Feds, BP reach $20B settlement over Gulf spill


The Department of Justice has finalized a $20.8 billion settlement with BP over its role in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch called the settlement a “historic resolution” of the government’s claims against BP, which is responsible for spilling 3.19 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico following the April 10, 2010, explosion at its Deepwater Horizon rig.

“This resolution is strong and fitting,” Lynch said at a press conference with a host of cabinet officials on Monday morning. “BP is receiving the punishment it deserves while also providing critical compensation to the damage to the Gulf region.”

BP will spend $5.5 billion to settle civil claims under the Clean Water Act. The company will also spend $7.1 billion for environmental restoration work, plus $700 million to compensate for still-unknown damages to natural resources in the region.

The company will pay $4.9 million to Gulf Coast states affected by the spill, as well as $1 billion to local communities. Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas will split that portion of the settlement.

The settlement — which still needs to be approved by a federal court — is the largest with a single entity in the Department of Justice’s history.

Read more on The Hill

Flint citizens protest the cost and quality of their water. Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

High Lead Levels In Michigan Kids After City Switches Water Source


Research from Flint, Michigan shows that lead levels in children have gone up since a change in the city’s water supply in spring of 2014. Lead levels nearly doubled after the switch, and are much higher than those in other areas of the country. Are vulnerable children being poisoned by their water supply?

Flint citizens protest the cost and quality of their water. Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio



Indigenous Women Disrupt Pipeline Consultation


“When you’re here on occupied territory, the most important law that you need to respect is Natural Law. And as Indigenous People, we have developed our culture in accordance with Natural Law. We don’t see the natural world as separate from Who We Are.” ~Amanda Lickers, Turtle Clan of the Onondowaga nation, part of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy

Watch the video here.


EPA Adds Five Hazardous Waste Sites to Superfund’s National Priorities List & Proposes an Additional Seven


WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is adding five hazardous waste sites that pose risks to human health and the environment to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL). A separate action includes a proposal to add seven sites to the list.

“Since the creation of the Superfund program 35 years ago, EPA has been addressing the risk to human health and the environment as well as blight to the economy due to contamination left behind by owners and operators,” said Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. “Superfund cleanups protect communities’ health, their environments and their economic wellbeing, including some of the country’s most vulnerable populations.”

Read More


Pesticide Exposure Associated with Increased Risk of Diabetes


“A meta-analysis presented at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Sweden concludes that exposure to pesticides is associated with an increased risk of diabetes. Although diabetes is long-suspected as involving an interplay between genetics and environmental factors, emerging research is revealing that contaminants like pesticides may play an important role in the pathogenesis of the disease. These findings add to a growing body of evidence demonstrating that pesticides play a key role in the development of a wide range of all-too-common diseases in the 21st century.”

Read more from Beyond Pesticides


We Need a Rational Policy on Chemical Safety


“Children’s health and the environment is a most fitting topic for World Environmental Health Day 2015. Children are the most vulnerable among us to degradation of the environment…

…Toxic chemicals are a particularly serious threat to children’s health. More than 80,000 new synthetic chemicals have been invented in the past 50 years. These chemicals are found in thousands of products that we use every day.”

Read More:


‘A Watchful Eye on Farm Families’ Health’


Farmworker communities are disproportionately vulnerable to toxic organophosphates through multiple pathways. There’s an important environmental-justice issue in play, because areas with higher spray exposure are also areas with lower socioeconomic status. From the New York Times.

Wangari Maathai

Women Make The Difference In Action on Climate Change


Greenbelt Movement in Africa

I just spent the last three days in St. Louis, Missouri with the group, Just Moms STL to help them develop a plan to put pressure on the elected representatives with the power and ability to help move families away from a horrible situation and clean up the burning radioactive dumpsite. This Superfund site and emergency situation has been ignored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for decades. In brief the recent study done by the State Attorney General’s office said they community could experience in 3 to 6 months a Chernobyl like event exploding and releasing radioactive wastes throughout the area.

The leaders are women with children, jobs, homes to care for that are leading this fight. But then most of the groups CHEJ works with are led by women 80% at our last count. Yet there is so little recognition of the women in the environmental moment, a frustration that I’ve felt for decades. Yes, my friend and fellow Goldman Prize winner rightfully received recognition but she’s the exception and her work, which continues today is critical to addressing climate change.

Returning home from my work with Just Moms STL, checking my e-mails I came across the article that was written by Tracy Mann from Earth Island. It’s worth a read because it says everything I would have said. Strange it came when it did, fate maybe. Below is an excerpt but the entire article is worth the read.

“In fact, women organizing to protect natural resources and develop community resilience is not a new phenomenon. In the 1970s a group of peasant women in the India threw their arms around trees to prevent the destruction of forests in Northern India in an action that came to be known as the Chipko, or Treehugger Movement. Led by Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai, the Kenya-based Green Belt Movement mobilized rural women to plant trees to restore plundered forests, generate income and serve as an engine of empowerment. In the 1980s, American Lois Gibbs led the famous Love Canal protest in upstate New York to expose and rectify the toxic waste dump over which her town had been constructed. Her years-long struggle inspired her to organize women and people of color around the common interest of climate justice. Canada’s Tzeporah Berman has been on the frontlines of community-based movements against environmental threats since the 1990s when she was in the forefront of the Clayoquot Sound protests against the unconscionable clearcutting of temperate rainforest in Western Canada. More recently she has led acts of civil disobedience against the transnational pipeline and tar sands expansion.

The women mobilizing for September 29 may not yet be known as leaders or heroes, but the Global Women’s Climate Justice Day of Action is one more potent opportunity to tell their stories. It’s an opportunity for global women to join hands, just as my mother and sister and I did 45 years ago, and take their rightful place at the front of the parade, as essential catalysts to solutions to our greatest of all challenges.”

To read the full article click here:

There Can Be No Meaningful Action on Climate Change Without Women

Pope Francis

How Pope Francis helped awaken a deep religious tradition for care for the environment


As Pope Francis moves on from his visit in DC and continues his tour of the United States, it’s the perfect time to recognize the stance he has taken in firm support of the environmental movement. As an advocate for both social justice and environmental sustainability, Pope Francis has a large role to play in uniting the religious community in support of the environmental justice.

“Just about every person who led and shaped the American conservation and early environmental movements grew up Protestant. What irony, then, that the one person who has done more to get people talking about the environment than anyone in decades is the supreme pontiff of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis…”

Read more at The Washington Post


Children May Be Exposed to Unsafe Levels of BPA in School Meals


School meals may contain unsafe levels of bisphenol A (BPA), according to a study led by Jennifer Hartle, DrPh, a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University’s Prevention Research Center and a Center for a Livable Future-Lerner Fellow (2013). BPA – a chemical commonly found in canned goods and plastic packaging – can disrupt human hormones and has been linked to adverse health effects including cancer. Current federal standards for school meals focus on nutrition and overlook exposure to toxic chemicals. Researchers say this exposure is of serious concern for low-income children since they are more likely to eat federally funded meals instead of bringing lunch from home.    

“During school site visits, I was shocked to see that virtually everything in school meals came from a can or plastic packaging,” Hartle said. “Meat came frozen, pre-packaged, pre-cooked and pre-seasoned. Salads were pre-cut and pre-bagged. Corn, peaches and green beans came in cans. The only items not packaged in plastic were oranges, apples and bananas.” The uptick in packaging is a result of schools’ efforts to streamline food preparation and meet federal nutrition standards while keeping costs low.

To better assess BPA exposure through school meals, Hartle, along with researchers from the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF), interviewed school food service personnel, visited school kitchens and cafeterias in the San Francisco Bay Area and analyzed studies on BPA food concentration values. They found that BPA exposure varies depending on what students eat, but a student consuming pizza and milk with canned fruits and vegetables could take in anywhere from minimal levels to 1.19 micrograms of BPA per kilogram of body weight per day. While most students would not consume the maximum amount, those who do would take in more than half the dose shown to be toxic in animal studies in just one meal.

“With endocrine-disrupting chemicals particularly, there is so much uncertainty,” said Robert Lawrence, MD, co-author of the study and director of the CLF. “We can’t tie a specific dose to a specific response like we can with lead. But we know BPA is impacting human health. Animal models are showing there can be a wide range of health effects. This research shows we should take a precautionary approach and limit school meal exposure to BPA by serving students more fresh fruits and vegetables.”

Probabilistic modeling of school meals for potential bisphenol A (BPA) exposure,” was written by Jennifer C. Hartle, Mary A. Fox, and Robert S. Lawrence.