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Mann VS FORD … has the EPA done their jobs?


I was looking through my posts for environmental cases that have been resolved or not and found that the Mann V Ford case is probably not the only one but it is still active. Sometime around 2006, I read about this case and then the trailer came out as well, informing us all about the Environmental Waste Disaster case named  Mann V Ford.  I posted it several times. I am still looking for the author of the article below, but the words are not to be denied or ignored. I also wrote pop tort for an update on the case but have not heard back so I went to wiki and found among other things that the Mann V Ford case is active, though a settlement was determined in 2009 with an amount of $12.5 million.  The so-called experts claimed they could not find a connection a correlation or attach any health issues or the many deaths to Fords environmental waste. Reports are that the claimants  received checks in 2010 and the max given out was about 35K. However, most got less. The truth is beyond offensive,but get this …   the EPA has had 5 attempts to finish the job but residence found and keep finding more paint sludge even while Lisa Jackson was in charge, meanwhile more folks have died. The question environmentalist need to ask  and the EPA needs to answer … did/is Ford doing what they were expected, promised and required to do in order to ensure the residence were all compensated  appropriately, Did they continue to check the land, water and grounds before  they deemed them  safe lest we talk about a constant watch on the health of the next generation …

The information written below is from poptort.com around 2006- 2011

If you’re a PopTort.com fan, you know that there have been a few documentaries already out this year about the civil justice system, except that the business community, with all their money, can’t seem to make ones that anyone wants to watch. I dunno, maybe the problem is their basic theme: Hbodocs-logo

“please feel sorry for us, we can’t make as much money as we want at the expense of everyday people, wah wah wah”.

Last Monday night, an example of this phenomenon aired on the Reelz channel, a film called Injustice that received almost no news coverage except by piggy-backing off publicity for the critically-acclaimed film Hot Coffee, and even so, was covered mostly by a few legal blogs like Above the Law, which lambasted it saying, “I’m not sure if anyone was even able to watch it. And if they had been able to do so, I’m pretty sure they would have changed the channel pretty quickly….” (We were happy to see them pick up our “this isn’t a film, it’s an infomercial” theme! ) Even noted film and media scholar Patricia Aufderheide, professor of Film and Media Arts in the School of Communication at American University and director of the Center for Social Media, noticed, tweeting: Dueling documentaries ; looks like the big-biz folks aren’t as good filmmakers….

http://wapo.st/qwM4N7

@hotcoffeemovie

On the other side of that coin, once again tonight HBO airs another very powerful documentary film, called Mann v. Ford, by co-directors Maro Chermayeff and Micah Fink, which showcases how vitally important the civil justice system and plaintiff’s lawyers are to help communities seek justice when powerful corporations have harmed them. Here is what HBO says about it:

The Ramapough Mountain Indians have lived in the hills and forests of northern New Jersey, less than 40 miles from midtown Manhattan, for hundreds of years. In the 1960s, their neighbor in nearby Mahwah, the Ford Motor Company, bought their land and began dumping toxic waste in the woods and abandoned iron mines surrounding their homes. Ford has acknowledged the dumping.

In the 1980s, the Ramapough’s homeland was placed on the Environmental Protection Agency’s list of federally monitored Superfund sites – and supposedly cleaned up by Ford. However, thousands of tons of toxic waste were left behind. In 2006, the residents of Upper Ringwood, after suffering for years from a range of mysterious ailments, including deadly cancers, skin rashes and high rates of miscarriage, filed a mass action lawsuit seeking millions of dollars from Ford as compensation for their suffering. Ford denied all responsibility for the illnesses devastating the community and claimed its flawed cleanup had fully complied with all EPA rules.

MANN v. FORD tells the story of a small community’s epic battle against two American giants: the Ford Motor Company and the Environmental Protection Agency, which failed to ensure that Ford cleaned the land of deadly toxins and erroneously declared the community safe and clean of toxic waste. The documentary debuts MONDAY, JULY 18 (9:00-10:45 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.

Impressive. We should point out the New Jersey newspaper, The Record (reporters Jan Barry, Thomas E. Franklin, Mary Jo Layton, Tim Nostrand, Alex Nussbaum,Tom Troncone, Debra Lynn Vial, Lindy Washburn, Barbara Williams) initially broke this story for the wider public in an award-winning series called Toxic Legacy. The paper’s web site says,

A generation ago, the Ford Motor Company churned out six millions cars and trucks at a sprawling assembly plant in Mahwah. But that remarkable production came at a cost. Before the plant closed in 1980, it also generated an ocean of pollution that was dumped in the forests of North Jersey, contaminating a mountain community in Ringwood and threatening the region’s most important watershed.

In 2005, a team of reporters from The Record spent months conducting an investigation of the failed cleanups that had taken place up to that point, and documenting its impact on the people living amid the waste.

So again, the film aired on MONDAY, JULY 18 (9:00-10:45 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.

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Orcas … a repost


orca whales facing high levels of pollution and endangerment

A brutal combination of pollution, global warming, declining prey and heavy boat traffic is sending the Puget Sound orca population to new lows ~ 2006

SEEING KILLER WHALES ply the waters of Washington State’s Puget Sound has long been a great thrill for Seattle-area residents. No other U.S. urban community can boast of resident orcas a few miles from downtown. Whale watching there is a multi-million-dollar tourist draw. As one orca expert puts it, “Everybody wants a kiss from a killer whale.”

But the thrill may soon be gone.

Three orca pods living in Puget Sound from May through October, known as the southern resident killer whale population, were declared federally endangered late last year by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the federal agency responsible for protecting marine species. Scientists believe the decline of wild chinook salmon–a major orca food source–as well as global warming, toxic pollution and vessel noise could eliminate this orca population, which ranges beyond Puget Sound into the San Juan Islands and Georgia Strait. “They are teetering,” says Ken Balcomb, senior scientist at the Center for Whale Research in Friday Harbor, Washington. It is “highly likely,” Balcomb adds, that this population of killer whales will be extinct within 100 years if conditions do not improve for both whales and salmon.

“The Puget Sound is our backyard,” adds James Schroeder, an NWF senior environmental policy specialist. “If it’s unhealthy for killer whales because the water is polluted, the sediments are laced with toxins and the food web has collapsed, it’s ultimately uninhabitable for humans.”

The largest members of the dolphin family, orcas weigh about 400 pounds at birth. Adults can measure more than 25 feet long, weigh more than 8 tons and sport a 6-foot dorsal fin. Females can live into their eighties.

Orcas are found in every ocean and, next to humans, are the most widely distributed mammal in the world. Two distinct types of killer whales travel the seas–transients and residents–which are distinguished by differences in genetics, language and food preference. They do not interbreed or even mingle. Transients live in small pods of three to seven and often travel far out to sea, subsisting on marine mammals such as seals, sea lions, dolphins and whales. Residents live closer to shore in pods of 10 to 20, are known for their jumping and splashing and eat only fish, which they sometimes stun with tail slaps. Transients rarely jump or splash and even use sonar less often, behaviors probably designed to avoid alerting the marine mammals they hunt.

Orcas on the Edge - Magazine Layout - Orcas Jumping

Individual orcas can be identified by distinct gray swaths on their backs and flanks near their dorsal fins, called saddle patches. Using these patches, biologists have named each of Puget Sound’s approximately 87 killer whales, which are part of a population that has been carefully studied since 1970, making them some of the best-known orcas in the world. All indications are that the southern resident population and the nearby British Columbia, or northern, resident orcas live primarily on chinook salmon, which are preferred probably because they are the largest salmon, have the highest fat content and are available year-round.

When West Coast wild chinook stocks plummeted in the mid-1990s, the southern resident orca population dropped from 99 in 1995 to about 80 in 2001. The northern resident population went from 219 to 202 during roughly the same time period. “Mortality in some years was 300 percent greater than we expected,” says John K.B. Ford of Fisheries and Oceans Canada–Canada’s lead federal manager of oceans and inland waters–who has studied killer whales for 30 years.

West Coast waters once were rich with wild salmon. The Columbia and Snake Rivers alone produced between 10 million and 16 million salmon yearly, the majority of them chinook. Overfishing in the late 1800s and early 1900s, followed by decades of dam building, logging and other salmon-habitat destruction have reduced wild salmon to a fraction of their original abundance. Today, Columbia and Snake River wild fish runs number only in the tens of thousands. “Perhaps the single greatest change in food availability for resident killer whales since the late 1800s has been the decline of salmon in the Columbia River basin,” according to the NMFS draft orca recovery plan. Even British Columbia’s resident killer whales, declared threatened by Canada in 2001, feed on Columbia and Snake River salmon. “In order to save our orcas, we need to save the salmon runs that sustain them,” Schroeder says.

Beleaguered salmon populations are now further jeopardized by a new challenge, global warming, which is heating some rivers and streams to temperatures lethal to fish. The average temperature of British Columbia’s Fraser River, for example, increased about 1.8 degrees F from 1953 to 1998, yielding a 50-percent mortality rate among the river’s sockeye salmon. “The higher river temperatures are largely due to global warming, as opposed to dams and other significant human-caused problems,” says Patty Glick, an NWF global warming specialist. The Canadian Ministry of Environment agrees. Citing the fact that the climate is warming, the ministry declared in a 2002 report that logging, agriculture and industrial factors have small impact on river temperature “in comparison to the impact of climate change.”

Warming oceans pose another problem–they produce less food for salmon and other fish. Oceans also absorb carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas produced by burning coal and other fossil fuels. This absorption changes the acidity of seawater, which could have catastrophic consequences for marine life. In addition, global warming is expected to alter the timing and amount of precipitation that keeps water flowing in the rivers and streams where salmon spawn. As rain and snowfall patterns change, chinook runs that now occur throughout the year could be confined to just a few of the wetter months–leaving Puget Sound orcas without salmon for long periods of time.

Salmon scarcity actually hits orcas with a one-two punch. The decline in food is a problem on the one hand, while the toxicity of the fish is a problem on the other. Puget Sound is steeped in toxics from pulp and paper mills, oil refineries, ports, boatyards and storm-water runoff. Salmon and other fish store in their bodies toxic pollutants they absorb from this environment. As a result of eating these contaminated fish, Puget Sound killer whales have some of the highest concentrations of highly carcinogenic polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) of any marine mammal in the world, says Gary Wiles, a wildlife biologist with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. They also have high levels of polybrominated diphenyl ethers, which are toxic fire retardants.

As salmon numbers dwindle, killer whales burn blubber to survive, transferring toxics from blubber to vital organs. “When orcas metabolize fat that’s 1,000 parts per million PCBs, it’s phenomenally toxic,” Balcomb says. “Even trace amounts of PCBs disrupt the orcas’ endocrine systems, adversely affecting reproduction and their immune systems. We have seen whales become emaciated and disappear. And lots of reproduction-age females are not reproducing.”

Noise from the thousands of aquatic vessels cruising orca range may compound the food scarcity problem. Puget Sound is teeming with ferries, naval flotillas, whale-watching boats and other noisy craft that interfere with sonar, the clicking sounds orcas use like radar to find salmon. “There’s probably a lot of synergistic interactions between these stressors,” Ford says. “When there are fewer salmon, the whales have to work harder to find food. More noise may make it harder to find those fewer fish. The increased nutritional stress may lead to immuno-suppression and make the orcas more susceptible to disease.”

Orcas on the Edge - Magazine Layout - Killer Whale Pod

Saving Puget Sound orcas will require cleaning up toxic waste sites, stemming storm-water pollution and stopping global warming. The most critical step, however, is restoring salmon runs so orcas have enough to eat. “The Snake River basin once produced more than a third of all the chinook in the Columbia River basin,” Schroeder says. “If the federal government would take out the four outdated lower Snake River dams, it would go a long way toward recovering endangered Columbia River salmon and Puget Sound killer whales.”

A measure the government actually is taking also is likely to help the orcas. NMFS in June proposed new restrictions on development in about 2,500 square miles of inland waters, from Olympia, Washington, north to the Canadian border. The proposal, which covers almost all of Puget Sound, could be final as early as November, requiring any projects using federal funds or conducted under federal permits to include orca protections.

In the end, orca conservation is about a lot more than saving the Puget Sound’s magnificent killer whales. “We ignore this looming environmental problem at our own peril,” Balcomb says. “The orcas are the ultimate indicator of the health of the marine ecosystem. And that ecosystem is two-thirds of our planet.”

Washington journalist Ken Olsen wrote about farmers restoring sage grouse habitat in the April/May issue.


Killer: It’s a Name, Not an Accusation
In recent years, the killer whale has been more commonly called “orca” to avoid the negative connotations of “killer” and perhaps to avoid calling this dolphin species a whale. Nevertheless, most biologists still treat “killer whale” as the accepted common name. It is derived from the name Basque whalers gave the species: ballena asesina–“whale killer”–an appropriate moniker for a predator that hunts and eats whales. The scientific name is Orcinus orca, derived from the Latin word for “vat,” apparently a reference to the animal’s barrel-shaped body.

NWF at Work: Saving Puget Sound Wildlife
Through partnerships with various government agencies, Indian tribes, industries and other conservation organizations, NWF’s Western Natural Resource Center in Seattle is focusing on the protection and recovery of threatened and endangered species in the Puget Sound area, including Pacific salmon and orcas; toxic pollution; habitat fragmentation; global warming and other issues. NWF nationally is working with U.S. policymakers and engaging concerned citizens such as hunters, anglers and bird-watchers to advance regional and national strategies to reduce global warming pollution and to help wildlife survive a rapidly changing environment. For more information on NWF’s efforts to restore the health of Puget Sound, go to What We Do.

    Meeting global air quality guidelines could prevent 2. 1 million deaths per year

Resource:

Environmental Chemistry USD  from echemusd.blogspot.com 2010

sciencedaily.com

nwf.org

U.S. Waters Polluted by 10 Million Tons of Dog Poop


U.S. Waters Polluted by 10 Million Tons of Dog Poop

The 78 million dogs living in the United States create 10 million tons of feces annually, polluting waterways and posing a threat to public health, according to a pet waste removal service asking Americans to pledge to scoop the poop this Earth Day.

Dog Waste Threatens Public Health

“Dog waste is an environmental pollutant. In 1991, it was placed in the same health category as oil and toxic chemicals by the Environmental Protection Agency,” explains Virginia-based pet waste removal company Doody Calls in a press release. “The longer dog waste stays on the ground, the greater a contamination becomes. Bacteria, worms and other parasites thrive in waste until it’s washed away into the water supply.”

USAToday reports that 40% of dog owners do not pick up their dog’s waste at all and all that waste pollutes waterways. Because scientists are able to track the origin of the fecal bacteria to the species that excreted it, we even know how much. One study showed as much as 90% of the fecal coliform in urban stormwater was of non-human origin, mostly dog.

In just a couple of days, 100 dogs can deposit enough bacteria to temporarily close a bay, and all  watershed areas within 20 miles of it,                     to swimming  and fishing. Officials in Seattle consider waste from the city’s million dogs to be a major pollution source of Puget Sound. Dogs have also been shown to be a major source of water contamination in Clearwater, FL; Arlington, VA; and Boise, ID.

So What’s a Responsible Dog Owner to Do?

If you live in Cambridge, MA, you can drop your dog’s leavings into methane digesters to power the lights in some parks. If you live in Jefferson County, CO, you can join the poop patrol to remind your neighbors that there is no dog poo fairy (seriously). For the rest of us, the Natural Resources Defense Council has the following recommendations:

  • First, you definitely should not let your dog’s droppings lay near water ways, curbs, or even in your yard. What you should do is . . .
  • Wrap it in a plastic bag (biodegradable, corn-derived, or regular) and put it in the trash (though not all municipalities allow this).
  • Flush it. Dog waste can be managed by most sewage treatment systems and some septic tanks. (Do not flush cat waste because the parasite Toxoplasma gondii can survive sewage treatment plants.)
  • Install an underground pet waste digester. Basically a septic tank just for your pet.
  • Bury it in your yard. Keep pet waste away from vegetable gardens, the water table, and streams and buried at least 5 inches deep. Always cover fresh waste with with dirt.
  • Hire a poop collection service. Services will patrol your yard for poop on a weekly or bi-weekly schedule.  What a service does with the waste will vary, but you won’t have to handle it yourself.

Related Reading

The Cool Way To Clean Up After Your Dog [Video]

Lights Powered by Dog Poop! (VIDEO)

NRDC Study Finds U.S. Beaches More Polluted Than Ever

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