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2017 May 10 democracynow.org headline Energy Transfer Partners fined for 18 oil spills
2017 May 7 truth-out.org Exxon Mobil accused of safety violations
The Chemical Safety Board (CSB) said this week that a California Exxon refinery explosion in 2015 could have been catastrophic. Chair Vanessa Allen Sutherland recommended steps to prevent a recurrence of the explosion but the CSB has "no authority to compel their adoption". Exxon says it has implemented all but two of the recommendations and has plans in place to address the other two, but the CSB says Exxon has ignored many of their requests for more information.
"Ms Golloher is being represented by the same New York-based lawyer working on behalf of 19 other claimants alleging gender and race discrimination at the right-wing news network over a period stretching back more than eight years."
The Corps of Engineers lawyer Damon Roberts refused a Freedom of Information request because "The referenced document contains information related to sensitive infrastructure that if misused could endanger people's lives and property".
2017 April 25 The Washington Post Report finds many concerns at Chinese factory that makes Ivanka Trump clothes
A report by the Fair Labor Association cited illegally long hours, pay at or below minimum wage, lack of legally mandated insurance coverage, no legally mandated contribution to a housing fund, and safety concerns.
Conditions for workers on Trump's multi-million-dollar fashion line seem out of synch with her upcoming book Women Who Work and endorsement of her father U.S. President Donald Trump's call to buy and hire American.
Other brands made by the contractor, G-III Apparel Group, include Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger.
Three manufacturers of the group of pesticides, including Dow, wrote to U.S. cabinet heads asking that regulations on use of the chemicals be removed. Studies from the past four years have been "expected to result in new limits on how and where the highly toxic pesticides can be used".
Dow has spent many millions of dollars on enhancing its considerable political power. The new Trump administration head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, has shown more willingness than the previous administration to relax regulations. He "announced last month he was reversing an Obama-era effort to bar the use of Dow's chlorpyrifos pesticide on food after recent peer-reviewed studies found that even tiny levels of exposure could hinder the development of children's brains."
2017 April 20 nytimes.com Bill O'Reilly of Fox News is gone. Will advertisers who pulled out due to his sex scandal return?
"Brian Wieser, an analyst at Pivotal Research, said that Fox News probably recognized that a replacement would cost less than Mr. O'Reilly and still retain most viewers."
2017 April 5 Indian Country Today Billions of investment dollars withdrawn from Dakota Access Pipeline project
Cities, corporations, and individuals respond to protests by Standing Rock Sioux and other tribes, plus many environmentally and socially conscious supporters.
2017 April 4 capecodtoday.com "FDA: Limited Recall of Hunt's Chili Kits"
The recall by Conagra Brands is voluntary, in response to "a supplier who informed the company of the potential presence of Salmonella in a raw material used in the chili seasoning." No salmonella has actually been found in the product, however.
2017 April 3 EcoWatch "340 Beluga Whales Threatened by Another Pipeline Leak in Alaska's Cook Inlet"
The leak follows on the heels of an oil spill. "Reports this morning confirm that the leak has stopped, but the risk to wildlife is unknown. These platforms were installed in 1966 and aging infrastructure and severe tides in the Cook Inlet make them vulnerable to incidents. The Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has also repeatedly cited Hilcorp for violating safety regulations for its oil and gas operations in the state."
2017 March 29 dailykos.com Exxon Mobil to Trump: stick with Paris climate agreement
"In a letter sent to the White House on March 22 – days before President Donald Trump signed an executive order rolling back Barack Obama's climate legacy – Exxon told the administration that the Paris agreement is an 'effective framework for addressing the risks of climate change' and that the U.S. is 'well positioned to compete' under the deal, according to CNN Money."
2017 March 24 aljazeera.com: Keystone XL pipeline approved
"Pipeline contractor TransCanada receives presidential permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline, state department says."
"White House press secretary Sean Spicer tweeted that President Donald Trump would discuss the pipeline later on Friday morning."
2017 March 21 CapeCodToday: Another pet food recall
EuroCan Manufacturing is voluntarily recalling Lot Number 84 consisting of it's individually shrink-wrapped, 6-pack, 12-pack and 25-pack bags of Barnsdale Farms, HoundsTooth and Mac's Choice Pig Ears because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella."
2017 March 17 Orlando Sentinel: Walt Disney Co. will pay back wages
A U.S. Labor Department investigation found "violations of minimum wage, overtime and recordkeeping rules."
2017 March 14 EcoWatch: Sierra Club members and other Environmentalists protest plan for new pipeline in Michigan
"Officials from Enbridge Energy Partners insisted on the structural safety of its 64-year-old pipelines that pass under the Straits of Mackinac even though a company-commissioned study found that the lines' protective coating has deteriorated in some areas."
2017 March 13: EcoWatch California requires cancer warning on Monsanto's Roundup
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. reports that a California court ruling wil enable the state to list glyphosate, "the active ingredient in Roundup", as a carcinogen.
Kennedy is representing clients suing Monsanto for non-Hodgkin lymphoma from exposure to Roundup...."
"The tribe has argued in court that the pipeline crosses sacred land, was approved by the government without adequate consultation, and would contaminate its water supply." U.S. Native American tribes are legally sovereign nations. "Last November, the US Army Corps of Engineers halted the construction of the $3.8bn pipeline."But in January, President Donald Trump signed an executive order instructing the agency to 'review and approve' the project 'in an expedited manner'. He also cleared the way for the controversial Keystone XL project."
2017 March 9 MarketWatch: Samsung leaders charged with corruption
Samsung's "de facto leader, Lee Jae-yong, and four top lieutenants formally denied all charges against them as a South Korean court opened a trial into a corruption scandal that has led to the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye."
2017 March 4 capecodtoday.com Evanger's dog and cat food recalls expanded
Several products voluntarily recalled due to potential contamination. Click on link above to get details.
2017 Feb. 27 capecodtoday: "FDA: Three types of Trader Joe's brand apple sauce recalled"
"The recall was initiated after the company received customer reports of glass found in some of these products. All products have been removed from store shelves and destroyed." Click on the link above for details.
2017 Feb. 22 bbc.com "Plastic from tyres 'major source' of ocean pollution"
TheInternational Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) says "tiny plastic particles washed off products such as synthetic clothes and car tyres could contribute up to 30% of the" plastic pollution in the oceans in the world.
2017 Feb. 17 bbc.com: Talking doll Cayla raises hacking fears
"Researchers say hackers can use an unsecure bluetooth device embedded in the toy to listen and talk to the child playing with it."
2017 Feb.15 bbc.com Bank of England to keep £5 note
"Vegans and some religious groups had voiced concerns, as the note contains a small amount of tallow, which is derived from meat products."
2017 Feb. 15 npr/wbur Potential changes in food labels may help reduce waste
Current "expiration" and "sell by" dates do not always mean food is unsafe after those dates. They are more likely to indicate when the food tastes best.
"Expiration dates on food are not required by any federal law, although some states require such dates on meat or milk. As a food product passes its "expiration" date, it may get stale, and some products, like milk, may go sour. But according to food safety experts, most spoiled foods, though unpalatable, aren't particularly hazardous."
2017 Feb. 14 CapeCodToday: Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Healthy Weight dog food recall
See link above for details.
2017 Feb. 13 MarketWatch: Dupont and Chemours fined over Teflon ingredient in drinking water
The ingredient, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) or C8, has been linked to several types of cancer (see cancer.org. It may be found in high levels in drinking water from chemical plants. More research is needed to prove cause and effect, but Dupont has been accused of covering up evidence, including its own research.
Nonstick coatings made from Teflon are not considered a significant source of C8.
2017 Feb. 4 capecodtoday,com: "Evanger's Dog and Cat Food Recall"
Voluntary recall instituted "because of a potential contaminant Pentobarbital, which was detected in one lot of Hunk of Beef Au Jus."
"This is the first recall for Evanger's in its 82 years of manufacturing."
2017 Feb. 1 Truthout: Pakistan medical waste threats
International standards for disposing of medical waste are not generally enforced in Pakistan, resulting in exposure of persons and the environment to toxins and disease.
Monsanto "plans to challenge the ruling and insists on the safety of glyphosate, which is the most widely applied agricultural chemical in the world." Environmental lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is advocating for California's position.
2017 Jan. 30 Starbucks response to Trump travel ban
Starbucks plans to hire 10,000 refugees after Trump executive order that "suspends the arrival of all refugees for at least 120 days, Syrian refugees indefinitely and bars citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days."
2017 Jan. 27 usatoday.com: Don't let robocalls record your voice
People behind the robots can use the recording to sign you up for things you don't want and could be dangerous. A one-word answer to an innocent-sounding question can get you into trouble. The article tells what to do if this happens to you, but to prevent it from happening in the first place, just hang up. Don't say anything.
"The company said that errors both in design and manufacturing affected batteries by two different manufacturers."
"The smartphone giant did not name the battery suppliers during their Monday presentation, though last year had identified them as their affiliate Samsung SDI and Chinese company Amperex Technology".
2017 Jan. 18 bbc news: Mold inside rubber toys
When some rubber toys get water inside, they can grow mold. Water may enter through a small hole that makes the toy squeezable. This is apparently what happened in the case of French company Vuilli's popular Sophie the Giraffe, often used for teething babies. The story went viral and caused a lot of worry for parents, but doctors say exposure to mold is virtually inevitable because it is ubiquitous in the environment. It is not likely to cause harm unless the amount of mold in the environment is excessive or the person is allergic to it.
2017 Jan. 16 npr.org:: Samsung head arrested for bribery and embezzlement
"Investigators say Jay Y. Lee, the vice chairman of Samsung Electronics and the scion of the one of the largest companies in the world, helped improperly direct company money to the confidant of President Park Geun-hye in order to curry favor with the government.
"That confidant is now at the center of a criminal investigation and ongoing political scandal, and the president is awaiting a trial by a constitutional court on whether a resounding impeachment vote in parliament will result in her official removal."
"Prosecutors allege that Lee directed funds to Park's friend, Choi Soon-sil, and in return won support from the administration for a controversial merger between two company affiliates."
2017 Jan. 14 Yahoo!News: Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus to close in May
"Declining attendance combined with high operating costs, along with changing public tastes and prolonged battles with animal rights groups all contributed to its demise."
2017 Jan. 14 CapeCodToday: Oymel pork ribs recalled"...The products were repacked and distributed without the benefit of federal inspection, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today."
2017 Jan. 13 Yahoo! News: Takata pleads guilty to fraud in exploding airbag case
Three Takata executives have been indicted for falsifying data for the sake of profits, knowing about the risks. "16 deaths and 100 injuries worldwide" have resulted. "Most major auto manufacturers have been forced to recall vehicles because of the defect, including General Motors, Honda, BMW and Tesla, in what has been described as the largest-ever auto safety recall."
2017 Jan. 13 IDG News Service: Apple monopolizer of iPhone applications
"The company collects 30 percent of the revenue of third-party apps on its store, with the balance going to the developer, in a closed system in which Apple controls which apps can run on an iPhone, according to court records."
"The courts have yet to address the complaints of the app purchasers, who allege that Apple prohibits app developers from selling iPhone apps through channels other than the App Store...."
2017 Jan. 13 PCWorld: Straight Path Spectrum fined $100 million by Federal Communications Commission (FDC)
Licenses to build next-generation 5G licenses to serve the public had not been built as Straight Path Spectrum claimed. $85 million of the fine "is suspended pending Straight Path's transfer or assignment of the licenses in the next 12 months."
2017 Jan. 12 CapeCodToday: "Dutch Valley Cappuccino Snack Mix recalled"
"As a result of an ingredient supplier recall, Dutch Valley is issuing a recall on Cappuccino Snack Mix due to the potential for it to be contaminated with Salmonella."
2016 Dec. 28 democracynow.org: Dakota Access Pipeline construction hindered by delayed investment
"A filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission shows Enbridge Energy Partners and Marathon Petroleum Corporation won't meet a previous deadline of December 31 to complete a sale. The companies will now have until March 31 to consider whether to walk away from an investment in the pipeline."
The pipeline is owned by Energy Transfer Partners. Protesters of the pipeline, who call themselves Water Protectors, have fought powerful forces against construction of the pipeline with notable and increasing success. They maintain it violates human and environmental and sovereign government rights of the Standing Rock Sioux Native American tribe, located in North and South Dakota.
2016 Dec. 23 therealnews.com: Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht fined for bribery
"Latin America's largest construction company, Odebrecht, agreed with the U.S. Justice Department to pay a fine of up to $4.5 billion on Wednesday for having engaged in widespread bribery of government officials around the world. The agreement is the largest penalty in U.S. history under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977."
2016 Dec. 20 The Intercept: Exxon Mobil and phthalates (plastics softeners) in toysExxon Mobil is a giant among both energy and chemical chemical companies. So far the company has successfully fought implementation of a 2014 ban on eight phthalates by the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC).
"The inaction "speaks to the power of Exxon to frighten federal agencies away from doing their jobs," as Earthjustice's Gartner put it. And that was before the company's CEO [Rex Tillerson] had a top government job[Trump nominee for Secretary of State]."
2016 Dec. 17 Yahoo News: Seven banks resolve class action suit re interest rate rigging
The banks include Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Credit Suisse Group, and Deutsche Bank.
"The remaining defendants are BNP Paribas SA
"The case is Alaska Electrical Pension Fund et al v. Bank of America Corp et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 14-07126."
Energy Transfer Partners, owner of the pipeline, vows to complete the project, saying the Obama administration's refusal to approve the final leg of the pipeline under the Missouri River and close to the Standing Rock Sioux's lands is political. The tribe says it would endanger their sole water source and sacred sites.
"While the Friday decision does not put a final nail in the coffin, it still is of advantage to the demonstrators. Since there is a clause in the company's contract that allows investors to pull out starting Jan. 2, further delays - which the company estimates cause a loss of $20 million per day - could see many investors turning their back on the money-losing project."
2016 Dec.10 truth-out.org: Little-known Sabal Trail fracked gas pipeline from Alabama to Florida
Critics say users do not need more natural gas, that Sabal Trail can take their properties by eminent domain, and that it has violated multiple construction regulations designed to protect homeowners and the environment.
"Sabal Trail is a joint project of Spectra Energy Corp., NextEra Energy, Inc., and Duke Energy." There is a connection between the Sabal pipeline and the Dakota Access pipeline because "Enbridge, which is a stakeholder in the Dakota Access pipeline, has announced plans to buy Spectra...."
2016 Dec.10 truth-out.org: Sioux tribes developing wind energy in Dakotas
"Seven Sioux tribes in the Dakotas are developing what would be an enormous collection of wind farms on six reservations scattered across what is generally rated as one of the windiest areas in the country." The tribes have done prliminary assessments but need more detailed studies before they can solicit investors. Previous efforts by the tribes for clean energy development have been hampered by investors not wanting to let the tribes "control their own energy resources."
2016 Dec. 5 bbc.com: Whirlpool criticized for slowness repairing fire-prone dryers
"Some five million affected machines were sold in the UK, under the Creda, Indesit and Hotpoint brands, between April 2004 and September 2015."
2016 Dec. 4: theguardian.com Army Corps of Engineers denies permit for Dakota Access pipeline
One day before the previously announced deadline for protesters to leave the camp of Native Americans and environmental activists set up to block drilling for oil under a major source of water for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, which has authority over the project, announced it will not permit the drilling. The Corps will look for alternative routes for the pipeline.
The tribe and its many supporters joyously celebrated the decision as a major victory after months of effort in the face of great difficulties, but the tribe's attorney warned it could still be overturned by the incoming Trump administration.
2016 Dec. 3: theguardian.com Chinese workers producing Christmas toys not so merry
ChinaLabor Watch says wages are very low and living conditions in dormitories that house workers are very harsh. Families are separated by conditions of work and living accommodations. "Overtime can run to nearly three times the legal limit." Some of the most popular brand name toys, such as Barbie dolls, Thomas the Tank Engine Minis, and Fisher-Price Learn with Me Zebra Walker, are made in Chinese factories.
2016 Nov. 25: npr.org Dakota Access Protesters ordered to leave by Dec. 5
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has today written to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe that the camp being used by protesters of the Dakota Access Pipeline will be closed on December 5 and all occupants evicted. Tribe chairman Dave ArchambaultII has stated the tribe's resistance to the pipeline will continue.
2016 Nov. 23: huffingtonpost.com 85% of food samples in 2015 had pesticide residues
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said the levels found are not risky for consumers, but some scientists say this is misleading because the data does not show effects of "regular, repeated consumption".
"Spinach, strawberries, grapes, green beans, tomatoes, cucumbers and watermelon were among the foods found with illegal pesticide residue levels. Even residues of chemicals long banned in the United States were found, including residues of DDT or its metabolites found in spinach and potatoes."
There was no data on glyphosate, a suspected carcinogen, "the most widely used herbicide in the world", and the most important ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup.
Tests by the Federal Department of Agriculture and private concerns also produced disturbing results and lack sufficient data to support safety claims. They raise the question whether regulations are designed more to protect producers of the pesticides than consumers of the foods.
2016 Nov. 16: wikipedia.org Dakota Access Pipeline
The $3.7 billion Dakota Access Pipeline, owned by Energy Transfer Partners, runs through North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois. This oil pipeline has highlighted controversy between protesting Native Americans and environmental activists vs. corporations that stand to profit from fossil fuels, with accusations of violence against both sides.
The election of Donald Trump as incoming U.S. President has made Dakota Access owner Energy Transfer Partners CEO Kelcy Warren "100 percent sure that the pipeline will be approved". Trump has sizable investments in the project, and has spoken in favor of using America's large fossil fuel reserves, but has not commented on this particular pipeline.
Thousands of protesters planned nationwide protests starting yesterday, Nov. 15. They claim sacred sites and safety of water in the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation are threatened by a potential leak in the pipeline. The pipeline is scheduled to go under Lake Oahe, the reservoir on which the Sioux depend for their water.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has final authority over construction of the pipeline. Sioux tribe Chair David Archambault wants the Corps to deny a permit to cross Lake Oahe and require the pipeline to be rerouted farther from Sioux lands.
For a a concise summary of the issues and legal actions, see nbc news Nov. 4.
For more detailed but fascinating information well worth your time, including history of relations between American Indian tribes--legally sovereign nations--and the U.S. government, see The Atlantic, Sept. 9. Of particular interest is the section on the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie and the land beneath the pipeline.
The Atlantic notes that "Of course, this history does not answer whose land it really is: American law still respects the underlying logic of the 'doctrine of discovery,' the idea that European Christians could lay claim to land if they were the first to document it. But it is in partial recognition of the painful history of colonial land grabs that modern federal law accords certain rights to Native groups. Since 1992, one of these rights could be described as the right to be consulted: Whenever a federal agency undertakes or approves a construction project, it must consult with local Native nations or tribes about whether sacred sites or places are nearby."
2016 Nov. 16 Yahoo News: "Business calls for Trump, world leaders to support Paris climate pact"
The statement by more than 360 businesses and investors including "DuPont, Gap , General Mills , Hewlett Packard , Hilton , Kellogg , Levi Strauss & Co., L'Oreal USA, Nike , Mars Incorporated, Schneider Electric, Starbucks and Unilever" asked for prompt implementation of the Nov. 4 Paris agreement on climate change. U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has said he wants to scrap the agreement.
2016 Nov. 6 Yahoo News: Volkswagen Board Chairman investigated
"The company says in government documents that an electrical connector for the passenger seat air bag sensor can become disconnected. That can cause the air bag to inflate when a child is in the seat or deploy with too little force to protect an adult. In both cases, passengers could be hurt, but Hyundai says it has no reports of injuries."
2016 Oct. 12 bbc.com/news/technology Update on Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones
Questions remain, such as whether moving to batteries that could not be removed by users contributed to the phones catching fire.
2016 Oct.11 bbc.com/business "Samsung permanently stops Galaxy Note 7 production"
The phablets had problems with some of them catching fire and exploding. Some of the replacement devices also caught fire. Samsung has stopped all sales, replacement, and production of the phones. "The handset was never released for sale in the UK."
2016 Oct.7 npr.org EpiPen-Medicare/Medicaid dispute settledfor $465 million
The EpiPen auto-injector is used to reverse serious allergic reactions. Medicaid claimed EpiPen maker Mylan misclassified the drug as generic, thus paying far less in required rebates to Medicaid than it should have for a brand name drug.
Special Report: Chocolate
2013: How to make sure your chocolate purchases do not support child slavery.
Special Report: Torture
There is hope!Please see the post on a January 2012 anti-torture resolution by the city of Chicago, and how other municipalities can do the same. If you do not see it at first, refresh the page by clicking the refresh button on your browser bar or pressing the f5 key.
Special Report: Fair Trade
2013 update summarizes changes in standards and controversy over increasing availability of products with the certification by making it easier to get certified vs. maintaining more rigorous standards. Fair World Project offers suggestions for resolving the conflict by making product labels more transparent about percentage of ingredients that are certified.