Poor, heavily Hispanic neighborhoods shoulder a disproportionate fracking wastewater burden in Texas' booming Eagle Ford
February 3, 2016
By Brian Bienkowski Environmental Health News
Chavel Lopez lives just a few miles north of Texas' Eagle Ford—one of the many regions in the country recently given a makeover from the fracking industry. "I just have to drive a bit south and see the wells and the flames," he said.
For Lopez, rather than a booming industry, these are signs of yet another pollution burden for the region's people of color.
"We already had issues. Right here in San Antonio, fuel storage tanks were all located on the eastside, predominantly African American neighborhoods," he said. "For some of these Hispanic neighborhoods, they were already dealing with uranium mining impacts and now the fracking of oil and gas."
And new evidence supports his fears: Poor and minority neighborhoods bear a disproportionate share of fracking wastewater wells in South Texas' Eagle Ford play, according to a new study.
This focus on campaigns and elections tends to exclude coverage of the political agenda itself. In other words, what is it that Congress and the regulatory agencies are thinking about and, just as importantly, not thinking about? And so this focus has missed one of the most fundamental transformations within our political system: the way in which corporate interests have moved the playing field away from party politics and into the bowels of agencies, courts, and Congress. The media have yet to figure out how to keep score. Author and journalist Alyssa Katz, in her new book The Influence Machine, charts the history and measures the power of one of the leading drivers of this shift, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which she calls the “single most influential organization in American politics” (as would anybody else writing a book on it).
CROSS POSTED ON BYLINE.COM An extraordinary report published by the National Audit Office today on " Just Solutions" - the commercial arm of the Ministry of Justice set up by former Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling- reveals that taxpayers have lost over £1m on the failed venture. Remember this was set up by Grayling so the…
“At the parliament of animals, the rabbits demanded equal rights, and the lions replied, ‘But where are your claws?’”
We often hear it reported that in some benighted countries the people believe that “Democracy is a nice idea, but it’s not for us. We need a strong guiding hand.” So convinced of this are these people that, given the opportunity, they will in fact vote for this strong hand and all that comes with it, making democracy an oxymoron.
We tend to think that these foreign skeptics just don’t understand, and so some of us think that we ought to help them to understand. As my representative, freshman Republican Darin LaHood, said during a recent visit to a local high school, “The goal of our foreign policies is to try to make the world more like us.” (LaHood, son of Ray LaHood, was elected to the seat vacated by disgraced Republican Aaron Schock, he of the Downton-red office walls.)
In his recent book "Economics Rules," Harvard economist Dani Rodrik laments how economists often portray a public consensus while disagreeing strongly in private. In effect, economists behave like scientists behind closed doors, but as preachers when dealing with the public.
Nowhere is this evangelism clearer than on the issue of trade. Ask any economist what issue they agree on, and the first answer you’re likely to hear is “free trade is good.” The general public disagrees vehemently, but economists are almost unanimous on this point.
Corporate money has had a devastating effect on the democratic process in the United States, made worse by the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision. But Americans are fighting back. In When Money Talks, Derek Cressman argues that a constitutional amendment is the solution and reveals an oft-overlooked tool that citizens can use to ensure an amendment's passage. To order your copy, make a donation to Truthout today!
The following is an excerpt from When Money Talks: The High Price of "Free" Speech and the Selling of Democracy.
Human rights organisation Amnesty has accused Apple, Samsung and Sony, among others, of failing to do basic checks to ensure minerals used in their products are not mined by children. In a report into cobalt mining in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, it found children as young as seven working in dangerous conditions. Cobalt is a a vital component of lithium-ion batteries. The firms said that they had a zero tolerance policy towards child labour.
Flint’s water contamination crisis began in April 2014 after Darnell Earley, an unelected emergency manager appointed by Snyder, switched Flint’s water source to the long-polluted and corrosive Flint River in a bid to save money. Earley is now the emergency manager of Detroit Public Schools. This week, Detroit’s teachers have staged a series of "sickouts" to protest the vast underfunding of the public schools, which have black mold, rat infestations, crumbling buildings and inadequate staffing. We are joined by Curt Guyette, an investigative reporter for the ACLU of Michigan whose work focuses on emergency management and open government. Michigan has the most sweeping emergency management laws in the country, which allow the governor to appoint a single person to run financially troubled cities.
Former Petrobras Exec Sentenced Over Vantage Drilling Contract February 1, 2016 by Reuters
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Titanium Explorer. File photo credit: Marin Bustraan/MarineTraffic.com SAO PAULO, Feb 1 (Reuters) – A Brazilian judge sentenced the former head of state-run oil company Petrobras’ international division to 12 years and two months in jail for corruption and money laundering on Monday, part of the country’s largest-ever graft investigation.
Federal judge Sergio Moro said Jorge Zelada had unduly awarded U.S. company Vantage Drilling a 2009 contract with Petrobras for the drillship Titanium Explorer in exchange for bribes stashed in undeclared accounts in Monaco and Switzerland.
Moro also convicted former Petrobras executive Eduardo Musa and lobbyist Hamylton Padilha, though their sentences were reduced because they signed plea agreements.
As Silicon Valley firms look to destroy ‘the existing order’, some European leaders are fighting to develop the industry’s moral compass. This is a real chance to make better decisions, fight fatalism and build a humane future
On Thursday, a 43-year-old captive female elephant died in Vietnam.
The elephant — named Na Lieng — was forced to work in the tourist industry, giving "holidaymakers" rides on her back. She likely died, Thahn Nien News reported, from exhaustion.
Sadly, the animal's death wasn't an anomalous event. In March, a 40-year-old captive male elephant also died from severe exhaustion and overwork in the tourism industry, according to local news reports. A 36-year-old male elephant collapsed in January for the same reason: he was found dead with chains still on his front leg. In 2013, two female elephants also died in Vietnam — again, from overwork and hunger.
Last September, at a law firm overlooking San Francisco Bay, Andrew Penney, a managing director at Rothschild & Co, gave a talk on how the world’s wealthy elite can avoid paying taxes\. His message was clear: You can help your clients move their fortunes to the United States, free of taxes and hidden from their governments\. Some are calling it the new Switzerland\. After years of lambasting other countries for helping rich Americans hide their money offshore, the US is emerging
The inspection and auditing system for global supply chains is ‘working’ for corporations, but failing workers in developing countries and the planet Exclusive interviews reveal that labour abuses, poor working conditions and environmental degradation within global supply chains remain widespread
Most retirement advisers aren't required to give advice or pick investments in the best interest of their clients. This simple fact surprises most people. But it's true. So long as an investment isn't pure garbage -- if it is "suitable" for a future retiree -- then advisers can steer clients into assets that come with big perks for the adviser.
Easy to miss in the New Year Honours list: a little-known civil servant for 'services to pesticides regulation'. But none the less shocking for that, writes Georgina Downs. Paul Hamey MBE is the very man who has been responsible for ensuring that rural residents receive no proper protection from repeated exposure to toxic mixtures of pesticides on nearby farms. Go figure.
Human traffickers are exploiting the U.S. visa system by forcing young women to pose as fiancées or family members of American gang members, who force them into a life of misery once here, according to a former top federal immigration official.
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