Friday, January 2, 2009

Agent Orange: a Canadian Made Tragedy

Agent Orange: a Canadian Made Tragedy

Author:Sebastian Harder/ Chris Arsenault
An animated exploration of the history and use of Agent Orange andrelated herbicides in Vietnam and Canada.
Additional Information Length: 5 min 6 sec License: Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives (by-nc-nd) Year of Production: 2008 Created: 06/09/2008 - 20:44
Doreen Thomas: life near the baseAuthor: Chris Arsenault, Sebastian Harder, Erin Dunwoody
Doreen Thomas moved with her family to the village of Enniskillen in1953; one year after the federal government announced the constructionof CFB Gagetown. The small community was one of the areas hardest hitby Agent Orange spraying at the base. After years of trying to seelher Enniskillen property-- her family didn't have the money to justmove-- Thomas finally found a buyer. The large home with 3.9 acres ofland fetched only $25,000. In February, 2008, author Chris Arsenaultand cinemotagrapher Erin Dunwoody interviewed Doreen Thomas at hersmall home outside of Fredericton NB.
Additional Information Length: 4 min 26 sec License: Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives (by-nc-nd) Year of Production: 2008 Created: 06/05/2008 - 21:54
CBC Radio - Poison mists
Broadcast Date: May 14, 1976In less than a decade, DDT has gone from being a wonderful budwormcure to an ecological disaster. After years of poisoning NewBrunswick's fish and endangering its mammals and people, DDT is nolonger in use. Now there are serious questions about its replacements,insecticides such as Matacil and Fenitrothion, which may also beharmful or deadly to people caught in the spray plane's poison rain.And as we hear in this clip, the budworm problem is worse than ever.
Thu 01 Jan 2009
Dow Chemical in talks for Michigan dioxin cleanup: EPA, chemical giantmeet about dioxin at Michigan site
By Michael Hawthorne, Chicago Tribune
Jan. 1--More than three decades after Dow Chemical was blamed for someof the worst dioxin contamination in history, federal regulators aremeeting with the company yet again about cleaning up pollutedwaterways in eastern Michigan.
Though some hope the closed-door talks could kick-start a long-awaitedcleanup, local environmental advocates fear they will lead only tomore delays. The Tribune reported in May that a regional administratorwith the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was ousted after she cutoff similar negotiations with Dow, saying they were going nowhere.
"In my experience, Dow only enters into negotiations if they can cut abetter deal for themselves, not the environment," said Mary Gade, whowas the Bush administration's top environmental official in Chicagobefore tangling with Dow on the dioxin issue.
Meanwhile, advocates say, thousands of people remain at risk fromhighly toxic and persistent chemicals that are linked to cancer andother health problems.
For most of the past century, Dow dumped dioxin into rivers near itssprawling chemical plant in Midland, Mich., creating 50 miles ofpolluted waterways that empty into Saginaw Bay and Lake Huron. Thepollutant was a manufacturing byproduct of the Vietnam-era herbicideAgent Orange and other chlorinated chemicals.
Dioxin is so toxic that it is measured in trillionths of a gram, andconcerns about dioxin contamination were behind two of the mostinfamous environmental disasters in U.S. history -- the evacuations ofthe Love Canal neighborhood in upstate New York and the entire town ofTimes Beach, Mo.
But cleanup remains stalled in the Saginaw area, mainly because Dowasserts the contamination does not threaten people or wildlife.
In 2008, top officials at the EPA and the Michigan Department ofEnvironmental Quality said the best course of action was to have Dowclean up the area under the terms of an existing state agreement,which took effect in 2003 after more than a decade of negotiations.
Now the two agencies say the cleanup would be faster and morecomprehensive if Dow agreed to a different set of rules similar to thefederal Superfund program.
"This is a directional change," said Richard Karl, director of theEPA's regional Superfund office. "But we strongly believe we'll get acleanup going sooner than later this way."
Though federal and state officials vowed that any proposed agreementwould be subject to public scrutiny, environmental groups saidguidelines for the new talks circumvent stronger requirementscontained in the federal Superfund law.
"Here we go again," said Michelle Hurd Riddick, a Saginaw nurse andmember of the Lone Tree Council, a local environmental group.
Officials said it is highly unlikely a deal will be brokered beforethe Bush administration leaves office Jan. 20.
Though regulators linked the dioxin contamination to Dow decades ago,cleanup had been minimal until Gade stepped in.
In 2007 she ordered the immediate removal of dioxin-contaminated soiland sediment after high levels of the chemical were found in threeareas near the Dow plant and in a residential area and public parksome 20 miles away.
In the residential area, one sample of household dust had dioxinlevels of 3,000 parts per trillion, three times higher than thefederal cleanup standard. Levels in the yards were as high as 23,000parts per trillion and averaged 2,000 parts per trillion.
Gade abruptly ended negotiations with Dow nearly a year ago, accusingthe company of failing to take steps necessary to protect publichealth. When she later was ousted from her job, she told the Tribuneit was because she was too tough on Dow.
Dow officials have resisted attempts to extend the cleanup fartherfrom the plant into Saginaw Bay. Citing the work ordered by the EPA, aspokesman said Dow will restore polluted areas but contests how itshould be done.
"We're moving at an extremely fast pace," said John Musser, the Dowspokesman.
Copyright (c) 2009, Chicago Tribune
The 27th National Pesticide Forum
Beyond Pesticides will hold its 27th National Pesticide Forum April3-4, 2009 in Carrboro, NC. The Forum is co-sponsored by Toxic FreeNorth Carolina. This national environmental conference will focus onenvironmental and public health, organic agriculture, domestic fairtrade, organic lawns and landscapes, and much more. Carrboro islocated near Chapel Hill and the University of North Carolina. Moreinformation on speakers, registration and lodging is coming soon!
Wednesday, 31 December 2008
A proposed ordinance to stop pesticidesA local committee’s plan to fight bulk application in 2009
by Elizabeth Limbach
Randa Solick spent the fall of 2007 cringing at the visible effectsthat the State of California’s aerial pesticide spray over theMonterey Bay area was having on the life around her. The most painfulto watch, she says, was how used to it her grandchildren got.“Everyday at preschool, the children stepped out of their ‘outsideshoes’ and into their ‘inside shoes,’” she says. “Can you imagine ifthey had had to do that once a month, for three years?”
Solick, a member of People Against Chemical Trespass (P.A.C.T.), isreferring to the original monthly timeline the state had for thespray, which has been on hiatus while the California Department ofFood and Agriculture (CDFA) completes its Environmental Impact Report.Many Santa Cruzans, such as Solick, vividly remember when the regionwas aerially doused with pesticides in an effort to control the LightBrown Apple Moth (LBAM). Seabirds died, bees went missing, householdpets fell sick and 643 people reported illness, according to P.A.C.T.Thousands of people signed petitions against the LBAM pesticides, andmany more flaunted angry signs with messages like “No Spray! No Way!”But with these signs no longer in the front window of every home andnone but the scarce petitioner on Pacific Avenue, it would seem tomost that the fervor over the perilous spray has died down.
Hardly. On Dec. 15, P.A.C.T. unveiled the “City of Santa Cruz LocalControl, Pesticide and Chemical Trespass Ordinance,” a hopeful locallaw that will ban the bulk application of pesticides within citylimits.
Mary Graydon-Fontana, a member of P.A.C.T., which serves as theCorporation and Ordinance Committee for the Women’s InternationalLeague of Peace and Freedom (WILPF), was deeply involved in lastyear’s Stop the Spray movement that was successful in stopping aerialsprays over urban areas. She says that although that was an importantvictory, the fight against “chemical trespass” is far from won. Theproblem is that few people still seem to care.
“When we had our town hall meetings for the spray we got a huge amountof people, but that was because people were personally threatened,”she says. “That is what is different about this – we are getting themto realize they are, and will continue to be, threatened.”
She points to the CDFA’s continued LBAM eradication plans, whichinclude the Sterile Moth Technique (a sterile insect release programplanned for Spring ’09) and Male Moth Attractant Sites (MMAS). Graydon-Fontana refers to the latter as “splat,” a method that will applysticky substances, pumped with moth pheromones, to telephone poles andstreet trees. But the most overlooked threat Graydon-Fontanta wishesto share with the public is the continuation of “pesticide drift.”Although the CDFA eliminated aerial spray over urban areas, they willcontinue such methods over “remote areas inaccessible by groundvehicles,” according to their website. However, a Sept. 16 Departmentof Pesticide Regulation Deposition Study reported that aeriallyapplied pesticides drift an average of 3.3 miles outside of the sprayzone. These issues will be addressed at P.A.C.T.’s Jan. 12 town hallmeeting about their recently penned ordinance. The event will be heldat the Veterans Hall in downtown Santa Cruz.
“They can’t keep these ‘pests’ from coming from other places,” saysGraydon-Fontana. “If their answer is to keep dumping pesticides on us,it is going to make us all sick and destroy beneficial species anddestroy the environment. There are ways that can be used to controlpests that are much more natural, such as what Australia and NewZealand are doing with the LBAM.”
P.A.C.T. plans to present the ordinance to the Santa Cruz City Councilin February. Written with help from Global Exchange and the CommunityEnvironmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), it was designed to fit inwith Santa Cruz County’s existing Integrated Pest Management policy,adopted in 2000 by the Board of Supervisors, obligating the county touse the least toxic method in any case. If adopted by the citycouncil, the pending ordinance would ban the bulk application ofpesticides anywhere within Santa Cruz city limits. It would not affectthe use of pesticides on personal property.
“If you want to spray Raid all over your property, nobody’s going tostop you,” says Solick. “It’s about bulk application by corporations.”
The genesis of the ordinance was at CELDF’s annual Democracy School,which Solick, Graydon-Fontana and a handful of other WILPF membersattended earlier this year.
“After going to Democracy School, I realized what we were doing wasjust the regulatory approach,” says Graydon-Fontana. “We were doingthe best we could, and not getting anywhere. With the court case wewon, they did stop the aerial spray over homes. But it wasn’t finishedand there was much more they needed to do.”
CELDF inspired the women to write what is known as a “rights-basedordinance,” one that calls upon people’s inalienable constitutionalrights. More specifically for P.A.C.T., the right to safety asstipulated in Article One, Section One of the California Constitution.According to these rights, proponents of the ordinance believe thatindividuals should have the ability to make decisions regarding theirown health – thus, in the case of dangerous pesticides, letting thosewho are affected make the decisions.
“The point of all these rights-based ordinances is that, under theConstitution of California and the Declaration of Independence, wehave the right to govern ourselves, as long as it doesn’t infringe onanyone else,” says Solick. Graydon-Fontana agrees, adding that thepoint of the ordinance is to make people realize “that they have theright to decide about their safety in the places they live.”
The group is knowingly pushing the ban in spite of current state levellaws that prevent towns, cities and counties from making localpesticide laws. They look to the successful rights-based ordinancespassed in 123 other cities and counties across the country asjustified inspiration for “challenging an unjust law.” Even thehandful of these cities and counties that were sued by their governingstate succeeded in ending the wrongdoing or harmful practice thattheir ordinance had set out to abolish. “No corporations havecontinued doing those things while these rights-based ordinances havebeen in place, which is what we want to do here,” says Solick.P.A.C.T. is prepared for the state to fight the Control, Pesticide andChemical Trespass Ordinance but does not think it is likely. “Althoughthere is a definite possibility that the state might sue, the betterpossibility is that the state is broke, and so is the city – it isvery unlikely that anybody will sue anybody,” says Solick.
With the “hibernating” LBAM eradication plans soon to be awoken,P.A.C.T. is treating the passage of their ordinance with urgency. TheCDFA’s Expanded LBAM Program Area as of July 2008 showed plans tospread LBAM control efforts to almost every county in California, andthe women behind P.A.C.T. believe that Santa Cruz is the right placeto start a rights-based protection movement across the Golden State.“Wouldn’t it be great if a number of the cities and counties starteddoing this at once?” says Graydon-Fontana. “We happen to be the first.Hopefully, this is just the beginning.”
The Clean Coal Bait and Switch
by Sheldon Rampton
Topics: global warming journalism public relations
The coal industry's campaign to "make coal sexy again" has includedevery trick in the book -- even a music video ad featuring supermodelsdressed up as coal miners.
David Roberts, an environmental writer for, has written agreat critique of the coal industry's "clean coal" campaign, pointingout that "it's an obvious scam -- easily exposed, easily debunked.Just because it's obvious, though, doesn't mean the media won't fallfor it. Indeed, the entire 'clean coal' propaganda push is premised onthe media's gullibility."
Roberts notes, as have others, including a recent report by the Centerfor American Progress (CAP), that "the companies funding 'clean coal'PR aren't spending much on carbon capture and sequestration (CCS)research." They have therefore made no progress in reducing thegreenhouse gas emissions that make coal a potent cause of globalwarming. The concept of "clean coal" was invented to answer concernsabout global warming, and its advocates play a rhetorical game of bait-and-switch on precisely this topic. When pressed about how coal can beclean, Roberts observes, "they revert to the other definition of'clean' -- the notion that coal plants have reduced their emissions oftraditional air pollutants like particulates and mercury (as opposedto greenhouse gases)."
===============================Warning Industry Propaganda Below===============================
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
CBC News
Ban-happy Ontario accused of 'Big Brotherism'
2008 will probably be remembered as 'the year of the ban' in Ontario.
The provincial government moved to make a lot of things illegal — theuse of hand-held cellphones while driving, smoking in cars withchildren and the cosmetic use of pesticides included.
Acting Conservative Leader Bob Runciman says it shouldn't be the jobof government to tell people what's good for them.
"This is Big Brotherism at its finest," said Runciman. "If you lookdown the list, it's unprecedented."
The McGuinty government announced bans not only on pesticides andsmoking in cars with children, but on tobacco displays in stores,flavoured cigarillos and truck speeds. Trans fats have been removedfrom school cafeteria menus.
Recreational sturgeon fishing was also added to the banned list.
Some accuse the government of being paternalistic.
But Runciman says the multitude of bans were really "an attempt todistract focus from the economic challenges, the manufacturing joblosses, the jeopardy facing the auto sector."
And NDP house leader Peter Kormos thinks too many bans breed contemptfor important legislation.
"If you ban too much then you've banned nothing because people justignore it, ignore it in spades," he said.
Near the end of the year the government tried to place morerestrictions on young drivers — and got its comeuppance.
The government tried to introduce a new regulation limiting youngdrivers to carrying only one teenage passenger.
Within days more than 150,000 people had joined a Facebook pagedevoted to defeating the measure.
Premier Dalton McGuinty quickly abandoned the idea.
"We overreached ourselves. When my own kids began to picket my home, Iknew I'd overstepped," the premier said.
"Every once in a while," said McGuinty, "you step in it."
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St. John's Daily Spray Advisory

My Past Articles

More enforcement needed for pesticide spray regulations
The Western Star (Corner Brook) - Final - 10-01-2002 - 413 words
Karen Griffin - Judie Squires says someone needs to patrol the companies that spray residential areas for pesticides because she's observed nine violations of the Environmental Protection Act in her Paradise neighborhood alone

Spray woes: Province falling down on monitoring pesticides
The Telegram (St. John's) - Final - 10-01-2002 - 253 words
Judie Squires - environment to become poisoned? A temporary ban on all residential pesticides has to be put into place, to protect us, our wildlife and our environment as a whole. Judie Squires Paradise

Government lax on cosmetic pesticide regulation: advocate
The Telegram (St. John's) - 08-28-2004 - 613 words
Stokes Sullivan, Deana - Despite increased awareness about adverse health effects from pesticides, Judie Squires, a member of the Pesticide Working Group of Newfoundland and Labrador, isn't optimistic the province will ban cosmetic use

Woman doesn't expect cosmetic pesticide ban any time soon
The Western Star (Corner Brook) - 08-30-2004 - 712 words
Stokes Sullivan, Deana - Despite increased awareness about adverse health effects from pesticides, Judie Squires, a member of the Pesticide Working Group of Newfoundland and Labrador, isn't optimistic that the province will ban the

Province lagging behind in pesticide control
The Telegram (St. John's) - 09-04-2005 - 496 words
Squires, Judie - it to do is to prohibit the cosmetic use of synthetic pesticides altogether in order to protect our citizens and the environment. Judie Squires writes from Portugal Cove-St. Philip's

The two sides to pesticide use
The Telegram (St. John's) - 07-16-2006 - 781 words
Judie Squires - health of your families. When Canada's most respected health authorities tell us pesticides threaten our health, we should all be listening. Judie Squires writes from Portugal Cove-St. Philip's

Inquiry implicates BTk
The Telegram (St. John's) - 06-24-2006 - 353 words
DEANA STOKES SULLIVAN - of trees. The live spores can be inhaled by humans and animals exposed to BT. Judie Squires, secretary of the Northeast Avalon Group of the Sierra Club, says despite claims that

Delayed pesticide laws 'disappointing'
The Telegram (St. John's) - 06-24-2006 - 833 words
DEANA STOKES SULLIVAN - at the end of this year. These products will only be sold to certified dealers. Judie Squires, secretary of the newly formed Northeast Avalon Group of the Sierra Club, isn't

Above Articles available through Trancontinental Newsnet

Time for provincial lawn pesticide regulation
The Telegram (St. John's) - 03-14-2009 - 419 words
pesticides. Please join me in lobbying our province for a pesticide ban Judie Squires Portugal Cove...

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