I find it horrifically fascinating that government agencies such as the USDA, tasked with protecting consumers from any serious health issues contained in our food supply, should be in favor of genetically modified food sources. Yet evidence is growing that some of our organic foods contain GE ingredients (oddly allowed by the USDA) and now that august agency has taken a further step down this potentially hazardous path.
Today Governor Jerry Brown announced that $20 million of the $54 million recently “discovered” would be allotted towards California’s state parks. A real reprieve for the 70 parks on the list to be closed and a relief to many Californians.
But… there’s more to the story going on behind the scenes.
Filed under: Breaking news, Government at Work | Tagged: California state parks, California State Parks Foundation, Governor Jerry Brown, Mendocino, Monterrey, privatization, sustainability, tourism | Leave a comment »
Editor’s note: This article was originally published several weeks ago on SierraClubGreenHome.com. It includes some useful information you might appreciate.
One culprit is causing nearly a third of the waste in our national parks. It’s something you might grab for a long hike, or camping, or washing down a meal cooked over the campfire. It comes in a convenient yet remarkably wasteful package, and it’s become an unlikely source of controversy. That culprit is bottled water.
Shawn Norton, who works on climate change and sustainability issues for the National Park Service, says in a January 2010 internal memo that banning disposable bottles would reduce waste, cut recycling costs, and save electricity. In fact, if just 15 parks (including Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Death Valley and Grand Teton) banned bottled water, the savings could be 18 million kilowatt hours per year!
For more on the impact and controversy of banning plastic bottles in our national parks, see http://bit.ly/zqryKc.
In what can only be seen as a major failure on the part of our country’s top politicians to put the welfare of their constituents ahead of their own interests, the U.S. Senate has allowed a majority of its members to block that august body from taking up a comprehensive clean energy and climate change bill.
Australia has stepped up in the quest to stop Japanese whaling practices.
Australia’s Prime Minister Rudd has set a November deadline for Japan to cease its whaling program – done, Japan says, in the name of “research” – which slaughters hundreds of whales in the waters of Antarctica. If Japan disregards this warning, Rudd says “we will initiate court action before the commencement of the whaling season in November 2010.”
Rudd’s notice came the day before the arrival of Japan’s Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada. It’s anticipated that whaling will be a key component of the meetings with Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith this weekend.
Though whaling is conducted in international waters, it’s usually done in close proximity to Australia’s maritime rescue zone and Canberra considers it a whale sanctuary.
According to a report by Don Rothwell, international law professor at the Australian National University who was commissioned by the International Fund for Animal Welfare in 2005 to explore Australia’s legal options in its fight to end whaling, Australia could request the courts grant an immediate injunction requiring Japan to stop whaling.
The courts would likely grant the injunction, which would remain in place until the matter was resolved. This would at least temporarily stop Japanese whaling, though it’s unclear if the Japanese whalers would honor the injunction.
Meanwhile the Sea Shepherd and its crew continue to clash with Japanese whalers in their attempts to halt the whale killings.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is cracking down on what retailers can claim their products can do, especially if they supposedly do something that’s healthy.
They’ve filed suit against San Leandro, California based VF Corporation for the alleged sale and distribution of unregistered pesticides through their outdoor gear and apparal retail company, The North Face.
The issue centers around over 70 styles of footwear that have an AgION silver treated footbed. The North Face sold these with claims that the footwear would prevent disease-causing bacteria. Their claims included:
• AgION antimicrobial silver agent inhibits growth of disease-causing bacteria
• Prevents bacterial and fungal growth
• Continuous release of antimicrobial agents
Making these claims, says the EPA, is a violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act and are unsubstantiated public health claims regarding unregistered products, and their ability to control germs and pathogens.
“The EPA takes very seriously its responsibility to enforce against companies that sell products with unsubstantiated antimicrobial properties,” said Katherine Taylor, associate director of the Communities and Ecosystems Division in EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “Unverified public health claims can lead people to believe they are protected from disease-causing organisms when, in fact, they may not be.”
The North Face has since ceased making these claims, removing them from their website, and have revised their product packaging.
The EPA considers products that kill or repel bacteria or germs to be pesticides which then must be registered with the EPA prior to distribution or sale. Until a pesticide has been tested to show that it will not pose an unreasonable risk when used according to the directions, they won’t register it. Registered products have an EPA registration number printed on product labels.
The North Face’s parent company now faces nearly $1million in federal fines for making these unsubstantiated claims.