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Governor Brown: Ban Fracking in California NowGovernor Cuomo of New York just declared a ban on fracking. Howard Zucker, the acting New York State Health Commissioner, said a recently released scientific study found that there were "significant public health risks" associated with fracking, including water contamination and air pollution. In California we have the added problem of drought conditions. The millions of gallons of water used in fracking is an incredible waste of this precious resource. It is time for Governor Jerry Brown to take action and ban fracking in California now.
American Lung Association: Cut Fossil Fuel Ties and Come Clean!The negative health impacts of fracking are scientifically proven. The ALA acknowledged that hydraulic fracturing for "natural" gas trapped in shale (fracking) causes cancer-causing air pollution. But after receiving hefty donations from a fracking corporation, it now promotes gas as "cleaner than other fossil fuels." Those supporting ALA campaigns deserve to know the shameful truth: The ALA has partnered with the fossil fuel industry — which contributes greatly to air pollution and respiratory diseases. The ALA in 2012: "We have seen irrefutable evidence of serious threats to human health from air pollutants emitted during oil and natural gas production. These pollutants can worsen asthma, cause heart attacks, and harm the circulatory, respiratory, [and] nervous . . . systems. They are also linked to cancer, developmental disorders, and even premature death.” The ALA reversed course when it received a big donation from Canadian corporation Encana Oil & Gas in support of its “Fighting for Air” campaign against coal (and supporting gas as a “cleaner” fuel). From the ALA statement supporting “natural” gas: The ALA "supports the increased use of natural gas as a transitional fuel for the production of electricity. . . ." Wimmer and the national board of the ALA make a mockery of the thousands of dedicated local chapter leaders, staff, and volunteers, whose efforts on various campaigns have saved untold numbers of lives. The ALA should not play politics or partner with fossil-fuel pushers. The only logical remedy is for the ALA to come clean — by denouncing fracking as the intolerable lung health-destroying corporate activity it is; severing all ties with board members, advisers, and volunteers from within the fossil fuel industry; and living up to its own mission.
Sign the United Nations General Assembly Resolution on Depleted UraniumI served in the Parachute Regiment and the Special Air Service for eight years. I have spoken out about the reality of the war in Iraq on numerous occasions since I left the army but only recently have I learned about another of its cruel legacies; chemically toxic and radioactive depleted uranium (DU). I was not surprised last week when I heard the UK and US had voted against a United Nations General Assembly Resolution that asked states to provide help to Iraq in dealing with DU contamination and for UN agencies to carry out more research into its potential negative effects on public health and the environment. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has long argued that DU weapons are effective and necessary to save soldiers’ lives, but they refuse to take into account the effect on civilian populations that especially as they can continue long after a war has ended. When it is fired it creates a DU dust which, if breathed in, has the potential to mutate DNA and cause cancers and birth defects. In Iraq, the battles took place in towns and cities full of people. The Iraqi government knows of 300 contaminated sites today – hundreds more are unidentified. This contamination poses a threat to the Iraqi people, particularly pregnant women and children who are especially susceptible to exposure from toxic materials. The MoD claims that there is no evidence that DU has caused health problems in Iraq. However, there is no evidence because there have been no health studies carried out specifically on civilians living in contaminated areas. Last year, the former director of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Iraq programme, Dr Neel Mani, said that the organisation knew of abnormal rates of health problems as far back as 2001. However, cynicism from ‘certain member states’ and a politicised funding structure had left them unable to do anything about it. He is not the first person to speak out but the denial and the political power of the offending states means that this public health crisis continues. Within Iraq, many people continue to speak out about this. The International Committee of the Red Cross have reports of being approached by tribal leaders who say that clean-up of DU ‘exceeded any other humanitarian concerns’. As the father to three beautiful, healthy children I found it so distressing when I heard Dr Samira Alaani, an Iraqi paediatrician report: ‘The first question I am asked when a child is born is not ‘is it a boy or a girl?’ but ‘is my child healthy?’ It makes me so angry that, for all of our promises of freeing Iraq, what we have left them is a toxic legacy that will last for generations to come. As a former soldier who fought in Iraq, I can safely say that this is not why I joined the British Army. Nor do I believe that many other soldiers are happy with the fact that they are being made complicit with these acts. Doctors across Iraq have been reporting much higher than normal incidences of cancer and birth defects for years now. It has been estimated that cleaning up the 300 known contamination sites would cost between US$30-45 million. To people like me and you that is a lot of money but to governments that have spent billions on war, it is a drop in the ocean. If they cannot afford to clean it up, they should not have made us use it in the first place. In December the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) will take a second vote on a draft resolution on DU weapons. It will be the fifth one of its kind and will no doubt, once more, see a majority of the states vote in favour of it – 155 did last time. The UNGA draft resolution asks states that have fired DU to provide firing locations. It asks international organisations to carry out further research. It asks any states with the means to do so to provide assistance to countries affected by DU. It is not a lot to ask, so why do the UK and US persistently vote against these resolutions? Just last month the Iraqi government joined the doctors and people of Iraq in asking for help to clean up this mess and to conduct research into the problems their country is facing. They know they cannot do it alone; this will take an international effort and it needs to be done sooner rather than later. We must support the people of Iraq, which is why I am demanding that the UK and US support the current UN resolution. Please add your voice to this campaign and demand that the US and UK take responsibility for their actions.
Legalize Solar PanelsFlorida advertises itself as the Sunshine State; but, power company executives and regulators have worked successfully to keep most Floridians from using that sunshine to generate their own power. Typical business models, like leasing, plus tax rebates, have made solar systems affordable for millions of homeowners around the country. These practices are largely illegal in Florida. Agencies like JEA have a monopoly on electricity and are gouging rate-payers. Please sign the petition and urge the governor to introduce legislation that would make leasing solar panels legal in Florida and allow residents to sell back any excess power the systems generate on their homes any other properties.
Pass SB 1132 California Fracking MoratoriumLast year, under pressure from the oil industry, the California Legislature failed to pass a moratorium on fracking. Since then, fracking has continued to expand in California, putting our communities, our water supply and the climate at risk. Now we have another chance to pass a fracking moratorium bill. State Senators Holly Mitchell and Mark Leno introduced SB 1132, a strong moratorium bill that, if passed, will protect California from fracking and other well stimulation techniques. SB 1132 just got a yes vote at the first committee hearing. The next vote is on April 30. We have a real opportunity to pass a fracking moratorium in California this year. The oil industry will spend huge amounts of money and political capital fighting this bill. We need your help before the next vote on April 30. Please sign the petition to urge our California State Legislators to vote yes on SB 1132 for a fracking moratorium now.
NEW SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING AND MATH CABINET POSITION FOR PRESIDENTPoliticians are rarely scientists, engineers or mathematicians. These areas progress, change and discover new things pretty much daily and are advancing in complexity. The President of the United States can impact the world today and for decades to come with decisions that they may not fully understand how these impacts will be felt. They need a STEM cabinet position to help them understand, no matter what their political party affiliation.
Don't Let Snowmobiles Drive Caribou to ExtinctionConservationists have struggled to protect these animals for years, and have failed, largely due to opposition from snowmobile users. In 2012, the Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to set aside more than 375,000 acres of critical habitat for the caribou, but opposition forced officials to reduce that to 30,000 acres. Partly as a result, these Caribou are now nearly extinct. These magnificent animals are uniquely adapted to the harsh environment of the Selkirk Mountains. We can't let a small group of people concerned only with their own amusement drive them out of existence!
Support Roof Top Solar PanelsThis provides a diversified source of power, eliminates the need for installing and maintaining hundreds of miles of transmission lines and supports our transition to an alternative energy source. Concentrated energy sources and transmission lines are susceptible to floods, fire. weather events and acts of terrorism.