Even the Cows Have Cancer

24 03 2010

So I realize that I’ve been neglecting the blog a bit for the past few days, but the big investigative story I was working on has finally come out, and I would like to share it with you all. It’s not uplifting and it will not brighten your day, but it’s an important issue that I really care about and I hope that all of you will too.

The social and environmental injustices that are happening in this country every day are just absolutely appalling.  The first step anyone can take toward change is just publicizing the issue, because I’m quite sure that if people knew what was occurring in their own states, all over the country, they would not stand for it.

So without further ado, here it is, the fruits of my week of labor:

Even the Cows Have Cancer: EPA Weighs Tougher Regulation of Toxic Coal Ash

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3 responses

24 03 2010
geof

If this isn’t the clarion call for more efficient use of electricity, than I guess the next step is that someone will have to come around and start punching people in the face. About half of the electricity the U.S. is using right now comes from coal. Heat and AC in our homes are the two big ones we have control over. Insulating your home is recommended over buying a hybrid in order to reduce carbon footprint. Really, its pretty fucking extravagant that we have the option of controlling the indoor air temperature 365 days a year. No wonder we burn so much coal.

It puzzles me why people who, after realizing they live in a carcinogenic mess, don’t move. I guess its the abstract nature of risk. Really, given the success of the lottery, I shouldn’t be puzzled.

I’m also amazed every time I remember it was Richard Nixon who signed the Clean Air Act and started the EPA.

24 03 2010
districtramblings

Geof, many of them would love to move. They reason they can’t is because A) they don’t have any money, B) their property has been hugely devalued by the pollution and power plants, so they can’t sell it for money and C) the houses and land have been in their families for generations. i asked all of them why they don’t move, and they all said something to the effect of, “How? Where would we go?”

24 03 2010
rockymtnhigh

LB…
Excellent article and further evidence of how what would appear to be at first glance, a local issue, but is really a regional and national issue. Many times the disparate topics of environmental protection, health issues, community development, and social justice seem disconnected when looked at separately but in reality are very much intertwined.

Many times the separate stakeholders never get passed the parochial issues or interests that they have in order to work together to address the complexity and inter-related aspects of solving these community, regional and national issues. It takes more than the just the short-term approach to bringing a few jobs to town until the landfill is filled up. It is looking at the long-term solutions to what ails our communities.

Here’s a link to another magazine I read that talks about a town in New Mexico addressing some of the very issues you bring up.
http://www.hcn.org/issues/42.2/the-environment-is-where-we-live

As someone who has seen poor neighborhoods in Denver deal with the continual fall-out of living next to power plants, animal feed plants and other industrial uses…it makes me wonder at what point do we see the implications of treating a large portion of our citizens as second class citizens because they fall below a certain income level? It take a concerted effort and many times results in little progress. When one can’t even locate a home for the mentally handicapped in a neighborhood for “safety” reasons, it makes me wonder what the real values are of our communities.

I see this when going through rural communities outside of New Orleans, where the working poor live next to Dow Chemical, and where the parish authorities & Dow spokespersons assure the community that the spills pose no danger, when you can smell the odor, feel your throat burning and eyes itching 45 minutes down river in New Orleans. Imagine being right next door down wind to that!

Individually, one can only do what you can to promote or assist in addressing these complex issues. But it will take the Gen Xers, Gen Yers and Millenials to collectively work together in addressing all of the issues that are a result of the previous generations either not fully taking responsibility or simply hoping the issues go away through willful denial and distracting via the promise of “jobs.”

In case you want some more fun. Here’s a website I found that lets you track the cancer rates for multiple demographics in the U.S. for states. It even lets you break it down by county or parish.

http://statecancerprofiles.cancer.gov/map/map.noimage.php

Cheers!

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