Friday, July 20, 2007

Friday Night Newsy Links-- 7/21/07

natasha at Pacific Views blogs yesterday’s vote by the House Agricultural Committee to continue to allow mandatory arbitration provisions in livestock contracts. Contracts between growers and processors that contain such provisions (as most do) prevent growers from taking their grievances to the courts, thereby solidifying the livestock company's control over smaller farmers.


Environmental Justice:
FEMA ignored hundreds of complaints and the results of its own testing in declaring its trailers safe to house hurricane victims despite high levels of formaldehyde fumes. The AP story notes:

The House committee unearthed documents in which one FEMA lawyer advised: "Do not initiate any testing until we give the OK. ... Once you get results ... the clock is running on our duty to respond to them."

FEMA tested one occupied trailer at a level of 1.2 ppm (parts per million); a concentration of .016 ppm, over extended periods, is considered an appropriate threshold for use of a respirator. For the math-impaired, the Mississippi trailer was at 75 times the “safe” level.

It’s worth noting, in passing, that this is the same problem plaguing the guards’ sleeping trailers at our new embassy in Iraq. Your government at work.


The BLM has agreed, as a consequence of pressure from state wildlife officials and environmental groups, to more closely review environmental impacts before issuing certain oil and gas leases in Montana. At particular issue is the well-being of the sage grouse, a species petitioned for ESA listing with significant populations close to many of the parcels. Says the AP piece:

“Grouse need vast swaths of undisturbed sage brush to thrive. In northeast and western Wyoming, southeast Montana, northern Utah and western Colorado, those swaths increasingly are crisscrossed by service roads leading to gas fields.”


This afternoon two sandhill cranes flew over me, calling to one another in their weird voices. You can listen to audio of their call here.

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