Apple announced that former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson will join the world’s number one company as its vice president for environmental initiatives. Jackson wrote in an email, “I’m incredibly impressed with Apple’s commitment to the environment and I’m thrilled to be joining the team.”
“Apple has made a bold move in hiring Lisa Jackson, a proven advocate with a track record of combating toxic waste and the dirty energy that causes global warming, two of Apple’s biggest challenges as it continues to grow,” says Greenpeace’s Senior IT Analyst Gary Cook. ”Jackson can make Apple the top environmental leader in the tech sector by helping the company use its influence to push electric utilities and governments to provide the clean energy that both Apple and America need right now.”
Today at a well-attended energy forum hosted by Politico, I shed some light on the role of coal lobbyist Jeffrey Holmstead in blocking pollution reductions for his coal utility and mining clients after he said we can’t “regulate our way to clean energy.” Here’s the video:
UPDATE 11/16: Holmstead was later confronted on camera by Gabe Elsner of the Checks and Balances Project after the disruption at the Politico forum. Watch Holmstead re-write the history of his attacks on mercury pollution laws:
Greenpeace's Climate Crimes Unit distributed WANTED posters of Jeff Holmstead.
As I waited inside for Mr. Holmstead to step on stage, members of Greenpeace’s Climate Crime Unit stood outside handing out WANTED posters of both Holmstead and chief oil lobbyist Jack Gerard of the American Petroleum Institute, who was also present.
Jeff Holmstead, who is often quoted in newspapers as a former Air and Radiation Administrator for the George W. Bush Environmental Protection Agency or a “partner” (read: lobbyist) at Bracewell & Giuliani’s corporate law firm here in DC, is rarely credited as an influence peddler for some of the most notorious polluters in the country.
Polluters like Duke Energy, Southern Company, and Arch coal are paying Holmstead’s bills. Continue reading →
Dow Chemical's Texas Operations facility in Freeport is the global group's largest integrated site. The site contains more than 3,200 acres of waterways and pipeline corridors and houses more than 1,900 buildings across the site.
Even in good weather a major threat looms over many of our largest cities. The threat is in the form of poison gases stored at thousands of U.S. based chemical plants. In the event of an accident, terrorist attack or another climate disaster such as Hurricane Sandy, millions of lives could be put in jeopardy. Although a worse case chemical disaster didn’t happen this time, it easily could have. For example, it was widely reported that Sandy knocked over a 22 car freight train adjacent to the New Jersey Turnpike in one of the most densely populated areas of the U.S. If just one of those rail cars was carrying a poison gas such as chlorine and it had ruptured, over a million people would be at risk of immediate injury or death. Trains routinely service major chemical plants. There are 38 high risk chemical plants in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania that each put 100,000 or more workers and residents at risk of a poison gas catastrophe. When these plants suddenly lose power they can become even more dangerous. Last year a sudden power failure triggered a “shelter-in-place” warning to Texas City communities surrounding BP, Valero and Marathon refineries.
Hurricanes and human error aren’t the only threats to chemical facilities. On October 11th Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta issued a chilling warning saying that these same chemical plants and other sectors are vulnerable to cyber attacks, “The collective result of these kinds of attacks could be a cyber Pearl Harbor.” Continue reading →
Rhiannon Fionn-Bowman, an independent journalist, aims to answer questions about coal ash during a nationwide tour where she’ll collect stories from all sides of the coal ash issue and share them on CoalAshChronicles.com. But, you don’t have to wait for her to come to you, you can share your story now — upload it here.
Here’s something for you to keep in mind as you read the news: There’s always more to the story.
Since I’m collecting coal ash stories, I’ll summarize a couple of my own regarding Charlotte, North Carolina’s coal ash issue to give you a peek behind the scenes. Continue reading →
A fix is at hand for reducing air pollution from pulp mills all across the nation — if you will pitch-in with a short comment to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Kraft paper mill in South Carolina
Although every eight years EPA is required by the Clean Air Act to review and improve its regulations controlling air emissions from these mills, it has missed all three of the required reviews since 1986! The regulations now in force date to 1978, and being based on the 34-year old technology they need a thorough overhaul.
We now have a strong foothold for setting this right. Last month EPA tentatively agreed to a good settlement of a lawsuit Greenpeace and two co-plaintiffs filed against EPA in December over the agency’s neglect. Continue reading →
The second administrator of the EPA, Russell Train, passed away today at the age of 92. This loss is assuredly great for his family, but it is also a loss for the environmental community and citizens of conscience throughout the country.
Have you heard that there is an election coming up? I guess people think it’s pretty important since it’s ALL anyone talks about, right?
Well, except for Hurricane Isaac, the start of the NFL preseason, Red Sox dumping four players (ok, I’m from New England, so that may just be my radar), hundreds being killed in Syria, and the Obama administration raising fuel economy standards. Wait, what was that last one? The Obama administration did something in August of an election year? I thought that wasn’t possible, I thought NOTHING got done in an election year? Hm, I feel a bit like the GPS in my friend’s car the other day: “recalculating…”
The fact is, new policies DO happen in an election year, and I was incredibly heartened to see that I’m not the only one who thinks so. Today, in the New York Times, Governor Christine Todd Whitman penned an articulate call to the Environmental Protection Agency to use its existing authority to prevent chemical disasters. The quote that grabbed me:
“The danger is real and widespread; from coast to coast, major cities are host to chemical plants that process chlorine, hydrofluoric acid, phosgene, and other deadly toxins. The nation’s most dangerous plant, located just outside New York City, puts 12 million people at risk of exposure; in Los Angeles, almost 5 million would be in the path of a toxic release. All told, these chemical facilities put over 100 million Americans directly in harm’s way…Fortunately, alternatives exist. Technologies that are cheap and readily available can replace the dangerous chemicals used by these facilities, and some companies, like Clorox, are already doing the right thing. And widespread change might be coming; right now, the Obama administration and the Environmental Protection Agency are considering updating the Clean Air Act to safeguard America’s chemical facilities in order to ensure the safety of people who live near them. For millions of families, those safeguards can’t come a moment too soon.”
Among these ripple effects are a major spike in food prices. (For those on food stamps, even a slight increase can make a big difference and that program could face serious cuts according to the latest House Farm Bill). And what crop is most at threat due to this historic drought? Corn, but not only because of its demand as a food source and livestock feed. Forty percent of corn is used for ethanol in fuel due to the Renewable Fuel Standard which mandates a certain amount of U.S. biofuel production. That 40 percent is therefore removed from the food supply.