March 8th, 2015

$39 Million Florida Beach Restoration Project: Better Beaches While Protecting Wildlife

Posted by Lisa Carey

Florida’s Space Coast’s beach restoration project is making for better beaches while protecting wildlife. Cocoa Beach has added 4.7 million cubic yards of beach sand as part of the beach restoration project and has expanded its shoreline by 160 feet. Cocoa Beach was recognized in a ceremony in Washington, D.C. for being one of four beaches to be named as a “Best Restored Beach” by The American Shore and Beach Preservation Association.

The restoration on Florida’s Space Coast began as an effort to protect the 72-mile-long coastline from beach erosion and storms, according to a recent press release. The wider beach was also created to help create healthy habitats for wildlife while also creating an area for tourist recreation such as surfing, fishing, and sunbathing.

Florida’s Space Coast restoration project used a natural and sustainable approach than what other projects on other Florida coasts. The project used sand instead of seawalls which improved storm protection for residents and minimized the impacts on wildlife habitats. One of the habitats that is protected is that of the loggerhead sea turtles.

“With the success of the North Reach Project spanning from Cocoa Beach to Cape Canaveral, we have successfully created a way to keep sand on the beach and continue to protect our homes, businesses and communities from the devastating effects of storms,” said Vice Chairman, Jim Barfield, District 2 Commissioner, whose District includes the City of Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral. “The North Reach Project is a perfect example of a beach restoration project that has proven its worth over and over again, sustaining our tourism, environment and driving our economy upward year after year.”

March 4th, 2015

Hershey Drops GM Ingredients from Chocolate

Posted by Lisa Carey

Hershey recently announced that it will soon remove genetically modified ingredients (GM) from its milk chocolate and Hershey Kisses line by the end of 2015. The company has also pledge to move to simple ingredients. Hershey is a consumer-centric company so pleasing consumers is important. The company decided to make these changes after a group of consumers started a petition to get the company to remove GM ingredients from their chocolate.

Hershey plans to use non-genetically modified sugar, sustainable, traceable palm tree oil, and rBST-free milk. Hershey answers the question “what is the end game?” on their website in connection with these changes:

“Our iconic brands are about delivering goodness – both in how they are made and how they taste. We are moving our product portfolio to simpler ingredients. This will take time and as part of that journey we will be sharing more about what’s in our products, and how they are sourced and manufactured. All of this is based on knowledge and insights about what our consumers care about most.”

Other ingredients the chocolate company plans to remove include artificial vanilla and the emulsifier polyglycerol polyricinoleate (PGPR). Hershey will also be rolling out products that do not contain high-fructose corn syrup or artificial colors and flavors. These shifts to natural, non-genetically modified food should be easy since the company already made the shift in Canada years ago.

The announcement of Hershey’s removal of GMOs and artificial ingredients comes on the heels of Nestle USA’s announcement that it would remove artificial colors and flavors from its confectionary products.

 

February 9th, 2015

Petition to Stop BHT in Kellogg’s and General Mills Cereal

Posted by guest

FoodBabe.com has launched a petition through Shift in Action to get Kellogg’s and General Mills to stop using butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) in cereals sold all over the world. BHT is a controversial product. Kellogg’s and General Mills have used the product as an additive to improve the shelf life of products like Rice Krispies, Mini Wheats, and Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

Both companies have cereal in countries all over the world, but the cereal delivered to other countries does not contain BHT. The cereals created by these companies in other countries has been replaced with safer alternatives to protect shelf life.

FoodBabe.com asks fans to sign the petition to get Kellogg’s and General Mills to remove the controversial chemical from the cereals they sell in North America. BHT was a commonly used as a food additive. U.S. regulations allow for small percentages to be used as a food additive now although most companies have move to using butylated hyroxyanisole (BHA) instead of BHT.

According to the petition, the reasons for stopping BHT in the food world include possible links to cancer, interference with hormones, and the fact that the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) classifies the chemical compound as a “caution” ingredient that is unnecessary. Another reason for the petition is because the data surrounding BHT is controversial and conflicting. BHT hasn’t been proven as a safe ingredient.

Kellogg’s has not responded to consumers since the launch of the campaign. General Mills was happy to announce that it was removing BHT from its cereals. There are no set dates on when the ingredient will be removed from America’s favorite breakfast foods.

If you wish to sign the petition to keep the pressure on Kellogg’s and General Mills visit Food Babe.

 

Linda St.Cyr is a writer, blogger, activist, and short story author. She writes about news, sustainability, green energy, food, celebrities and much more. Often she is busy being vocal about feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, and shedding a light on human rights violations all over the world.

January 31st, 2015

Obama Plans to Cut Methane Emissions from Oil and Gas Industry

Posted by Lisa Carey

by, Linda St. Cyr

President Barack Obama plans to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas industry over the next decade. He plans to cut as much as 45% of emissions by 2025. The plan will help Obama cement his climate change legacy. But Republicans are already mobilizing opposition to the new plan.

The new rules may not apply to existing oil and gas installations. This is the last big effort that Obama has to make good on his promises of climate change in America. Any new Environmental Protection Agency standards need to be finalized by the end of 2016 when Obama leaves office.

Obama made good on his first promises to push climate change by cutting emissions from power plants and by cutting emissions from the car and truck industry during his first term. His move to cut emissions in the oil and gas industry is his first push to make climate change a reality in an industry that has had a fair amount of latitude in the climate change race.

According to the Guardian, “Methane accounts for about 9% of greenhouse gas emissions, according to the EPA. The biggest share of this by far comes from the oil and gas industry, which has exploded over the last decade.”

The new methane standards will be focused on plugging leaks. Leaky and faulty equipment on newly fracked wells, ageing infrastructure, and miles of pipelines are the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases. The new standards will be incorporated with voluntary guidelines already in place.

“If you take steps to reduce volatile organic compounds, those steps would automatically have the secondary benefit of reducing methane emissions,” said Sandra Snyder, an environmental attorney at the Bracewell Giuliani law firm.

Linda St.Cyr is a writer, blogger, activist, and short story author. She writes about news, sustainability, green energy, food, celebrities and much more. Often she is busy being vocal about feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, and shedding a light on human rights violations all over the world.

 

January 28th, 2015

Columbian Farmers’ vs. BP court case near verdict over environmental damage

Posted by guest

by, Linda St. Cyr

It has been almost seven years since Columbian farmers’ brought about a case against oil giant BP alleging severe environmental damage to their lands from a pipeline. The UK high court is due to decide whether BP is responsible for the £18m ($27m USD) in lost production to Columbian farmers.

British oil giant BP laid a pipeline across the land of over 100 small farmers. The Ocensa pipeline was buried up to 1.8 metres deep along its 828km length in the mid- 1990s. The pipeline takes in approximately 650,000 barrels of crude a day from the giant oilfield. The farmers’ whose land the pipeline stretches across claim that the work was done unsatisfactorily and that the design of the pipeline was at fault.

The farmers claim that their streams and water sources were blocked, leading to uncontrolled erosion, and the creation of marshy areas. One farmer claimed that he could not keep pigs or chickens because there is not enough water for them. Another farmer claimed that the mud created from the pipeline made farming difficult and claimed he could not sell the farm because of the pipeline. The farmers also claim a loss to much of their income during the management of the pipeline’s construction. BP has rejected all the allegations against them.

A judgment in the case is expected to come in February after both sides give their closing submissions. The case has been ongoing in legal arguments for seven years. The latest arguments have been focused on the alleged damage to four small farms.

“Our water supply has been damaged by sedimentation since the pipeline was laid and I have lost cattle,” Velez Montoya, from Segovia, told Judge Stuart-Smith in the London Technology and Construction Court, according to the Guardian.

This is the first time that BP has faced a UK court over its actions overseas. BP claims no wrongdoing in the case saying that it has acted in a fair manner toward the farmers with generous compensation at the time of the pipeline’s construction and that the construction of the pipeline was carried out to a high standard. BP claims that the farms were declining in productivity before the pipeline was constructed.

Linda St.Cyr is a writer, blogger, activist, and short story author. She writes about news, sustainability, green energy, food, celebrities and much more. Often she is busy being vocal about feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, and shedding a light on human rights violations all over the world.

 

January 5th, 2015

Congress Tells Nutritionists to Not Talk About Environment

Posted by Lisa Carey

My Plate

Top nutrition experts have been assigned to lay the groundwork for new dietary guidelines in the United States. Earlier this year the government-appointed group began collecting data on the environmental implication of various food choices. Prior dietary guidelines have not considered the effects of food choices on the environment.

Congress isn’t happy about the data collection by nutrition experts and has issued a directive to the Obama administration to ignore such factors in the revision that deal with the environment. Congress attached the directive in a massive spending bill that was passed by both the House and the Senate. In the directive, Congress expressed concern that the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee “is showing an interest in incorporating agriculture production practices and environmental factors.”

Congress wants environmental factors ignored. NPR reports that the directive is not legally binding, but that it could provoke another battle between the currently hostile Obama administration and Congress.

The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee works through the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion and is supported by the USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. Both departments review recommendations from the committee and work together to develop and publish revised Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans have been established since 1980. The guidelines, as mandated by the National Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Act of 1990, are reviewed, updated and published every five years. This is a joint effort between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture.

The committee is made up of top nutrition experts and the recommendations are based on current scientific and medical knowledge. The new guidelines will take current literature into account. It will be up to the committee to decide if they want to ignore Congress’ directive and address the environmental impact that eating has the health of Americans or address the scientific evidence in that there is an impact between agricultural production and food choices in the updated Dietary Guidelines.

Linda St.Cyr is a writer, blogger, activist, and short story author. She writes about news, sustainability, green energy, food, celebrities and much more. Often she is busy being vocal about feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, and shedding a light on human rights violations all over the world.

January 3rd, 2015

NY Environmental Commissioner Says No Fracking

Posted by guest

Joseph Martens, New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) commissioner, has spoken out about fracking in the state of New York. Martens plans to prohibit fracking (hydraulic fracturing) in New York. The ban comes after a five-year study done by the DEC that will be released next year.

State health commissioner, Howard Zucker, supports Martens ban. During a detailed presentation, Zucker claimed that the studies on fracking have shown harmful health effects and that there have not been enough long-term studies to show the effects of fracking over time. He concluded that he would not allow his family to drink tap water in an area where fracking had occurred, according to Syracuse.com.

Martens made his announcement at Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s year-end cabinet meeting. He said that after the report was released he would “issue legally binding findings statement prohibiting (fracking) in New York state at this time.” Martens made clear that the report released would show a variety of potential environmental effects including pollution of groundwater and the release of methane and ozone.

Gov. Cuomo said that he would defer to experts and that he expects lawsuits to be filed challenging the ban on fracking in New York. He said, “I will be bound by what these experts say because I am not in a position to second guess them with my expertise. I am not a scientist.”

Zucker’s 184-page fracking health report was released on Wednesday, December 17, 2014. The study has been in the works since 2008.

“The overall weight of the evidence from the cumulative body of information contained in this Public Health Review demonstrates that there are significant uncertainties about the kinds of adverse health outcomes that may be associated with HVHF, the likelihood of the occurrence of adverse health outcomes, and the effectiveness of some of the mitigation measures in reducing or preventing environmental impacts which could adversely affect public health,” Zucker wrote.

“Until the science provides sufficient information to determine the level of risk to public health from HVHF to all New Yorkers and whether the risks can be adequately managed, DOH recommends that HVHF should not proceed in NYS.”

Gov. David Paterson imposed a moratorium on fracking in New York while the study was being conducted. City officials have asked Cuomo to continue the moratorium on fracking for the next 3 to 5 years to give scientist more time for study of the controversial drilling process.

 

Linda St.Cyr is a writer, blogger, activist, and short story author. She writes about news, sustainability, green energy, food, celebrities and much more. Often she is busy being vocal about feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, and shedding a light on human rights violations all over the world.

December 31st, 2014

New Jersey Environmental Leaders Receive 2014 Governor’s Awards

Posted by Lisa Carey

Earlier this month, New Jersey environmental leaders were honored during a ceremony in Trenton for environmental excellence. Leaders from across the Garden State were presented with the 2014 Governor’s Environmental Excellence Awards. These awards are New Jersey’s premier environmental awards. They recognize outstanding environmental performance, programs and projects that are dedicated to protecting the environment.

The Honorable John McCormac, Mayor of Woodbridge Township in Middlesex County, was awarded the “Environmentalist of the Year” award for proving that “if you go green, you will save green.”

Monmouth University was recognized for reducing its carbon footprint and initiatives that improve the environment. The university has reduced its carbon footprint, since 2009, by the equivalent of 37,000 metric tons. The school uses hybrid gas/electric vehicles for campus police, employs the use of two solar panels and offers students a minor degree in global sustainability.

Another leader in environmental excellence was Ewa Zak of Montgomery Township in Somerset County. She was honored in the “Healthy Ecosystems” category of awards. She has been an active environmental leader in Montgomery Township for 28 years. She has advocated for tree plantings, preservations, and green belts. She was instrumental in the passage of “green” ordinances within the township and created a Tree Bank.

Other award categories included “Water Resources,” “Innovative Technologies,” and “Health and Sustainable Communities.” A full list of the 2014 environmental leaders can be found at New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection.

“We are committed to protecting New Jersey’s environment,” said Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bob Martin. “Through their dedication to environmental protection, these award winners set an example for everyone to follow. The winners and all of those who participated have set a very high standard for environmental excellence. Governor Christie and I commend their leadership.’’

 

Linda St.Cyr is a writer, blogger, activist, and short story author. She writes about news, sustainability, green energy, food, celebrities and much more. Often she is busy being vocal about feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, and shedding a light on human rights violations all over the world.

December 29th, 2014

EU Member States Oppose Scrapping Environment

Posted by Lisa Carey

Air_.pollution_1 wiki public domain

European Union policymakers announced on Tuesday that the focus of the 2015 legislative plan will be issues such as jobs and growth in the economy. Member states charged the EU with sacrificing the environment and scrapping draft laws on waste and air quality.

Reuter’s reports that the European environment ministers who opposed the plans said that scrapping them would send a “negative signal” about Europe’s ambition to curb climate change. The environment ministers claim that the legislative plans for 2015 were at odds with a push for growth.

Previous EU executives have presented on average 130 new plans. The current executives plan set out 23 new initiative and aim to axe 80 existing proposals including proposals on air quality and cutting waste.

EU executives claim that the slim down is to focus on the real priorities. Energy security happens to be on of the real priorities for the EU. A plan was presented to the European Parliament to address energy security due to the conflict with the EU and Russia over Russia’s treatment of the Ukraine. Another initiative includes a proposal to combat tax evasion and fraud.

Lobby group Business Europe, which represents big business including ExxonMobil and BP, was the first to applaud the commission for its “political courage.”

Other groups were less than pleased at the announcement of scrapping the environment for growth.

“This is not killing obsolete proposals, this is destroying Europe’s health and environmental policies,” said Fredrick Federley, a Swedish member of the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe.

November 26th, 2014

EPA Expected to Propose New Ozone Standards

Posted by guest

New, proposed ozone standards by the Environmental Protection Agency would be a major victory for public health groups but it could also throw hundreds of counties out of compliance. The Obama administration is expected to propose tougher limits on smog.

According to the L.A. Times, “The current limit for ground-level ozone, the lung-damaging gas in smog, is 75 parts per billion. Concluding that the limit is too weak to protect people’s health, Environmental Protection Agency staff and its science advisors had recommended strengthening the federal standard to 60 to 70 parts per billion.”

The EPA is seeking to increase the federal standard to 65-70 parts per billion and also seeking public comment on the new standards. Environmentalists would like to see the stringent standard of 60 parts per billion whereas businesses would like to keep the existing standards of 75 parts per billion.

The EPA believes that it is necessary to toughen limits on ozone pollution now although it may not be popular to do so with the new Republican controlled Congress about to take office. One of the main reasons that the EPA created a new proposal is to protect Americans from a significant health threat.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy said in a statement announcing the proposal, “We deserve to know the air we breath is safe.” McCarthy also cited the EPA’s legal mandate to “bring ozone pollution standards in line with the latest science,” the ozone’s damaging effects on children and the elderly while explaining what ground-level ozone is (a respiratory irritant that derives from fossil-fuel burning) and its links to asthmatic attacks and other ailments.

Big business like the oil industry and power companies say that the tighter ozone standard would damage the economy and would send manufacturing jobs overseas. Several Republicans are trying to find a way to thwart the new proposal because they believe that the current standard is healthy. The EPA maintains that the proposal is based on science and that they will listen to what scientists have told them about ozone pollutants and how to keep the air the public is breathing safe.

 

Linda St.Cyr is a writer, blogger, activist, and short story author. She writes about news, sustainability, green energy, food, celebrities and much more. Often she is busy being vocal about feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, and shedding a light on human rights violations all over the world.

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