Tag Archive: Union of Concerned Scientists



Urge the EPA to Finalize Strong Tier 3 Standards by the End of This Year

The oil industry and its allies in Congress are working hard to stop the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) proposed rule to cut tailpipe emissions from our cars and sulfur from gasoline (known as Tier 3 standards).

These standards will prevent thousands of asthma cases and millions of lost school and work days each year, and the benefits will be immediate when Tier 3 takes effect. The oil industry knows they cannot win an argument about the substance of a rule with such clear and cost-effective public health benefits, so they continue to work to delay the regulatory process.

Reducing vehicle pollution and bringing cleaner gasoline to the pump is a no-brainer. Automakers, who are stepping up to the plate to build more fuel efficient vehicles, are clamoring for cleaner fuel. Public health and consumer advocates are lauding the Tier 3 program’s benefits, and state clean air officials know that reducing sulfur and tailpipe pollution is the most cost-effective way to meet federal clean air goals.

Don’t let the oil industry and its allies stand in the way. The EPA needs to hear from the millions of Americans like you who want cleaner fuel and cars that pollute less.

Urge the EPA to Move Ahead with Clean Fuel and Tailpipe Standards

Despite real progress cleaning up our cars in recent years, passenger vehicles remain a top source of pollutants that harm public health and worsen air quality. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently taking comments on its proposed Tier 3 standards, which would reduce soot and smog-forming pollution from cars and trucks, and cut the sulfur content in gasoline.

Implementing the Tier 3 standards would immediately benefit the millions of Americans suffering the health impacts of living or working in areas with dirty air, and do so in the most cost-effective way possible.

Public health, environmental, labor, and the auto industry support Tier 3 as a cost-effective way to meet critical clean air goals. The oil industry is the only group standing in the way. They know they cannot win an argument about the substance of a rule with such clear and cost-effective public health benefits, so they continue to work to delay the regulatory process.

The EPA needs to hear from the millions of Americans who want cars that pollute less and burn cleaner fuel. Submit a comment by July 1, urging the EPA to finalize Tier 3 standards by the end of this year.

Please make your comment personal by adding in your own thoughts and concerns. Every letter makes a difference, but customized letters have the greatest effect!

For more information on the Tier 3 Program, see our recent blog post, Smog, Soot, and Sulfur, Oh My!

Write to the EPA by July 1 and urge the agency to finalize Tier 3 standards by the end of this year.

– Jacob Chamberlain, staff writer

(Boris Grdanoski / AP)

Monsanto claimed Wednesday that the Oregon field found last week to be contaminated with Monsanto’s unapproved GM wheat was an “isolated” incident, and that it was likely either the result of an accident or “sabotage.” However, scientists warned Thursday that the biotech giant’s denial has many holes.

Monsanto claims that it has since tested 31,200 seed samples in Oregon and Washington and found no evidence of contamination—insisting there is no cause for concern in the world market.

However, researchers this week said that Monsanto’s tests are misleading and that the genetically modified gene, not yet approved for use in the U.S., will likely continue to be found in wheat seeds.

“We don’t know where in the whole chain it is,” said Carol Mallory-Smith, the weed science professor at Oregon State University who tested the initial wheat plants and determined they were the unapproved Monsanto seed.

“I don’t know how Monsanto can declare anything. We obviously had these plants in the field.”

“You introduce something into the environment, and genes move around in the environment, whether transgenic or not,” she added.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is currently investigating how the wheat gene, which was taken out of test fields eight years ago, is now showing up.

Monsanto claims that all of the tested seeds had been either destroyed or recovered and sent to a USDA facility in Colorado for storage.

However, David Andow, a professor of entomology at the University of Minnesota, said in an interview with Bloomberg that these claims are misleading and that the tests cited by Monsanto this week, which displayed clean wheat in the state of Washington, are shortsighted.

“Sure they tested it, but that doesn’t mean it’s all clean,” Andow said. “It just means it’s not so widespread that it could be detected easily.”

And Doug Gurian-Sherman, senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington, said that this is not the first time Monsanto has been less than forthcoming on the extent of its seed contamination: “In previous cases, such as during the outbreak of herbicide-resistant weeds in recent years, Monsanto has initially played down the risks.”

“The reality is that nobody knows what happened until extensive testing is done.”

Additionally, Bloomberg reported recently that even if Monsanto’s claims about this specific wheat strain were proven true, Monsanto has resumed trials of other and very similar GM wheat seeds, according to information posted in a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) database.

Monsanto planted 150 acres of GM wheat in Hawaii last year and 300 acres of GM wheat in North Dakota this year—meaning the risk of genetic pollution from unapproved Monsanto wheat is even greater than most people are aware.

Meanwhile, the discovery of the GM wheat in Oregon caused fast moving international backlash, with Japan suspending some imports of US wheat, South Korea testing all of its US wheat imports, and the EU urging its members to test some of its US wheat imports.

The extent of contamination from Monsanto’s GM wheat seeds in Oregon, let alone Hawaii and North Dakota, remain unknown.


Indian Point Nuclear Plant, New York, NRC ENR 02142013


Published on Feb 15, 2013



“At 1352 [hrs. EST], the Unit 2 CCR [Central Control Room] noted a trip of both heater drain tank pumps and entered Abnormal Operating Procedure 2-AOP-FW-1, ‘Loss of Feedwater’. Prior to the event, Instrumentation and Controls personnel were performing testing on the heater drain tank level control system. Turbine load was reduced per plant procedures, however a manual reactor trip was initiated at 1355 due to an inability to maintain steam generator water levels. The team subsequently entered E-0, ‘Reactor Trip or Safety Injection’. All control rods fully inserted. All safety systems responded as expected with the exception of source range detector N-31 and intermediate range detector N-35. N-31 and N-35 were declared inoperable. The auxiliary feedwater system actuated as expected and provided feedwater to maintain steam generator water level. Decay heat removal is via the steam generators to the main condensers. Offsite power and plant electrical lineups are normal. No primary or secondary code safety relief valves lifted. The reactor is in Mode 3 and stable. Unit 3 was unaffected and remains at 100% power. An investigation is in progress.”

Unit 2 is currently at normal operating pressure and temperature. The licensee plans to issue a press release on this event.

The licensee notified the State of New York Public Service Commission and the NRC Resident Inspector.

FAIR USE NOTICE: Any copyrighted (©) material is made available to advance understanding of ecological, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, which constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission daily reports (what’s happening at nuclear plants near you):

Union of Concerned Scientists (watchdog over NRC):

NRC ADAMS Public Documents

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
24-Hour Center for Emergencies number 301-816-5100
Safety or security concern line 1-800-695-7403
General help or information line 1-800-397-4209
Switch Board: Toll free: 1-800-368-5642 | Local: 301-415-7000

EPA National Response Center 1-800-424-8802

How close is your home to a nuclear power plant?

Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant Protest~ Before Hurricane Sandy!

Published on Oct 30, 2012

NOTE DATE ON THIS VIDEO First published on Oct 13, 2011 http://youtu.be/7k-MGi4T-oo

I haven’t seen this video yet, but have a peek at it if you get a moment.

HURRICANE SANDY .. LINKS to MORE: it’s all there..no “AJ” excuse. Patents & more
Veteran weather modification expert Ben Livingston is a former Navy Physicist who briefed President Lyndon B. Johnson on the effectiveness of weather control back in the 1960’s during the Vietnam era, when he was involved in cloud seeding programs that worked to slow down the advance of Vietnamese and Korean troops. Livingston asserts that asserts that hurricane control was a national priority of the government more than 40 years ago and that the technology was fully operational to control the weather at the time.
Livingston explains how for decades the US government has had the power to both lessen and increase the severity of adverse weather for their own purposes.
Dr. Livingston was assigned in 1966 from the Naval weapons research Laboratory to a marine fighter squadron in Vietnam. Instead of guns, the aircraft under Livingston’s control were fitted with cloud seeding equipment. “My mission was to find clouds and seed them for maximum precipitation value” he stated.

Dr. Livingston presents evidence from the Stanford research Institute, who were brought into Project Storm Fury (a weather control program) in the late sixties as a third party, which stated conclusively that knowledge of how to stop hurricanes had been uncovered and that they would be directly liable should a hurricane hit and cause extensive damage and loss of life. Four decades later and Livingston exposes how the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina could have been greatly minimized but was allowed to fully impact Gulf states for political reasons.

Having personally flown on 265 missions into the eyes of hurricanes, Livingston remarks that he was “disgusted” by the failure to lessen the impact of Katrina. Livingston’s revelations that weather control has been a decades long program in which the US government has been deeply involved are particularly alarming given the abundant modern-day evidence of how chemtrails are being used to warp our environment in a secret geoengineering plot that threatens a myriad of unknown human health and ecological consequences.

Operating  Power Plants  in the  United  States  According  to  the  Pennsylvania Sierra Club

Map of the United States Showing Power Plant Locations

Alphabetical List of Operating Nuclear Power Reactors by Name

Nuclear Tourist .com

U.S. Commercial Nuclear Power Reactors - Years of Operation

United States Regulatory Commissin

These radioactive plumes from severe nuclear accidents were calculated by NRDC based on the actual weather patterns of March 11-12, 2011. The result on any given day will vary according to the type of reactor accident and on the prevailing weather patterns at the time.

These five nuclear power plants had emergency shutdowns in 2011:

There are 104 nuclear reactors in the United States. If one of them lost both primary and backup power for even a matter of hours, it could lead to a meltdown and an airborne radioactive plume. See what could have happened if a reactor in your area had a severe nuclear accident on March 11, 2011.info


  • Threshold for Radiation Sickness (75 rads)*
  • Maximum Radiation Dose Recommended for Emergency Responders (25 rads)*
  • Evacuation Recommended (5 rads)*
  • Sheltering Recommended (1 rad)*
  • 10-mile Evacuation Zoneinfo
  • 50-mile Potential Contamination Zoneinfo

* Acute radiation dose based on 48 hour exposure, assuming no sheltering. Sheltering can reduce radiation dose by a factor of ten or more.

Why U.S. nuclear power plants are vulnerable to severe accident with nuclear fallout

A future severe nuclear accident at a U.S. nuclear power plant is a real possibility. In 2011 five nuclear power plants in the United States lost primary power due to earthquake or extreme weather events, including tornados, hurricanes, and flooding. Fortunately backup power systems kicked in at these plants and a disaster was averted. But weather is not the only risk factor. Other risk factors include:

  • Type of reactor – There are two types of reactors operating it the United States: Boiling Water Reactors (BWRs) and Pressurized Water Reactors (PWRs). Some experts judge that the design and structure of BWRs do not protect against the release of radiation during a severe accident as effectively as PWRs. The four reactors involved in the Fukushima nuclear crisis were BWRs. On the map, NRDC experts assigned a red flag to a reactor if it is a BWR.
  • Age of reactor – Reactors were designed to operate for 40 years, yet the regulatory body that oversees nuclear safety in the United States, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, has re-licensed some nuclear power plants to operate for 60 years, well beyond their originally engineered design lifetime. On the map, NRDC experts assigned a red flag to a reactor if the NRC has approved the reactor to operate for 60 years.
  • Power level of reactor – The NRC has approved many utility operators to increase the operating power of their nuclear reactors, including for Fukushima-type reactors, and in some cases multiple times and to significantly higher power levels. These so-called “power uprates” push reactors beyond what they were originally engineered to do, and could increase the radiation hazard if a nuclear accident occurred. On the map, NRDC experts assigned a red flag if the NRC has granted a reactor a power uprate.

Read Full Article Here

Environmental  –  Holistic Health

Got (organic) milk?


In recent years, advertising for milk and milk products has been seen everywhere in mainstream America. Not only do we have our doctors telling us to drink more milk, but we also have celebrities endorsing the product. Of course milk does the body good, but do some types of milk do better than others? What about milk’s impact on the environment? To analyze these questions, researchers need to study the types of farms from where the milk originates.

As with the case for most farms, large-scale farm businesses have been taking over smaller, local farms causing tons of pasture-based dairies to disappear from the landscape. Even though the demand for organic milk and dairy products is on the rise (raking in at least $750 million annually), most of our country’s milk is coming from cows confined in animal feeding operations known as CAFOs. Not only do CAFOs make a less nutritious milk product, but they also pollute our air, water, and soil and reduce the effectiveness of antibiotics in humans.

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists’ new report “Cream of the Crop: The Economic Benefits of Organic Dairy Farms,” promoting healthier products while simultaneously supporting rural economic development and meeting the demand for organic milk, should be a national priority.

This report is the first to calculate the economic value associated with organic dairy farming and it reveals the potential for the sector to create opportunities and jobs in rural economies. The report compares the economic impacts of organic and conventional milk production in two major dairy states, Vermont and Minnesota. The report found that increased sales from organic dairy farms in these states lead to greater economic impacts in those states when compared with the results of an equivalent level of sales from conventional dairy farms. Researchers also conducted case studies in broader regions namely the Northeast and the Upper Midwest in order to assess how the economic impacts of small pasture-based farms vary by region.

Besides the economic benefit of organic dairy farms, the product is also a healthier option. Because organic milk comes from cows that graze in pastures, eat organically grown feed, and are not treated with hormones or antibiotics, organic milk is deemed more natural and therefore healthier.

Significant improvements are needed in federal policies so organic dairy farmers can operate their farms more effectively and compete in the market. The report also suggests that regulations for CAFOs must become more stringent and federal dairy programs need to fund important research programs that could improve the efficiency of pasture-based systems.

For more information see the full report “Cream of the Crop”

Milk image via Shutterstock.