April 13, 2011

With regard to nuclear reactors, Don Lichtenberg operates on the principle that “if things can go wrong, they will -- though not often.”

On March 31, Lichtenberg, professor emeritus of theoretical nuclear physics at Indiana University, spoke at the Monroe County Public Library on lessons on nuclear power that the United States can learn from the nuclear accident in Fukushima, Japan.

Wild Indiana events celebrate backcountry in April

April 2, 2011

The history of the Charles C. Deam Wilderness Area southeast of Bloomington can be officially traced to 1964 and the Wilderness Act. Or to 1973, when Congress directed the U.S. Forest Service to examine every acre of the National Forest System in the east for wilderness potential. Or to 1982, when Congress created the 12,982-acre Deam.

More compelling, however, are the stories of the extraordinary people who made the wilderness happen, some of whom will gather at 5:30 p.m., April 20, at the Lilly Library on the Indiana University campus, to remember a time when reasonable citizens could effect positive change for the benefit of all. Participants who will share Deam Wilderness memories include Jeffrey Stant, Bill Miller, Bill Hayden and Jeffrey St. Clair.

Union, I-69 protesters picket governor, Chamber of Commerce

March 31, 2011

Jean Smith holds one end of a 7-feet-long poster that first entered the protesting scene five years ago. It should be a third longer, she said.

“It’s the cost of I-69 expressed in millions,” the longtime opponent of the Interstate 69 extension from Evansville to Indianapolis via Bloomington said, looking down at the small numbers. “When I printed this, the state said it cost $1.8 billion, but we estimated that it cost $3 billion. The state now admits that it’s $3 billion."

Citizens for Appropriate Rural Roads (CARR) has calculated the cost to be $4 billion, so the poster should be longer.

March 29, 2011

A national expert who was instrumental in unraveling the Enron accounting scheme has filed testimony with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) opposing the murky, risk-shifting plan for a coal-gasification plant proposed for Rockport by New York-based Leucadia Corp.

Robert McCullough’s testimony revealed a complicated “derivative” scheme based on the price of various commodities over time. Customers are not paying for service, or a natural gas substitute, but instead are paying for a financial hedge to cover the losses and share in the profits, if any, that the plant’s owners might make. McCullough’s testimony shows that if the contract were in place today, it could lead to a loss to ratepayers of as much as $500 million.

Study links environment with male reproductive problems, cancer

March 17, 2011

A new Finnish study linking environmental toxins to reproductive problems in young men reminded me of the ongoing, three-decade-old toxic assault on children's health and a speech I gave in 1995. The place was the annual meeting of the Indiana Environmental Institute (IEI) in downtown Indianapolis. The occasion was the release of my first book. The topic was sperm.

Before the talk, I figured I would never again have the undivided attention of the cream of the state's environmental stakeholders -- leaders from Indiana industry, government, academia and citizen groups, almost all white males. So I decided targeting their testicles might get their attention and be something they just might remember. I built the speech around an article the New Yorker had just published about worldwide declines in sperm counts.

March 16, 2011

The following is a statement about changes in the Farmers Market made by Megan Hutchison, District 5 City Council Candidate, at a news conference on March 12, 2011.


I called this press conference Thursday after learning about changes to the Saturday Market at City Hall. On Thursday morning, I attended a Citizen’s Breakfast hosted by City Council President Susan Sandberg, County Council President Julie Thomas and County Council, District Four Representative Sam Allison. The breakfast is held monthly and offers residents a welcoming environment to discuss issues of importance to them.

At the breakfast, we were all surprised to hear the new rules regarding tabling for community groups at the Farmers’ Market. A member of a nonprofit organization that frequently tables at the market learned that there would be fees to set up tables near the market. In the past, local organizations were able to participate in the Farmers’ Market to inform and engage community members for no cost. It’s a great way for farmers’ market customers to learn more about community events and how they can get involved in issues and organizations they are interested in.

March 14, 2011

Many people apply lawn chemicals on their properties to achieve the much-touted gorgeous, green, weed-free lawn. Lawn chemicals, however, can be deadly.

“The entire U.S. population is exposed on a daily basis to numerous agricultural chemicals, some of which are used in residential and commercial landscaping,” according to the latest edition of a report called Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk: What We Can Do Now, by the President’s Cancer Panel.

February 27, 2011

A new report released late last week shows that US power plants increased their emissions of climate change causing, carbon dioxide by 5.56 percent in 2010 over that released in 2009.

The Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) study, titled Getting Warmer, showed that Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky ranked fourth, fifth and seventh nationally in the release of the greenhouse gas and that all three significantly increased those releases in 2010.

February 23, 2011

News Release
Citizens Action Coalition, AARP Indiana, Save the Valley, Valley Watch Hoosier Chapter Sierra Club

On Feb. 23, 2011, a coalition of consumer and environmental organizations blasted Senate Bill 251, contending that it is a utility wish list inimical to consumer interests and economic stability. S.B. 251 was approved on Tuesday, Feb. 22 by a vote of 32-17 and will now to be sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Grant Smith, Executive Director of Citizens Action Coalition (CAC), said, “SB 251 does three things: First, the legislation is designed to enable utilities to pursue financially high-risk investments, like nuclear power, that they would otherwise avoid. Secondly, it is designed to deregulate large portions of utility revenue over time. Finally, SB 251 all but eliminates the possibility of a robust, homegrown renewable energy sector for Indiana."

Students exposed to pollution from boilers on college campuses
February 23, 2011

News Release
Sierra Student Coalition, Coal Free IU

On Feb. 23, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a modest air quality standard to protect Americans from life-threatening air pollution from industrial boilers, which emit toxic pollutants such as mercury, acid gases and arsenic. College students around the country are affected by toxic air pollution from on-campus boilers. This particular EPA safeguard is often called the “Boiler MACT (Maximum Available Control Technology).”

In response, Coal Free IU representative Lauren Kastner and Sierra Student Coalition organizer Alexis Boxer issued the following statement: “This long overdue and relatively modest air quality update by Administrator Lisa Jackson and the EPA will save lives, prevent disease and help college students avoid costly hospitalizations and missed schooldays."

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