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Recent Rail Explosions Prompt City Review of Proposed Crude Oil Transport
By Brant Olsen
Last week, city officials in Benicia, CA, required a detailed investigation into Valero's proposed crude-by-rail terminal. The decision is a setback for Valero, which had hoped to begin construction next month, and a victory for residents concerned about the potential health, safety and environmental risks associated with the project.
Valero wants to run two fifty-car trains per day through the bay-front community. Residents are concerned about the risk of accidents like the explosion that killed 47 last month in Lac Megantique, Quebec after a crude-filled train ran off the rails.
Residents are also concerned that the facility will bring in tar sands from Canada. Valero's Bill Day contends that "there's no such thing as dirty oil or clean oil," but recent experience shows that the sticky, heavy bitumen from Canada's tar sands presents special problems beyond those of conventional crude.
Three years after a ruptured pipeline spilled nearly a million gallons of diluted bitumen into Michigan's Kalamazoo River, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 162,000 gallons of the sticky, heavy goo will remain sunk into the riverbed permanently. Due to this unique composition, refining bitumen from the tar sands can also release more heavy metals and other toxic emissions into the air than conventional crude.
City officials made the right call when they decided to conduct a full investigation into Valero's new rail terminal. Now Valero needs to come clean on whether the new facility will bring in dirty oil from Canada's tar sands.
Visit EcoWatch’s TAR SANDS page for more related news on this topic.
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‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.
The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.
President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.
"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.
"There was a lot of devastation throughout the state," Governor Mike Parson said at a Thursday morning press conference, as NPR reported. "We were very fortunate last night that we didn't have more injuries than what we had, and we didn't have more fatalities across the state. But three is too many."