marathon, Wisconsin; Center, Colorado; and Aulander, North Carolina. The Missouri state legislature has also included nearly $4 million in funding over the next few years to go toward grants to expand the program in their state.

The CDC employee who initiated this process, Kip Duchon, has retired from the CDC and is now a consultant to the ADA’s National Fluoridation Advisory Committee.

The ADA has already called it a “game-changer” and lobbied Congressional members to include taxpayer funding for this technology in the recent infrastructure bill intended to help economy out of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, the CDC also continues to give very large taxpayer-funded grants to states to pay for public relations campaigns to promote fluoridation.

Pandemic Exploited to Mandate Fluoridation in UK, New Zealand

Even worse than what is happening in North America with the new tablet fluoridation system, is the recent passage of legislation in both the United Kingdom and New Zealand, transferring authority over fluoridation from local officials (and indirectly the public) to unelected public health bureaucrats who have vowed to mandate the practice throughout their respective nations without concern for what the public wants.

Both nations include fluoridation resolutions as part of a much broader legislative effort to centralize public health decisions in response to the pandemic. The U.K. and New Zealand will now join Ireland and Singapore as the four public health outliers in a world that has overwhelmingly rejected fluoridated water.

Last year, the New Zealand government revived, amended and passed a bill that was introduced in 2016, but lacked enough support for passage. As introduced, the bill would have moved fluoridation decisions from local councils — where they reside presently — to district health boards.

However, the current government amended the language to centralize fluoridation authority even further, by giving full control to the director-general of health, Dr. Ashley Bloomfield. Using this process defied the normal democratic process, with no select committee, community consultation or public input. Local councils (and local taxpayers) will be responsible for all capital and operational costs.

Like the CDC, government officials and public health officials were warned in advance of the harm their decision would cause, yet they ignored it.

Some local leaders have quickly made their opposition to this proposal heard, including the mayor of Whangarei, Sheryl Mai, who said, “People who drink water from the tap will be mass medicated whether they want to be or not.”

Mayor Greg Lang of Carterton, and Mayor Alex Beijen of South Wairarapa, both opposed the measure because it took councils, consumers and ratepayers out of the decision. Officials in Christchurch and Southland have also recently voiced opposition, saying safety is a greater priority than fluoride. Clearly, there is still a chance for those communities that push back against this proposal.

In the U.K., decades of efforts by the government to expand fluoridation stalled having reached only 10% of the population. Efforts to fluoridate Northern Ireland failed miserably with 22 councils voting against the measure. Scotland too remained unfluoridated. Efforts over the last two decades to fluoridate Southampton, Manchester, and Hull also failed.

As a result, Prime Minister Boris Johnson proposed an addition to the large Health and Care Act that would effectively mandate fluoridation by giving the health secretary, Sajid Javid, unilateral power to force communities throughout the country to add fluoridation chemicals to the public water supplies.

FAN coordinated with locals to mount opposition to this proposal, including a series of public letters from British scientists accusing public health officials of ignoring the science. The opposition culminated on the floor of the House of Lords, where a number of members spoke out against the proposal, including Lord Reay, who warned of the dangers posed to developing children.

Since passage into law, FAN has made an official submission to the government urging the Department of Health and Social Care to perform a health risk assessment on the effects of fluoridated water on the pregnant woman, the fetus and the formula-fed infant, before implementing fluoridation into the U.K. No regulatory agency in any fluoridating country has ever done this.

However, as the U.K. is contemplating expanding fluoridation to the whole country, it is essential that this is done before they embark on this program.

The Last Line of Defense

I want to conclude by asking the same question I asked at the beginning of this article, but rephrased: How much more harm will YOU allow the promoters and regulators of fluoridation to inflict on the public?

As I write this, millions of developing babies and infants are being overexposed to fluoride from their fluoridated tap water. The research has shown that there is no safe amount of fluoride for the fetus or infant. All will be impacted, some significantly more than others.

Please help us defend these vulnerable children and give them the gift of normal brain development. Help us also protect other vulnerable subpopulations, including those with hypersensitivities, dental fluorosis, bone brittleness and kidney, liver, or thyroid impairment.

The Fluoride Action Network is a nonprofit advocacy group set up in 2000 to broaden awareness among citizens, scientists and policymakers on the toxicity of fluoride compounds. It maintains the largest online database for fluoride toxicity studies, and has helped many of the 300+ communities that have ended or rejected fluoridation chemicals since 2010.

We’re amplifying the voices of a growing chorus of renowned international experts in toxicology, neurology and environmental toxins, warning the public about fluoridation, and educating and recruiting more to speak out.

We’ve captured the surgeon general’s and the CDCs’ attention, made progress with our federal lawsuit against the EPA, helped communities come together to fight fluoridation, and worked with state legislators to defeat mandate bills and support prohibition efforts.

Can you help us continue defend our water and our health, and expand our efforts as new threats arise here in North America and around the world in the United Kingdom and New Zealand? Will you stand with FAN?

Fluoride Awareness Week – Your Help Is Needed

On June 20 to June 26, we launch Fluoride Awareness Week. We set aside an entire week dedicated to ending the practice of fluoridation. There’s no doubt about it: Fluoride should not be ingested. Even scientists from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory have classified fluoride as a “chemical having substantial evidence of developmental neurotoxicity.”

The only real solution is to stop the archaic practice of artificial water fluoridation in the first place. Fortunately, the Fluoride Action Network (FAN), has a game plan to END fluoridation worldwide.

Clean pure water is a prerequisite to optimal health. Industrial chemicals, drugs and other toxic additives really have no place in our water supplies. So please, protect your drinking water and support the fluoride-free movement by making a tax-deductible donation to the Fluoride Action Network today.

June 22, 2022 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

New EPA Climate Change Indicator Is Deceptive

Science Under Attack | May 31, 2021

New climate change indicators on the U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) website are intended to inform science-based decision-making by presenting climate science transparently. But many of the indicators are misleading or deceptive, being based on incomplete evidence or selective data.

A typical example is the indicator for heat waves. This is illustrated in the top panel of the figure below, depicting the EPA’s representation of heat wave frequency in the U.S. from 1961 to 2019. The figure purports to show a steady increase in the occurrence of heat waves, which supposedly tripled from an average of two per year during the 1960s to six per year during the 2010s.

Heat waves (min) EPA.jpg

Heat waves (max) EPA.jpg

Unfortunately, the chart on the top is highly deceptive in several ways. First, the data is derived from minimum, not maximum, temperatures averaged across 50 American cities. The corresponding chart for maximum temperatures, shown in the bottom panel above, paints a rather different picture – one in which the heat wave frequency less than doubled from 2.5 per year in the 1960s to 4.5 per year in the 2010s, and actually declined from the 1980s to the 2000s.

This maximum-temperature graph revealing a much smaller increase in heat waves than the minimum-temperature graph displayed so boldly on the EPA website is dishonestly hidden away in its technical documentation.

A second deception is that the starting date of 1961 for both graphs is conveniently cherry-picked during a 30-year period of global cooling from 1940 to 1970. That in itself exaggerates the warming effect since then. Starting instead in 1980, after the current bout of global warming had begun, it can be seen that the heat wave frequency based on maximum temperatures (bottom panel) barely increased at all from 1981 to 2019. Similar exaggeration and sleight of hand can be seen in the EPA indicators for heat wave duration, season length and intensity.

A third deception is that the 1961 start date ignores the record U.S. heat of the 1930s, a decade characterized by persistent, searing heat waves across North America, especially in 1934 and 1936. The next figure shows the frequency and magnitude of U.S. heatwaves from 1900 to 2018.

Heat waves.jpg

The frequency (top panel) is the annual number of calendar days the maximum temperature exceeded the 90th percentile for 1961–1990 for at least six consecutive days. The EPA’s data is calculated for a period of at least four days, while the heat wave index (lower panel) measures the annual magnitude of all heat waves of at least three days in that year combined.

Despite the differences in definition, it’s abundantly clear that heat waves over the last few decades – the ones publicized by the EPA – pale in comparison to those of the 1930s, and even those of other decades such as the 1910s and 1950s. The peak heat wave index in 1936 is a full three times higher than it was in 2012 and up to nine times higher than in many other years.

The heat wave index shown above actually appears on the same EPA website page as the mimimum-temperature chart. But it’s presented as a tiny Figure 3 that is only 20% as large as the much more prominent Figure 1 showing minimum temperatures. As pointed out recently by another writer, a full-size version of the index chart, from 1895 to 2015, was once featured on the website, before the site was updated this year with the new climate change indicators.

The EPA points out that the 1930s heat waves in North America, which were concentrated in the Great Plains states of the U.S. and southern Canada, were exacerbated by Dust Bowl drought that depleted soil moisture and reduced the moderating effects of evaporation. While this is undoubtedly true, it has been suggested by climate scientists that future droughts in a warming world could result in further record-breaking U.S. heat waves. The EPA has no justification for omitting 1930s heat waves from their data record, or for suppressing the heat wave index chart.

Although the Dust Bowl was unique to the U.S. and Canada, there are locations in other parts of North America and in other countries where substantial heat waves occurred before 1961 as well. In the summer of 1930 two record-setting, back-to-back scorchers, each lasting eight days, afflicted Washington, D.C.; while in 1936, the province of Ontario – also well removed from the Great Plains – experienced 43 degrees Celsius (109 degrees Fahrenheit) heat during the longest, deadliest Canadian heat wave on record. In Europe, France was baked during heat waves in both 1930 and 1947, and many eastern European countries suffered prolonged heat waves in 1946.

What all this means is that the EPA’s heat-wave indicator grossly misrepresents the actual science and defeats its stated goal for the indicators of “informing our understanding of climate change.”

June 15, 2021 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science | | Leave a comment

EPA Updates Its “Climate Change Indicators”

By Francis Menton | Manhattan Contrarian | May 13, 2021

It appears that some time last month the EPA provided a major update of what it calls its “climate change indicators.” The EPA’s web page for this is headed “Climate Change Indicators in the United States,” with the sub-heading “Climate Change Is Happening Now.” The update is an initiative of the Biden administration, now eager to invest a few trillion dollars of your money in new “green” infrastructure, after several years in which the Trump EPA paid no attention to keeping these data up to date. The New York Times reports on the big update on today’s front page, under the headline “Climate Change Is getting Worse, E.P.A. Says. Just Look Around.”

The basic technique here is to propagandize you with every sort of essentially irrelevant anecdotal information, while diverting your attention away from the only indicator of “climate change” that actually counts, which is temperature. After all, if temperatures aren’t going up, it isn’t “global warming.” Here, we have some 54 supposed climate “indicators” — everything from rain to drought to ice to sea level — out of which the things relating to actual temperature are only a handful, and then are buried deep in the midst of all the others, probably in the hope that you will miss them. And moreover, the temperature data are then grossly misrepresented in what has to be an intentional effort at deception.

But let’s start with the official line from the new Biden EPA.

The Earth’s climate is changing. Temperatures are rising, snow and rainfall patterns are shifting, and more extreme climate events – like heavy rainstorms and record high temperatures – are already happening. Many of these observed changes are linked to the rising levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, caused by human activities.

The Times then picks up on the theme by its headline calling for you to “just look around” to determine that “climate change” is happening. The idea is that you can determine that there is “climate change” by observing ice on ponds, or something, without having to bother with those complicated thermometers, let alone sophisticated satellite measurements:

Wildfires are bigger, and starting earlier in the year. Heat waves are more frequent. Seas are warmer, and flooding is more common. The air is getting hotter. Even ragweed pollen season is beginning sooner. . . . [EPA’s indicators] map everything from Lyme disease, which is growing more prevalent in some states as a warming climate expands the regions where deer ticks can survive, to the growing drought in the Southwest that threatens the availability of drinking water, increases the likelihood of wildfires but also reduces the ability to generate electricity from hydropower.

So how about the temperature guys? As you can see, the Times does throw in a couple of references to “heat waves” and “hotter air” in the midst of all the stuff about flooding, ragweed pollen, ticks, and whatever else. What’s missing is any citation or link to any source to support the assertion about actual temperatures. But over at the EPA page, under the heading “U.S. and Global Temperature,” we find the following graph, which is said to have been updated to April 2021:

EPA temperature graph.png

That appears rather scary! Everything looks like it is going up sharply with passing time. Check out especially the green line, which is identified as the “lower troposphere [temperatures] (measured by satellite) of UAH.” The green line ends with a steep uptick, leaving it with the latest data point just below a record reached in 2016, and a full 2 deg F above the 1901-2000 average.

Oh, but here is the actual lower troposphere temperature record from UAH, available at the website of Roy Spencer, who is the guy who compiles the UAH record:

UAH_LT_1979_thru_April_2021_v6.jpg

There are a few differences in the presentation that require a little interpretation, like the EPA graph is in deg F and has anomalies from a 1901-2000 mean, while the UAH graph is in deg C and shows anomalies from a 1991-2020 mean. But still, it leaps out that the green line on EPA’s web page, said to be the UAH record, ends with a sharp uptick and with the last point a full 2 deg F above the mean line; while this record, from UAH itself, ends with a sharp downtick and the last point actually below the mean line. Although EPA explicitly says on its web page that it updated the information in April 2021, this downtick in the UAH record began in January 2020 — a year and 4 plus months ago — and reflects a decline in lower troposphere temperatures of some 0.65 deg C, which is almost 1.2 deg F.

In other words, well more than half of the seemingly scary increase in temperature since 1901 shown in the EPA graph has just gone away in the last 16 months. So the Biden EPA, not wanting to complicate the official story of “climate change is happening now,” simply truncated the data in its graph at January 2020 to shut out the last year plus of big temperature declines. There is no way to characterize the EPA graph as other than intentionally deceptive.

I guess it’s OK because it’s in the noble cause of convincing the American people to allow the government to spend a few trillion dollars on windmills and electric car charging stations for the rich.

May 16, 2021 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , | Leave a comment

9/11 Suspects: Christine Todd Whitman

corbettreport | September 6, 2016

If the brave men and women who had rushed to the World Trade Center in the chaotic days after 9/11 to help with the search and rescue had done so knowing the risks they were facing, that would be one thing. But of course they did not. They had been given false assurances by Christine Todd Whitman, the EPA administrator who assured the public just days into the clean up that the air was safe to breathe.

TRANSCRIPT AND SOURCES: https://www.corbettreport.com/?p=19618

September 6, 2016 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , | 1 Comment

Radiation spike near Hanford nuclear waste site ‘natural’ – EPA

RT | May 15, 2016

The US Environmental Protection Agency chalked elevated gamma radiation levels around America’s largest nuclear waste storage facility, the Hanford site, up to natural causes, but RT’s Alexey Yaroshevsky has found a few inconsistencies in its claims.

RT has reported extensively on the situation at Washington State’s Hanford Nuclear storage facility since various leaks and injuries to workers were reported. An incident on May 5th covered by RT, when radiation levels in the area adjacent to the site skyrocketed, prompted a federal investigation.

However, following the RT report, a local newspaper urged its audience not to “believe everything on the Internet” in an article extensively quoting a statement from the EPA that claimed the elevated radiation levels had a natural cause and were not connected to the Hanford facility in any way.

“The US Environmental Protection Agency and the Washington State Department of Health agree that radiation from naturally occurring radon was measured on an EPA monitor,” the EPA statement reads.

“The scientists determined that the cause was a temporary elevation of radon levels from the natural decay of certain types of elements found in nearly all rocks and soil.”

The statement also stresses that the spike in radiation could not have been due to emissions from Hanford because the wind was blowing from the opposite direction at the time the measurements were taken.

“The Department of Health said that was not possible because the wind was blowing the wrong direction for the radiation to have come from Hanford at the time the reading was taken,” the EPA notes.

Yet RT America correspondent Alexey Yaroshevsky compared the graph of the radiation readings to wind maps provided by the US national weather service and discovered that the EPA’s findings may not be entirely correct, as the graph appears to show the wind circling around the Hanford site and the area where the readings were taken.

Meanwhile, health protection authorities seem to have quickly taken up the radon-related scenario, emphasizing that radon is common in the area, accumulating in places closer to the ground, and urging people with basements to get radon-measurement canisters to check their homes for excessive levels.

Radon gas is a natural byproduct of Uranium decay in the soil and considered a dangerous carcinogen that can cause lung cancer. Estimates state that outdoor radon levels cause some 800 of the 21,000 radon induced lung cancer deaths that occur in the United States every year.

However, according to a map of radon levels from the EPA’s own website, Benton County, in which the Hanford nuclear plant is located, has relatively low levels radon, even when compared to other American states.

The Hanford nuclear site, on the other hand, holds some 56 million gallons of radioactive waste stored in underground tanks that were built between the 1940s and 1970s. Those who used to work at the facility have told RT that vapor incidents are common when radioactive waste is being transported between tanks, which happens often, as the tanks are wearing out.

READ MORE:

‘I thought I was dying’: Ex-Hanford worker gravely ill after inhaling toxic fumes

Hanford Site not ‘controlling what comes out of nuclear waste tanks to protect workers’ – public

May 14, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Environmentalism, Militarism | , , | 1 Comment

Glyphosate and Atrazine: EPA posts, then retracts, reports on top herbicide chemicals

RT | May 6, 2016

The EPA recently posted online reports on two disputed herbicide chemicals, only to pull them offline shortly afterwards. The reports said glyphosate was not a human carcinogen and atrazine caused reproductive harm to mammals.

On April 29, the EPA’s cancer assessment review committee (CARC) posted an 86-page report on the agency’s regulations.gov website that stated glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer that was deemed a “probable” human carcinogen by the World Health Organization last year, “was not likely to be carcinogenic to humans,” Reuters reported.

On May 2, the EPA pulled the report offline, saying the action was taken “because our assessment is not final,” and that the “preliminary” documents were “inadvertently” published.

“EPA has not completed our cancer review,” the EPA told Reuters. “We will look at the work of other governments as well as work by (the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’) Agricultural Health Study as we move to make a decision on glyphosate.”

However, the cover page of the documents was titled “final Cancer Assessment Document,” Reuters reported, and the word “FINAL” was printed on each page of the report, dated October 1, 2015. The EPA said the assessment — part of the first comprehensive safety review of the chemical since 1993, which will determine glyphosate use in the US over the next 15 years — will be complete by the end of 2016.

Critics of glyphosate ridiculed the EPA for its short-lived assessment, while the chemical’s supporters, including agribusiness giant Monsanto, hailed the report for endorsing glyphosate’s safety. Monsanto even posted a copy of it on its website.

“Pulling the report indicates lack of confidence in the outcome,” tweeted Nathan Donley, a scientist for the Center for Biological Diversity. “Can’t blame them, the analysis is terrible.”

The glyphosate documents indicated that the EPA was “relying heavily on unpublished, industry funded studies” in its assessment that glyphosate is not a human carcinogen, the Center for Biological Diversity said. In contrast, the World Health Organization’s view that glyphosate is a “likely” human carcinogen included studies that were publicly available and that took into account consumer products.

“All they’re doing is reviewing studies that are funded by the industry,” Jennifer Sass, a senior scientist at Natural Resources Defense Council, told Reuters.

In 1974, Monsanto began selling the chemical in Roundup, which has become a top bioicide for farming, especially involving genetically-engineered crops, and home and garden uses.

“No pesticide regulator in the world considers glyphosate to be a carcinogen, and this conclusion by the U.S. EPA once again reinforces this important fact,” said Hugh Grant, Monsanto’s CEO.

The use of glyphosate in herbicides has increased by more than 250 times in the United States over the last 40 years, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. Long-term exposure to glyphosate has been linked to kidney and liver damage, as well as cellular and genetic diseases. Monsanto and defenders of glyphosate use called the World Health Organization’s carcinogen classification too “dramatic” and have pointed to assurances that the chemical is safe.

In April, the European Parliament approved the seven-year reauthorization of glyphosate, though it recommended the chemical should be used only by professionals and not in public places.

Atrazine

Around the same time it pulled the glyphosate assessment off its website, the EPA similarly published and retracted a less-flattering report on the herbicide atrazine, which was banned in Europe in 2004. Atrazine is legal in the US, where it is second only to glyphosate among most-used agricultural herbicides.

Atrazine is manufactured by agrochemical corporation Syngenta. At least 60 million pounds of the chemical is used in the US each year, mainly on corn fields, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. US agencies and other researchers have found high levels of atrazine in groundwater and drinking water near agricultural and rural areas. Atrazine is known to be an endocrine disruptor and has been linked to hormonal defects and some types of cancer in humans.

On April 29, an EPA assessment on atrazine was posted on the agency’s website but subsequently taken down. The documents are available here. The assessment said atrazine was found to cause reproductive harm to birds and mammals, exceeding by 200 times the EPA’s “levels of concern.” Amphibians were found to be especially at-risk from atrazine exposure, echoing research by scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, who found that about three-quarters of male frogs are castrated by the chemical.

“When the amount of atrazine allowed in our drinking water is high enough to turn a male tadpole into a female frog, then our regulatory system has failed us,” said Donley, the Center for Biological Diversity scientist. “We’ve reached a point with atrazine where more scientific analysis is just unnecessary — atrazine needs to be banned now.”

Like glyphosate, atrazine is undergoing a 15-year safety review by the EPA. The previous of such assessments on atrazine occurred in 2003.

Syngenta, atrazine’s maker, touts the chemical’s safety on its website, claiming it is not “physically possible to dissolve enough atrazine in water to have any impact on hormones or human health.”

“No one has, ever will, or ever could be exposed to enough atrazine in the natural environment to affect their reproductive health,” the chemical giant says.

Read more:

Quaker Oats sued for use of glyphosate in ‘100% natural’ products

May 6, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , , | Leave a comment

Democrats cover up role of Obama administration in Flint water crisis

By James Brewer | WSWS | March 9, 2016

Democratic Party politicians and operatives descended on Flint before Tuesday’s Michigan primary hoping to exploit public anger over the water crisis to boost their electoral chances. The selection of the city as the venue for the March 6 debate between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton was designed to give the appearance that the Democrats were concerned with, and would seriously address, the disaster inflicted on the people of Flint over the last two years.

Both candidates sought to lay blame solely on the Republican governor, Rick Snyder, while concealing the role of state and local Democrats, including the state treasurer, the mayor, the emergency manager and the city council. They also said nothing about federal officials from Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) who knowingly concealed the fact that the city was not treating its water supply with anti-corrosive agents and that lead levels in the water had made it toxic.

While making various demagogic statements, neither candidate offers any serious proposal to provide relief to the beleaguered residents. During the debate, LeeAnne Walters from Flint asked both candidates if they would require public water systems to replace lead pipes throughout the US if they were elected. Neither candidate would give a direct answer to the question.

Clinton replied, “We will commit to a priority to change the water systems and we will commit within five years to remove lead from everywhere,” referring to all lead sources, including paint and dust.

Walters, a key figure in exposing the consistent cover-up by water quality officials, told the Huffington Post on Monday, “I hated Clinton’s answer. To tell a Flint resident that we’ll handle this in five years is no different than what the city was telling us and what the state was telling us.”

The Flint mother noted that federal agencies, particularly the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), have been downplaying the importance of lead in drinking water for decades, focusing almost exclusively on lead in paint and dust. This attitude toward public water systems was a significant factor in the lead poisoning of Washington, DC from 2001 to 2005 and contributed to the culture within agencies tasked to protect drinking water safety that has been exposed in the Flint events.

“If you look at the numbers, most of the grants and funding go to lead paint, so to lump it all together is unacceptable,” Walters said.

Walters said Sanders’ response to her question—that the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under his administration would monitor water safety—was “lame,” adding that this is what the EPA is already supposed to do.

Thousands of emails have emerged exposing the role of top employees at Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) in covering up the lack of proper treatment in Flint’s water leading to the spike in lead levels. A spate of resignations and firings in the department have occurred as a result.

While the Democrats denounced the Snyder administration, they have consistently given a pass to the EPA, with US Congressman Dan Kildee from Flint, for example, saying that claims that the EPA is equally as responsible as the MDEQ is a “false equivalency.”

In fact, the EPA played a key role in aiding and abetting the efforts by MDEQ and the Snyder administration to conceal the danger to the public. A March 5 article in the Detroit Free Press examines emails between MDEQ and EPA officials from February 25, 2015 through the end of 2015. The emails reveal that the EPA was well informed that Flint was in violation of federal safe drinking water regulations, and that the MDEQ was not only aware, but itself instigating Flint officials to falsify water testing.

The article dates exchanges starting on February 25, when LeeAnne Walters’ home tap water tested at 104 parts per billion (ppb)—7 times more than the EPA action level of 15 ppb. Her child developed skin rashes. The next day, EPA program manager for Region 5 (the Midwest region), Jennifer Crooks, relates this to MDEQ’s Lansing District Coordinator for Drinking Water, Steve Busch, and Mike Prysby, MDEQ district engineer, with a note that says: “WOW!!!! Did he find the LEAD! 104 ppb. She has 2 children under the age of 3… Big worries here.”

This message was forwarded to EPA Region 5 Ground Water and Drinking Water Branch Chief Tom Poy, and Regulations Manager Miguel Del Toral, who is a leading expert on lead in water.

Del Toral, alarmed by the test results followed up with visits to Walters’ home to do further testing. Further emails corroborated Walters’ testimony at the February 3 US Congressional hearing, where she described Del Toral’s work in Flint, which culminated in a June memorandum to the EPA and the MDEQ, after which he was silenced by the federal agency.

Walters testified that she had made that report public. “So when he called me and asked me if he could use my information for this report, I said yes, and I asked for a copy. When I saw it in black and white—there is a difference living it and seeing it in black and white—that is why it was given to the ACLU and made public, because people did have a right to know. From that point, he was then no longer allowed to have association with me or anybody else in Flint. By the EPA.”

Del Toral and Walters had uncovered that there had been no corrosion control treatment of the water in Flint since the water source was switched to the Flint River in April 2014. For decades, the water supplied to Flint from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department’s treatment plant near Lake Huron had been treated for corrosives, in line with federal law, in order to prevent lead and other chemicals from leaching from Flint’s pipelines into its drinking water.

The long-mothballed Flint treatment plant neither had the technical capacity or the manpower to treat the water, but this did not stop state and local officials from both parties from approving the switch. The officials essentially rolled the dice hoping there would be no public outcry until a new pipeline that would connect Flint directly to Lake Huron was completed.

In his June memorandum, Del Toral also revealed that sampling of the water in Flint homes was done improperly, making the high lead levels less like to be revealed.

EPA Region 5 head, Susan Hedman, since resigned, told Flint’s Mayor Dayne Walling and others who raised concerns about the Del Toral memo, that she wished it had never been produced and that after she edited and vetted it, it would tell a different story—that Flint’s water was in compliance with lead and copper standards established by the federal government.

In early July, Walling asked Hedman to make a public statement to the ACLU to justify the city’s actions and she replied, “I’m not inclined to have any further communications with the ACLU representative.”

Dr. Marc Edwards, the leader of the Virginia Tech University team that performed an extensive testing of Flint’s water in August, told the February 3 Congressional hearing. “I did not know what happened for quite some time until MDEQ bragged to Ms. Walters and laughed at her and she reported back to me that ‘Mr. Del Toral had been handled’ and it was very clear that an agreement had been reached of some sort between EPA and MDEQ that would let MDEQ have their way with Flint’s children.

“That they were not going to install corrosion control. They had no intention to do it. There’s many emails that show that they were waiting for this new pipeline to come on next year and they thought it was a waste of time to do anything to treat the water. When we got involved, in August as a matter of fact, an MDEQ email said ‘Shouldn’t someone tell those folks from Virginia Tech that we’re switching to the pipeline next year so they don’t bother wasting their time on this issue?’”

National EPA Director Gina McCarthy, an Obama appointee, appeared for the first time in Flint at a February 2 EPA press conference. When a World Socialist Web Site reporter asked her directly about the quashing of the Del Toral memo, she lied, insisting the lead-in-water expert had not been silenced.

The significance of the cover-up for the EPA by the Democratic Party establishment is vast. Over the last weeks, it has emerged that lead poisoning of the population through the water systems is not isolated to Flint, but is a national phenomenon. In the state of Ohio, lead levels in the blood of children are high in many areas of the state. In the village of Sebring, Ohio, near the deindustrialized city of Youngstown, it has recently been made public that state water quality officials kept quiet for months when they knew that residents had lead-tainted water flowing through their taps.

lead-levels+map

Map showing recorded blood-lead levels in the US

The map above shows the extent to which children’s blood levels exceed the 5 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL) level considered high by the CDC across the country in 2014. Even more disturbing is the number of states that are not required to submit those levels to the federal government.

Food and Water Watch, the Washington DC-based advocate for public water, reports that federal water infrastructure spending has been cut by 74 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars since 1977. Obama’s latest budget calls for another 11 percent cut.

Neither Democratic Party candidate has any intention of investing in desperately needed infrastructure. They dare not cut across the agenda of the financial elite to amass greater and greater profits at the expense of the working class, and to dedicate obscene sums to the endless pursuit of technology and weapons for war.

March 9, 2016 Posted by | Deception | , , | Leave a comment

U.S. Watchdog Investigations Imperiled by Obama Fixation on Government Secrecy

By Steve Straehley and Danny Biederman | AllGov | December 2, 2015

The Obama administration, by consistently refusing to turn over documents and information, has gone out of its way to make it more difficult for the inspectors general of executive branch agencies to do their jobs.

The concept of inspectors general investigating executive branch departments and agencies came into being in the late 1970s after the Watergate scandal. The idea was that inspectors general would have free rein to investigate wrongdoing in their departments and bring government abuse to light.

But thanks to an obsession with secrecy on the part of the Obama administration, inspectors general who previously had access to all documents, emails and other information have had to beg for evidence, which is often produced after months of requests and is sometimes heavily redacted.

“The bottom line is that we’re no longer independent,” Michael E. Horowitz, the Justice Department inspector general, told The New York Times.

More than three decades of established federal policy that gave watchdogs unrestricted access to government records in their investigations is now at serious risk of being undone. That includes “at least 20 investigations across the government that have been slowed, stymied or sometimes closed because of a long-simmering dispute between the Obama administration and its own watchdogs over the shrinking access of inspectors general to confidential records,” according to the Times’ Eric Lichtblau.

Justice Department lawyers wrote an opinion last summer that stated grand jury transcripts, wiretap intercepts and financial credit reports and some other “protected records” could be withheld from inspectors general. As a result of that order, investigators who need to review government records are now required to get permission from the very agencies they are monitoring in order to do so.

“This is by far the most aggressive assault on the inspector general concept since the beginning,” Paul Light, a New York University professor who has studied inspectors general, told the Times. “It’s the complete evisceration of the concept. You might as well fold them down. They’ve become defanged.”

Among the investigations being hindered are those involving FBI use of phone records collected by the NSA, the DEA’s role in the shooting of unarmed civilians in Honduras drug raids, international trade agreement enforcement at the Commerce Department, the “Fast and Furious” gun operation, intelligence relating to the Boston Marathon bombings, and additional cases at the Afghanistan reconstruction board, the EPA and the Postal Service.

Even the Peace Corps has worked to prevent access to records. The agency’s inspector general was denied information when looking into cases of sexual abuse of Peace Corps volunteers. This despite claims that the agency is in favor of “rigorous oversight” and that it cooperated with investigators.

The situation has drawn criticism from both Republicans and Democrats. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said of a plan to give the Justice Department inspector general more access, but not those at other agencies, “It’s no fix at all.” His colleague on the committee, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) said at a hearing that the Obama administration has “blocked what was once a free flow of information” to investigators.

Justice IG Horowitz said the consequence of the watchdog clampdown may be an increase in cases of waste, fraud and abuse across the government.

To Learn More:

Tighter Lid on Records Threatens to Weaken Government Watchdogs (by Eric Lichtblau, New York Times )

Gov’t Watchdogs Urge Congress to Reverse Obama Administration IG Crackdown (Fox News)

Pentagon Stonewalls U.S. Watchdog’s Inquiries into $800 Million Afghanistan Program (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov )

Justice Department Tries to Limit Inspectors General Access to Government Documents (by Steve Straehley, AllGov )

FBI Claims it Doesn’t Have to Share Records with Justice Dept. Inspector General (by Noel Brinkerhoff and Steve Straehley, AllGov )

The High Cost of Secrecy to American Taxpayers (by Matt Bewig, AllGov )

December 2, 2015 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Andrew Cuomo’s Pollinator Task Force Won’t Save New York’s Bees

By Tracy Frisch | Independent Science News | November 2, 2015

As in other parts of North America, beekeepers in New York have been experiencing unsustainable losses of honeybee colonies. In 2014-15, annual colony losses in New York reached 54 per cent, according to the Bee Informed Partnership survey. And though losses were lower in preceding years, they consistently exceeded the economic threshold of 15 percent loss. At great expense, beekeepers have been able to recoup their winter and summer losses, but for declining native bee species the prospects are even less rosy. For example, the rusty-patched bumblebee (Bombus affinis) for example, once common in New York and the Northeastern US, is now a candidate for the endangered species act.

An impressive worldwide body of scientific evidence implicates neonicotinoids as a major contributor to the decline of honeybee and wild bee populations (e.g. Lu et al., 2014). This is due to a combination of their acute toxicity, sub-lethal, intergenerational, neurotoxic, and immune system effects, their systemic behavior in plants and their persistence in soil and water (See the IUCN’s Worldwide Integrated Assessment of the Impacts of Systemic Pesticides on Biodiversity and Ecosystems, 2015 (1)). This relatively new family of insecticides is now believed to be the most commonly used global pesticide.

Unlike Europe and Ontario, Canada, the US has not acted to restrict the use of neonicotinoids. However, the federal government has specifically urged states to create pollinator protection plans. Some states are working on them and a few have completed them (2).

But at the first meeting of the New York State’s Pollinator Task Force (Aug 6 2015), commercial beekeeper Jim Doan was flabbergasted to learn that state officials had appointed two representatives of the national pesticide industry to the 12-member panel. “It’s very difficult for a beekeeper to think he can get a fair shake,” he commented.

Consequently, I decided to see for myself. I attended the September 11 and October 1 Task Force meetings and listened to the recording of the August 6 meeting.

The New York State Pollinator Task Force

The NY state Task Force was set in motion by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Pollinators are crucial to the health of New York’s environment, as well as the strength of our agricultural economy,” Cuomo said in his announcement. “By developing a statewide action plan, we are expanding our efforts to protect these species and our unparalleled natural resources, and making an important step forward in our commitment to New York’s ecological and economic future.

Thus, on April 23, 2015 Cuomo directed the state departments of agriculture and markets (NYSDAM) and environmental conservation (NYSDEC) to develop a state pollinator protection plan, involving stakeholders and research institutions in the process.

By July stakeholders were receiving invitations to serve on the state Pollinator Task Force, which was constituted with 12 “advisors” from the private and NGO sectors. Officials from NYSDAM and DEC serve as co-chairs. In addition, Cornell IPM program director Jennifer Grant sat with Task Force members and played an advisory role, though not as a Task Force member.

Task Force membership

In terms of its personnel, three groups represent pesticide interests on the Task Force: CropLife America and Responsible Industry Supporting the Environment (RISE) are the pesticide industry’s agricultural and non-agricultural trade groups respectively. Both are headquartered at the same Washington DC office. The NYS Agribusiness Association is the third agrochemical group. Dan Digiacomandrea, a technical sales specialist at Bayer CropScience, one of two makers of neonicotinoids, attended one Task Force meeting as that group’s alternate.

Agriculture also got three seats, with appointees from the state farm bureau, state vegetable growers association and the fruit sector. The state vegetable growers consistently sent an alternate, Rick Zimmerman. His resume includes many years as a Farm Bureau lobbyist followed by a career as NYSDAM deputy commissioner. Today he heads up the Northeast Agribusiness and Feed Alliance. The state turf and landscape association has a seat, too.

Three NGOs were appointed to the Task Force: The Nature Conservancy, Audubon New York and the Natural Resources Defense Council. Member Erin Crotty, who is executive director at Audubon NY, previously served as DEC commissioner under Republican Governor Pataki. NRDC, which has sued EPA on neonicotinoids, was represented by one of two alternating attorneys at each meeting. Like the aforementioned industry representatives, no one from these organizations appeared to have any specific expertise on pollinators. The first two NGOs proposed ways to increase pollinator habitat but did not indicate concerns about pesticides.

Finally, beekeepers were apportioned two seats. With 12 hives, hobby beekeeper Stephen Wilson has chaired the Apiary Industry Advisory Committee for over 15 years. The other representative is Empire State Honey Producers Association president Mark Berninghausen, a small commercial migratory beekeeper from St. Lawrence County. This group has about 100 members out of the 3,000 or 4,000 beekeepers in the state.

The state has also been accepting public comments (though this was apparently not publicized and no deadline has been announced). These comments must be submitted to the governor’s office, not to the Task Force directly (initially NYSDAM was accepting them). As of this writing, these comments have not been shared with task force members.

Given the make-up of New York’s Pollinator Task Force — one-quarter pesticide industry plus one-third agriculture and turf care industries – and the allegiances of the two convening agencies, the complex issue of pesticides was therefore always likely to be handled with kid gloves.

The timeline and the content

At the kickoff meeting task force advisors had a chance to lay out their positions on what the state should do to protect bees. The second meeting focused on research needs and the third dealt with habitat enhancement and best management practices (BMPs).

Presentations took up much of the second and third meetings. For example, a series of managers from six state agencies described their land management practices and initiatives to provide habitat in respect to bees.

A highpoint was the talk by Cornell’s new honeybee extension entomologist Emma Mullen. A Canadian who just moved to the US, she had been part of the team of scientists that worked on Ontario’s Pollinator Health Protection Plan. Particularly illuminating was her explanation of the province’s new program to decrease the corn and soybean acreage planted with neonicotinoid-treated seeds by 80% by 2017. She also outlined current Cornell research on bees.

NYSDAM commissioner Richard Ball, a vegetable grower, chaired the meetings and NYSDEC deputy commissioner Eugene Leff played a supporting role. Leff, whose portfolio includes pesticide regulation, previously presided over another stakeholder task force charged with dealing with an equally polarizing issue: preventing pesticide pollution of Long Island’s groundwater. As with the pollinator task force, pesticide and agricultural interests were well represented on Long Island. (The 126-page strategy document that came out of that task force’s work indicates that these interest groups succeeded in delaying any restrictions on suspect pesticides.)

To frame the initial Pollinator Task Force discussion, Commissioner Ball reiterated what has come to seem like the official US dogma on bee decline — there is no single cause and we must consider multiple areas of concern. While the list of pollinator threats varies, USDA, EPA and institutions like Cornell cite factors such as habitat loss, pests and pathogens, pesticides, genetics and/or climate change when they state that view.

Indeed, the most notable feature of the meetings was the overall reluctance to delve into the problem of pesticides except in so far as they induce immediate bee kills. Only two members of the 12-member task force (beekeeper Stephen Wilson and a Natural Resources Defense Council attorney) urged any limitations on the use of neonicotinoids.

Meetings without minutes or structure

A number of additional aspects of these meetings support the idea that the Task Force exists primarily for appearance’s sake. First, no one appeared to be taking official notes and no minutes were made available, despite advisor Stephen Wilson’s request for minutes at the second meeting. (Recordings are posted on NYSDAM’s website.) Second, no one wrote down ideas on a whiteboard or easel to capture them as they came up. Third, Task Force discussions were freewheeling, unstructured and all over the map.

The state’s short timeline also challenges the notion of a deliberative process informed by science. The whole process, from the first of three Task Force meetings to the submission of priority recommendations to the governor, is scheduled to take only three months (3).

Yet the meeting agendas presume that in an hour or two of meetings these advisors will contribute content to the pollinator plan, generate a meaningful research agenda, and cobble together BMPs to protect bees. For all this to happen fails to pass the laugh test.

Thus, in the final portion of the third meeting, Task Force advisors were asked to consider a series of BMPs listed on a handout prepared in advance (presumably by NYSDAM or DEC) but not distributed until the actual meeting. Task Force members had not gotten through the first item on the list when time ran out (4).

Perhaps there was no real need to carefully craft a plan because the conclusions appeared to have been pre-ordained. In his closing comments at the third meeting, DEC deputy commissioner Leff referred back to the governor’s blueprint for the state pollinator plan. In particular, Leff highlighted the BMPs designed to reduce pesticide exposure to managed pollinators through better communication among beekeepers and farmers. Leff stressed the need for landowners and pesticide applicators to know where hives are located and how to contact beekeepers before they spray. Beekeepers would have to be ready to move their hive, he said (5).

If his recommendations go into effect the onus of protecting bees from pesticides would fall on beekeepers. This is at odds with the historical assignment of such responsibility to pesticide applicators. In fact, pesticide labels carry legal weight in prohibiting pesticides considered acutely toxic to bees from being applied when flowers are in bloom or bees are present.

Leff’s proposal to shift responsibility is radical, but it is not new; the essential elements of Leff’s proposal are contained in the Guidance for State Pollinator Protection Plans, a June 2015 document produced by the State FIFRA Issues Research and Evaluation Group (6). (SFIREG is a committee of the Association of American Pesticide Control Officials. SFIREG used to have the document on its website, but has since removed it.) Among the six “critical elements” it identified for pollinator plans are methods for growers to know if managed pollinators are located near where pesticides are used and for contacting beekeepers prior to applying pesticides.

Thus it seems that pesticides are sometimes acknowledged to be causing at least part of the decline in pollinators, but the approach proposed by Leff and SFIREG ignores much of what is known–that systemic insecticides like neonicotinoids can harm bees months after application, for example via the planting of treated seeds (Lu et al., 2014), and that insecticides are not the only agrichemicals that harm bees. For example, a new study has found that exposure to low levels of glyphosate impairs honeybee navigation (Balbuena et al., 2015). And of course, warning beekeepers of impending pesticide applications does nothing to protect native pollinators, though ostensibly these plans are intended to protect them, too.

As the meeting was ending, I was able to pose a practical question. How easy is it for beekeepers to move their hives when they get a call that pesticides will be applied? Roberta Glatz, an older woman who serves on the state Apiary Industry Advisory Committee, replied from the audience.
She said that beekeepers aren’t necessarily where their bees are. “They may be in North Carolina raising queens.” She outlined other concerns as well. There are limited places where you can put your bees, and it takes a lot of negotiation to put in a bee yard. Logistics also come into play. Mud can impede access. Hives are heavy and usually have to be moved in the middle of the night when the bees are home. (And beekeepers often have day jobs, another beekeeper told me once the meeting ended.)

So while even the beekeepers of New York are having a hard time getting a fair shake in a protection plan for their own bees, in terms of pesticides it seems that Bombus affinis and other native bees should expect even less of one.

Footnotes
(1) Worldwide Integrated Assessment of the Impacts of Systemic Pesticides on Biodiversity and Ecosystems 2015 (IUCN’s Task Force on Systemic Pesticides)
(2) The Pollinator Stewardship Council is the best clearinghouse of state government pollinator protection activities around the country. Another resource is a May 2015 white paper from the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture. It claims to provide links to the MP3s (“managed pollinator protection plans”) of North Dakota, California, Mississippi, Florida and Colorado, but of these states only North Dakota seems to have developed an actual plan.
(3) The timeline called for the state to circulate the NYS Pollinator Protection Action Plan Recommendations to task force members on October 19. In turn, they would have 7 days to comment. As of October 28, a beekeeper on the Task Force reported that he hadn’t received anything from the state yet.
(4) Discussion of specific BMPs was overshadowed by the contentious issue of whether beekeepers should be required to register all honeybee hives with the state and disclose their locations. BMPs listed on the handout pertained to such things as beekeepers’ care for their colonies and control of mites and other parasites/diseases, landowners and state agencies enhancing pollinator habitat and forage, the correct and judicious use of pesticides and of Integrated Pest Management, and the roles of beekeepers, landowners and pesticide applicators in protecting honeybees from pesticides.
(5) Some beekeepers fear that New York’s plan will follow North Dakota’s template, thus transferring the burden of protecting honeybee colonies from pesticides onto the beekeepers.
(6) FIFRA, which stands for the Federal Insecticide Fungicide Rodenticide Act, provides the nation’s regulatory framework for pesticides.

References
Balbuena, M. S., Tison, L., Hahn, M. L., Greggers, U., Menzel, R., & Farina, W. M. (2015). Effects of sub-lethal doses of glyphosate on honeybee navigation. The Journal of Experimental Biology, 10 July 2015. doi: 10.1242/ dev.117291
Lu C, Warchol KM, Callahan RA (2014) Sub-lethal exposure to neonicotinoids impaired honey bees winterization before proceeding to colony collapse disorder. Bull Insectol 67:125–130.

November 2, 2015 Posted by | Corruption, Economics | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Radiation in Pacific Reaches US West Coast

By John Laforge | CounterPunch | October 14, 2015

“[W]e should be carefully monitoring the oceans after what is certainly the largest accidental release of radioactive contaminants to the oceans in history,” marine chemist Ken Buesseler said last spring.

Instead, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency halted its emergency radiation monitoring of Fukushima’s radioactive plume in May 2011, three months after the disaster began. Japan isn’t even monitoring seawater near Fukushima, according to a Sept. 28 story in The Ecologist.

The amount of cesium in seawater that Buesseler’s researchers found off Vancouver Island is nearly six times the concentration recorded since cesium was first introduced into the oceans by nuclear bomb tests (halted in 1963). This stunning increase in Pacific cesium shows an ongoing increase. The International Business Times (IBT) reported last Nov. 12 that Dr. Buesseler found the amount of cesium-134 in the same waters was then about twice the concentration left in long-standing bomb test remains.

Dr. Buesseler, at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, announced his assessment after his team found that cesium drift from Fukushima’s three reactor meltdowns had reached North America. Attempting to reassure the public, Buesseler said, “[E]ven if they were twice as high and I was to swim there every day for an entire year, the dose I would be exposed to is a thousand times less than a single dental X-ray.”

This comparison conflates the important difference between external radiation exposure (from X-rays or swimming in radioactively contaminated seawater), and internal contamination from ingesting radioactive isotopes, say with seafood.

Dr. Chris Busby of the Low Level Radiation Campaign in the UK explains the distinction this way: Think of the difference between merely sitting before a warm wood fire on one hand, and popping a burning hot coal into your mouth on the other. Internal contamination can be 1,000 times more likely to cause cancer than the same exposure if it were external, especially for women and children. And, because cesium-137 stays in the ecosphere for 300 years, long-term bio-accumulation and bio-concentration of cesium isotopes in the food chain – in this case the ocean food chain – is the perpetually worsening consequence of what has spilled and is still pouring from Fukushima.

The nuclear weapons production complex is the only other industry that has a record of deliberate whole-Earth poisoning. Hundreds of tons of radioactive fallout were aerosolized and spread to the world’s watery commons and landmasses by nuclear bomb testing. The same people then brought us commercial nuclear power reactors. Dirty war spawns dirty business, where lying comes easy. Just as the weapons makers lied about bomb test fallout dangers, nuclear power proponents claimed the cesium spewed from Fukushima would be diluted to infinity after the plume dispersed across 4,000 miles of Pacific Ocean.

Today, globalized radioactive contamination of the commons by private corporations has become the financial, political and health care cost of operating nuclear power reactors. The Nov. 2014 IBT article noted that “The planet’s oceans already contain vast amounts of radiation, as the world’s 435 nuclear power plants routinely pump radioactive water into Earth’s oceans, albeit less dangerous isotopes than cesium.”

Fifty million Becquerels of cesium per-cubic-meter were measured off Fukushima soon after the March 2011 start of the three meltdowns. Cesium-contaminated Albacore and Bluefin tuna were caught off the West Coast a mere four months later; 300 tons of cesium-laced effluent has been pouring into the Pacific every day for the 4 1/2 years since; the Japanese government on Sept. 14 openly dumped 850 tons of partially-filtered but tritium-contaminated water into the Pacific. This latest dumping portends what it will try to do with thousands of tons more now held in shabby storage tanks at the devastated reactor complex.

Officials from Fukushima’s owners, the Tokyo Electric Power Co., have said leaks from Fukushima disaster with “at least” two trillion Becquerels of radioactivity entered the Pacific between August 2013 and May 2014 — and this 9-month period isn’t even the half of it.

The fact that Fukushima has contaminated the entirety of the Pacific Ocean must be viewed as cataclysmic. The ongoing introduction of Fukushima’s radioactive runoff may be slow-paced, and the inevitable damage to sea life and human health may take decades to register, but the “canary in the mineshaft,” is the Pacific tuna population, which should now also be perpetually monitored for cesium.

Last November Buesseler warned, “Radioactive cesium from the Fukushima disaster is likely to keep arriving at the North American coast.” Fish eaters may want to stick with the Atlantic catch for 12 generations or so.

October 14, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Environmentalism, Nuclear Power, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment