8 members of Congress honored for defending wildlife and the Endangered Species Act

Endangered Species poster

Many Americans have bones to pick with our members of Congress over a variety of issues. But sometimes, some of them do get it right. This evening eight members of Congress were honored for their staunch defense of wildlife and of the Endangered Species Act.

The “Champions of the Endangered Species Act” reception in Washington, D.C. features former Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt and honors Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Tom Udall (D-NM), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and House members Don Beyer (D-VA), Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Betty McCollum (D-MN), and Niki Tsongas (D-MA).
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Observations on the President’s State of the Union

As I dig myself out from dealing with a severe case of bronchitis – thus the few posts of the past few weeks – I thought it would be a good idea to comment on last night’s State of the Union address.

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Gorgeous wilderness area – first to be designated by Congress in five years

Photo by xray10, flickr

Photo by xray10, flickr

Who knew there were sand dunes in Michigan?  And such beautiful wilderness!

This week Congress passed and sent to President Obama for his signature the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Conservation and Recreation Act, which permanently protects 32,557 acres along the mainland shore of Lake Michigan. This newest addition to the National Wilderness Preservation System will be known as “Sleeping Bear Dunes Wilderness,” which includes portions of two islands, forests, miles of beach and spectacular sand dunes rising hundreds of feet above Lake Michigan.

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Saturday mail from the Post Office to continue

Saturday mail deliveryA news bulletin just announced that the US Post Office will cancel plans to end Saturday mail delivery early this summer.They say the new stopgap budget that Congress recently passed would prohibit the move.

A short-term funding plan that Congress and the President recently approved includes language requiring six days of delivery.

A statement from the agency said the postal service’s board of governors made the decision Tuesday.

Great news for consumers. What would weekends be without mail on the weekends, even though it usually comes later than usual? Gotta have it – and now we will!

Another (California) town bans plastic bag use

Dana Point, a town located in Orange County, California with a population of 33,000, has become the 67th town in the US to ban the use of plastic bags – the 42nd city in California to do so.

After being approved on March 6th, the new ruling goes into effect on April 1st – and it’s no April Fool’s joke!  Unlike many similar bag bans, it won’t include an added fee for paper bag use.

Restaurants will be exempt from the ban, after the threat of a lawsuit by the Save the Plastic Bag Coalition. The Dana Point plastic bag ban also won’t apply to businesses in the city with less than $4 million until Oct. 1, 2013 — six months after it goes into effect for all other businesses in the area.

Love to see this trend growing. Now if Congress would just step up and make it national.

FDA fails to halt sale of contaminated disposable wipes

The FDA has taken no action against companies distributing contaminated baby wipes

Whistleblowers have a thankless job standing up for what they believe is right.

Five years ago, two whistleblowers notified the US Food and Drug Administration about the contamination of disposable baby wipes made by Wisconsin-based Rockline Industries and that the company knew about but failed to stop the distribution of the products. They further wrote that the company had a special “code” they would broadcast should a surprise inspection occur.

Two weeks later, on Nov. 7, 2006, a government inspector paid an unannounced visit and discovered problems that included faulty product testing and poor sanitation, as well as customer complaints about mold and foreign objects such as a dead cockroach and razor blade in the wipes.

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That “natural” cereal comes with unwelcome extras

Kashi cereals, like many major brands, have switched from organic to GMO ingredients

Business is business and corporations are in it for the big bucks. Creating healthy food products is a popular idea but weighed against high profits and cost margins, consumer seem to be on the short end of the stick.

Such is the case with a large number of our favorite breakfast cereals – and that includes those old faithfuls that many of us have counted on to be organic for years.

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Did EPA drop the ball with toxic chemicals in children’s products?

With little fanfare or media coverage, on July 21st the U.S. Inspector General of the Environmental Protection Agency issued an evaluation of the EPA’s Voluntary Chemical Evaluation Program pilot – and gave the program a thumbs-down. Continue reading

Speak up about Genetically Modified (GMO) Food

The United States is the top producer of genetically-modifed food crops in the world

The United States is behind the rest of much of the world.

Not in everything, to be sure, but in enough of the things that matter – green innovation and environmental regulations to name a few. There is one other critical category where  we’re behind the curve – food labeling for genetically-modified (GMO) food products.

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All environmental “activists” are not alike

This post is a partial reprint of an article by Jeffrey Hollender, co-founder, Executive Chairman, and Chief Inspired Protagonist of Burlington, VT-based Seventh Generation Inc.   

America: All Koched Up

We all know that dollars buy influence and aren’t surprised when some millionaire we never heard of is found placing electoral bets or underwriting a political action committee. We have, quite sadly, become accustomed to the power of money and the dubious ends to which those who have it frequently put it. Even so, I found an article in last week’s New Yorker detailing the activities of billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch absolutely horrific. The Koch brothers run America’s second largest private company, Koch Industries, estimated to have revenues of $100 billion from brands that include Lycra, Stainmaster, Brawny paper towels, Dixie cups, and Georgia-Pacific lumber.   

It’s an excellent piece of reporting I strongly urge everyone to read, but for now here’s the gist: David and Charles Koch (pronounced “coke”), have for years been clandestinely founding and funding the organizations and efforts at the very epicenter of the right wing’s war on science, truth, progress, and political civility.   

Photo courtesy of Greenpeace's 2010 report on Koch Industries anti-climate change spending

 

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