Monday, October 21, 2013

Is Jerry Brown Running Scared?

Governor Fails to Show for Environmental Award Under Pressure From Protest
Is Jerry Brown Running Scared?
Over 60 people, including indigenous leaders, environmentalists and labor activists, gathered at the Le Parc Hotel in San Francisco on Thursday, October 17 from 5:30 to 7 pm to protest the Blue Green Alliance’s honoring of Governor Jerry Brown with its “Right Stuff” Award.
Faced with the protest condemning his anti-environmental policies, Brown apparently decided to back out from receiving the award. In particular, the protest focused on Brown’s support for fracking, a massive twin tunnels project and his emissions trading scheme.
A video of the protest is available here.
The protest was organized by a group of individuals unaffiliated with national environmental organizations who were galvanized by Brown’s most recent assault on the environment: the green lighting of fracking in California.
“Jerry Brown ignored the majority of Californians and the rank and file of the Democratic Party who support a moratorium on fracking,” said organizer Damien Luzzo. “He signaled that he would not sign any of the moratorium bills and only signed the already weak SB4, after he gutted it at the 11th hour at the behest of Big Oil.”
According to organizer Lauren Steiner, “When I worked on Jerry Brown’s presidential campaign in 1992, he was an uncompromised environmentalist. Now he will support any industry, including polluting ones, if he thinks it can bring jobs and tax revenues. In 1992, the old Jerry Brown limited his campaign contributions to under $100, so he wouldn’t be beholden to special interests. The new Jerry Brown has accepted $2.5 million over the past few years from the oil and gas industry.”...
“It is ludicrous for Blue Green Alliance to give the Governor an award. Attacks on the environment or workers will not save our planet,” said Ongerth.
As attendees of the dinner were arriving, protesters also handed an alternative program for the event featuring the 10 worst environmental policies of Governor Brown. 

These include: the twin tunnel plan; plans to weaken the California Environmental Water Quality Act (CEQA); record water exports out of the Delta in 2011; record Delta fish kills; the signing of Senate Bill 4; clear cutting in the Sierra Nevada; pro-oil industry appointments to the Department of Conservation; the support of “theme park” wetlands; the failure to abide by the fish doubling provisions of the Central Valley Project Improvement Act (CVPIA) and support of REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation).  
The program also included the list of groups and individuals who should have received an environmental award this year instead of Jerry Brown.
Dan Bacher is an environmental journalist in Sacramento. He can be reached at: Dan Bacher
For more information about Jerry Brown’s abysmal environmental record, go to:

Monday, October 14, 2013

Industrial Toxin Selenium May Be Killing Off Honey Bees

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports – Your Universe Online

Selenium, a chemical element that is both naturally occurring and often found near mining and industrial activities, can delay the development of or even kill honey bees, according to new research in the October issue of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.

Researchers from the University of California, Riverside found that the four primary forms of the anthropogenic pollutant – selenate, selenite, methylselenocysteine and selenocystine – can cause mortality and developmental delays in the insects, which are important agricultural pollinator both domestically and abroad. The authors believe that the bees could become contaminated through the biotransfer of the metal from selenium-accumulating plants.

“Metal pollutants like selenium contaminate soil, water, can be accumulated in plants, and can even be atmospherically deposited on the hive itself,” explained lead author Kristen Hladun a postdoctoral entomologist at the university. “Our study examined the toxic effects of selenium at multiple life stages of the honey bee in order to mimic the chronic exposure this insect may face when foraging in a contaminated area.”

According to the university, selenium contamination is a global issue that originated from naturally contaminated soils as well as sources that are human in origin, including coal-fired power plants, petroleum refineries or factories. Low concentrations of the element can be beneficial to many creatures – in fact, the authors noted that it is a critical component of an antioxidant enzyme. Higher levels of the metal can be toxic to several different types of insects, however.

Honey bees ingest selenium through contaminated pollen and nectar, Hladun and her colleagues discovered. Organic forms of the metal can alter protein conformation, causing developmental issues, while inorganic forms can lead to oxidative stress. Hladun said that additional research is required to determine if selenium can damage the bee’s internal organs, or if the insect is able to somehow detoxify the compounds.

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