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New York environmentalists and state politicians want to opt out of nuclear subsidy program

Environmental groups, state politicians want to opt out of nuclear subsidy program http://www.wxxinews.org/post/environmental-groups-state-politicians-want-opt-out-nuclear-subsidy-program, 

After U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry came to Oswego County last week to praise the state’s support of nuclear power plants, several environmental groups and New York politicians sent a letter to state leaders saying the opposite.

The idea of using public dollars to keep financially struggling nuclear power plants afloat because they don’t emit carbon dioxide was never popular among some environmental groups that consider the facilities dangerous and dirty because of the radiation and nuclear waste they create. So when the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) voted two years ago to bail them with about $8 billion in fees on consumer’s energy bills, they left the door open to a potential compromise.

Then-chair of the PSC Audrey Zibelman said they would look at letting customers opt into a program to buy 100 percent of their energy from clean, renewable sources instead of paying into the system that supports the nuclear subsidies. Jessica Azulay with the Alliance for a Green Economy says it’s time for the state to make good on that promise.

“What this letter does that we filed with the governor and the chair of the Public Service Commission is to try to win the right for consumers to decide that they no longer want to pay this extra money toward nuclear energy and they want to instead adopt 100 percent renewable energy,” Azulay said. “We think that this is a really common sense approach – maybe a first step – in reversing the nuclear subsidies by allowing people to vote with their dollars and really create the pathway for renewable energy to accelerate in New York and phase out the nuclear reactors.”

To date, the nuclear subsidies have cost New York ratepayers about $650 million. A spokesperson for the PSC says the price would be even greater had the plants been allowed to shut down because they could have been replaced with fossil fuels that would have emitted carbon dioxide, setting back the state’s goals to lower carbon dioxide emissions 40 percent by 2030.

 

August 10, 2018 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Over 120 organisations working to get rid of New York’s subsidies to nuclear power

More than 120 groups push NY to lift broad nuclear subsidies. by Associated Press & CNYCentral , August 7th 2018 ALBANY, N.Y. — Some 130 environmental groups are taking aim at New York’s nuclear subsidies.

August 8, 2018 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, politics, USA | Leave a comment

A nuclear bomb terrorist attack on New York – the sequence of events

What a nuclear attack in New York would look like This Is What a Nuclear Bomb Looks Like (picture of a somewhat rusting ordinary van) Ny Mag. 12 June 18 

If America is attacked, the strike probably won’t come from North Korea. And it will be even scarier than we imagine. …….

There are currently at least 2,000 tons of weapons-grade nuclear material stored in some 40 countries — enough to make more than 40,000 bombs approximately the size of the one that devastated Hiroshima. Stealing the material would be challenging but far from impossible. Russia stockpiles numerous bombs built before the use of electronic locks that disable the weapons in the event of tampering. Universities that handle uranium often have lax security. And insiders at military compounds sometimes steal radioactive material and sell it on the black market. Since 1993, there have been 762 known instances in which radioactive materials were lost or stolen, and more than 2,000 cases of trafficking and other criminal activities.
Once terrorists obtained the uranium, they would need only a small team of sympathetic engineers and physicists to build what is known as a gun-type nuclear bomb, like the one dropped on Hiroshima. A gun-type nuke uses traditional explosives to fire a slug of uranium through a tube directly into another chunk of uranium, fracturing huge numbers of atoms and unleashing a massive amount of energy. Compared to modern nuclear missiles, which are far more powerful and complex, constructing a crude gun-type nuke is fairly straightforward.  …..
The last step in the process — smuggling the weapon into the United States — would be even easier. A ten-kiloton bomb, which would release as much energy as 10,000 tons of TNT, would be only seven feet long and weigh about 1,000 pounds. It would be simple to transport such a device to America aboard a container ship, just another unseen object in a giant metal box among millions of other metal boxes floating on the ocean. Even a moderate amount of shielding would be enough to hide its radioactive signature from most detectors at shipping hubs. Given all the naturally radioactive items that frequently trigger false alarms — bananas, ceramics, Brazil nuts, pet deodorizers — a terrorist group could even bury the bomb in bags of Fresh Step or Tidy Cats to fool inspectors if a security sensor was tripped.
In 1946, a senator asked J. Robert Oppenheimer, the physicist who played a key role in the Manhattan Project, what instrument he would use to detect a nuclear bomb smuggled into the United States. Oppenheimer’s answer: “A screwdriver.” Amazingly, our detection systems have still not caught up to this threat: One would essentially have to open and visually inspect every single crate and container arriving on America’s shores. Once the container ship reached a port like Newark, terrorists would have no trouble loading the concealed bomb into the back of an unassuming white van and driving it through the Lincoln Tunnel directly into Times Square.
 

The Blast

One of the greatest misconceptions about nuclear bombs is that they annihilate everything in sight, leaving nothing but a barren flatland devoid of shape and life. In truth, the physical destruction inflicted by a nuclear explosion resembles that of a combined hurricane and firestorm of unprecedented proportion. Consider one example: A ten-kiloton nuclear bomb detonated on the ground in Times Square would explode with a white flash brighter than the sun. It would be seen for hundreds of miles, briefly blinding people as far away as Queens and Newark. In the same moment, a wave of searing heat would radiate outward from the explosion, followed by a massive fireball, the core of which would reach tens of millions of degrees, as hot as the center of the sun.

When such a bomb explodes, everyone within 100 feet of ground zero is instantaneously reduced to a spray of atoms. There are photos from Hiroshima and Nagasaki showing eerie silhouettes of people cast against a flat surface, such as a wall or floor. These are not, as is sometimes claimed, the remains of vaporized individuals, but rather a kind of morbid nuclear photograph. The heat of the nuclear explosion bleaches or darkens the background surface, except for the spot blocked by the person, leaving a corresponding outline. In some cases the heat released by the explosion will also burn the patterns of clothing onto people’s skin.

Near the center of the blast, the suffering and devastation most closely conform to the fictional apocalypse of our imaginations. This is what it would look like within a half-mile of Times Square: Few buildings would remain standing. Mountains of rubble would soar as high as 30 feet. As fires raged, smoke and ash would loft into the air. The New York Public Library’s stone guardians would be reduced to pebble and dust. Rockefeller Center would be an unrecognizable snarl of steel and concrete, its titanic statue of Prometheus — eight tons of bronze and plaster clad in gold  — completely incinerated. 

Within a half-mile radius of the blast, there would be few survivors. Those closest to the atomic bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki have described the horrors they witnessed: People with ripped sheets of skin hanging from their bodies; people whose brains were visible through their shattered skulls; people with holes for eyes. Sakue Shimohira watched her mother’s charred body crumble into ash as she tried to wake her. Shigeko Sasamori’s father cut off the blackened husk of skin all over her face, revealing pools of pus beneath.

As the fireball travels outward from the blast, people, buildings, and trees within a one-mile radius would be severely burned or charred. Metal, fabric, plastic, and clay would ignite, melt, or blister. The intense heat would set gas lines, fuel tanks, and power lines on fire, and an electromagnetic pulse created by the explosion would knock out most computers, cell phones, and communication towers within several miles.

Traveling much farther than the fireball, a colossal pressure wave would hurtle forth faster than the speed of sound, generating winds up to 500 miles per hour. The shock wave would demolish the flimsiest buildings and strip the walls and roofs off stronger structures, leaving only their naked and warped scaffolding. It would snap utility poles like toothpicks and rip through trees, fling people through the air, and turn brick, glass, wood, and metal into deadly projectiles. A blast in Times Square, combined with the fireball, would carve a crater 50 feet deep at the center of the explosion. The shock wave would reach a diameter of nearly 3.2 miles, shattering windows as far as Gramercy Park and the American Museum of Natural History.

All this would happen within a few seconds.

From Van to Tsunami

Five different nukes, and what they would do if unleashed on Times Square.……….http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/06/what-a-nuclear-attack-in-new-york-would-look-like.html

June 20, 2018 Posted by | Reference, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

New York Attorney General Tries To Protect People-Environment From 400 Fold Increase In Radiation And Other Toxic Dangers; Gets Accused Of Abuse By Ex-Girlfriends

Mining Awareness +

[Update note: While the international radiation exposure “standard” and the US NRC “standard” for discharges from nuclear sites is 1 mSv per year for the general public, for the US EPA it is 0.25 mSv. Calabrese, cited in the Trump-Pruitt EPA press release, has pushed for exposure of 100 mSv per year or higher, making a 400 fold increase. The title has been corrected, accordingly. 1 mSv is 100 mrem.]
If you are physically abused report it immediately to police, not to the media. Media – do your fxcking job and expose all of the many bad things which are out there about Trump and his admin. They are legion. Lay off with the unproven allegations with fishy timing against the people who are trying to save democracy, including freedom of the press, and the environment.
https://twitter.com/AGSchneiderman/status/993559224792862721
Hey New Yorker, how about exposing this attempt by Trump…

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May 9, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Massive subsidy plan for New York’ s nuclear power could be stymied by new evidence

New Evidence Might Bolster Case Against Massive NY Bailout of Nuclear Power Plants http://waer.org/post/new-evidence-might-bolster-case-against-massive-ny-bailout-nuclear-power-plants,  , 6 Apr 18

Opponents of the massive subsidy plan for New York’s struggling nuclear power plants say there’s new evidence that supports their case to repeal the 2016 bailout.  Two Oswego County plants owned by Exelon were among those granted $7.5 billion in taxpayer money over 12 years by the New York Public Service Commission. Executive Director of Nuclear Information and Resource Service Tim Judson expressed his disappointment in the PSC not serving the public’s interest.

The Public Service Commission was supposed to be making a rational decision for the benefit of New Yorkers across the state.  It appears based on what actually happened,  this was a decision to benefit the owners of nuclear power plants.  The PSC didn’t consider more cost-effective alternatives for meeting the state’s energy goals.”

Opponents  say their evidence includes a presentation made by a former lobbyist from Exelon in which he bragged about the $7.5 billion subsidy.  Judson says the presentation is a prime example of the huge profits companies can make via lobbying and political spending. However, he acknowledges its legality.

“It’s not clear that there’s anything illegal in terms of Exelon lobbying state government for financial assistance.  Companies have the right to do that.  But the PSC doesn’t need to be swayed by companies trying to protect their private interests.”

Judson says the PSC violated the rights of the public by not giving them enough notice or time to understand how their money would be spent.  He also notes how the closing of the nuclear plants would not have mattered much in the long run.

Before the whole proceeding that resulted in the subsidy was undertaken, the agency that runs the state’s electricity system had done an evaluation and determined the two reactors scheduled to close, plus several other power plants scheduled to close around the same time, could turn off and there wouldn’t be any need for additional power plants or energy sources to be developed.  There was plenty of power on the grid.”

Judson says the PSC should have looked into clean energy options that would have helped the state meet its Clean Energy Standard goals. A hearing for this case is expected this summer.

April 6, 2018 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

The Global Solution to Extinction – The New York Times

GarryRogers Nature Conservation

GR:  In this article, E. O. Wilson gives numerical estimates of the relationship between the protected area of the Earth’s surface and the number of wildlife species saved. Wilson’s estimates are probably very conservative. They probably do not include predicted impacts of global warming.

We have to respond. One thing we can all do is insure that Progressives sweep the upcoming elections. We need them to guide the U. S. and other countries to take action for nature conservation of the drastic intensity needed to protect nature and insure that human civilization can continue to advance.

“DURING the summer of 1940, I was an 11-year-old living with my family in a low-income apartment in Washington, D.C. We were within easy walking distance of the National Zoo and an adjacent strip of woodland in Rock Creek Park. I lived most of my days there, visiting exotic animals and collecting butterflies and other…

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March 31, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Examining New York’s subsidies for nuclear power, on the anniversary of Fukushima

Blair Horner: Fukushima Anniversary And NY’s Subsidies Of Nuclear Power, WAMC,  • MAR 12, 2018  “……..The power plants in Fukushima are of the same design as some in New York State, which are located on Lake Ontario.  While no one would expect the same scenario to occur, those plants have been the focus of state policies in recent years.

The plants, built in the 1960s, have exceeded their expected useful lifetimes.  Generally, plants of that design and era are expected to be used for roughly 40 or so years.  Yet those plants continue to operate under a deal negotiated largely outside of public view.

In the summer of 2016, negotiators from the Cuomo Administration and the plant owners agreed to a multi-billion dollar bailout of the plants – which were slated for closure.  At that time, the state did not reveal the estimated costs, but subsequent analyses estimated that the costs could run anywhere from $2.9 billion to $7.6 billion over a 12-year period.  The negotiation contained no new safety requirements for the plants, just a guarantee that virtually all New Yorkers would be required to pay to make the nuke plants profitable – whether they received power from the plants or not – to keep them open.

The safety records of the plants came under new scrutiny in a report issued last week by the Alliance for a Green Economy, an upstate New York nuclear watchdog organization.  The report analyzed recent inspection reports and Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) documents and identified three issues of concern:


  • The group identified regulatory violations without penalties: 18 violations of Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulations were reported between March 2017 and February 2018 for the four Upstate reactors, but no penalties or fines were assessed.
  • The group identified examples of weakened regulations at the request of nuclear operators. For example, at the request of one of the plant’s owners, the National Regulatory Commission changed the requirement for what constitutes an “unusual event” regarding Lake Ontario flooding.  As we all know, there had been extensive flooding last year in the Lake Ontario area.
  • Lastly, the group identified missed deadlines for fixing known safety and maintenance issues: one plant near Oswego does not have a containment vessel likely to be able to contain the pressure and radiation released by a meltdown and installation of a required vent has been delayed; the plant’s owner is behind schedule for fixing numerous maintenance issues.

New York State should learn the lessons of the dangers of relying on nuclear power and follow the path set by California: move to shut down these aging facilities, and instead move toward greater reliance on solar, wind and geothermal power. 

Those power generators have been starved of adequate support since so much of the state’s wealth is tied up in propping up the Lake Ontario plants.  New York energy efficiency programs are anemic and lag far behind neighboring states and currently solar only generates about 1 percent of the power for the state.  Instead of mandating that New Yorkers subsidize aging, inefficient, 20th century nuclear plants, that money should be redirected to 21st century conservation and renewable energy programs.  Blair Horner is executive director of the New York Public Interest Research Group.http://wamc.org/post/blair-horner-fukushima-anniversary-and-ny-s-subsidies-nuclear-power

 

March 14, 2018 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

New York Times inadequate coverage of South Australia’s problem about nuclear waste dumping

This New York Times author gives a fair coverage to the Kimba radioactive waste dump issue. But it’s misleading in 3 important ways, as if the author completely buys the nuclear lobby’s propaganda.:

  1. States that “The country has no nuclear power plants.”  But fails to mention the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor [which is the source of the really important radioactive trash for Kimba]
  2. Fails to mention the fact that South Australia has a clear law prohibiting establishment of any nuclear waste facility
  3. Seems unaware of the huge distances (2000 km) involved, which would mean that the vast majority of  medical wastes would no longer be radioactive, in transport from the main points of production and use.

A Farming Town Divided: Do We Want a Nuclear Site that Brings Jobs?, NYT, By MARCH 7, 2018  “……… Now, as the federal government considers whether to build the site on one of these two farms in Kimba, this community of about 650 people finds itself divided and angry. The prospect of jobs and subsidies that the site would bring has split locals between those who want to preserve rural Australia’s way of life and those who say the glory days of farming are over…..

Despite the distances, locals say Kimba always had a strong sense of community, at least until the nuclear site was proposed. Some said the allure of millions of dollars’ worth of grants and subsidies that the government was offering the host community had blinded people to the risks.

March 9, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, wastes | Leave a comment

Are we all safe now from nuclear attacks? New York Removes Old Nuclear Fallout Shelter Signs

New York Removes Old Nuclear Fallout Shelter Signs in Move That Seems Premature, Gizmodo

December 29, 2017 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

New York City’s public advocate, Letitia James, focuses on climate action

New York City’s watchdog sets her sights on climate change, Grist,  As New York City’s public advocate, Letitia James is first in line to succeed Mayor Bill de Blasio. The first woman of color to be elected to hold citywide office in the Big Apple, she investigates complaints against city agencies and introduces legislation in the city council. Effectively, she’s the city’s official watchdog. And she recently set her sights on climate change, which she regards as an imminent threat to New Yorkers.

December 7, 2017 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

New evidence on thyroid cancer incidence near New York’s nuclear power station

Is This Nuclear Plant to Blame for Soaring Thyroid Cancer Rates in New York? https://www.ecowatch.com/indian-point-thyroid-cancer-2515063468.html, By Joseph Mangano, 5 Dec 17,

In the late 1970s, the rate of new thyroid cancer cases in four counties just north of New York City—Westchester, Rockland, Orange and Putnam counties—was 22 percent below the U.S. rate. Today, it has soared to 53 percent above the national rate. New cases jumped from 51 to 412 per year. Large increases in thyroid cancer occurred for both males and females in each county.

That’s according to a new study I co-authored which was published in the Journal of Environmental Protection and presented at Columbia University.

This change may be a result of airborne emissions of radioactive iodine from the Indian Point nuclear power plant, which is located at the crossroads of those four counties and has been operating since the mid-’70s.Exposure to radioactivity is the only known cause of thyroid cancer. Indian Point routinely releases more than 100 radioactive chemicals into the environment. These chemicals enter human bodies through breathing and the food chain, harming and killing healthy cells. One of these chemicals is radioactive iodine, which attacks and kills cells in the thyroid gland, raising the risk of cancer.

The new study calls for much more research on thyroid cancer patterns. According to the New York State cancer registry, the 1976-81 four-county thyroid cancer rate was 22 percent below the U.S. rate. Since then, thyroid cancer has increased across the U.S., but the local increase was much greater—rising to 53 percent above the U.S. rate from 2000-2014. That’s statistically significant.

“The statistical aberration of increased cancer rates should be a concern to us all,” said Peter Schwartz, a Rockland County businessman diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 1986. “After Fukushima, it finally occurred to me that my thyroid cancer was connected to Indian Point.”

“I am concerned that radiation may have contributed to thyroid cancer in my family,” says Joanne DeVito, who spoke at the Columbia University event. She was diagnosed with the condition, as were each of her three daughters. “Our family has no history of thyroid disease, and doctors are at a loss to explain why this happened,” said DeVito. She now lives in Connecticut, but for many years lived close to Indian Point.

Little is known about thyroid cancer causes. Risk factors according to the Mayo Clinic include being female, genetic syndromes and exposure to ionizing radiation. Earlier studies found high rates of thyroid cancer in those treated with head and neck irradiation (which ceased in the 1950s), survivors of the 1945 Hiroshima/Nagasaki atomic bombs, and the 1986 Chernobyl and 2011 Fukushima reactor meltdowns.

A 1999 National Cancer Institute study concluded that as many as 212,000 Americans developed thyroid cancer from the above-ground nuclear weapons tests in Nevada. Radiation exposures from those test were considered low-dose. Above-ground testing was banned in a 1963 treaty.

From 1980 to 2014, the U.S. thyroid cancer incidence rate more than tripled for all ages, races and genders. Most scientific articles in the professional literature concluded that improved diagnosis cannot be the sole reason.

In a recent study in the journal Laryngoscope, researchers at Hershey Medical Center found local residents near the Three Mile Island plant diagnosed with thyroid cancer after the 1979 partial meltdown had a significantly lower proportion of the BRAFV600 mutation, which is not associated with radiation-induced thyroid cancer, compared to cases diagnosed before the accident and many years afterwards. The authors suggested the meltdown could have contributed to the disease.

Indian Point is located in Buchanan, New York, in northwest Westchester County. Its two functioning reactors began operating in 1973 and 1976. An agreement to close the plant by 2021 between Entergy (which owns and operates the plant) and New York State was reached in January of this year.

Joseph Mangano is the executive director of the Radiation and Public Health Project.

December 6, 2017 Posted by | health, USA | Leave a comment

Costly task to clean up New York’s highly radioactive thorium contaminated site

Trump’s E.P.A. Pledges to Clean Up NYC’s ‘Most Radioactive Site’ – But Funding Is in Question WNYC News, Nov 6, 2017, By Sarah Stein Kerr and Annie Nova

The Trump administration is taking on its first Superfund cleanup in New York City – that is, assuming it has the money.

Last month, a $40 million plan to remediate a radioactive site in Queens where highly toxic materials were once poured into city sewers was unveiled by local officials of the Environmental Protection Agency. Known as Wolff-Alport for the chemical firm that was once located there, the site sits on an industrial stretch in the Ridgewood neighborhood of Queens. About three-quarters of an acre in size, the site currently houses a deli, an auto-shop and four other businesses. The E.P.A. counts a public school, a bar and some 300 residences within the site’s immediate vicinity.

Wolff-Alport, the newest of the city’s three designated Superfunds, was added to the E.P.A.’s Superfund priority list in 2014. The move came after surveys identified radioactivity throughout the property, including below public sidewalks and streets and in nearby sewers.

Going after such sites has been declared a priority for new E.P.A. administrator Scott Pruitt, a former attorney general of Oklahoma whose views on the environment make him one of the President’s most controversial appointees. Before assuming the post, Pruitt sued the agency repeatedly and still maintains that climate change is not the result of human activity.

But if he’s a climate change doubter, Pruitt has proclaimed himself a Superfund believer. In a memo this summer, Pruitt wrote: “My goal as Administrator is to restore the Superfund program to its rightful place at the center of the agency’s core mission.”

Judith Enck, former regional E.P.A. administrator for New York who pushed to get Wolff-Alport on the Superfund list, said she remains skeptical of Pruitt’s public declarations in support of cleaning up these hazardous waste sites.

“You can’t be the E.P.A. administrator and not stand for anything,” Enck said. “So he’s latched on to Superfunds. But at the same time, he’s cutting the budget, so it kind of rings hollow.”

President Donald J. Trump has proposed cutting $327 million – or around a third – of the nation’s annual Superfund budget. At the same time, Pruitt is also seeking to end the E.P.A.’s financial support to the Department of Justice, which holds the polluters of these hazardous waste sites accountable.

Regardless, spokeswoman for the E.P.A Tayler Covington, said that the agency is committed to cleaning up Wolff-Alport.

“There are no plans to change any of the cleanups for the three New York City Superfund sites,” said Covington. “We are in the budgetary process and final funding levels will not be settled until Congress acts.”

But experts on the Superfund program contend that even the current funding levels are still well below what is needed to clean up the nation’s many contaminated sites.

The E.P.A. announced the cleanup plan for Wolff-Alport in late September. The site’s remediation calls for all tenants to be permanently relocated, all buildings to be demolished and sewers to be replaced. The contaminated soil will be transported to a waste landfill.

All told, the cleanup will cost $39.9 million. But exactly where those funds will come from remains a question.

The E.P.A. maintains an account for each Superfund site in which money allocated for the cleanup is held. The Wolff-Alport-designated bank account currently holds just a little over $650,000, Thomas Mongelli, E.P.A. project manager of the site, told WNYC.

Usually, it’s the original polluters who are responsible for picking up the tab for cleanups. At Newtown Creek, a heavily polluted waterway that borders Brooklyn and Queens, six potentially responsible polluters have been identified. The Gowanus Canal in southern Brooklyn has more than 30 known polluters. Wolff-Alport, on the other hand, is considered in E.P.A. terminology an “orphan,” which means that the original polluter is defunct and can’t be relied upon for payment.

“There is a good chance that most of this money is going to need to come from the federal Superfund program and federal Superfund is running on fumes,” Enck said.

Beginning in the 1980s, a tax on Superfund polluters amassed funds for cleanup in a trust account. But that provision expired around 1995, and the account has since languished. Although there are no official estimates of the cost to clean up all of the country’s polluted sites, Kate Probst, author of a report to Congress, “Superfund’s Future: What Will It Cost?,” said the $280 million account balance is woefully insufficient.

Although annual congressional appropriations for Superfunds were meant to compensate for the trust account’s decline, these appropriations have also steadily dwindled. Federal contributions for Superfund cleanup have fallen from $2.1 billion in 1999, to an annual budget of $1.2 billion by 2013, according to the Office of Government Accountability.

This shortfall has stunted the cleanup work at the nation’s most contaminated sites,   Probst said. “If they had more money, they probably would have cleaned up more sites, or gotten construction completed on more sites. We know the number of cleanups are slowing,” she said, adding that she expects there will be more disruptions due to the funding shortages. “That is the tip of the iceberg,” Probst said.

City officials are also worried that the feds may be low-balling the costs of cleaning up Wolff-Alport. In an August letter to the E.P.A., Haley Stein, a lawyer with the  city’s law department, stated that the city “believes that E.P.A. significantly underestimates the cost and feasibility of implementing its preferred alternative.”

City officials declined to detail the reasons for their skepticism.

At an E.P.A. meeting about the site in Queens this summer, a handful of residents also expressed concerns about the Trump administration’s plan to cut the Superfund budget and how that would affect Wolff-Alport’s cleanup.

Walter Mugdan, acting deputy regional administrator for E.P.A. region 2, was frank in his response.

“Do I know how this site will rank against others? I don’t,” Mugdan told residents, according to a transcript of the meeting. “But I do know radioactive materials are [a] serious concern and what we do know is that people are actually being exposed.”

Indeed, The New Yorker, citing government findings, dubbed Wolff-Alport, “The most radioactive place in New York City,” in a 2014 video storywhich recounts the site’s fascinating history.

In the 1920s,  business partners Harry Wolff and Max Alport founded the Wolff-Alport Chemical Company. At the factory, workers processed monazite sand to extract rare earth metals – a highly toxic procedure. By the 1940s, the Atomic Energy Commission, the successor of the Manhattan Project, started buying radioactive thorium from the site. In the 1950s, the factory shuttered.

Norman Kleiman, director of the Eye Radiation and Environmental Research Laboratory at Columbia University, said the E.P.A. had an obligation to clean up the site. Radiation there is “well above the average terrestrial exposure even in New York City,” Kleinman told WNYC.

“People are especially concerned about exposure,” Kleinman added, “and from a public policy and public health point of view, it’s important to allay fear.”

He said risks to passersby and casual visitors to the site are likely minimal, however. “We get radiation from the sun, from the stars, so we live and are bathed in a radioactive world,”Kleinman said.

But for those who labor at the site everyday, the risks associated with Wolff-Alport’s radiation are higher…….http://www.wnyc.org/story/trumps-ep-pledges-clean-nycs-most-radioactive-site-funding-question/

November 8, 2017 Posted by | environment, thorium, USA | Leave a comment

Regular flooding predicted for New York, as climate change brings rising sea levels

Climate Change Will Bring Major Flooding to New York Every 5 Years And that’s only counting the floods caused by hurricanes and tropical storms. The Atlantic ROBINSON MEYER 25 OCT 17 

New York is a city on the water. For hundreds of years, its rivers and harbor have worked to its advantage, bringing it speedy transportation and pleasant temperatures.

The next couple hundred years may not be as smooth sailing. Global warming, caused by the release of carbon-dioxide pollution into the atmosphere, will cause the seas to rise and the storms to intensify around the city. A new study from an all-star list of climate scientists attempts to estimate how a few of climate change’s symptoms—higher seas, large storm surge, and more intense hurricanes—will intersect in New York over the next 300 years.

It isn’t pretty. Sea-level rise will make every tropical cyclone that hits New York more likely to release damaging floods. For instance, storm floods of nearly seven-and-a-half feet once occurred only a couple times per millennium. In today’s somewhat warmed climate, 7.5-foot floods are projected to happen every 25 years. By 2030, these floods will occur every five years.

New York City has experienced 7.5-foot floods several times in the past decade. Superstorm Sandy loosed 10- or 11-foot floods on much of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island, killing 43 people and inundating more than 88,000 buildings…….https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/10/climate-change-nyc-floods/543708/

October 25, 2017 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Scientists Fear Trump Will Dismiss Blunt Climate Report – The New York Times

GarryRogers Nature Conservation

GR: The Final draft of U. S. Congress mandated climate report by 13 agencies is complete. Probably fearing suppression by the Trump administration, anonymous sources leaked the final draft of the report. I introduce the New York Times story on the report below. You can download the full PDF report here: Final-Draft-of-the-Climate-Science-Special-Report.

The report is detailed and factual, but agonizingly indirect in its warnings. Nevertheless, the report does state that harmful climate impacts have begun. One danger that the report makes clear is that there is much uncertainty about responses to the increasing extreme weather events, and about how many positive feedbacks–self-perpetuating cycles–might develop.

The coal-burning Plant Scherer in Juliette, Ga., is one of the top emitters of carbon dioxide in the United States. A draft report by government scientists concludes that Americans are feeling the effects of climate change right now. Credit Branden Camp/Associated Press

Lisa Friedman– “The…

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August 8, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The human effect – as New York and other cities become climate changed sweltering hotspots

Climate change is turning cities into harsh, sweltering hotspots http://grist.org/article/climate-change-is-turning-cities-into-harsh-sweltering-hotspots/ Tina Johnson has a sense of place. She’s a fourth-generation New Yorker who lives in the same apartment in West Harlem’s Grant housing development that her grandparents lived in. She calls that apartment her anchor, and the nine buildings that make up the development towering above 125th Street — home to roughly 4,400 residents spread across nine high rises — a small town.

August 7, 2017 Posted by | climate change, PERSONAL STORIES, USA | Leave a comment