Last August, Bayor CropScience was witness to a tremendous chemical explosion that killed two employees and raised fears in the surrounding West Virginia community.
A federal agency is now trying to set a public hearing to outline it’s preliminary findings as to the explosion’s cause.
In an unprecedented move, Bayor is trying to limit what is disclosed by citing a terrorism-related federal law.
With a dock for managing large shipments on the adjacent Kanawha River, Bayor is claiming its 400-acre site falls under the 2002 Maritime Transportation Security Act. Since the Coast Guard has jurisdiction under this act, Bayor has asked it to review any release of “sensitive security information.”
The Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board says that in its 11 years of operation, this is the first time the maritime act has been invoked in this way and the first time a company has tried to limit such public discussions.
Bayor apparently wants to limit revealing potential hazards posed by the chemical methyl isocyanate – a chemical used in the production of carbonate pesticides that their plant produces and that’s reponisible for the deaths in Bhopal, India of thousands of people after a leak in a Union Carbide plant in 1984.
If Bayor is successful, this could set a precedent to limit information by other chemical companies.
After invoking the maritime act, the chemical agency cancelled its initial meeting, attempting to resolve the dispute.
Representative Bart Stupak (D-Michigan), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, scheduled a hearing to review the company’s action.
“We are concerned about the way Bayer may be misusing terrorism laws to suppress information related to the incident,” said Stupak.
According to a Coast Guard spokesman, Bayor may indeed be a “regulated facility”, allowing them to protect information.
Yet another example of a large corporation seeking to deny culpability by attempting to sweep the facts under the rug, attempting to play out the old adage of “what you don’t know won’t hurt you”.
China’s State Council Development Research Center has proposed a global greenhouse gas trade plan to address the varying levels of GHG from rich and poor countries.
The Beijing think tank released their plan in the March issue of China’s Economic Research Journal, published on March 20th.
A separate report by the Chinese Academy of Sciences outlined that nation’s total GHG emissions would peak between 2030 and 2040, then fall, the Guangming Daily reported.
It’s believed that China has now surpassed the United States in annual carbon dioxide emissions from farming, industry and land clearing.
Though smaller in ratio, the significantly larger 1.3 billion population accounts for the larger percentage of greenhouse gas emissions at4 tons of per person. The U.S. reportedly emits approximately 20 tons of GHG per person.
The think tank proposes setting emission “rights” per country, based on emission levels, then allowing nations to trade these rights on the international market.
For more details, see http://planetark.org/wen/52208.
In yet another effort to cut back on illegal crossings, the US Border Patrol will begin using herbicides to poison plant life along the US-Mexico border.
This pilot program is one of three methods the Border Patrol is testing to eliminate thick stalked carrizo cane which they say smugglers, illegal immigrants and robbers use to hide behind. Teams of agents will also try cutting the plants by hand, then painting the stumps with an herbicide called Imazapyr, and digging them out by their roots.
The most controversial method would be spraying the plants by helicopter with Imazapyr.
Although the EPA and Border Patrol insist the herbicide is safe for animals, Mexican officials are concerned it could threaten the safety of Nuevo Laredo’s water supply.
This $2.1 million project, if successful across a 1.1 mile stretch of the Rio Grande border, would then be implemented along much of the river’s 130 miles of the Laredo, Texas sector, as well as along other parts of the US-Mexico border.
The U.S. Border Patrol says after spraying, it would then “green” the river’s edge again by planting native plants., naive thinking at best.
Concerned citizen groups are comparing this plan to Vietnam-era use of Agent Orange. Jay Johnson-Castro, Sr. Executive Director of the Rio Grande International Study Center at Laredo Community College, located next to the planned test area, said “it’s unprecedented they do (this) in a populated area.”
Johnson-Castro has no issue about removing the cane, a non-native plant introduced by Spaniards centuries ago, just with the method used.
“It’s complicated,” says Laredo Mayor Raul Salinas. “We have to think about protecting our border.”
“But let’s do it in a sensible way,” he said, to make sure that humans won’t be harmed, nor vegetation (or) animals, nor the environment.”
Sensible words, but it’s unlikely the Border Patrol will go that direction, given it’s penchant for actions that completely disregard environmental concerns and established facts.
The use of solar power has seen tremendous growth around the world – for homes, commercial and even government use.