San Angelo Standard Times
Laredo Council member reacts to AG opinion on plastic bag bans
LAREDO, TEXAS (KGNS) - A Laredo council member said the city's ban on plastic bags will not be affected by a recent opinion by the Texas Attorney General. Friday Attorney General weighed in on the legality of plastic bag ordinances, writing such bans ...
Abbott Opinion Murky on Plastic Bag BansTexas Tribune
Greg Abbott: Bag bans may violate state lawAustin American-Statesman
AG Opinion Puts City Plastic Bag Bans at RiskGilmer Mirror
all 40 news articles »
A son succumbs to heroin; a father struggles to understand
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Phil took a $50 bill and a bottle of Jose Cuervo. His accomplice took considerably more — jewelry, computer equipment, golf clubs. Whatever you do, Phil told him, do not pawn this. Afterward, the best friend asked Phil if he'd heard anything about the ...
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Would you support a plastic bag ban in your community?
Lawmakers there just approved a bill that would get rid of plastic bags at grocery stores and pharmacies, if the Governor signs it into law. Shoppers who don't bring a bag and want one would have to pay at least 10 cents for either paper or reusable bags.
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Our Labor Day tradition continues with the third edition of The Year in US Occupational Health & Safety: Fall 2013 – Summer 2014. Liz Borkowski and I produce it to serve as a resource for activists, researchers, regulators and anyone else who wants a refresher on what happened in the previous 12 months on worker health and safety topics. We prepare it as a complement to the AFL-CIO’s excellent annual Death on the Job report which has been released each spring for the last 23 years.
We divide the report into three sections: Happenings at the federal level, activities in state and local agencies, and new research published by academics and organizations. We also profile what we consider some of the best reporting by journalists on worker health and safety issues. Here’s a snapshot of what stood out to us over the last year:
- The Federal Government: The 16-day “government shutdown” in October 2013 demonstrated the dysfunction of the current US Congress. MSHA and OSHA took important regulatory steps to protect workers from dust-related diseases, but the Obama Administration remains reluctant about advancing many other new worker safety rules.
- State and Local Activities: Progress on new worker-friendly laws continues at the state and local level. The most impressive reforms occurred in Massachusetts, with an increase in the minimum wage, a bill of rights for domestic workers, new health and safety protections for public sector workers, and an improvement in workers’ compensation with respect to burial benefits.
- New Research: Dozens of informative articles were published in the peer-reviewed literature that advanced our knowledge of both workplace hazards and the effectiveness of interventions to prevent injuries and illnesses. Research involving particular groups of workers—Latinos, healthcare and farmworkers—were especially prominent.
Liz and I will write several posts this week that will highlight each section of the report. We invite you to browse through it and add a comment to our posts with your own ideas about notable worker health and safety events over the past 12 months. I’ll start off below with some of what we think were the key happenings at the federal level.
MSHA issued a new regulation to better protect coal mine workers from developing black lung disease. Labor Secretary Tom Perez announced the new rules in April 2014 at a gathering of coal miners in Morgantown, WV. MSHA also completed a rulemaking which allows it to target the worst of the worst mine operators with a “pattern of violation” designation. Four mining operations were the first to receive the designation and the enhanced scrutiny that results from it.
OSHA moved into the heart of the public rulemaking process on its proposed rule to protect workers who are exposed to respirable crystalline silica. Stakeholders had 137 days to submit written comments to the agency, followed by 13 days of public hearings. A highlight of the hearings was the testimony by workers, including those with silica-related disease and those who made their statements in Spanish—a first in OSHA rulemaking history. OSHA also took outreach and enforcement steps to address working conditions for temp workers and those who work at heights on communication towers.
A coalition of poultry workers, civil rights, public health and unions earned modest concessions from the USDA in its new regulation on poultry slaughter inspections. The agency scaled back its plan to increase line speeds from 140 birds per minute (bpm) to 175 (bpm), and will require poultry processors to “attest” they have a program to monitor and document work-related injuries.
The Chemical Safety Board issued investigation reports and case studies on explosions at the Chevron Richmond and Tesoro Anacortes refineries, AL Solutions, among others, but leadership failures overshadowed that work. CSB member Beth Rosenberg, ScD resigned in May 2014. Cong. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, issued a report and held a hearing on management failures and whistleblower reprisals at the agency.
NIOSH engaged stakeholders in discussions on a proposed policy on carcinogens. The agency also drew more attention to the public health consequences of fracking, with findings of worker deaths from exposure to fracking’s “flow back” fluids.
Journalists made significant contributions to raise public awareness about worker health and safety issues. Most notably, the Center for Public Integrity’s (CPI) Chris Hamby won the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on law firm Jackson Kelly’s practice of withholding key medical evidence in their challenges against coal miners who are seeking compensation under the federal black lung benefits program. CPI’s Jim Morris, a veteran of worker H&S journalism, reported on Georgia-Pacific’s research program to challenge the scientific evidence on the health effects of asbestos exposure, as well as the serious backlog of workers’ compensation cases for longshore and harbor workers. Some of the other national news coverage we recap in the report include: the challenges faced by temp workers which were featured in reporting by ProPublica’s Michael Grabell; teen workers and sexual harassment which was investigated by The Oregonian’s Laura Gunderson; and the H&S risks faced by young farm workers which was reported by The Nation’s Mariya Strauss and Gabriel Thompson.
Our report highlights work by other journalists and much more on happenings over the last 12 months at the federal level. The report covers a lot, but it is not exhaustive. Liz and I made some tough decisions about what to include and what to omit. We hope you will download the report, and let us know what you think were some of the most important worker health and safety events or reporting since last fall.
P.S.: The first and second editions of our reports are available here:
The Year in U.S. Occupational Health & Safety: Fall 2012 – Summer 2013
The Year in U.S. Occupational Health & Safety: Fall 2011 – Summer 2012
Time for 49ers and Harbaugh to send right message
You've got Ahmad Brooks allegedly beating a teammate over the head with a beer bottle, and threatening to shoot him (the DA opted not to file charges). You've got cornerback ... You've got Aldon Smith and his bill of particulars. The Seahawks defense ...
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Sonoma County plastic bag ban in effect Monday
Santa Rosa Press Democrat
A countywide ban on plastic bags goes into enforcement Monday as Sonoma County joins a growing list of jurisdictions in California that have outlawed the disposable sacks because of environmental concerns. The state legislature last week passed a bill ...
Sonoma County Plastic Bag Ban Goes Into Effect; Statewide Ban Bill Sits On ...CBS Local
California lawmakers pass nation's first plastic bag banWFSB
Plastic bag ban considered in CaliforniaWXIX
KRNV My News 4 -San Jose Mercury News
all 29 news articles »
Ethical bottled water companies find it hard to compete with Nestlé and Coke
Former marketing executive, Duncan Goose, credits the photo – which appeared on page 18 in this newspaper on 15 December 2003 – as a catalyst for his bottled water brand One Water. The UK-based social enterprise pledges to donate all its profits ...
If you have been looking for ways to cut down on your energy spending while contributing to salvaging the environment, the government has offered you an opportunity with its Feed-In tariffs (FIT) scheme.
Subscribers of this scheme can be paid for the electricity they generate and the surplus that gets exported back to the National Grid.
The Feed-In Tariffs scheme is administered in countries like the UK by Ofgem as a means of speeding up investments in renewable energy across the UK. FITs payments however are made by your electricity supplier. Before we see the benefits of the FITs scheme, here is a look at why you should embrace renewable energy.
Advantages of renewable energy
No global warming emissions
It is common knowledge that electricity production accounts for a huge chunk of global warming emissions around the world. Natural gas-fired power plants, coal-fired power plants etc. are beneficial to end users but the effects are long lasting on the ecosystem.
Using renewable energy sources means you are contributing your quota to ensure a reduction in these global warming emissions.
Improved environmental quality and public health
The generation of electricity from renewable energy instead of fossil fuels brings some significant public health benefits. This is because breathing problems, neurological damage, heart attacks, cancer etc. have been linked to air and water pollution emitted by coal and natural gas plants. Replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy has been found to reduce premature mortality as well as lost work days. It equally reduces the overall cost of health care.
Inexhaustible energy supply
All around the UK, sunny skies, strong winds, under-soil heat and fast-moving water abound. These can provide a constantly replenished source of energy. The technical potential of these sources of renewable energy is such that you don’t have to worry about depletion as it can serve the entire nation comfortably.
Renewable energy is gaining popularity across the nation now due to the stable prices. The costs of renewable energy have also continued to decline steadily and have been projected to drop even further. A look at the price of Solar Panels between 2010 and today buttresses this point. The stable pricing is also as a result of the fact that the cost of running and maintaining a renewable energy system is typically lower than what it costs to maintain fossil fuel energy. Most renewable energy equipment does not need changing for a decade or more.
Barring localised equipment damage, wind and solar energy systems are far-less prone to large-scale failure since they are distributed. As distributed systems, they are spread out across a wide geographical area and thus severe weather in one location does not affect energy supply in an entire region.
Why subscribe to the FIT scheme?
You can reduce your electricity bills
By subscribing to the FIT scheme, you will be able to generate your own clean and sustainable electricity. This should be enough to take care of your lighting needs and also power a good majority of your home appliances meaning you will purchase less electricity from your supplier. This is bound to reduce the electricity bill most of the time.
You can earn money for exporting electricity
Surplus electricity that you can generate but don’t need can be exported back to the national grid. If your eligibility is proven, you can earn 4.77p/kWh for electricity you export back to your supplier.
Interestingly, the generation and export tariff rates offered index-linked. This means that they can increase and decrease in line with the inflation numbers. The tariff rates are adjusted every year by the percentage increase or decrease in the RPI over a 12 month period culminating on 31st December of the former year.
What should you expect with Feed-In Tariffs?
The money you can earn via the Feed-In Tariffs scheme is dependent on the kind of renewable energy technology you install. However, on average a 4kWp Solar PV System that was registered before the 1st of April 2014 can generate an income of £874 in one year with the Feed-in Tariff scheme and also save the owner £250 on the annual electricity bill.
In summary, the Feed-In tariff scheme offers a three-pronged advantage that cannot be turned down. You get to contribute to saving the environment, save money on your existing bills and bring in income by exporting excess energy back to the authorities
Yuppies Are Killing the Dive Bar
But many others like the dimness, and the sweating bottles of Budweiser, and talking sports with someone they don't know and never will, except for the duration of one boozy evening. These pleasures, to be found in ... But there are fewer and fewer of ...
Will I poison myself if I reuse this plastic water bottle?
Q. Is it OK to reuse the bottles that bottled water comes in? Sometimes when I am at a conference the bottled water they have is in a really sturdy bottle, and it seems like such a waste for it to be single use. But is it safe to refill it from the tap ...
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My experience with the Turkish police was problematic. As a tourist I was accosted by a man on moped, but because the perpetrator didn’t rape me or manage to steal my bag, the police weren’t interested in my complaint. New infuriation with the police stirs: Istanbul police officer takes selfie as a man a man commits suicide this morning.
The man jumped into the Bosphorus Strait from the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul and as the police unsuccessfully coached him to back down, a cop could be seen taking a selfie of the”action”.
The suicide was slow. After a three-hour operation on the bridge, the man jumped at a reported 9:35 am, and was later found dead by naval police in the water. The police who took the selfie is now being investigated.
For those of you who want to take positive selfies – see what Tunisians are doing as they take selfies with piles of trash. Those are selfies that can lead to positive change. Not celebrating someone’s pain.
A Vogue Editor Cooks with Pot
Before venturing into the more mysterious world of buds, we chose: (1) a long, elegant clear plastic tube containing ⅓ gram of liquid hash oil; (2) a small brown glass bottle labeled Dixie Elixirs Dew Drops Vanilla 100 mg; (3) Canyon Cultivation ...
U.P. ranch saves orphan bears, one cub at a time
But most often, he gets newborn cubs in the dead of winter and bottle-feeds them once every three hours. "That's why they all think of him as mother," said son Carl, 44. "When they open up their eyes, that's the first thing they see." ... He introduced ...
Do you want your receipt? No, if it's coated with BPA
The News Journal
Almost everyone has some BPA in his or her system. The government's National Toxicology Program has studied the chemical and expressed “some concern” about its “effects on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and children at ...
Patricia Kay Youngson: We're all lab ratsBoulder Daily Camera
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