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Stop Transport of Highly Radioactive Liquids from Chalk River, Canada, to Savannah River Site, SCThe federal government has secretly been working on a plan to transport highly radioactive liquid from Chalk River, Ontario, Canada, to the Savannah River Site in Aiken, SC -- a distance of over 1,100 miles. A series of 250 truckloads are planned by the Department of Energy (DOE). Interstates 95 and 85 are two of the probable main routes. Based on published data of the US Environmental Protection Agency, a few ounces of this liquid could destroy a whole city water supply. These liquid shipments are unnecessary. The radioactive waste can be down-blended on-site, making it into a solid. This has been done for years at Chalk River. Records from the past are very clear about this liquid and how it should be managed. The report "Detailed Statement on the Environmental Considerations By the Division of Material Licensing, US Atomic Energy Commission" (December 14, 1970) -- which has within it Allied General's application for the Barnwell Nuclear Fuel Plant (Docket No. 50-332) -- describes the waste generated at that facility, and describes how to manage the waste. I knew of this report because of the successful legal challenge to this facility in the 1970s in which I participated. Here is the outline of the criteria needed: * Ensure absolute confinement of HLLW by multiple barriers (HLLW - "high level liquid waste") * Ensure cooling to remove self-generating fission product heat by redundant cooling systems * Provide adequate space in storage tank... * Control corrosion by appropriate design and operating measures * Control non-condensable gases and airborne particulates, including radiolytic hydrogen H2 * Store in form to facilitate future solidification A majority of these are not possible during transport. In addition, when this is repeated 250 times, just a small error, human or equipment, could be disastrous. And errors are to be expected. For example, in the first shipment (and only so far), they had a hot spot in the transport container, and at the Savannah River Site had to turn it around to face the wall, supposedly so as not to expose the workers. Mary Olson of Nuclear Information Resource Service, one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit against these shipments, explains that "even without any leakage of the contents, people will be exposed to penetrating gamma radiation and damaging neutron radiation just by sitting in traffic beside one of these transport trucks. And because the liquid contains weapons-grade uranium, there is an ever-present possibility of a spontaneous chain reaction giving off a powerful blast of life-threatening neutrons in all directions -- a so-called 'criticality' accident." Despite the lawsuit, despite all the letters, despite email, despite petitions, from thousands of concerned citizens, the DOE claims the impact is "insignificant." Although the law requires it, the DOE has not done an Environmental Impact Statement. There has been a limited amount of news coverage; therefore, many people who would be affected by an accident do not know that this is happening. This needs to be stopped. Please ask the Governor to keep these shipments out of the state. Ruth Thomas Environmentalists, Inc.
Climate "Vote" with your Credit CardClimate Change is our most urgent common problem and legislators are not responsive to "we, the people" because of fossil fuel money! I wrote my SunTrust and asked them to live up to their name. Sierra Club offers a Green Visa and Environmental Defense Fund has Bank of America MasterCard, but big banks need to do more! Think Fox/O'Reilly when customers boycotted their products to get fast results!
California Prisoners Bear the Brunt of Statewide Water ShortageIn the wake of the state’s most severe drought in memory, California Governor Jerry Brown issued mandatory statewide water restrictions that require all public agencies to reduce their water consumption by 25 percent. Officials at the 34 prisons operated by the California Department of Corrections have responded by restricting inmates' showers, ability to flush their cells' toilets, and access to laundry services and clean clothes, according to interviews with inmates. Showers are running only three days a week (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday) for a total of four hours, providing a little over an hour for hundreds of prisoners to take turns bathing on shower days. Any prisoner caught in the showers for more than 5 minutes, washing clothes while showers are running, bird bathing or flushing the toilets in their assigned cell could face disciplinary action, including 30 days added to their prison sentence (CDC-115 Rules Violation Report). Prison officials have been instructed to shut off water fountains, outdoor showers, and to stop hosing down sidewalks. As a result, California prisoners are denied water-breaks throughout the day and are refused the hygienic practice of washing off sweat after a workout. Women's prisons in particular have struggled with sanitary upkeep since the implementation of CDCR’s water conservation program. Shower and toilet restrictions affect female prisoners on their menstrual cycles most directly. CDCR’s water conservation program began in 2006 with a pilot project to install flush-restricting valves on toilets at nearly one-third of all California adult institutions, resulting in a host of unsanitary conditions ranging from foul odor to overflowing toilets. Water conservation methods have only grown more aggressive within the recent decade and California prisoners have borne the brunt of health and safety hazards associated with aggressive yet inadequate conservation planning. If California is serious about water conservation and water-use reduction in its prisons, state officials should consider developing policies that promote the depopulation of overcrowded state facilities -- starting with releasing disabled people, the elderly and non-violent offenders. Reducing the numbers of people incarcerated unnecessarily could result in significant water savings and help to make the prison environment more adaptable and suitable for rehabilitation. Other methods of reducing water waste, without violating the human rights of the imprisoned, can include updating sinks, toilets, showers, and appliances with advanced water-saving fixtures. Sign this petition to California Governor Jerry Brown asking him to immediately end all water conservation methods that violate the human rights of people in prison. Sources: http://www.latimes.com/local/political/la-me-ff-to-save-water-california-turns-off-prison-showers-20150709-story.html https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/california-prisons-are-restricting-shower-and-toilet-use-to-fight-the-historic-drought-626 http://www.insidecdcr.ca.gov/2010/04/california-prisons-reduce-water-consumption/ http://www.inmate.com/prison-articles/california-prisoners-affected-by-drought.htm
Keep the pressure on! Demand Mumia & all affected prisoners get the hep C cureThe Pennsylvania Department of Corrections has shown a blatant disregard for both judicial authority and the thousands of PA prisoners affected by hepatitis C. In January 2017, Pennsylvania Judge Robert Mariani ordered the Department of Corrections to provide Mumia Abu-Jamal with hepatitis C treatment. Mumia has an active, chronic hepatitis C infection, and is at serious risk of experiencing medical complications. The debilitating symptoms of an active hepatitis C infection include extreme skin irritation, limb numbness, vision problems, and swollen feet. Mumia’s organs are extremely vulnerable due to the infection. Despite Judge Mariani’s order, the Pennsylvania DOC has not provided Mumia Abu-Jamal with the hepatitis C treatment. Mumia's lawyers have filed a motion for contempt against the Department of Corrections. The PA-DOC and their private health care provider, Correct Care Solutions, have retaliated by filing an opposition motion to the contempt motion with the 3rd Circuit. Throughout this petty battle over court orders, Mumia's life and the lives of over 6,000 hep C+ prisoners have been disregarded. It is imperative that Mumia, and all other prisoners who need it, get the hepatitis C treatment they need.
Ban Solitary Confinement for Youth Prisoners in State CustodyThousands of adolescent youth, ages 11 to 18, are being held in solitary confinement in jails and state prisons across the U.S. These youth spend 22 or more hours each day alone, often in a small 8-by-8-feet cell, completely isolated both physically and socially, often for weeks, months, or even years at a time. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, as many as 10,000 youth prisoners are held in isolation in juvenile jails nationwide. For youth being held in isolation in adult facilities, there is no official count. The ACLU reports that solitary confinement can "cause serious psychological, physical, and developmental harm, resulting in persistent mental health problems, or suicide." Since youth are still developing, the physical and neurological effects are even more detrimental. These risks are magnified for children with disabilities or histories of trauma and abuse. On Jan 26, 2016, President Obama announced a ban on solitary confinement for juvenile offenders in the federal prison system. He said that the practice is often overused and has the potential for devastating psychological consequences on young people. Although Obama’s ban affected close to 8,000 youth in federal prisons, it had absolutely no impact on those in solitary confinement in state and county facilities. It is up to us to pressure Congress and state prison systems to follow suit!
Trump Divest And Stop New Pipelines For The People And PlanetThe United States has the largest web of energy pipelines in the world, extending more than 2.4 million miles. The network of crude oil pipelines in the U.S. is 72,000 miles that connect regional markets. Two Hundred Twenty (220) significant incidents were reported by October 2016 - 3,033 since 2006 costing more than $4.7 billion. Days after President Trump signed executive orders to advance approval of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines, a pipeline rupture spilled 138,600 gallons of diesel fuel in northern Iowa. Established by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), a significant incident is classified when results of serious injury or fatality occur, costs incur more than $50,000, releases more than five barrels of volatile fluids such as gasoline or 50 barrels of other liquids, or results in a fire or explosion. Science and experience have proved that carbon infrastructure, i.e. fracking, pipelines, export terminals are faulty. The consistency of pipelines is not guaranteed, and the possibility of ruptures is inevitable thus, impacting the water, land, and air to irreversible conditions. The impact these pipelines and the chemical plants they feed cause long-term health effects of exposure to toxic air pollution, and the threat of disastrous industrial facility chemical releases. These conditions impose serious ecological risk to our communities, and more serious effects in low-income and communities of color. With Trumps recent executive orders to advance approval of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines in addition to streamlining the regulatory process for pipeline construction and expedite the environmental review process, we the people must take back our rights to clean water, air, and land and not wait on the current administration to act in the best interest of the people and our environment. It is in the best interest of the American people, the banks, and Trump to divest from this old dirty energy economy and invest in a new clean energy economy with renewable energy, Green Sustainability, and a revitalization of the existing pipeline infrastructure that is currently deteriorating.
Prison Activist Gassed in Clements Unit Prison, Texas Law Enforcement Is Violently Out of ControlOn Wednesday, December 21, 2016, a prisoner at the Texas Clements Unit, Kevin "Rashid" Johnson, was gassed in his cell while handcuffed from behind. A letter written by Mr. Johnson to a supporter, dated December 22, 2016, reported that his gassing was “all retaliation for my involvement in exposing the foul abuses here." Kevin “Rashid” Johnson is a well-known scholar and prison activist who has dedicated his efforts to exposing the civil and environmental injustices behind bars. His most recent letter also reads: “I'm in a gas-covered cell now. The law requires that they decontaminate a prisoner and his cell anytime they spray gas on him/her. They refused in my case. My sheets and bedding are covered in bright orange gas, underwear too, as is the cell wall." According to the supporter who received Rashid’s letter, she could smell the toxic gas as soon as she opened the envelope. The vicious treatment of Mr. Johnson is part of a clear pattern. There is evidently a culture among prison staff that encourages such sadistic behavior. What they have done and continue to do -- both to Mr. Johnson and to thousands of other victims -- constitutes a clear violation of basic human rights. A signed statement from prison guard Britta Townsend corroborates that Mr. Johnson was confined to a gassed cell that was not decontaminated and forced to sleep with sheets covered with the bright orange gas. According to Mr. Johnson, Ms. Townsend now fears that she will be targeted by her peers and higher ranking officers.
Unsafe Drinking/Bathing Water in Pennsylvania PrisonsAt SCI-Mahanoy, prisoners are allowed only three small cups of clean water throughout to day to drink with meals. This is about one-eighth of the daily water intake recommended by health professionals. This water crisis is a hazard to the health and safety of all Pennsylvania prisoners. It is particularly dangerous for those prisoners living with already existing, untreated health problems. More than 6,000 prisoners in the state have been diagnosed with Hepatitis C, yet have been refused treatment by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. Please call: John Wetzel Department of Corrections Secretary 717-728-4109 Tom Wolfe Governor of Pennsylvania 717-787-2500 ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (EPA) 800-438-2474 Talking Points • There are reports of visibly brown, smelly water that is undrinkable at SCI-Mahanoy and SCI-Frackville. • This water crisis is a hazard to the health and safety of all PA prisoners. Requests • IMMEDIATELY investigate these reports. • Give all prisoners a daily supply of bottled water immediately for drinking. • Give prisoners access to clean water for showering and personal use.