Category Archives: Jason

‘Diablo Winds’ spark historic wildfires in California wine country

This post has been updated to include revised figures on the number of fires and death toll. 

It’s peak wildfire season in California, and Monday was one of the worst days in state history. More than 60 blazes are currently underway statewide.

At least a dozen wildfires sprung up Sunday night in and around Napa and Sonoma counties—also known as “wine country,” just north of San Francisco — prompting rushed evacuations of more than 20,000 people. In an attempt to speed the flow of relief and firefighting equipment and make the National Guard available, Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency.

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The Northern California firestorm has quickly burned nearly 100,000 acres, and is encroaching on neighborhoods in several places. At around 3 a.m. Monday, a Cal Fire official told a local television station that there was “no hope of containment right now.”

In total, the fires have killed 13 people and destroyed more than 1,500 structures as of Tuesday morning, making them some of the most destructive in state history. More than 100 people have been treated for burns and smoke inhalation at regional hospitals, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, and more than 150 people are still missing. Nationwide, this year’s fire season has cost more than $2 billion, the most expensive on record.

Smoke from the fires is visible from across the Bay Area, with many residents reporting the smell of smoke and even ashes falling from the sky. The National Weather Service says that winds at higher elevations in some parts of Sonoma County exceeded hurricane force, with several areas reporting gusts greater than 50 mph.

Several of the worst wildfires in California history have sprung up during October, near the end of California’s months-long dry season. It’s this time of year when a combination of strong offshore winds and low humidity can quickly fan a seemingly innocent spark into a raging inferno.

These winds are usually formed by a strong inland high pressure center, which pushes air down mountainsides and through canyons, causing it to warm up and dry out — a perfect environment for fast-growing fires. In Northern California, they are generally called “Diablo winds,” after Mt. Diablo in the eastern Bay Area. A 2015 study said that climate change is making these wind events more frequent and more severe in California. According to the Bay Area branch of the National Weather Service, conditions will begin to improve starting on Tuesday morning.

One particularly frightening fire in Northern California, the Tubbs fire near Santa Rosa, jumped the 101 freeway, forcing a hospital to evacuate its patients. Officials report evacuation centers that have been set up have already filled to capacity. Aerial images of Santa Rosa on Monday showed widespread devastation of entire neighborhoods.

“People are running red lights, there is chaos ensuing,” Santa Rosa resident Ron Dodds told a local television station. “It’s a scary time. It looks like Armageddon.”

Continued: 

‘Diablo Winds’ spark historic wildfires in California wine country

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1.5 million Puerto Ricans don’t have safe drinking water.

The federal lawsuit, filed this week by the environmental group Deep Green Resistance, seeks to protect the Colorado River — a water source for Los Angeles, Phoenix, Denver, and Las Vegas, among other desert-strewn metro areas.

The New York Times reports that the state of Colorado has been sued for failing to protect the river and its “right to flourish” by allowing pollution and general degradation. The plaintiff’s attorney — the plaintiff being the Colorado River — is Jason Flores-Williams, who told the New York Times that there is a fundamental disparity in rights of “entities that are using nature and nature itself.”

Those entities are primarily corporations, which have been granted human rights in major Supreme Court decisions over the past year. In the Citizens United and Hobby Lobby decisions, for example, the Supreme Court found that corporations should be afforded the human right to donate without limit to political campaigns and to refuse to comply with federal law on basis of religious freedom.

The main challenge for the river case is that a corporation is, by definition, a group of people — but hey, it’s worth a shot! Here’s a short video we made on why protecting waterways like the Colorado River is important, even for city-dwellers:

Visit source – 

1.5 million Puerto Ricans don’t have safe drinking water.

Posted in alo, Anchor, Cascade, Citizen, FF, GE, Jason, LAI, LG, ONA, Radius, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let’s ban gasoline-powered cars, says California’s governor.

The federal lawsuit, filed this week by the environmental group Deep Green Resistance, seeks to protect the Colorado River — a water source for Los Angeles, Phoenix, Denver, and Las Vegas, among other desert-strewn metro areas.

The New York Times reports that the state of Colorado has been sued for failing to protect the river and its “right to flourish” by allowing pollution and general degradation. The plaintiff’s attorney — the plaintiff being the Colorado River — is Jason Flores-Williams, who told the New York Times that there is a fundamental disparity in rights of “entities that are using nature and nature itself.”

Those entities are primarily corporations, which have been granted human rights in major Supreme Court decisions over the past year. In the Citizens United and Hobby Lobby decisions, for example, the Supreme Court found that corporations should be afforded the human right to donate without limit to political campaigns and to refuse to comply with federal law on basis of religious freedom.

The main challenge for the river case is that a corporation is, by definition, a group of people — but hey, it’s worth a shot! Here’s a short video we made on why protecting waterways like the Colorado River is important, even for city-dwellers:

View article:

Let’s ban gasoline-powered cars, says California’s governor.

Posted in alo, Anchor, Cascade, Citizen, FF, GE, Jason, LAI, ONA, Radius, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A volcano in Bali could erupt at any minute. More than 75,000 people have evacuated.

The devastation wiped out 80 percent of Puerto Rico’s agricultural production, according to Puerto Rico’s agriculture secretary, Carlos Flores Ortega. The New York Times visited farmer José A. Rivera after the winds flattened his plantain, yam, and pepper fields.

“There will be no food in Puerto Rico,” Rivera, told the Times. “There is no more agriculture in Puerto Rico. And there won’t be any for a year or longer.”

Food prices will surely rise on the island, although the loss of crops will not necessarily mean people will starve. Puerto Rico imports about 85 percent of its food. Even so, the storm damaged the infrastructure used to distribute imported food, like ports, roads, and stores.

On CNN, Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló pleaded for aid from Congress. “We need to prevent a humanitarian crisis occurring in America,” he said. FEMA and the Coast Guard are working in the territory.

Flores, the agriculture secretary, appeared to be looking for a silver lining. This may be a chance to rebuild the island’s agriculture so that it is more efficient and sustainable, he told the Times.

As climate change accelerates, we can expect the rate of disasters like this to accelerate as well.

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A volcano in Bali could erupt at any minute. More than 75,000 people have evacuated.

Posted in alo, Anchor, Citizen, FF, G & F, GE, Good Sense, Jason, LAI, LG, ONA, Radius, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trump promised ‘tremendous cutting’ at the EPA. We’re beginning to see what that looks like.

An AP reporter visited seven sites on Thursday, and found that all were underwater.

One site, the Highlands Acid Pit, Jason Dearen writes, was barely visible above the churning San Jacinto River, and “the air smelled bitter.” Nearby, “a pair of tall white tanks had tipped over into a heap of twisted steel.” At the San Jacinto River Waste Pits — which are full of dioxins and other hazardous substances — “the flow from the raging river washing over the toxic site was so intense it damaged an adjacent section of the Interstate 10 bridge.”

The EPA later confirmed that, using satellite imagery to check a total of 41 Superfund sites, 13 had flooded. Employees had begun inspections on Monday for damage and possible contamination, but have yet to release any findings. The agency also, bizarrely, put out a statement calling the AP’s story “incredibly misleading” and “inaccurate” — without contradicting any of its facts.

An Obama-era EPA report found Superfund sites are threatened by stronger storms, flooding, and sea-level rise. New EPA director Scott Pruitt has said he wants to double down on Superfund cleanup efforts — and that’s despite Trump’s “skinny budget” proposing significant cuts to the remediation program.

Original article: 

Trump promised ‘tremendous cutting’ at the EPA. We’re beginning to see what that looks like.

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Wildfires are raging across California, too.

An AP reporter visited seven sites on Thursday, and found that all were underwater.

One site, the Highlands Acid Pit, Jason Dearen writes, was barely visible above the churning San Jacinto River, and “the air smelled bitter.” Nearby, “a pair of tall white tanks had tipped over into a heap of twisted steel.” At the San Jacinto River Waste Pits — which are full of dioxins and other hazardous substances — “the flow from the raging river washing over the toxic site was so intense it damaged an adjacent section of the Interstate 10 bridge.”

The EPA later confirmed that, using satellite imagery to check a total of 41 Superfund sites, 13 had flooded. Employees had begun inspections on Monday for damage and possible contamination, but have yet to release any findings. The agency also, bizarrely, put out a statement calling the AP’s story “incredibly misleading” and “inaccurate” — without contradicting any of its facts.

An Obama-era EPA report found Superfund sites are threatened by stronger storms, flooding, and sea-level rise. New EPA director Scott Pruitt has said he wants to double down on Superfund cleanup efforts — and that’s despite Trump’s “skinny budget” proposing significant cuts to the remediation program.

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Wildfires are raging across California, too.

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After burning for months, Montana looks like a fiery apocalypse.

On Thursday, explosions and black plumes of smoke were seen coming from a chemical plant in Crosby, Texas, 15 miles east of Houston’s city center.

Arkema, the company that owns the plant, said there was nothing they could do to prevent further explosions. The volatile chemicals stored onsite need to be refrigerated at all times to prevent breakdown, but flooding from Harvey cut the plant’s power. The “only plausible solution” now is to let the eight containers, containing 500,000 pounds of organic peroxides, explode and burn out, Arkema CEO Rich Rowe said at a press conference on Friday.

That’s bad news for Arkema’s neighbors. On Thursday, 15 public safety officers were taken to the hospital after breathing in acrid smoke from the plant. After local officials took a peek at Arkema’s chemical inventories, they ordered everyone within a 1.5-mile radius of the plant to evacuate. We don’t know precisely what’s in the noxious fumes, as Arkema has refused to release details of the facility’s chemical inventories.

In the worst-case scenario documented in the company’s 2014 risk-management plan, the air pollution coming from the plant could put the 1 million people living within 20 miles radius in danger. That seems unlikely — but then again, Harvey has outdone plenty of worst-case scenario predictions so far.

Source:  

After burning for months, Montana looks like a fiery apocalypse.

Posted in alo, Anchor, Everyone, FF, G & F, GE, Jason, LAI, ONA, organic, peroxide, Plant !t, Radius, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on After burning for months, Montana looks like a fiery apocalypse.

Yikes, 13 of Houston’s Superfund sites flooded during Harvey.

On Thursday, explosions and black plumes of smoke were seen coming from a chemical plant in Crosby, Texas, 15 miles east of Houston’s city center.

Arkema, the company that owns the plant, said there was nothing they could do to prevent further explosions. The volatile chemicals stored onsite need to be refrigerated at all times to prevent breakdown, but flooding from Harvey cut the plant’s power. The “only plausible solution” now is to let the eight containers, containing 500,000 pounds of organic peroxides, explode and burn out, Arkema CEO Rich Rowe said at a press conference on Friday.

That’s bad news for Arkema’s neighbors. On Thursday, 15 public safety officers were taken to the hospital after breathing in acrid smoke from the plant. After local officials took a peek at Arkema’s chemical inventories, they ordered everyone within a 1.5-mile radius of the plant to evacuate. We don’t know precisely what’s in the noxious fumes, as Arkema has refused to release details of the facility’s chemical inventories.

In the worst-case scenario documented in the company’s 2014 risk-management plan, the air pollution coming from the plant could put the 1 million people living within 20 miles radius in danger. That seems unlikely — but then again, Harvey has outdone plenty of worst-case scenario predictions so far.

Original article – 

Yikes, 13 of Houston’s Superfund sites flooded during Harvey.

Posted in alo, Anchor, Everyone, FF, G & F, GE, Jason, ONA, organic, peroxide, Plant !t, Radius, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Yikes, 13 of Houston’s Superfund sites flooded during Harvey.

These before-and-after GIFs show Harvey’s destruction on the Texas coast.

As floodwaters peak and recede over the coming weeks, there will be lots of standing water for disease-transmitting mosquitoes to breed and multiply, the Atlantic reports.

West Nile virus has plagued Texans since 2002, and there were 22 cases of Zika in the state in 2017. Those numbers could increase sharply if mosquito populations spike. In New Orleans, West Nile cases doubled the year after Hurricane Katrina flooded much of the city. (Oh, and mosquito populations are already on the rise thanks to climate change.)

There are other dire health effects from the storm. Floodwater often carries untreated sewage, gasoline, and debris, all of which can cause injury and illness when people come into contact with it. Even after water recedes, tainted carpet and drywall can harbor mold and mildew, another serious health threat.

And, in an unfortunate twist, unmonitored emissions and chemical leaks among the refineries and plants in Houston’s extensive industrial district on Monday caused officials to issue a shelter-in-place warning for residents downwind of a breached pipeline.

All of this will take a greater toll on Houston residents sidelined into vulnerable neighborhoods — mostly communities of color who were already suffering before Harvey made headlines. For them, the storm is far, far from over.

Source – 

These before-and-after GIFs show Harvey’s destruction on the Texas coast.

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Introducing Irma, a tropical storm picking up strength.

As floodwaters peak and recede over the coming weeks, there will be lots of standing water for disease-transmitting mosquitoes to breed and multiply, the Atlantic reports.

West Nile virus has plagued Texans since 2002, and there were 22 cases of Zika in the state in 2017. Those numbers could increase sharply if mosquito populations spike. In New Orleans, West Nile cases doubled the year after Hurricane Katrina flooded much of the city. (Oh, and mosquito populations are already on the rise thanks to climate change.)

There are other dire health effects from the storm. Floodwater often carries untreated sewage, gasoline, and debris, all of which can cause injury and illness when people come into contact with it. Even after water recedes, tainted carpet and drywall can harbor mold and mildew, another serious health threat.

And, in an unfortunate twist, unmonitored emissions and chemical leaks among the refineries and plants in Houston’s extensive industrial district on Monday caused officials to issue a shelter-in-place warning for residents downwind of a breached pipeline.

All of this will take a greater toll on Houston residents sidelined into vulnerable neighborhoods — mostly communities of color who were already suffering before Harvey made headlines. For them, the storm is far, far from over.

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Introducing Irma, a tropical storm picking up strength.

Posted in alo, Anchor, FF, G & F, GE, Jason, ONA, Prepara, ProPublica, The Atlantic, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Introducing Irma, a tropical storm picking up strength.