By Sarah Lazare, October 22, 2013 Source: Common Dreams
Local residents worried Fukushima-style disaster could wreak havoc on people and environment
Mass protests against Kudankulam increased after the Fukushima disaster (Photo: IBTimes.com)
Despite years of opposition and protest from local residents, India opened its largest nuclear power plant on Tuesday in the southeastern state of Tamil Nadu on a stretch of coast slammed by a 2004 tsunami.
The joint Indo-Russian Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant opened at the tail-end of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Russia. Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd., which, according to Bloomberg, is the country’s only atomic energy producer, started up part of one of its reactors worth $2.84 billion on Tuesday.
The opening moved forward despite a thousands-strong protest over the weekend in which over 200 people were arrested.
The plant, which was planned in 1988 and started undergoing construction in 1997, has faced a series of delays due to protests from local communities concerned that it will ruin the Bay of Bengal ecosystem and devastate the local fishing economy, AsiaNews reports.
Protests increased in intensity and regularity following the tsunami-sparked meltdown and ongoing disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan.
To mark the second anniversary of the Fukushima meltdown in March 2013, 600 boats filled with 4,000 workers in the fishing industry waved black flags in the sea behind the Kudankulam plant.
Despite widespread concerns, Singh has vowed to drastically expand nuclear power in India.
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Note: Aziz Choudry is on the Board of Directors of Global Justice Ecology Project.
Acclaimed Activist Launches New Book on ‘NGOization’ at Concordia’s Co-op Bookstore in Montreal
By Margie Ramos, October 7, 2013. Source: The Link Newspaper
Editor of NGOization Aziz Choudry in his McGill office. Photo: Brandon Johnston
Activists and politicians alike have fiercely debated how to properly define and classify non-governmental organizations ever since the United Nations became the first organization coined as an NGO in 1945.
The bigger question is whether NGOs have achieved what they’ve intended—everything from providing humanitarian aid to advocating for human rights.
A new book, NGOization: Complicity, Contradictions and Prospects, is trying its hand at both.
The book explores the different roles, forms and political, economic, social and cultural impacts ofNGOs, and will be launched on Oct. 9 at the Concordia Community Solidarity Co-op Bookstore. The launch is part of the not-for-profit bookstore’s 11th anniversary. Continue reading
September 19, 2013.
A major health disaster faces Colorado made worse from overturned tanks storing fracking chemicals mixed in with flood waters. Merrily Mazza of East Boulder County United discusses the dangers posed by leaking tanks and pipelines in Weld County.
Global Justice Ecology Project teams up with the Sojourner Truth show on KPFK Pacifica Los Angeles for a weekly Earth Minute each Tuesday and a weekly Earth Watch interview each Thursday.
By Will Kennedy, September 11, 2013. Source: Bloomberg
Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM), the world’s largest energy company, was charged with illegally dumping more than 50,000 gallons (189,000 liters) of wastewater at a shale-gas drilling site in Pennsylvania.
Exxon unit XTO Energy Inc. discharged the water from waste tanks at the Marquandt well site in Lycoming County in 2010, according to a statement on the website of Pennsylvania’s attorney general. The pollution was found during an unannounced visit by the state’s Department of Environmental Protection.
The inspectors discovered a plug removed from a tank, allowing the wastewater to run onto the ground, polluting a nearby stream. XTO was ordered to remove 3,000 tons of soil to clean up the area. Wastewater discharged from natural-gas wells can contain chlorides, barium, strontium and aluminum, the attorney general’s statement showed.
21 August, 2013. Source: Radical Action for Mountain Peoples Survival (RAMPS)
Two activists boated onto the Shumate Sludge Dam to tell Gov. Tomblin to put Health over Profit. Photo: RAMPS
Charleston, W.Va. – This morning at 7:30 a.m. two activists paddled out onto the 2.8 billion gallon Shumate slurry impoundment in Raleigh County with banners reading, “Slurry Poisons Appalachia” and “Gov. Tomblin, Put Health Over Profit.” Later this morning, one activist locked himself to a barrel of black water in front of Gov. Tomblin’s mansion in a Tyvek suit reading “Locked to Dirty Water”. Activists are calling attention to the failure of the state government to protect its citizens from the abuses of the coal industry and the threats posed by coal slurry disposal.
“I grew up in Eunice drinking water poisoned by coal slurry, went to Marsh Fork Elementary under that dam, breathed the dust from that prep plant, and I’ve suffered the lifelong health consequences of that. These same abuses are taking place today across our great state, and the blame for that lies squarely at the feet of Gov. Tomblin,” said Junior Walk of Rock Creek, W.Va. who attended today’s protest at the Governor’s mansion. Continue reading
By Linda Greene, 13 August 2013. Source: CounterPunch
Photo: Energy Justice Network
Citizens in Logansport, Indiana, are fighting a proposal to build the country’s largest trash incinerator in their town.
Logansport, population 20,000, is located in Cass County in the north-central part of Indiana, on the Wabash River, 76 miles north of Indianapolis.
The City of Logansport has allocated $1.5 million to investigate, and prepare contracts for, the incinerator.
The incinerator, to be operated by a company named Pyrolyzer LLC, based in Baco Raton, Florida, is supposed to generate electricity by burning garbage and tires, although Pyrolyzer has never demonstrated that it ever generated electricity, and its longest-running plant operated for a total of 15 days in 2002. Pyrolyzer would supplant the city’s old, highly polluting coal-fired power plant, which is cheaper to shut down than to retrofit with pollution controls mandated by the federal government to curb carbon dioxide emissions and thus decrease climate change. Continue reading
By Martin Fackler, August 6, 2013. Source: NY Times
Members of a Fukushima panel inspecting the construction of a barrier that is meant to stop contaminated water from leaking. Photo: Kyodo, via Reuters
Tons of contaminated groundwater from the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant have overwhelmed an underground barrier and are emptying daily into the Pacific, creating what a top regulator has called a crisis.
The water contains strontium and cesium, as well as tritium, which is considered less dangerous when released into the ocean. Despite increasing alarm among regulators in recent weeks, the plant’s operator says it does not yet pose a health threat because levels of the contaminants are still very low in the open ocean, beyond the plant’s man-made harbor — a contention even critics support.
But regulators and critics alike are worried because the company, the Tokyo Electric Power Company, or Tepco, has been unable to stop the flow of the contaminated water, which appears to have started between December and May. The company has also not yet conclusively identified the source of the contamination, compounding fears.
“Tepco lacks a sufficient sense of urgency for this crisis,” Shinji Kinjo, a high-level official at the country’s nuclear regulatory watchdog, said Tuesday in an interview.
Note: The global economy does not result in decreased pollution, better working standards and safer, healthier communities. Instead, it results in more pollution, lower working standards and wages and extremely sick communities in distant places, out of sight and mind of consumers in the US and other wealthy nations. This style of unfettered industrial growth in the global economy, otherwise known as neoliberalism, is incompatible with a meaningful definition of ‘sustainable’ development. And as long as corporations like Wal Mart and the governments of the US and its allies are controlling the conversation, we will hear “there is no alternative.”
-The GJEP Team
By Jim Yardley, July 15, 2013. Source: NY Times
Photo: Khaled Hasan for The New York Times
On the worst days, the toxic stench wafting through the Genda Government Primary School is almost suffocating. Teachers struggle to concentrate, as if they were choking on air. Students often become lightheaded and dizzy. A few boys fainted in late April. Another retched in class.
The odor rises off the polluted canal — behind the schoolhouse — where nearby factories dump their wastewater. Most of the factories are garment operations, textile mills and dyeing plants in the supply chain that exports clothing to Europe and the United States. Students can see what colors are in fashion by looking at the canal.
“Sometimes it is red,” said Tamanna Afrous, the school’s English teacher. “Or gray. Sometimes it is blue. It depends on the colors they are using in the factories.”
By Christopher Joyce, July 11, 2013. Source: NPR
A geothermal energy plant near the Salton Sea in California taps deep underground heat from the southern San Andreas Fault rift zone. A new study ties the amount of water pulled from the ground by the geothermal plant here to the frequency of earthquakes. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images
The continental U.S. experiences small earthquakes every day. But over the past few years, their numbers have been increasing. Geoscientists say the new epidemic of quakes is related to industrial wastewater being pumped into underground storage wells.
Now there’s new research that reveals two trigger mechanisms that may be setting off these wastewater quakes — other, larger earthquakes (some as far away as Indonesia), and the activity at geothermal power plants.
Most of these little quakes in the U.S. are too small to feel. They tend to happen in “swarms.” Over the past year, geoscientists traced some of these swarms to underground faults near deep wells that are often filled with waste fluid from the oil and gas drilling boom.
Nicholas van der Elst, a geophysicist with Columbia University’s Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, says there are lots of small faults all over the country. The injection of fluids migrates in and around the fault itself, “and kind of pushes outward on the fault walls and makes it easier for the fault to slip,” he says.
The wastewater “loads up” these faults with tension until, at some point, they slip and the earth moves.
By David Hasemyer, July 9, 2013. Source: Inside Climate News
Damaged pipe from Enbridge’s 6B pipeline project. The pipe was recently removed near the home of Michigan landowner Jeffrey Insko after hydrostatic testing detected flaws. The flaws were caused when the pipe was pushed through a hole dug under a road. Photo: Jeffrey Insk
An oil pipeline being built across the southern part of Michigan is drawing new scrutiny from state regulators who recently cited the pipeline’s operator—Canadian-owned Enbridge, Inc.—for violating laws that protect Michigan’s waterways.
The violations occurred when Enbridge allowed nearly all the water it was using to test the pipeline’s strength to escape into a creek instead of capturing some of it for treatment—and when the company did not self-report the violationto the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), as required by law.
MDEQ officials told InsideClimate News they will now re-examine reports Enbridge filed after conducting similar tests on two other sections of the line. The new pipeline is supposed to replace Line 6B, which ruptured in 2010 and poured more than a million gallons of heavy Canadian crude oil into the Kalamazoo River.
The reports are important because the agency relies on pipeline operators to follow regulations and to inform officials when things go wrong. Enbridge violated that trust, the state said, when it failed to abide by at least 11 terms of the permit that allowed the company to conduct the test. The violations included not having a qualified operator at the site to supervise the procedure and not properly analyzing the water it put back into the creek.