Archive for Environment
From Huffington Post:
WASHINGTON — A critical document from President Barack Obama’s free trade negotiations with eight Pacific nations was leaked online early Wednesday morning, revealing that the administration intends to bestow radical new political powers upon multinational corporations, contradicting prior promises.
Under the agreement currently being advocated by the Obama administration, American corporations would continue to be subject to domestic laws and regulations on the environment, banking and other issues. But foreign corporations operating within the U.S. would be permitted to appeal key American legal or regulatory rulings to an international tribunal. That international tribunal would be granted the power to overrule American law and impose trade sanctions on the United States for failing to abide by its rulings.
No surprise here. This has been a long time coming. International corporations have been challenging “the little people’s” right to control their own destinies for decades now. How dare you peasants pass national or local ordinances controlling what happens in your own backyard?
Injecting millions of gallons of water, sand and toxic chemicals underground beneath the water table to fracture shale and free trapped oil and natural gas? What could possibly go wrong? Mtn. X:
A contentious bill to allow hydrolic fracturing – or “fracking” – for oil and gas exploration in the state passed the N.C. Senate on Wednesday by a 29-19 majority, and is expected to be voted on today in the House.
The bill is expected to pass in the House, and then will face Gov. Bev Perdue and the possibility of a veto. The governor, who quashed an earlier bill calling for test drilling, has subsequently announced that she believes drilling can be done safely in the state.
It’s about more than just fracking. It’s also about further limiting local governments’ ability to determine their own fates:
“Any local ordinances that would have the effect of banning the wells would be repealed by the legislation, and a newly established state Oil and Gas Board would be given the power to preempt any new ordinances that have the effect of banning the wells within a local government’s jurisdiction
I imagine most of you Hooligans plan to help Jane Whilden regain a seat in the NC Legislature and help Susan Wilson defeat Republican Nathan Ramsey. You’re likely already aware that Pat McCrory doesn’t need to win the Gubernatorial race. If the rash of prior NCGOP legislative dictates weren’t enough, maybe this will get you involved – AC-T:
F to a wrinkle in proposed “fracking” legislation in N.C. spotted by, among others, Capitol Press columnist Scott Mooneyham. Regarding rules being considered in the state Senate, Mooneyham writes, “Any local ordinances that would have the effect of banning the wells would be repealed by the legislation, and a newly established state Oil and Gas Board would be given the power to preempt any new ordinances that have the effect of banning the wells within a local government’s jurisdiction… Lawyers who work for the N.C. League of Municipalities aren’t sure what the language means or what the effect would be. They see the power given to this new nine-member board, whose membership may well tilt toward the drilling industry, as almost absolute in determining what local ordinances will and won’t be allowed. In other words, sounds to us like the fix is in. Mooneyham notes the irony in play here, “What’s so troubling about this provision is how little regard it shows for private property rights, something allegedly dear to the hearts of the conservative Republican majority in the legislature.”
We’ve seen the NCGOP ignore the will of local governments in so many ways since 2010. This is the latest in a long line of efforts that seek to centralize more power in Raleigh and take it away from you. This time it also involves a process that may cause earthquakes and make your drinking water flammable. If Republicans take the Governor’s seat and maintain their legislative majorities, then you can count on more control from Raleigh and more laws passed in favor of industry over individuals.
Asheville Transit rolls out its new routes and schedules. You can find yours at ridetheart.com – includes fancy Google Map that tells you the route designation, times of arrival, estimated time of travel, and what it would cost for you to drive your car there. Don’t forget you can put your bike on the front of the bus if you’d like to use both modes. It’s really easy. Here’s an instructional video. You can ride the bus for the next three weeks for free. F-R-E-E.
You can check out our newest Greenway sections along Reed Creek on your bicycle. Or head downtown to see the fancy green striped bike lanes. Please follow all traffic rules, wear a helmet, and be visible at night! Riding a bike around Asheville is an incredible way to relate to your city, not to mention the fact that it’ll give you nice legs. Here’s a map with bike routes (it’s a big .pdf).
We’ve got more sidewalks than ever in Asheville, so take a stroll.
If none of the above are options for you, then organize a car pool.
Grab your skateboard, segway, roller blades, unicycle, or jetpack and do something different this week in regard to your transportation habits.
Lastly, be aware that this is a week when there are some less experienced cyclists out there. If you are driving, show extra caution and patience to the bikes. Thanks to everyone who’s participating!
This landed in my email inbox. Please share it with your networks, and attend if you can!
In recognition of National Public Health Month join the Asheville Design Center and Buncombe County Department of Health in a free screening of Retrofitting Suburbia, the opening episode of a provocative new PBS series, Designing Healthy Communities.
The film will be followed by a short question and answer session with public health and design professionals.
When: Wednesday, April 25th 5:30-7:00
Where: Lord Auditorium at Pack Place Library, 67 Haywood Street in downtown Asheville
Public health is traditionally associated with issues such as poor sanitation, disease control, and health services for women and children. We now realize that how we design our communities may hold tremendous potential for improving many of the nation’s current public health concerns.
Narrator Richard Jackson, MD, MPH, looks at the impact our built environment has on key public health indices – obesity, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, cancer and depression. Dr. Jackson connects bad community design with growing health costs, then analyzes and illustrates what architects, planners and citizens are doing about this urgent crisis by looking upstream for innovative solutions.
The Asheville Design Center engages Western North Carolina in creative community based design to promote healthy, thriving and equitable communities.
Nothin’ to see here, folks. Move along. By way of David Atkins at Hullabaloo:
New Orleans, LA – “The fishermen have never seen anything like this,” Dr Jim Cowan told Al Jazeera. “And in my 20 years working on red snapper, looking at somewhere between 20 and 30,000 fish, I’ve never seen anything like this either.”
Along with collapsing fisheries, signs of malignant impact on the regional ecosystem are ominous: horribly mutated shrimp, fish with oozing sores, underdeveloped blue crabs lacking claws, eyeless crabs and shrimp – and interviewees’ fingers point towards BP’s oil pollution disaster as being the cause.
From a Brownie Newman newsletter:
Asheville and Buncombe County have a history of leadership when it comes to clean energy.
It was just over ten years ago that Senator Steve Metcalf and Senator Martin Nesbitt, who was a member of the state House at the time, sponsored a bill called the NC Clean Smokestacks Act. This bill required the utility companies in North Carolina to install modern pollution controls on their coal-fired power plants which generate most of the state’s electricity and also generated a majority of the emissions that create haze, smog and ground level ozone pollution.
When local environmental groups put forward the concept of the Clean Smokestacks Act, most people didn’t give it much of a chance and few politicians were willing to consider it. Fortunately, two of Buncombe County’s state legislators championed the effort. It took more than three years to get it done, but thanks to hard work from hundreds of citizens from western North Carolina and across the state, the bill was passed, and North Carolina’s air is a lot cleaner today as a result.
I was the Director of the Western North Carolina Alliance at the time the Clean Smokestacks Act campaign was carried out, and was able to see first-hand how people working together around a common purpose could make a real and positive change.
As a member of the Asheville City Council over the past eight years, I am proud how our community has continued to be a leader for clean energy. In 2007, Asheville adopted a policy committing the City to reduce its use of fossil fuels and carbon pollution levels by 80%, which is the level that the scientific community believes is necessary to avoid the most severe and irreversible impacts of global warming on our children’s generation.
Asheville has aggressively followed through on this commitment:
I’m acquainted with Robert and Deborah Tornello and family through online connections, but had never seen this impressive video about their farm.
In addition to this being a hard hitting ad from the Obama campaign, it features Asheville’s Walnut Street. Thanks to Jon Ostendorff’s Politics Now blog for pointing it out!