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More on Haiti: “Witness to a nightmare”

Witness to a nightmare

January 18, 2010

Jesse Hagopian, a teacher in Seattle and contributor to SocialistWorker.org, was in Port-au-Prince with his 1-year-old son to visit his wife when the earthquake hit. His wife, an aid worker, works until six or seven in the evening on most days, but by sheer luck, she came to the hotel where they were staying early on Tuesday–just minutes before the quake struck at 4:53 p.m. This spared Jesse and his family agonizing hours or days trying to find one another amid the chaos. Continue reading

Alert 671: Delaware environmental laws under attack by “Clean Air Council”

BASF, with help from “Clean Air Council,” seeks to roll back Del. environmental laws, build highly-polluting “biomass” incinerator in Newport, DE
Public outrage needed NOW.  See below for action steps.


Today, January 12, 2010, the Delaware General Assembly goes back into session.  As usual, this presents both threats and opportunities.

Delaware has few environmental distinctions.  One of these few is a strong law against incinerators.

Since 2000 this law, championed by State Senator David McBride, has protected thousands of people from death and disease caused by air pollution.

Special interests don’t stop conniving to weaken it.  Continue reading


This just out from Governor Markell’s office.  (Emphasis in red added.)  Exactly what it will mean in practice is uncertain, but the rhetoric is straight “Republican:” businesses/corporations over humans/health/environment.  This sort of language is almost always bad news.  One token mention of “citizens” is in the last line.  It is true, of course, that Delaware’s economy is stagnant and this is not good.  Whether Markell’s various initiatives can stimulate the economy without destroying the remaining vestiges of human citizen control over Delaware remains to be seen. Continue reading

“Statement of Evidence–Particulate Emissions and Health” by Professor Vyvyan Howard (38 pages).

This is not light reading, but neither is the subject.  Anyone wanting to know more about air pollution and health will find it worthwhile to plow through these 38 pages.

Vyvyan Howard is also a key person behind the longer report The Health Effects of Waste Incinerators from the British Society for Ecological Medicine

Philly Inquirer: Pro-dredging editorial

(Posting this does’t mean we agree with it (!))

Editorial: Dredging the Delaware

Delaware state officials are fighting an ill-timed rearguard action against deepening the shipping channel in the Delaware River up to Philadelphia.

Their denial on Friday of a long-standing request for permits by the Army Corps of Engineers comes just as the $379 million project is about to get underway.

After sitting on the Army Corps request for permits since 2001, Delaware environmental officials rejected them on grounds that the application was out of date.

That sounds like a Catch-22 – penalizing the dredging project because the bureaucrats waited so long to do their job. It’s also puzzling on the merits, since Army Corps officials regarded the project as ready to go.

Indeed, the Army Corps has advertised the first bids for the project, which could be awarded in early October.

On the Philadelphia docks, longshoreman jobs are in desperately short supply amid an economic downturn that has all freight traffic suffering.

The contentious bureaucratic battles between Pennsylvania and New Jersey officials are long over, with a 2007 agreement in place to properly dispose of the dredging spoils and cover the local share of the heavily federally funded work.

Given the nation’s wider focus on rebuilding key infrastructure assets and spurring the economy with shovel-ready projects, the Delaware River dredging seems even more timely.

As it has been for years, dredging the river is an essential component to promoting the future vitality of the region’s ports – particularly in light of competition with New York ports, which are being regularly upgraded.

One industry study estimated that 175,000 direct and indirect jobs will be created from port and infrastructure improvements related to the dredging, meaning that millions of dollars in economic activity will result.

In a sign of renewed interest in port development, the South Jersey Port Corp. on Tuesday teed up the sale of $56 million in bonds to create the first new port on the Delaware in several decades. The deep-water port in Paulsboro will be carved out of a 190-acre former oil and chemical storage site.

The good news on the dredging is that Gov. Rendell, a strong proponent of the project, sees the permit denials by Delaware environmental officials as a temporary setback.

Rendell wisely reached out to Gov. Jack Markell over the weekend, securing the Delaware governor’s agreement to conduct a speedy review of a new report on the project’s effects on the river.

It’s long past time to take the plunge to make the Delaware River a better link to the global economy.

Report on May 28, 2009, Newport incinerator meeting ….

A battle won, but the war will continue.

“There is no way we are going to work that this session.”

—House Speaker Bob Gilligan

“The state, however, needs to be careful not to allow cogeneration systems to burn high emission solid fuels.”
–candidate Jack Markell

Continue reading