Posts Tagged ‘United States’
Obesity is by no mean a difficulty only in the United States. As more of our planet has found its way to a more affluent lifestyle, faster food and less exercise, the collective global waistline has expanded.
A hazardous-waste landfill that Kettleman City residents blame for a rash of birth defects has improperly stored PCB – a cancer-causing chemical that can cause reproductive problems, federal inspectors said Thursday.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency notified Waste Management that its landfill has violated disposal rules for polychlorinated biphenyl, a now-banned toxin found in electrical transformers and coolants.
Waste Management has 60 days to correct the problems or the EPA will stop sending PCB to the landfill from its cleanup sites, and the company could face fines, the EPA said.
The violations could damage the company’s ability to fight allegations by residents that its landfill is to blame for birth defects.
They also could hamper Waste Management’s efforts to expand the landfill about three miles from Kettleman City. Kings County supervisors on Dec. 22 approved a permit for the expansion. But the company also needs permits from federal and state agencies.
Jared Blumenfeld, EPA administrator for the Pacific Southwest region, said Waste Management first must correct the PCB disposal problem before he will consider a permit.
The EPA will not issue a permit “until we’re confident the facility does not present a health risk to the community,” Blumenfeld said Thursday.
Waste Management said it is correcting the problems. The health and safety of Kettleman City residents is the company’s top priority, the firm said in a news release, adding that it has worked with the EPA for decades to run a safe operation.
Residents in the San Joaquin Valley community of 1,500 – where most people are poor and Latino – believe toxic substances at the landfill could be responsible for birth defects beginning in 2007. To date, 10 babies have been born with defects, including cleft lip and cleft palate facial deformities. Three of the infants died. An 11th baby was stillborn with birth defects.
The EPA announcement of violations Thursday was “bombshell news,” said Bradley Angel, executive director of Greenaction for Environmental Justice and Health. It should raise concern that the company is “not capable of safely handling hazardous materials that can be linked to cancer and reproductive health problems,” Angel said.
PCBs were manufactured in the United States from 1929 until their manufacture was banned in 1979, according to the EPA. They vary in consistency from thin, light-colored liquids to yellow or black waxy solids, according to the agency’s Web site, and were used in hundreds of industrial and commercial applications.
Federal inspectors spent five days in mid-February at the landfill near Kettleman City and found several problems with disposal of PCBs.
“We found PCBs in places they shouldn’t be,” Blumenfeld said.
The chemicals were not contained where they were stored and where they were finally disposed of, in violation of federal regulations, he said. The company also failed to decontaminate the PCB storage area, Blumenfeld said.
He said he ordered the landfill’s inspection to make sure the operation was in compliance with federal laws.
[Freshwater Tissue Co. owner Bob Simpson responds to a recent guest post about the reopening of the mill.]
On behalf of Freshwater Tissue Company, I would like to thank those of you who have taken the time to search for facts rather than recycle the same “Pulp Fiction” for decades.
For the sake of clarification, the only pollution standard the Samoa mill cannot comply with is biochemical oxygen demand “BOD”. In short, BOD is organic sugar. You could just as easily refer to BOD as fish food or plant nutrients. If the Samoa mill was discharging its pollution to the Eel River it would be a problem because both plants and fish thrive on it. Unfortunately, BOD causes plants/algae to grow, which then depletes oxygen and strangles fish. However, BOD in the Pacific Ocean is not an issue or concern due to the size of the receiving water (Pacific Ocean), and because the ocean constantly produces oxygen through wave action and tidal influence. In fact, studies have been conducted over 20 years, which you can confirm through Humboldt State University, that conclude the Samoa mill’s BOD has no oxygen impact to the receiving water, but the fish to thrive at the end of the outfall line. You could accuse the Samoa mill of chumming the fish!
The real issue with the Samoa mill is not about pollution, it is about a 37 year old antiquated EPA evaluation system that regulates BOD regardless of where pulp mill effluent is discharged, i.e., stream, river, lake, or ocean. As you might conclude, EPA’s antiquated regulation of BOD was, and it remains, a politically backed decision supported by industry lobbyist’s to eliminate a perceived environmental advantage over ocean discharging pulp mills, such as the Samoa mill, in comparison to competing pulp mills located on northwest rivers and lakes, and pulp mills located on the shores of the Great Lakes. There are only two pulp mills remaining on the west coast with ocean outfall lines. We are in fact trying to make sure the Samoa mill survives.
Lastly, you should not judge a pulp mill by its age. There haven’t been, nor will there be, any pulp mills constructed in the United States or Canada for over 20 years. A 45 year old pulp mill in North America is relatively young, environmentally superior to pulp mills located in South American and Asian, and the Samoa mill is run be experienced workers who care about the community and the environment that surrounds us. Are you aware Evergreen invested $26 million in environmental and quality improvement projects during its four years of operation? Did you know Louisiana-Pacific invested $175 million in environmental technology during its 28 years of ownership? FTC intends to invest $50 million in its first five years of ownership, most of which will be environmental investment. You shouldn’t judge the Samoa mill by its outer structure. Because the heart of the Samoa mill, which is its environmental technology, is as healthy as can be. To permanently close the Samoa mill would be a monumental mistake.
For those of you in our community too young to remember, a group of men intervened and rescued the Ingomar Club from extinction. We all know how the Ingomar has become an icon for Eureka, and it continues to bring enjoyment for its members. With the support of the entire community, the Samoa mill will set new environmental standards for the pulp industry, provide family wage jobs for 215 employees, and it will support landowners and sawmill owners by providing a market for tanoak logs and pulp chips. Our community needs another Ingomar type story. Remember, United we stand, divided we fall.
Bob Simpson – Freshwater Tissue Company
Wondering where the United States economy is headed? Then Humboldt State University has a lecture for you. The university will host Christopher Thornberg, a leading business forecaster and expert on California’s economy who teaches at
SONORA – When George Eldridge reported for duty in 1965 at the U.S. Navy base in Hawaii, people there told him it wasn’t a good idea to wear his uniform in public. The sentiment against the Vietnam War was strong, and it was best to keep a low profile.
Eldridge was a journalist for the military, and he saw a lot of fighting during his tour of duty. He flew from one end of Vietnam to the other, often in the planes that sprayed the defoliant Agent Orange over the countryside. He returned home with post-traumatic stress syndrome, and it would be 20 years after he retired from the Navy before he would tell anyone that he’d been in the military.
“We were scorned and treated badly when we got home, and it wasn’t pleasant,” said Eldridge, now of Jamestown. “The war, and what you saw, was just something you wanted to forget.”
But Eldridge will be back in uniform this afternoon, one of scores of Vietnam veterans lining up at 1 p.m. on Sonora’s Washington Street for a half-mile parade to celebrate Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day.
For many of the 400 or so veterans expected, it will be the homecoming they didn’t get 40 years ago. The streets will be lined with their children and grandchildren and their neighbors and business partners. The veterans will march or ride in convertibles and trucks and sport-utility vehicles, their old uniforms pulled tight against thicker bodies and their military haircuts replaced with balding pates or silver hair. Some – like Eldridge, who is on dialysis due to ailments caused by his Agent Orange exposure – are too sick to walk.
“This is a chance for people to show the vets that the attitude has changed tremendously since the ’60s,” Eldridge said. “It will heal a lot of old wounds.”
According to Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 391 of Tuolumne County, Sonora’s parade is the first Vietnam Veterans Day parade in the country. Eldridge, the chapter’s public affairs officer, dreamed up the event shortly after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Assembly Bill 717 last year establishing March 30 as California’s annual Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day.
More than 8.2 million Vietnam-era veterans live in the country, according to the Census Bureau, and the parade is expected to draw participants from as far away as Washington state and Arizona. But some Vietnam veterans in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties, where many have retired, will be skipping the event. Even now, they say their memories of returning home to hatred and ostracism are still too raw.
“They aren’t going to change history by having a parade,” said Richard Eller of Sonora, who served two tours of duty with the Navy in Vietnam from 1967 to 1970.
“Why have a parade to celebrate such a poor time in history and such bad memories?” Eller asked. “I don’t want to relive that trash, and I don’t like being forced to remember it. It’s history. Get over it.”
When Eller returned home from his first tour in 1968, he said, he was stationed on San Francisco’s Treasure Island. He recalls busloads of students from Berkeley and elsewhere going to the airport to shout insults and throw garbage at returning vets. Eller says veterans were denied jobs and had difficulty fitting in on college campuses, where anger at soldiers and the war was so intense. He re-enlisted.
“Fighting the war was bad, but coming home was worse,” he said. “That’s where we found where our real enemies were. I wanted an enemy that was shooting at me from the front, not stabbing me in the back.”
Many Vietnam veterans were drafted and went to war against their will. Eller went out of a sense of duty and patriotism. His father had been a fighter pilot, and Eller remembers Soviet Union leader Nikita Khrushchev brandishing his shoe at the United Nations and, on another occasion, predicting that communism would “bury” capitalism.
“That formed my view of communism,” he said. “In my mind, fighting communism was something you had an obligation to do.”
Eller ultimately spent 24 years in the military, enlisting in the Marines after Vietnam and going to Iraq during the first Gulf War in 1990, which the United States quickly won.
“We didn’t get a parade after Vietnam because we lost,” he said. “You don’t get a parade when you come in second place.”
Eldridge and others in the 500- member Chapter 391 – the largest contingent of Vietnam veterans in California and ninth largest in the nation – understand that vets like Eller and others in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties won’t be marching today. The Sonora Union-Democrat newspaper has published letters opposing the parade, and Eldridge has gotten calls from some vets who don’t like it.
But the parade is as much for the public as it is the vets, Eldridge says. There are some hard feelings to patch up, but with the country now in other far-off ground wars, it seems like the right time to put those memories to rest.
“There are mixed feelings about the parade, we get that,” Eldridge said. “We were not greeted cordially when we came home. We were scorned and so forth, and it wasn’t pleasant. But it’s time for everyone to get over it.”
EUREKA – District Attorney Candidate Paul Hagen held a press conference and reception Friday, March 12 at the Eureka Woman’s Club.
“I love Humboldt County and I want to use my proven ability and experience to protect Humboldt County’s future,” said Hagen. “I have a vision for how the DA’s office can serve the people and I look forward to sharing this vision with the citizens of our diverse communities.”
Tom Ammiano’s bill has been modified and I haven’t found the State Board of Equalization’s analysis of it. However, much of the analysis of his older bill still holds true. Here are some excerpts I found interesting.
Denton, Texas, band Midlake has been at once compared to both Radiohead and Jethro Tull. Conversely, in the recording studio, Midlake is trying to emulate a tone similar to early ‘70s-era King Crimson, which bass player Paul Alexander says is the best recorded sound in rock history.
Midlake will be in Arcata on Friday, March 5, at the HSU Depot with Matthew and the Arrogant Sea at 9 p.m. Tickets are $5 general admission and $2 for current HSU students with a student ID.
SAN FRANCISCO — Former Humboldt Creamery CEO Rich Ghilarducci appeared in federal court Wednesday morning, pleading not guilty to the single fraud charge brought against him by the United States Attorney’s Office.
Schools celebrate Dr. Seuss birthday
2010 Census forms will be arriving in mailboxes around the country in mid-March. This year’s questionnaire has only 10 questions.
The US Census counts every resident in the United States, and is required by the Constitution to take place every 10 years.
Schools celebrate Dr. Seuss birthday
The recent crackdown on marijuana dispensaries in LA has activists howling. But after hearing about the amounts of insecticides found on some of the confiscated weed, patients should be howling for the blood of some of those pot shop owners.