Archive for the ‘Coal’ Category

Earth Day – the State of the World, BP One Year Later, US Whistleblower Says Fukushima Could Happen Here & Oil Companies’ Control Over Media

April 21st, 2011

Reflections on the 41st anniversary of Earth Day, the Fukushima nuclear crisis, the Chernobyl 25th anniversary, the one year anniversary of the BP blowout, and signs of hope from across the country with Brent Blackwelder and Antonia Juhasz.

Brent is the president emeritus of the Friends of the Earth and Antonia is the director of the Energy Program at Global Exchange, a San Francisco-based human rights non-profit organization.

A Fukushima-like hydrogen explosion could happen at the Hanford Nuclear Waste facilities, that’s according to whistleblower Walt Tamosaitis. The Hanford site in Washington State is home to two-thirds  of the nation’s high-level radioactive waste. Joining Earthbeat host Daphne Wysham to discuss Walt’s case – and his being fired for speaking out – is Tom Devine, part of Walt’s legal team and the legal director for the Government Accountability Project.

Oil companies like Chevron work with the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and other newspapers to place their advertisements directly opposite the paper’s environmental reporting. Discussing the corporate control of environmental reporting is Kert Davies, Greenpeace’s Research Director and Sut Jhally, a professor in the communications department at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

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Kert Davies mentions the Powell Memo, a document written by Supreme Court Justice Lewis S. Powell before he joined the US Supreme Court that outlines how corporations should fight back against negative public opinion – and the American Petroleum Institute’s work to undermine climate science. Also discussed is the book, Merchants of Doubt.

Here’s a recent op-ed on the Fukushima crisis and other energy issues by Earthbeat Host Daphne Wysham.

Photo used via a creative commons license via Flickr.

Fukushima’s Informational Fallout; Obama’s Nuclear Connections; Billionaires & Salazar Push Coal in Wyoming; EJ Leaders Celebrate Halt to Cap and Trade

March 29th, 2011

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has quietly doubled what it considers “safe” exposure levels to nuclear radiation. Japan issues conflicting claims about levels of radioactivity. The French and Austrian governments are putting forth different numbers on the radiation emerging from Japan.

Joining host Daphne Wysham to discuss the reliability – or lack thereof – of claims of “safety” in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster is Dr. Arjun Makhijani, the president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research. Makhijani is the author of numerous reports and books, including the book “Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy.”

** Update: The US EPA is testing milk for radiation contamination. **

Mary Olson is the director of the Southeast Office of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service. She explains how President Obama’s ties to the nuclear industry include some of his closest advisers, staff, and fundraisers. She also explores the challenging issues around nuclear waste storage and transport.

Earthbeat host Daphne Wysham interviewed the Institute for Policy Studies‘ Bob Alvarez about spent fuel here in the U.S. for our television partners – The Real News.

More at The Real News

The US has opened up huge swaths of public land in Wyoming to coal mining in a deal that involves billionaires Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. Jeff Biggers gives us the latest. Biggers is the author of “Reckoning at Eagle Creek: The Secret Legacy of Coal in the Heartland.”

Finally, environmental justice activists declared victory in California courts, bringing cap and trade to a halt in the state. We hear from attorney and plaintiff Angela Johnson-Meszaros on why they challenged cap and trade and what’s next.

Additional information and audio will be posted shortly.

Image by Abode of Chaos, used via a Creative Commons license from Flickr.

Our theme music is “Baladi” by Tony Anka, Bellydance Superstars vol. 2.

If you’d like to hear this edition of Earthbeat – please send us an e-mail

Women Creating Real Environmental Change

March 11th, 2011

Today on Earthbeat, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of International Women’s History month – we talk to women and girls who are making a difference.

Award-winning children’s book author Lynne Cherry focuses on environmental issues. Her latest project Young Voices on Climate Change brings her work to a new medium – film.

The bailout of Wall Street led to billions of taxpayer money going toward banks – instead of people. Nia Robinson, the former director of the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative, spoke with us about how these funds could have gone toward helping African-American communities cope with climate change.

Actress Q’orianka Kilcher co-starred in the Hollywood movie ‘The New World.’ She now works to spread the message of environmental justice in her native Peru and around the world.

Niaz Dorry, Time Magazine Hero for the Planet, and director of the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance, is working to bring the ‘buy local’ food movement out to sea.

Music for this edition of Earthbeat includes Protect the World, Last Day on Earth by Kate Miller-Heidke, and Scale Down by Rising Appalachia. Our theme music is “Baladi” by Tony Anka, Bellydance Superstars vol. 2.

Photo by SIDA.

If you’d like to hear this edition of Earthbeat – please send us an e-mail

Fracking Comes Under Fire, Oil Refineries Endanger Millions & The EPA’s Embattled History

March 4th, 2011

The EPA undertakes the first national study of fracking for natural gas – while communities near so-called fracking sites find radium in their water and scientists reveal that natural gas isn’t as climate-friendly as once thought. Joining host Daphne Wysham is Abrahm Lustgarten, the author of the ongoing investigation of fracking for the non-profit journalism group – ProPublica.

Decrepit oil refineries threaten the health of at least 16 million Americans – and safer chemicals alternatives that could be used are ignored by oil companies. Reporter Jim Morris investigated the records of more than 50 oil refineries across America for the investigative journalism group – The Center for Public Integrity.

To find out if your community is located near an oil refinery – check out this interactive map by CPI.

As the US federal budget debate continues, the EPA is once again on the chopping block. A look back at the history of the EPA and look forward to new ways to stimulate the economy with Bill Drayton and Brent Blackwelder. Bill was the deputy administrator in the EPA in the Carter Administration. He’s currently the CEO of the Ashoka Foundation. Brent is the president emeritus of The Friends of the Earth.


More at The Real News

Music for this edition of Earthbeat includes Excuse Me Mr. by Ben Harper and Jump Start by Melissa Czarnik.

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‘Shock Doctrine’ in Effect; Activist Faces Prison for Disrupting Oil Auction; US House Slashes EPA & ‘Climate Cranks’

February 25th, 2011

Corporations are using the panic and disorientation of budget crises to crush unions and environmental protections, that’s according to Shock Doctrine author Naomi Klein. In a conversation with host Daphne Wysham, Klein tells us how those in Wisconsin and other places are pushing back to catch corporate tax dodgers.

US Uncut actions are occurring across America.

The federal government must pass a budget within days – or all government services will screech to a halt. But Republicans in the US House passed a budget bill that strips the EPA of its power. Anna Aurilio, the DC director of Environment America, says the shortfalls could be filled by stopping the ‘free pass’ oil companies get on deep-water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. They’re not paying $5 billion dollars a year on these oil leases.

Climate activist Tim DeChristopher faces federal felony charges for interrupting a federal auction of oil and gas leases – an auction held in the last few days of the Bush Administration in 2008. We’ll hear from Tim – ‘bidder number 70′ – who managed to ‘win’ a number of the leases before the auction was halted. Interview courtesy of Solve Climate.

Then, Mark Hertsgaard takes on ‘climate cranks’ in his new book Hot and with Earthbeat host Daphne Wysham on The Real News Network.

Music for this edition of Earthbeat includes Bucky Halker’s songs, Union Fights the Battle of Freedom, and Democratic Blues.

Image used courtesy USUncut.

If you’d like to hear this edition of Earthbeat – please send us an e-mail

World on the Edge – A Discussion with Author Lester Brown

February 10th, 2011

The world is facing a potentially devastating ‘Food Bubble,’ that according to pioneering environmentalist Lester Brown. in his new work – ‘World on the Edge’ – Lester seeks to reconcile dueling predictions of our future: The scientists who say climate change will cause incredible disruption in our food, water and energy sources; And the economists who continue to predict steadily increasing world growth.

Lester’s earlier book, ‘Plan B’ will be the subject of an upcoming PBS television special hosted by Matt Damon this Spring. Host Daphne Wysham sits down with the founder of the Earth Policy Institute – Lester Brown – for a look into the world’s future.

If you’d like to hear this edition of Earthbeat – please send us an e-mail

High-Tech Theft of Carbon Trades, Defending the Clean Air Act & GE Alfalfa

February 1st, 2011

A high-tech heist of international carbon trading credits. Thieves steal millions of dollars worth of ‘vouchers’ for carbon emissions right out of the bank accounts of European traders. We’ll discuss how this daring theft underscores the weaknesses of cap and trade schemes with Jutta Kill, the climate change campaigner for FERN, an environmental and social justice group that focuses on the European Union and the EU’s impact on forests around the world.

Then, the EPA’s regulation of greenhouse gases comes under attack by Congress.  Some say the EPA is barreling ahead on regulations – others say it’s too little, too late. Joining us to discuss the EPA and its use of the Clean Air Act is Nathan Richardson, a lawyer at the non-partisan think-tank Resources for the Future and Kevin Bundy, a senior attorney for the the Center for Biological Diversity.

Then, Monsanto succeeds in pushing genetically engineered alfalfa on American consumers and organic farmers. Joining us to discuss the effects this GE crop may have on milk, beef and bees is Will Fantel, the co-director of the Cornucopia Institute and Patty Lovera, the assistant director of Food and Water Watch.

Image from Digital Monkey via Flickr, used via a Create Commons license.

If you’d like to hear this edition of Earthbeat – please send us an e-mail

Shadowy White House Office Silences Gov’t Scientists; China’s Carbon Capture Plans & Palm Oil Plantations Destroy Indonesia’s Rainforests

January 25th, 2011

This week the Environmental Protection Agency announced that – despite a White House directive – the EPA will not be changing its current standards for answering media questions about its research.

On December of last year, 2010, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy issued a memo directing all agencies, including the EPA, to develop and implement policies clarifying agency scientists’ right to speak and publish their work, talk to the media, and be free of any political alteration of scientific documents.

But in reality, many say far too little has changed since the repressive Bush Administration, and they charge that the White House memo was weakened by the White House Office of Management and Budget. Washington, DC based freelance writer, Joseph A Davis, has covered the OMB and its power plays to control federal agencies for over 30 years. Joe’s reports on the OMB and scientific freedom are available at Climate Science Watch.

When Chinese President Hu Jintao wrapped up his United States visit he returned to China with a historic agreement to focus on clean energy. But part of the plan is ‘carbon capture and storage’ a scheme in which carbon is captured from industrial sources like coal-fired power plants and then stored by injecting it deep into the Earth.

According to Peter Montague, the executive director for the Environmental Research Foundation, carbon capture and storage is an expensive waste of time and money that will extend our use of fossil fuels. Also joining us is Sarah Forbes, a senior associate for climate and energy at World Resource Institute, the organization that is working with China and the US to ensure that CCS, if to happens, is done safely and effectively.

The relatively small island nation of Indonesia is one of the world’s top producers of greenhouse gases. What puts this Southeast Asian country right in there with the United States and China is the deforestation. One of the biggest threats to the Indonesian rainforest are palm oil plantations. Joining Earthbeat host Daphne Wysham to discuss international funding for these plantations is Marcus Colchester, director of the Forest Peoples Program.

Music for this edition of Earthbeat includes “Secret” by Orchestral Manoeuvers in the Dark. Our theme music is “Baladi” by Tony Anka, Bellydance Superstars vol. 2.

Photo by Gavin Westwood via Flickr, used via a Create Commons license.

If you’d like to hear this edition of Earthbeat – please send us an e-mail

Taking on Corporations and Giving Rights to Nature, Why 1 in 3 Children is Chronically Ill, and Wild Weather and Media Silence on Climate Connections

January 18th, 2011

Wild weather is occurring all over the world and yet news reports seem to miss the obvious link between these extreme weather events and the ongoing effects of climate change. Joining us to discuss the limitations – and possibilities – of news coverage on climate change is Andrew Revkin. Andrew is the Dot Earth blogger for the New York Times and a senior fellow for environmental understanding at Pace University.

A new strategy is catching on that gives communities the right to kick corporations out of their communities, while granting ecosystems “rights”. Mari Margil is the associate director of the group that’s spearheading this effort – Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund.

Then, a new book explores the why it is that one in three children is chronically ill. Host Daphne Wysham speaks to Alice Shabecoff about her book Poisoned for Profit. Alice is the former national director for the National Consumers League. Her co-author on “Poisoned for Profit” is Philip Shabecoff, a former environmental reporter for the New York Times and the founder of Greenwire.

Music for this edition of Earthbeat includes “Freakin’ Frackin’” by Op-Critical and “Modern Age” by Eric Hutchinson. Our theme music is “Baladi”  by Tony Anka, Bellydance Superstars vol. 2.

Photo of the Brisbane flooding of 2011 – by Erik Veland. Used via a creative commons license.

Here’s Erik’s comment on the flooding: “While I am not directly affected by the flood myself, as a freelance designer most my clients have and I am left without work. If you want to license any of these photos commercially, please contact me. You are still free to use the photos for non-commercial purposes, but if you can, please consider making a PayPal donation to erikveland@gmail.com so I can continue to eat and pay my rent. In return I contribute shelter and power to those in need around me. If you are affected by the floods and need space or power, please also contact me.”

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U.S. Gov’t BP Report Blames Bad Management; Danger in our Drinking Water, & A Tribute to a Mountaintop Removal Heroine

January 13th, 2011

A report by the Environmental Working Group on contaminated water forces the EPA to thoroughly investigate.  EWG’s senior scientist Olga Naidenko, outlines changes that needed to happen.

The US government’s final report on the BP oil disaster targets “bad management,” – but that’s not the whole story. Freelance journalist Dahr Jamal and Tyson Slocum, director of the Energy Program of Public Citizen fill in the details.

Finally,  Bo Webb of Coal River Mountain Watch and host Daphne Wysham offer a tribute to Judy Bonds, called the godmother of the battle against mountaintop removal coal mining, who died on January 3, 2011.

Our theme music is “Baladi”  by Tony Anka, Bellydance Superstars vol. 2.

If you’d like to hear this edition of Earthbeat – please send us an e-mail