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GMOs: Why no labeling in the United States?


By Victoria Vonancken
Conceivably, you would think you know what you are eating everyday. You had some cereal, a Subway sandwich, and then pizza for dinner. But nowadays food is so much more than you would think. What are you actually putting into your body? With the use of genetically modified organisms there could be all sorts of different things deep inside your food that you would never think could be there. The worst part is that in the United States, we are not able to identify if our food has been modified because GMO labeling is not mandated.
Technically, genetically modified organisms or “GMOs” are organisms that are injected with foreign DNA from different animals, bacteria, viruses and plants. The genetic material of these species is completely altered. It is an unnatural process, which is why places like the European Union, Japan, and Australia have already adopted policies mandating the labeling of genetically modified organisms, unlike the United States.
The effects of these GMO foods are questionable. There have been allegations that they are toxic, degrading to the environment and even can increase a person’s risk for cancer.
Possibly Toxic:  “Twelve dairy cows died on a farm in Hesse Germany, after being fed a diet with significant amounts of the GM corn variety, Bt 176.” Other cows in the herd developed a mysterious illness and had to be killed.
Risk for Cancer:
Research conducted by Dr. Pusztai revealed information showing graphic pictures of rats with deforming tumors from the genetically modified potatoes they were given with the hormone rBGH. Due to this study, the government of Canada banned rBGH in 1999. In the United States, rBGH is still injected into ten percent of all dairy cows. Europe has banned it since 1994.
Food allergies: Have you been hearing more and more talk recently about gluten? I am sure that you know at least one person with the allergy. Recently, it’s become so common that it’s almost as trendy as Brooklyn itself. Well, this increased allergy among people could possibly be because of GMOs. The Bt toxin in genetically modified foods can pass through human digestion but has been found that it can puncture holes in our cell walls, just as it does to the insects they are trying to weed away. This in turn can cause intestinal problems in humans, possibly exacerbating the gluten allergy. The trend of gluten allergies and intolerance increasing along with the increased use of GMOs may not be a coincidence.

At least 21 countries and the European Union have established some form of mandatory labeling. In Europe, if any ingredient in a food has .9% or higher of genetically modified organisms, it must be labeled. This gives the people of Europe a choice on whether or not to take part in genetically modified food. The U.S still has no labeling policy.
As the years go on, more information seems to be sneaking out about the truth of genetically engineered foods and their possible adverse effects. Genetically modified organisms are still relatively new and even with these small doses of evidence, there is still so much unknown about GMOS.
For more info:
Just Label It Campaign
Everything you need to know about GMOs
Shock Findings in New GMO Study: Rats Fed Lifetime of GM Corn Grow Horrifying Tumors, 70% of Females Die Early
Should Use Of Genetically Modified Organisms Be Labeled?
Genetically Modified Crops Have Led To Pesticide Increase, Study Finds

Under Strain, France Examine.textClipping

Under Strain, France Examines Its Safety Net

ST.-ÉTIENNE, France — Patrick Jouve, the owner of a game store on the Rue Louis Braille here, assails the government regulations that limit the size of the bright chess set and bouncing balls he has painted on his storefront. If the painting covers more than 36 feet, it constitutes advertising and he has to pay a fee of $1,350.
At 57, Mr. Jouve, is, however, looking forward to the generous government pension that will help pay for his planned retirement in the countryside at 62.
Down the street, Virginie Chargros, a baker’s wife, depends on the $404 monthly “family subsidy” she gets from the government to help raise the couple’s three children. She and her husband work six days a week and bring in about $2,200 a month, but without the subsidy, they would have trouble providing the family with “small pleasures,” she said.
The pervasive presence of government in French life, from workplace rules to health and education benefits, is now the subject of a great debate as the nation grapples with whether it can sustain the post-World War II model of social democracy.
The spiraling costs of cradle-to-grave social welfare programs have all but exhausted the French government’s ability to raise the taxes necessary to pay for it all, creating growing political problems for President François Hollande, a Socialist. The nation’s capability to innovate and compete globally is being called into question, and investors are shying away from the layers of government regulation and high taxes.
But on the streets of this midsize city 325 miles southeast of Paris, the discussion is not abstract or even overtly political. Conversations here bring to life how many people, almost unconsciously, tailor their education, work habits and aspirations to benefits they see as intrinsic elements of their lives.
“You cannot take away guns from Americans, and in the same way you cannot take away social benefits from French people,” said Louis Paris, the 25-year-old son of a couple who live on the Rue Louis Braille, a typical neighborhood in St.-Étienne, which has deep working-class roots and historically has leaned Socialist.
“They won’t stand for it,” said Mr. Paris, who is unemployed and has been searching since leaving college for a full-time job that offers benefits.
This reality on the Rue Louis Braille, named for the Frenchman who invented the system of raised lettering for the blind, helps explain why successive French leaders have made only modest changes in social benefits.
One of the largest buildings on the relatively prosperous-looking first block of the street is the local office for state-financed health benefits. The second block has eight empty storefronts, testimony to the last four years of economic downturn.
The median household income in the city is $25,000, about half the national figure for the United States and slightly lower than the average for France. But that figure does not capture how many things the government pays for here.
In France, most child care and higher education are paid for by the government, and are universally available, as is health care, three of the most costly elements in the budgets of most American families.
The cost of health care in France is embedded in the taxes imposed on workers and employers; workers make mandatory contributions worth about 10 percent of their paycheck to cover health insurance and a total of about 22 percent to pay for all their benefits.
The payroll tax for employers can amount to as much as 48 percent, meaning that for an employee paid $1,000 a month, the cost to the employer would be $1,480, according to French government figures.
For that, the employee gets up to two years of government-paid unemployment insurance. Parents get a monthly payment for each child after the first, starting at $176 for their second child, and most salaried workers are required to take five weeks of vacation, although professionals and those who own businesses, as do many on the Rue Louis Braille, take far less.
The political opposition to even modest cuts in social programs has been intense. Mr. Hollande’s predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, a conservative, reduced some social security payments, narrowed the criteria for obtaining unemployment and minimum income benefits and made other proposals he was unable to implement in the face of protests that sometimes drew hundreds of thousands of people into the streets.
Mr. Hollande is facing stiff opposition for a proposal that would require people to work 18 months longer before qualifying for retirement benefits.
The tension between the pressure for budget cuts and the deeply embedded nature of government programs is playing out in individual lives.
Sarah Revet, 31, who lives on Rue Louis Braille, was able to go back to work in a local government office after having children because of a public program that allowed her get a degree that she could use to work in local government. She also had government-subsidized preschool for her 3-year-old and received the government’s family payments, which helped her to afford a babysitter for her 1-year-old.
But when she was laid off because of budget cuts, she did not qualify for unemployment benefits because her job had been part time and temporary.
Yet, she still believes in a government system that ensures that the poor, especially, have an ample safety net.
“I would absolutely make the choice to continue this,” Ms. Revet said.
Just down the street, Mr. Jouve, the owner of the game store Tapis Vert, or Green Carpet, believes that the reason the government is in such dire straits is that there are too many civil servants. Government spending accounts for about 56 percent of France’s gross domestic product, in contrast to 44 percent in Germany and 40 percent in the United States, according to Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics arm.
“There are too many government functionaries,” Mr. Jouve said as he demonstrated magic tricks to a customer. Referring to the city officials who come to measure the dimensions of his storefront painting, he said, “They make up jobs for themselves.”
The mayor, Maurice Vincent, said that there were only 3,500 city employees, but acknowledged that the number did not include the police, the hospital staff, the university’s professors and staff members, and the civil servants who work for the greater metropolitan area. Add those, and the government-paid workers top 25,000.
Mr. Vincent’s office also has several thousand workers on “temporary” contracts of less than three years; the positions were created when unemployment in St.-Étienne reached 17 percent, he said.
Yet small business owners here, along with many employers large and small across the country, say they cannot afford to hire more workers because of the mandatory 48 percent in payroll taxes on top of wages.
Mireille Rogers, who lives on the Rue Louis Braille, runs the Babet Center, a nonprofit social service organization supported by the government that serves one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods.
Since most of the center’s clients live in an area where at least one in four young people are jobless, they see government aid as a necessity.
“I would be glad to pay more in payroll taxes so that there would be more for others,” Ms. Rogers said.
Some people at the center receive an income supplement from the government to ensure that they have a minimum amount to live on. In September, that was $1,664 for a single person and about $3,100 for a family of four with children over the age of 3. Some people also qualify for a housing subsidy and other benefits.
“The state has put in place a system,” said Salvatore Garaffa-Botta, a butcher and the deputy secretary of the largest union in St.-Étienne, the C.G.T. “But we are also slaves to this system.”
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Maïa de la Baume contributed reporting.

Le moment le plus dangereux pour l’humanité depuis la crise des missiles cubains

Le moment le plus dangereux pour l’humanité depuis la crise des missiles cubains




La piscine de combustibles usés de l’unité n°4


Note: Ne pas oublier de lire les commentaires qui apportent des précisions sur la véracité de cet article.
Nous sommes actuellement à deux mois du moment le plus dangereux peut-être pour l’humanité depuis la crise des missiles cubains.
Il n’y a aucune excuse à ne pas agir. Toutes les ressources que notre espèce peut rassembler doivent se focaliser sur la piscine de l’unité 4 de Fukushima.
Le propriétaire de Fukushima, Tokyo Electric (Tepco), dit que d’ici 60 jours va commencer une tentative pour enlever plus de 1300 barres de combustible usagé d’une piscine en très mauvais état perchée à 30 mètres du sol. La piscine repose sur un édifice sévèrement endommagé qui penche, s’enfonce et qui pourrait facilement s’effondrer avec un autre séisme, si ce n’est pas de lui-même.
Pour un regroupement international visant à donner les moyens à Tepco et au Japon de résoudre cette crise, vous pouvez signer la pétition ici :
Les quelques 400 tonnes de combustible de cette piscine pourraient libérer 15.000 fois plus de radiations qu’Hiroshima.
Une chose est sûre concernant cette crise, c’est que Tepco n’a les ressources ni scientifiques, ni techniques, ni financières pour la gérer. Pas plus que le gouvernement. La situation demande un effort mondial coordonné des meilleurs scientifiques et ingénieurs que notre espèce peut rassembler.
Pourquoi est-ce aussi sérieux ?
Nous savons déjà que des milliers de tonnes d’eau largement contaminée s’écoulent sur le site de Fukushima, entraînant un brouet diabolique d’isotopes à longue vie vers le Pacifique. Des thons irradiés par des retombées imputables à Fukushima ont déjà été pêchés au large de la Californie.
Nous pouvons nous attendre à bien pire.
Tepco continue à déverser toujours plus d’eau sur un site proche de trois cœurs de réacteur en fusion qu’il doit continuer à refroidir coûte que coûte. Des panaches de vapeur indiquent qu’une fission pourrait se poursuivre quelque part en souterrain. Mais personne ne sait exactement où se trouvent exactement ces coriums.
Une grande partie de cette eau irradiée se trouve maintenant dans un millier d’immenses mais fragiles réservoirs qui ont été assemblés à-la-va-vite et éparpillés autour du site. Plusieurs fuient déjà. Ils pourraient tous être fracassés par un prochain séisme, libérant des milliers de tonnes de poisons permanents dans le Pacifique.
L’eau qui coule à travers le site déstabilise aussi les structures subsistantes de Fukushima, dont celle supportant la piscine de l’unité 4.
Plus de 6000 assemblages de combustible reposent dans la piscine commune à juste 50 mètres de l’unité 4. Certains contiennent du plutonium. La piscine ne possède aucun confinement au-dessus. Elle est vulnérable à une perte de refroidissement, à l’effondrement d’un bâtiment proche, à un autre séisme, à un autre tsunami.
Au total, plus de 11.000 assemblages de combustible sont dispersés sur le site de Fukushima. Selon Robert Alvarez, expert de longue date et ancien responsable du département de l’énergie, il y a 85 fois plus de césium léthal sur le site qu’il n’y en a eu de libéré par Tchernobyl.
On continue de trouver des « points chauds » de radioactivité un peu partout au Japon. On entend parler d’une intensification des taux de problèmes thyroïdiens parmi les enfants de la région.
Dans l’immédiat, l’essentiel est que ces barres de combustible doivent sortir de la piscine de l’unité 4 dès que possible.
Juste avant le séisme et le tsunami du 11 mars 2011 qui ont détruit le site de Fukushima, le cœur de l’unité 4 avait été enlevé pour maintenance et rechargement de routine. Comme quelques deux douzaines de réacteurs aux US et d’autres biens trop nombreux dans le monde, la piscine conçue par General Electric dans laquelle repose aujourd’hui le cœur se trouve à 30 mètres en l’air.
On doit toutefois garder immergé le combustible usagé. C’est son revêtement, un alliage de zirconium, qui s’enflammerait spontanément s’il était exposé à l’air. Longtemps utilisé dans les ampoules de flash des appareils photos, le zirconium brûle avec une flamme chaude extrêmement vive.
Toute barre exposée émet suffisamment de radiations pour tuer en quelques minutes quiconque se trouve à côté. Un embrasement pourrait obliger tout le personnel à quitter le site et rendrait inopérable la machinerie électronique.
Selon Arnie Gundersen, ingénieur depuis 40 ans dans l’industrie nucléaire pour laquelle il fabriquait autrefois des barres de combustible, celles du cœur de l’unité 4 sont inclinées, endommagées et fragilisées au point de s’effriter. Les caméras ont montré d’inquiétantes quantités de débris dans la piscine, qui est elle-même endommagée. [Dans une interview, Arnie disait : « Ils ont admis que tout le bore s’était désintégré. Cela peut enclencher une réaction en chaîne nucléaire si les barres arrivent en contact les unes des autres dans la piscine. »]
Les risques techniques et scientifiques pour le vidage de la piscine de l’unité 4 sont spécifiques et redoutables, dit Gundersen. Mais ce doit être fait avec 100 % de perfection.
Que la tentative échoue, les barres pourraient se retrouver exposées à l’air et prendre feu, dégageant d’horribles quantités de radiations dans l’atmosphère. La piscine pourrait même s’écraser au sol, déversant les barres dans un tas qui pourrait entrer en fission et peut-être exploser. Le nuage radioactif qui en résulterait menacerait la santé et la sécurité de nous tous.
La première retombée de Tchernobyl en 1986 a atteint la Californie en dix jours. Fukushima en 2011 est arrivé en moins d’une semaine. Un nouvel incendie de l’unité 4 déverserait un flot continu de poisons mortels radioactifs pendant des siècles.
L’ancien ambassadeur Mitsuhei Murata dit que des rejets à grande échelle de Fukushima « détruiraient l’environnement mondial et notre civilisation. Ce n’est pas compliqué, ça dépasse tout débat sur les centrales nucléaires. C’est un problème de survie humaine. »
Ni Tokyo Electric, ni le gouvernement du Japon ne peuvent faire cela tout seuls. Il n’y a aucune excuse au déploiement concerté d’une équipe coordonnée des meilleurs scientifiques et ingénieurs de la planète.
Nous avons tout au plus deux mois pour agir.
Pour le moment, nous envoyons une pétition aux Nations-Unies et au président Obama pour mobiliser la communauté mondiale scientifique et technique afin qu’elle prenne en charge Fukushima et le travail de la mise en sécurité de ces barres de combustible.
Vous pouvez signer la pétition à :
Si vous avez une meilleure idée, donnez-y une suite s’il vous plaît. Mais faites quelque chose et faites-le maintenant.
Partagez cet article le plus largement possible et faites tourner la pétition. 
L’heure tourne.
 La roadmap de tepco (

10/10/2013, 17:37 | PAR MICHEL DE PRACONTAL
L’accident de Fukushima, le plus grave survenu dans l’industrie nucléaire depuis celui de Tchernobyl, a été abondamment traité par Mediapart, avec un souci constant de rapporter une information aussi précise et exacte que possible. Il n’est pas question ici de minimiser les conséquences de Fukushima. Mais le billet ci-dessus est truffé d’erreurs, d’inexactitudes, d’approximations, d’extrapolations et d’exagérations qui donnent de la situation une image confuse et trompeuse. Or celle-ci est suffisamment préoccupante en elle-même pour qu’il ne soit utile ni de la caricaturer, ni de la déformer. Quelques points importants doivent être soulignés en priorité :
• Le problème de la piscine du réacteur n°4 n’a rien de nouveau. Il a été considéré dès le début de l’accident, par Tepco comme par l’autorité nucléaire japonaise, comme l’un des principaux points à traiter. C’est pourquoi l’évacuation des combustibles usés contenus dans cette piscine est considérée comme prioritaire.
• L’opération consistant à retirer ces combustibles pour les placer dans un lieu plus sûr est assurément complexe et demande de nombreux préparatifs. Cette opération est censée débuter en novembre, si toutefois Tepco réussit à respecter sa feuille de route, ce qui n’est pas certain.
• Depuis 2011, des informations alarmantes concernant cette piscine ont circulé. Elles ont été principalement relayées par un certain Arnie Gundersen, présenté dans le billet ci-dessus comme un ingénieur du nucléaire ayant 40 ans d’expérience, ce qui ne correspond pas à la réalité. Gundersen n’a pas travaillé dans l’industrie nucléaire depuis 1990 et son expérience des réacteurs nucléaires se limite à s’être occupé d’un réacteur de recherche au Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Il n’est donc pas un expert très qualifié de la production d’électricité nucléaire. Les prédictions dramatiques de Gundersen ne se sont pas réalisées jusqu’ici, et le combustible de la piscine n°4 est moins actif qu’il y a deux ans.
• L’affirmation selon laquelle les gaines de zirconium qui protègent les barres de combustible s’enflammeraient spontanément si elles étaient exposées à l’air libre est fantaisiste. Le zirconium est inflammable à l’état de poudre mais l’alliage qui constitue les gaines de combustibles est stable et résiste à la corrosion, c’est pour cela qu’il a été choisi. L’auteur du billet semble confondre le zirconium et le sodium. 
• L’idée que les combustibles de la piscine n°4 pourraient déclencher une catastrophe suffisante pour menacer la survie de l’humanité est un pur non-sens. Même si ces combustibles libéraient une quantité importante de radioactivité dans l’environnement, elle serait de toute façon inférieure à celle qui a déjà été relâchée pendant les premiers jours et semaines de l’accident.
• Pour autant, la situation n’est assurément pas sous contrôle à Fukushima, contrairement à ce qu’a affirmé le premier ministre japonais, Shinzo Abe. Le problème actuellement le plus préoccupant est l’accumulation de centaines de milliers de tonnes d’eau radioactive dans des réservoirs dont l’étanchéité et la résistance n’est pas garantie. Ce problème n’est pas résolu et occupe beaucoup Tepco depuis plusieurs mois, de sorte que le retrait des éléments combustibles de la piscine n°4 pourrait être retardé.
En résumé, Fukushima est une crise grave, non résolue, qui justifie largement l’arrêt du nucléaire au Japon. Mais ce n’est ni la fin du monde, ni celle de l’humanité, ni le moment le plus dangereux depuis la crise de Cuba, et les extrapolations apocalyptiques ne contribuent certainement pas à éclairer le débat sur le nucléaire.   
Les lecteurs intéressés sont invités à se reporter aux articles en lien ci-dessous :

Merci de toutes vos précisions. Je ne faisait que relayer cet article et il semble effectivement qu’il soit trop alarmiste. Il n’empêche que la pétition sera utile car il semble bien que Tepco et le gouvernement Japonais ne soient pas en mesure de contrôler cette crise de façon satisfaisante.
Il était peut être nécéssaire d’alerter l’opinion en tapant fort? Mais vous avez raison que crier au loup avec de mauvais argument déssert la cause anti nucléaire plutot que de la servir.

11/10/2013, 16:58 | PAR LOISCARIE
Ce n’est pas grand chose, mais si vous souhaitez avoir plus de signatures pour cette pétition, placez-là en haut de votre article avec un gros bouton « Signer la pétition ».

13/10/2013, 12:58 | PAR STEPHANG
Merci beaucoup Michel de Précontal pour vos précisions éclairées … à la fin de l’article, j’étais persuadé que nous allions tous ensemble connaître la fin de l’Histoire.
Bazar,  quel stress ! … je ne suis pas sûr que nous ayons besoin de cela.
Y-a-t-il quelques intérêts derrière tout cela ? lesquels ?
Est-ce que le journal doit garder de tels post de blog ?
D’ailleurs vous devriez séparer graphiquement la maquette du site entre journal et blogs. C’est parfois confus.

France Fracking Ban Upheld After Challenge From Energy Giant

France Fracking Ban Upheld After Challenge From Energy Giant

Reuters  |  Posted: 10/11/2013 5:57 am EDT



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Energy, Natural Gas, Fracking, Fracking Ban, Fracking Ban France, France Fracking, France Fracking Ban, France Hydrofracking, Fracking, Fracking, Hydrofracking France, Reuters, Green News


By Emile Picy and Michel Rose

PARIS, Oct 11 (Reuters) – France’s constitutional council rejected on Friday a challenge to a law banning hydraulic fracturing for exploration and production of the country’s shale gas and oil.

The ruling is a boost for President Francois Hollande, who has opposed the technology alongside ecologist Greens in his ruling coalition – to the dismay of some allies who believe France is sacrificing access to a cheap source of energy.

U.S-based firm Schuepbach Energy had challenged on four counts a ban introduced in 2011 due to potential risks to the environment, which led to two of its exploration permits being cancelled in southern France.

« The constitutional council threw out these four complaints and ruled that the disputed components of the July 13, 2011 law comply with the constitution, » the court said in a statement.

The Constitutional Council, made up of judges and former French presidents, has the power to annul laws if they are deemed to be unconstitutional.

France’s Energy Minister Philippe Martin said the ruling meant the law banning fracking, in which pressurised water, chemicals and sand are pumped underground to release gas trapped in shale formations, was now safe from other legal challenges.

« It’s a legal victory, but also an environmental and political one, » Martin said at a news briefing.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates shale gas reserves worth five trillion cubic meters could lie in French soil, mainly in the Paris basin and the Rhone valley – equivalent to 90 years of current French gas consumption.

However, it had not been possible to confirm those estimates because of the ban on hydro-fracking. Other countries such as Poland saw its hopes for shale gas fade after three international firms quit after disappointing drilling results.

So-called fracking was banned in France under former President Nicolas Sarkozy on concerns it could pollute groundwater and trigger earthquakes, bringing to a halt the nascent shale oil and gas industry in France.

Jean-Louis Schilansky, head of France’s oil industry lobby UFIP said it was key for the government to fully implement the law, which includes an article asking for a commission to assess the progress of fracking technologies.

After France put the ban in place, Schuepbach Energy said it had no alternative way to carry out the exploration, which led to the suspension of its two permits in the south of France.

French oil major Total is still awaiting a ruling after it separately appealed at the end of 2011 the government’s decision to ban its own exploration permit by the southeastern town of Montelimar.

Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg stirred debate earlier this year when he suggested creating a state-backed company to examine alternative exploration techniques. (Additional reporting by Marion Douet; writing by Muriel Boselli; editing by Mark John and James Jukwey)

France Fracking Ban Upheld After Challenge From Energy Giant

La centrale du Port-Est inaugurée – Orange – Ile de la Réunion

La centrale du Port-Est inaugurée

centrale thermique de Port-Est
EDF a inauguré ce vendredi 11 octobre 2013 la centrale du Port-Est. Depuis la fin 2012, ses 12 moteurs, fonctionnant au fioul, ont progressivement pris le relais de ceux de l’ancienne usine du Port-Ouest. Cette dernière a été définitivement arrêtée le 18 avril 2013.
D’une puissance de 210 MW, la centrale du Port-Est a été construite afin de remplacer le site de production du Port-Ouest, qui a fourni de l’électricité pendant plus de 50 ans. Son rôle : faire face à la croissance structurelle de la consommation d’électricité des Réunionnais et répondre aux besoins de l’île constatés dans la Programmation pluriannuelle des investissements arrêtée par l’Etat.

À noter que le groupe EDF a investi 500 millions d’euros pour ce nouveau moyen d’électricité.

La centrale du Port-Est inaugurée – Orange – Ile de la Réunion,680358.html

The Forest Man of India |

The Forest Man of India
May 6, 2013 | Lindsey Blomberg | forests, india, jadav payeng


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    Jadav Payeng who planted a 1,360-acre forest.
    In 1979, Jadav Payeng embarked on what would ultimately become a successful 30-year project to single-handedly plant a 1,360-acre forest. Payeng’s tree-planting mission began at age 16, when flooding wiped away a large portion of forest along the Brahmaputra river sandbar in Assam, India. Wildlife were left without adequate shade, and Payeng watched helpless creatures begin to die off from the heat. Deeply saddened, Payeng realized his true calling, to “grow trees all my life.”
    “After the floodwaters receded, the temperatures soared. The snakes died in the heat without any tree cover. I sat down and wept over their lifeless forms. It was carnage,” Payeng told the Times of India. “I alerted the forest department and asked them if they could grow trees there. They said nothing would grow there. Instead, they asked me to try growing bamboo. It was painful, but I did it. There was nobody to help me. Nobody was interested.”
    Payeng started his forest by watering bamboo saplings morning and evening. He even brought red ants from his home village to the sandbar to help improve the soil. When his bamboo trees grew, Payeng decided to slowly introduce other species of trees into the island.
    “I then decided to grow proper trees. I collected and planted them,” Payeng told the Times of India. “I also transported red ants from my village and was stung many times. Red ants change the soil’s properties. That was an experience.”
    Through his individual, unprecedented act of conservationism, Payeng transformed the barren sandbar once prone to flooding into a lush, green forest that now shelters numerous birds, deer, rhinos, tigers and elephants. Payeng’s forest went largely unnoticed until 2008, when a team of Assam state officials came upon it in search of a herd of wild elephants that had run amok in a neighboring village.
    “We were surprised to find such a dense forest on the sandbar,” Gunin Saikia, Assam’s Assistant Conservator of Forests, told the Times of India. “We’re amazed at Payeng. He has been at it for 30 years.”
    Now, at 52, Payeng makes a living with his family in the forest he planted by rearing cows and selling milk, and he has his sights set on planting a second forest on yet another 1,300-acre sandbar.
    “It may take another 30 years, but I am optimistic about it,” Payeng told the Times of India. “I feel sad when I see people felling trees. We have to save the nature or else we all will perish. I may live a very lowly life but I feel satisfied that I have been able to stir up a lot of people who love nature.”

    The Forest Man of India |

2013 July 10 – EPA’s abandoned Wyoming fracking study one retreat of many — High Country News

EPA’s abandoned Wyoming fracking study one retreat of many

When the federal Environmental Protection Agency abruptly retreated on its multimillion-dollar investigation into water contamination in a central Wyoming natural gas field last month, it shocked environmentalists and energy industry supporters alike.
In 2011, the agency had issued a blockbuster draft report saying that the controversial practice of fracking was to blame for the pollution of an aquifer deep below the town of Pavillion, Wyo. – the first time such a claim had been based on a scientific analysis.
The study drew heated criticism over its methodology and awaited a peer review that promised to settle the dispute. Now the EPA will instead hand the study over to the state of Wyoming, whose research will be funded by EnCana, the very drilling company whose wells may have caused the contamination.
Industry advocates say the EPA’s turnabout reflects an overdue recognition that it had over-reached on fracking and that its science was critically flawed.
But environmentalists see an agency that is systematically disengaging from any research that could be perceived as questioning the safety of fracking or oil drilling, even as President Obama lays out a plan to combat climate change that rests heavily on the use of natural gas.
Over the past 15 months, they point out, the EPA has:
·      Closed an investigation into groundwater pollution in Dimock, Pa., saying the level of contamination was below federal safety triggers.
·      Abandoned its claim that a driller in Parker County, Texas, was responsible for methane gas bubbling up in residents’ faucets, even though a geologist hired by the agency confirmed this finding.
·      Sharply revised downward a 2010 estimate showing that leaking gas from wells and pipelines was contributing to climate change, crediting better pollution controls by the drilling industry even as other reports indicate the leaks may be larger than previously thought.
·      Failed to enforce a statutory ban on using diesel fuel in fracking.
« We’re seeing a pattern that is of great concern, » said Amy Mall, a senior policy analyst for the Natural Resources Defense Council in Washington, D.C. « They need to make sure that scientific investigations are thorough enough to ensure that the public is getting a full scientific explanation. »
The EPA says that the string of decisions is not related, and the Pavillion matter will be resolved more quickly by state officials. The agency has maintained publicly that it remains committed to an ongoing national study of hydraulic fracturing, which it says will draw the definitive line on fracking’s risks to water.
In private conversations, however, high-ranking agency officials acknowledge that fierce pressure from the drilling industry and its powerful allies on Capitol Hill – as well as financial constraints and a delicate policy balance sought by the White House — is squelching their ability to scrutinize not only the effects of oil and gas drilling, but other environmental protections as well.
Last year, the agency’s budget was sliced 17 percent, to below 1998 levels. Sequestration forced further cuts, making research initiatives like the one in Pavillion harder to fund.
One reflection of the intense political spotlight on the agency: In May, Senate Republicans boycotted a vote on President Obama’s nominee to head the EPA, Gina McCarthy, after asking her to answer more than 1,000 questions on regulatory and policy concerns, including energy.
The Pavillion study touched a particular nerve for Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., the former ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works committee.
According to correspondence obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, Inhofe demanded repeated briefings from EPA officials on fracking initiatives and barraged the agency with questions on its expenditures in Pavillion, down to how many dollars it paid a lab to check water samples for a particular contaminant.
He also wrote a letter to the EPA’s top administrator calling a draft report that concluded fracking likely helped pollute Pavillion’s drinking water « unsubstantiated » and pillorying it as part of an « Administration-wide effort to hinder and unnecessarily regulate hydraulic fracturing on the federal level. » He called for the EPA’s inspector general to open an investigation into the agency’s actions related to fracking.
When the EPA announced it would end its research in Pavillion, Inhofe — whose office did not respond to questions from ProPublica — was quick to applaud.
« EPA thought it had a rock solid case linking groundwater contamination to hydraulic fracturing in Pavillion, WY, but we knew all along that the science was not there, » Inhofe said in a press release issued the day of the announcement.
Others, however, wonder whether a gun-shy EPA is capable of answering the pressing question of whether the nation’s natural gas boom will also bring a wave of environmental harm.
« The EPA has just put a ‘kick me’ sign on it, » John Hanger, a Democratic candidate for governor in Pennsylvania and the former secretary of the state’s Department of Environmental Protection, wrote on his blog in response to the EPA news about Pavillion. « Its critics from all quarters will now oblige. »
Page 2 of 5
Before fracking became the subject of a high-stakes national debate, federal agencies appeared to be moving aggressively to study whether the drilling technique was connected to mounting complaints of water pollution and health problems near well sites nationwide.
As some states began to strengthen regulations for fracking, the federal government prepared to issue rules for how wells would be fracked on lands it directly controlled.
The EPA also launched prominent scientific studies in Texas, Wyoming and Pennsylvania, stepping into each case after residents voiced concerns that state environmental agencies had not properly examined problems.
The EPA probe in Pavillion began in 2008 with the aim of determining whether the town’s water was safe to drink. The area was first drilled in 1960 and had been the site of extensive natural gas developmentsince the 1990s. Starting at about the same time, residents had complained of physical ailments and said their drinking water — drawn from wells — was black and tasted of chemicals.
The EPA conducted four rounds of sampling, first testing the water from more than 40 homes and later drilling two deep wells to test water from layers of earth that chemicals from farming and old oil and gas waste pits were unlikely to reach.
The sampling revealed oil, methane, arsenic, and metals including copper and vanadium — as well as other compounds — in shallow water wells. It also detected a trace of an obscure compound linked to materials used in fracking, called 2-butoxyethanol phosphate (2-BEp).
The deep-well tests showed benzene, at 50 times the level that is considered safe for people, as well as phenols — another dangerous human carcinogen — acetone, toluene, naphthalene and traces of diesel fuel, which seemed to show that man-made pollutants had found their way deep into the cracks of the earth. In all, EPA detected 13 different compounds in the deep aquifer that it said were often used with hydraulic fracturing processes, including 2-Butoxyethanol, a close relation to the 2-BEp found near the surface.[1]
The agency issued a draft report in 2011 stating that while some of the pollution in the shallow water wells was likely the result of seepage from old waste pits nearby, the array of chemicals found in the deep test wells was « the result of direct mixing of hydraulic fracturing fluids with ground water in the Pavillion gas field. »
The report triggered a hailstorm of criticism not only from the drilling industry, but from state oil and gas regulators, who disagreed with the EPA’s interpretation of its data. They raised serious questions about the EPA’s methodology and the materials they used, postulating that contaminants found in deep-well samples could have been put there by the agency itself in the testing process.
In response, the EPA agreed to more testing and repeatedly extended the comment period on its study, delaying the peer review process.
Agency officials insist their data was correct, but the EPA’s decision to withdraw from Pavillion means the peer-review process won’t go forward and the findings in the draft report will never become final.
« We stand by what our data said, » an EPA spokesperson told ProPublica after the June 20 announcement, « but I do think there is a difference between data and conclusions. »
Wyoming officials say they will launch another year-long investigation to reach their own conclusions about Pavillion’s water.
Meanwhile, local residents remain suspended in a strange limbo.
While controversy has swirled around the deep well test results — and critics have hailed the agency’s retreat as an admission that it could not defend its science — the shallow well contamination and waste pits have been all but forgotten.
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, the federal government’s main agency for evaluating health risk from pollution, has advised Pavillion residents not to bathe, cook with, or drink the water flowing from their taps. Some have reported worsening health conditions they suspect are related to the pollution. They are being provided temporary drinking water from the state in large cisterns.
Page 3 of 5
The EPA opened its inquiry in Dimock, Pa., after residents provided it with private water tests detecting contaminants and complained that state regulators weren’t doing enough to investigate the cause.
When an elderly woman’s water well exploded on New Year’s morning in 2009, Pennsylvania officials discovered pervasive methane contamination in the well water of 18 homes and linked it to bad casing and cementing in gas company wells. In 2010, they took a series of steps against the drilling company involved, citing it for regulatory violations, barring it from new drilling until it proved its wells would not leak and requiring it to temporarily supply water to affected homes.
But residents said state officials hadn’t investigated whether the drilling was responsible for the chemicals in their water. The EPA stepped in to find out if residents could trust the water to be safe after the drilling company stopped bringing replacement supplies.
Starting in early 2012, federal officials tested water in more than five dozen homes for pollutants, finding hazardous levels of barium, arsenic and magnesium, all compounds that can occur naturally, and minute amounts of other contaminants, including several known to cause cancer.
Still, the concentration of pollutants was not high enough to exceed safe drinking water standards in most of the homes, the EPA found (in five homes, filtering systems were installed to address concerns). Moreover, none of the contaminants – except methane — pointed clearly to drilling. The EPA ended its investigation that July.
Critics pointed to the Dimock investigation as a classic example of the EPA being overly aggressive on fracking and then being proven wrong.
Yet, as in Pavillion, the agency concluded its inquiry without following through on the essential question of whether Dimock residents face an ongoing risk from too much methane, which is not considered unsafe to drink, but can produce fumes that lead to explosions.
The EPA also never addressed whether drilling – and perhaps the pressure of fracking – had contributed to moving methane up through cracks in the earth into their water wells.
As drilling has resumed in Dimock, so have reports of ongoing methane leaks. On June 24, the National Academy of Sciences published a report by Duke University researchers that underscored a link between the methane contamination in water in Dimock and across the Marcellus shale, and the gas wells being drilled deep below.
The gas industry maintains that methane is naturally occurring and, according to a response issued by the industry group Energy In Depth after the release of the Duke research, « there’s still no evidence of hydraulic fracturing fluids migrating from depth to contaminate aquifers. »
Page 4 of 5
In opening an inquiry in Parker County, Texas, in late 2010, the EPA examined a question similar to the one it faced in Dimock: Was a driller responsible for methane gas bubbling up in residents’ water wells?
This time, though, tests conducted by a geologist hired by the agency appeared to confirm that the methane in the wells had resulted from drilling, rather than occurring naturally.
« The methane that was coming out of that well … was about as close a match as you are going to find, » said the consultant, Geoffrey Thyne, a geochemist and expert in unconventional oil and gas who has been a member of both the EPA’s Science Advisory Board for hydraulic fracturing, and a National Research Council committee to examine coalbed methane development.
The EPA issued an « imminent and substantial endangerment order » forcing Range Resources, the company it suspected of being responsible, to take immediate action to address the contamination.
But once again, the EPA’s actions ignited an explosive response from the oil and gas industry, and a sharp rebuke from Texas state officials, who insisted that their own data and analysis proved Range had done no harm.
According to the environmental news site Energy Wire, Ed Rendell, the former Governor of Pennsylvania, whose law firm lobbies on behalf of energy companies, also took up Range’s case with then-EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.
Internal EPA emails used in the EnergyWire report and also obtained by ProPublica discuss Rendell’s meeting with then-EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, though Range has denied it employed Rendell to argue on its behalf. Neither the EPA nor Rendell responded to a request for comment on the Parker County case.
In March 2012, the EPA dropped its case against Range without explanation. Its administrator in Texas at the time had been assailed for making comments that seemed to show an anti-industry bias. He subsequently lost his job. An Associated Press investigation found that the EPA abandoned its inquiry after Range threatened not to cooperate with the EPA on its other drilling-related research.
Agency critics see a lack of will, rather than a lack of evidence, in the EPA’s approach in Parker County and elsewhere.
« It would be one thing if these were isolated incidents, » said Alan Septoff, communications director for Earthworks, an environmental group opposed to fracking. « But every time the EPA has come up with something damning, somehow, something magically has occurred to have them walk it back. »
Page 5 of 5
So where does this leave the EPA’s remaining research into the effects of fracking?
The agency has joined with the Department of Energy, U.S. Geological Survey and the Department of Interior to study the environmental risks of developing unconventional fuels such as shale gas, but those involved in the collaboration say that little has happened.
That leaves the EPA’s highly anticipated national study on hydraulic fracturing.
When the EPA announced it was ending its research in Pavillion, it pointed to this study as a « major research program. »
« The agency will look to the results of this program as the basis for its scientific conclusions and recommendations on hydraulic fracturing, » it said in a statement issued in partnership with Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead.
That national study will concentrate on five case studies in Pennsylvania, Texas, North Dakota and Colorado.
It will not, however, focus on Pavillion or Parker County or Dimock.
Nor will it devote much attention to places like Sublette County, Wyo., where state and federal agencies have found both aquifer contamination and that drilling has caused dangerous levels of emissions and ozone pollution.
It will be a long time before the EPA’s national study can inform the debate over fracking. While the agency has promised a draft by late 2014, it warned last month that no one should expect to read the final version before sometime in 2016, the last full year of President Obama’s term.

Le poisson c’est maximum deux fois par semaine – Orange – Ile de la Réunion

Le poisson c’est maximum deux fois par semaine

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Jeudi 10 Novembre 2011Pêche de daurades coryphène
Dans un avis rendu public ce vendredi 5 juillet 2013, l’Anses (Agence nationale de sécurité sanitaire de l’alimentation, de l’environnement et du travail) recommande de consommer au maximum deux portions de poisson par semaine. Il s’agit, selon l’Agence, d’établir un équilibre entre les besoins nutritifs et les risques de contamination au mercure ou aux PCB (Polychlorobiphényle, des polluants organiques persistants, classés « cancérogènes probables »). L’Agence émet également des mises en garde sur la consommation de plusieurs espèces de poissons d’eau douce et de certaines autres espèces, en particulier chez les femmes enceintes ou les jeunes enfants.
« Le poisson et les produits de la pêche possèdent des qualités nutritionnelles précieuses qui en font des aliments particulièrement intéressants au plan nutritionnel », indique l’Agence nationale de sécurité sanitaire de l’Alimentation, citée par « Cependant, du fait qu’ils vivent en contact permanent avec l’environnement, les aliments qui en sont issus sont susceptibles d’être contaminés par des substances chimiques (méthylmercure) mais également par des micro-organismes (bactéries, parasites) » remarque l’ANSES.

L’ANSES recommande donc de consommer du poisson au maximum deux fois par semaine dont un poisson gras, à forte teneur en oméga 3. Par exemple du saumon, de la sardine, du maquereau, du hareng. L’Agence souligne par ailleurs qu’il est important « de limiter à 2 fois par mois la consommation de poissons d’eau douce, fortement bio-accumulateurs » note Cette recommandation et valable pour la population générale, mais à une fois tous les deux mois pour les femmes en âge de procréer, enceintes ou allaitantes ainsi que les enfants de moins de trois ans, les fillettes et les adolescentes.

Les femmes enceintes ou allaitantes ainsi que les jeunes enfants sont également invités à limiter leur consommation de poissons prédateurs sauvages (lotte, loup ou bar, bonite, anguille, grenadier, flétan, brochet, dorade, raie, sabre, thon) et même à éviter celle d’espadon, marlin, siki, « en raison du risque lié au mercure », indique

Cet avis de l’ANSES, écrit, est également l’occasion de rappeler des conseils précieux aux consommateurs. Les adeptes du poisson cru doivent par exemple vider rapidement le poisson après l’achat ou demander au poissonnier de le faire. Avant de le consommer, il est impératif de le congeler pendant au moins 7 jours. Concernant les coquillages, il faut toujours s’assurer qu’ils proviennent d’une zone d’élevage autorisée et contrôlée. L’Anses souligne que la consommation de ces produits est spécifiquement déconseillée aux populations « sensibles » (femmes enceintes, jeunes enfants, personnes âgées, ou immunodéprimées ou souffrant de pathologies comme le cancer ou le diabète) tout comme celle de crustacés décortiqués vendus cuits souligne

Saisie il y a un an par les autorités pour faire le point, l’Anses indique avoir « étudié différents scénarios » en tenant compte à la fois des « effets bénéfiques sur la santé » de la consommation des acides gras oméga 3 qu’on trouve principalement dans les poissons gras et du niveau de contamination des poissons en dioxine, MeHg (mercure organique) et PCB (polychlorobiphényles, isolant utilisé dans l’industrie) « dont l’action toxique est particulièrement importante pendant la période périnatale » cite

Les effets positifs des oméga 3 ont fait l’objet de nombreuses études scientifiques ces dernières années, qu’il s’agisse de leur effet protecteur face à certains cancers, comme celui du sein, ou de leur intérêt pour le coeur. Ils pourraient également jouer un rôle dans le fonctionnement cérébral.

Mais un nombre croissant d’experts s’inquiètent de l’aggravation de la pollution des eaux de mer et de rivières par des produits toxiques allant des hydrocarbures aux métaux lourds : selon une étude publiée en janvier dernier juste avant l’adoption d’une Convention internationale sur le mercure, la déforestation dans le monde s’est traduite par un déversement dans les lacs et rivières de quelque 260 tonnes de mercure auparavant retenues dans les sols, tandis que les quantités de mercure présentes dans les 100 premiers mètres de profondeurs des océans ont doublé en 100 ans, indique l’Agence France Presse (AFP).

Le poisson c’est maximum deux fois par semaine – Orange – Ile de la Réunion,661972.html