Sunday, January 24, 2016


PNN 1-24-16

Our News Director Rick Spisak welcomes the TRIUMPHANT RETURN of our Political Commentator Brook Hines.

will be producing her first PNN Segment - You will surely enjoy her insights and her guests as well.

Jeannie Danna and her colleague Administrator Brad Bleich will bring us their perspective on the Environmental Hub movement and Florida Issues.

Florida House Democratic Leader Mark Pafford will address the 2016 Legislative session, and will share his perspective on his final session before he is term limited out.

West Virginia Press Conference we will join a press conference on the ongoing Water Issues in West Virginia. Focusing not only on West Virginia Water Co. West Virginia American Water that has continually demanded increases in their rates, but they have stated publicly they will not be investing in infrastructure upgrades instead these 30% percent rate increases are solely to benefit their executives and shareholders. 

1. the republicans are working on reproduction restrictions law modeled on the Texas legislations with massive restrictions

2. The water bill will not do anything to enact what the Amendment 1 passage envisioned, but will put pollution standards in the hands of the polluters

3. A state lawmaker whose district covers a part of Flint says he appealed to several high-ranking officials, including Gov. Rick Snyder, within the last year warning them about water quality.
State Rep. Sheldon Neeley, D-Flint

"More than a year ago, we knew something was wrong when the residents of Flint began seeing their water come from the taps in their homes cloudy and brown," said State Representative Sheldon Neeley (D-Flint) in a statement Friday. "We didn't know it at the time, but this was the first indication that lead was leaching into the water supply for the entire community, causing a health hazard that has spurred Flint into the national spotlight and caused decades of health problems for our citizens."

4. The US government claims Snowden, by revealing state secrets, has threatened the security of this country.

Chomsky points out that it is the duty of every American citizens to expose his government's terrorist policies if that be the case.

What Snowden has succeeded in doing is not laying bare classified information so much, but rather shining a light on a government that seeks to hide from its own citizenry its own criminal embarrassments.

5. Pentagon to increase number of US troops in Iraq | 21 Jan 2016 | The US plans to increase the number of troops in Iraq as it seeks to "accelerate" its campaign to "crush" Islamic State in the region, the Pentagon chief said. Ash Carter met with his French partner seeking ways to bring Arab states "in the game," too. Aside from his bilateral meeting with his counterpart and "good friend," French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, the US Defense Secretary Carter sat down for the first with seven major members of the anti-Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) [but still I-CIA-SIS] coalition. The "face-to-face meeting" included Britain, Germany, Italy, Australia and the Netherlands, all trying to figure out in what ways they could boost their fight against Islamic militants.

6. Out-of-order chlorine pump brings EPA to Flint to test drinking water | 22 Jan 2016 | A chlorine pump station in Flint was out of operation Thursday, bringing in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to do testing to make sure levels of the chemical are where they should be. On Jan. 21, the city of Flint informed the U.S. EPA that the chlorine pump near the drinking water treatment plant was was out of order due to an upgrade related to the KWA pipeline, according to a news release from the city. The downed pumped raised questions on whether the necessary levels of chlorine disinfectant were in the portion of the city's drinking water distribution system near the treatment plant.

7.President Obama LIED AGAIN about the TPP in his 12 Jan 16 State of The Union

In his 12 Feb 16 State of the Union Address, President Obama was evidently well aware that his proposed TPP “trade agreement” would create a “firestorm” of criticism if he repeated the whopping big bold-face lies about it that he had previously uttered (i.e. that the TPP won’t affect US laws and that the US would not be subjected to TPP ISDS lawsuits), because
he kept his comments regarding the TPP to a very brief 5-sentence paragraph comprised of statements that he seemed to believe would be less controversial.  But the statements that he did make were still dishonest in many ways.  For example, he said,

1. “That's how we forged a Trans-Pacific Partnership to open markets,
protect workers and the environment, and advance American leadership in

The TPP is designed to “open markets” for multinational corporations only, so that those multinational corporations can use ISDS lawsuits to either replace or wipe out local corporations and businesses.  The TPP will also “close markets” by extending patent and copyright protections that would seriously restrict free use the internet and make it a crime to reveal corporate wrongdoing “through a computer system.” [!!]  Also, Obama’s claim that the TPP will “protect workers and the environment” is a WHOPPING BIG BOLD-FACED LIE, because the TPP will only allow multinational corporations
(and investors) to file ISDS lawsuits against all levels of government for alleged “losses of expected future profits”, not so for workers, and the taxpayers who will ultimately end up paying for the billions of dollars worth of ISDS lawsuit judgments will be mostly workers!

Also, it is worth noting that Chapter 12 of the TPP requires the US to grant visas to all professionals and their families seeking to enter the country for business purposes along with their families to work for a foreign corporation rather than hiring Americans for such jobs.

2. “It cuts 18,000 taxes on products Made in America, and supports more
good jobs.”

This is misleading, because the US already has trade agreements with most of those countries which already “cut” such “taxes.”  And the “cuts” in “taxes” on American-made products which have already been made though NAFTA, the WTO, and other so-called “trade agreements” have created HUGE (40 billion dollars per month) trade deficits that have seriously indebted the US to China and most of the rest of our trading partners.  That’s why Chinese, Japanese, and Saudi Arabian millionaires and billionaires have been able to
buy up so much of our expensive real estate in the United States. If this keeps up, they will literally “own us!”

3. “With TPP, China doesn't set the rules in that region, we do.”

That is “BS.”  I doubt that China would be dumb enough to join the TPP. The fact that the TPP countries will be vulnerable to never-ending ISDS lawsuits by greedy multinational corporations will give China a HUGE economic advantage to compete in those countries without fear of such lawsuits.

8. NY Times, Apr 15, 2015 (emphasis added): [Regulators] approved an emergency closure of commercial sardine fishing off Oregon, Washington and California… Earlier this week, the council shut down the next sardine season[R]evised estimates of sardine populations… found the fish were declining in numbers faster than earlier believed… [Stocks are] much lower than estimated last year… The reasons are not well-understood.

Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting, April 13, 2015: Ben Enticknap, Oceana senior scientist (1:08:00 in) — “We’ve seen a significant change in recruitment [Recruitment: The number of new young fish that enter a population]. There’s been practically no recruitment in recent years, and this was not expected.”

9. Oregonian, Apr 13, 2015: Pacific coast sardines are facing a population collapse so severe [fishing] will be shut down… [The] downward spiral in spite of favorable water conditions has ocean-watchers worried there’s more to this collapse than cyclical population trends. “There are a lot of weird things happening out there, and we’re not quite sure why they aren’t responding the way they should,” said Kevin Hill, a NOAA Fisheries biologist… Fishery managers are adding it to a list of baffling circumstances off the West Coast… NOAA surveys indicate very few juvenile fish made it through their first year. “The population isn’t replacing itself,” Hill said.

10.Asahi Shimbun, Dec 22, 2015 (emphasis added): More than 90 percent of the fir trees in forests close to the site of Japan’s 2011 nuclear disaster are showing signs of abnormality, and plant lice specimens collected in a town more than 30 kilometers from the crippled facility are missing legs or crooked. But it remains unclear whether the mutations in plants and animals are definitively connected to the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. All that scientists in Japan are prepared to say is they are trying to figure out the effects of radioactive cesium caused by the release of huge amounts of radioactive materials from the triple meltdown at the Fukushima plant… 

Scientists are seeking… signs of mutation in plants and animals in areas close to the stricken nuclear plant… Scientists have reported on mutations and abnormalities among species varying from fir trees and plant lice to Japanese monkeys, carp and frogs. The National Institute of Radiological Sciences (NIRS), a government-affiliated entity, said in late August that the trunks of fir trees are not growing vertically. Fir trees are among the 44 species that the Environment Ministry asked the NIRS and other research organizations to study in trying to determine the effects of radiation on living creatures. The NIRS reported that the frequency of these mutations corresponds to a rise in natural background radiation. More than 90 percent of fir trees in the town of Okuma, just 3.5 kilometers from the crippled plant, showed signs of abnormal growth… Among other changes reported: the legs of plant lice collected in Kawamata, a town more than 30 km from the plant, were found to be missing or crooked and the white blood cell count of Japanese monkeys was lower in Fukushima, the prefectural capital, which is about 60 km from the plant… There is also a possibility that some animals, even if they exhibited signs of radiation’s effect, may no longer be alive for analysis.


11. LA gas well has ‘destabilized’, large crater develops in area — Officials: “Could be catastrophic” — TV: Risk of massive fire, possible explosion — Expert: “If wellhead fails, the thing is just going to be full blast… a horrible, horrible problem”

Los Angeles Times, Jan 15, 2016 (emphasis added): Efforts to plug Porter Ranch-area gas leak worsened blowout risk, regulators say — Southern California Gas Co… is trying to avoid a blowout, which state regulators said is now a significant concern after a seventh attempt to plug the well created more precarious conditions at the site. If a blowout occurs, highly flammable gas would vent directly up through the well… rather than dissipating as it does now… State officials said a blowout would increase the amount of leaked gas… That natural gas also creates the risk of a massive fire… The risk of fire already is so high that cellphones and watches are banned from the site… [The gas company's attempts to stop the leak] expanded a crater around the wellhead, state and gas company officials said. The crater is now 25 feet deep, 80 feet long and 30 feet wide, those officials said… [The gas company] declined repeated requests from The Times… The gas company would not provide current photos of the site or allow media access… In one internal state report obtained by The Times, an agency official described [one] kill effort as a “blowout to surface.” “A large column of gas, aerated mud, and rock formed a geyser around the wellhead,” the state observer wrote.

12.    “Worst wildlife die-off ever recorded” anywhere on Earth underway on West Coast — Expert: “And we’re not just talking marine die-offs… yeah, it’s a really big deal” — “There are many more species that are getting sick” — “Facing possibility of extinction” — Scientist: “Is it some sort of a toxin that’s there?” (VIDEO)
Published: January 22nd, 2016 at 5:38 pm ET 
By ENENews 

CBC News, Jan 22, 2016: Sea star wasting disease among worst wildlife die-offs say scientists; The mysterious wasting disease is still killing sea stars from Mexico to Alaska — The sea star wasting disease [is] hitting a bigger range of species over a larger area than originally thought. Scientists investigating the disease in the U.S. and Canada met in Seattle [and] agreed on the scale of the problem, said Dr. Martin Haulena, the veterinarian for the Vancouver Aquarium… “This is, if not the, certainly one of the biggest wildlife die-offs that have ever been recorded, and we’re not just talking marine die-offs.”… [It] has decimated the creatures from Alaska to Mexico… losing their limbs and turning to mush… “Recovery is not happening the way it should be, so I think it is still really bad.”… “It could be a disease that’s been in the system a long time, and something sparked an outbreak recently.”… Any die-off of this magnitude is a major concern, said  [the experts]… And there are many more species… that are getting sick, said Haulena, as well as possible signs of disease in sea urchins and sea cucumbers… “to put it in context — yeah, it’s a really big deal.”

KING 5 News, Jan 20, 2016: Biologists are calling the mass death of west coast sea stars the worst wildlife die-off ever recorded… [Scientists are] calling it the largest wildlife die-off ever recorded… The virus causes the sea star reproductive system to swell. They believe environmental factors are aggravating the issue… Experts are also discussing whether it’s time to list the species as endangered… “They’ve gone from being one of the most common species in the Puget Sound to 2-3 years later, being incredibly hard to find,” Lesanna Lahner said… Now, experts are talking about whether sea stars should be listed as endangered.

Ian Hewson, biological oceanographer, Jan 20, 2016: “No pathogen has ever wiped out its host population without being pushed significantly by some other environmental factor… This is the single largest, most-geographically widespread marine disease that’s ever been recorded.”

ABC 10, Jan 20, 2016: West Coast starfish disease biggest wildlife die-off ever recorded; Biologists are calling the mass death of west coast sea stars the worst wildlife die-off ever recorded… [Scientists are] calling it the largest wildlife die-off ever recorded.

Alaska Journal of Commerce, Jan 7, 2106: Lani Raymond, a Homer [Alaska]  birder… saw hundreds of dead sea stars. “It’s really bad,” Raymond said. “It’s really depressing… all those [dead birds and] star fish, I was really upset.”

13. Unprecedented Releases a new science must be Invented

Former Official: Fukushima is “unstoppable”… Huge amounts of radiation are pouring out, “very serious” for Pacific Ocean — Journalists withholding shocking information — Plant Chief: “This is something that has never been experienced”… We must invent new science for unprecedented catastrophe

Associated Press, Dec 15, 2015 (emphasis added): Fukushima decommission chief [Naohiro Masuda] warns with surprising candor: Nothing can be promised… not even robots have been able to enter the main fuel-debris areas so far… “This is something that has never been experienced. A textbook doesn’t exist for something like this,” Masuda told The Associated Press… “Before, it was a war zone,” Masuda said quietly… 

[E]ven the most optimistic projections estimate the work will take about half a century. Masuda said without hesitation that more delays could be in order. No one knows exactly where the melted nuclear debris is sitting in the reactors, let alone how exactly the debris might be taken out… 

New science will have to be invented for the plant to be cleaned up… The March 2011 catastrophe is unprecedented… [T]he containment, where the morass of fuel lies, has been breached… And as devastating as the 1986 Chernobyl disaster was in what is now Ukraine, that involved one reactor, not three. When asked about what he wanted to tell the people worried about contaminated fish, such as on the West Coast of North and South America, Masuda said the radiation leak into the Pacific Ocean has been reduced to a level one-millionth of what it was in 2011… “They don’t need to worry, and, if there is anything to worry about, we will be out with that information,” he said… Masuda also acknowledged that Japan has not done as good a job as it should have on relaying the harsh realities at the plant.

Interview with Mitsuhei Murata, former Japanese Ambassador to Switzerland, Nuclear Hotseat with host Libbe HaLevy, Dec 16, 2015:
14. NRC Chief Mcfarlane departs reminding the INDUSTRY that the lessons from Fukushima have yet to be implemented

ATLANTA (AP) — The outgoing chair of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Tuesday the industry must finish making the safety changes required after a nuclear disaster in Japan, and it faces unresolved questions over how to store nuclear waste as existing plants close.

Allison Macfarlane became the agency’s leader in July 2012 after the stormy tenure of former chair Gregory Jaczko, whose management style was described as bullying by fellow commissioners and staffers. A geologist, Macfarlane will start teaching Jan. 1 at George Washington University.

Macfarlane said the agency must follow through on changes required after the March 2011 crisis at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in Japan. Tsunami waves disabled the plant’s electrical and cooling systems, causing a meltdown and explosions that flung debris and radiation into the environment.

“We as regulators need to do what we think is right,” Macfarlane said in an interview during a nuclear industry conference in Atlanta. “And if we think something is required, and this is something we’ve learned as a result of the Fukushima accident, we need to tell the industry to do it.”

Among the changes, the nuclear industry has set up centers in Memphis and Phoenix that can quickly send emergency gear to a stricken plant. Some plants will install vents meant to prevent explosions during extreme accidents. Regulators are reviewing updated earthquake and flooding hazard assessments for plants across the country.

Earlier this year, Macfarlane lost a vote on whether spent nuclear fuel should be removed more quickly from water-filled storage pools. After used nuclear fuel is removed from a reactor, it must be cooled in water for several years. By law, the U.S. government promised to dispose of that used fuel, but it never has. As a result, spent fuel continues to accumulate in pools.

Experts have long been concerned that accidental water loss in a cooling pool could cause the old fuel to overheat, potentially combust and release radiation. NRC staffers concluded the costs of placing that spent fuel in special casks on land outweighed the safety gains from removing it from the pools, and a majority of the NRC’s commissioners agreed. Macfarlane said the issue deserved more study.

The NRC faces a radically changed market. Just a few years ago, the utility industry anticipated building a wave of new nuclear power plants. Instead, natural gas prices plummeted and demand for electricity tumbled during the Great Recession and lackluster recovery. Three nuclear plants in Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee are being built. Some nuclear vendors have struggled to meet strict quality control rules.

“I think this is new for the industry in general because they haven’t had nuclear construction in this country for so long,” Macfarlane said.

Macfarlane said the NRC will need rules for power companies that are taking existing nuclear plants offline because the facilities are no longer viewed as economic.

“It’s crazy to decommission plants under operating reactor rules,” she said. “We do it, it’s safe … But I think it would be better for everyone, it would be better for the industry, it would be better for us, it would be better for the public if we had rules that were specific to decommissioning facilities.” 

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