Toyota

Since the Dilly, Dally, Delay & Stall Law Firms are adding their billable hours, the Toyota U.S.A. and Route 44 Toyota posts have been separated here:

Route 44 Toyota Sold Me A Lemon



Monday, January 31, 2011

SD 1488: Undoing Citizens United

If you are concerned with excess corporate political power, can you please ask your state Representative and Senator to cosponsor, by the deadline of Friday, Feb. 4, Sen. Jamie Eldridge’s resolution to overturn or modify the Citizens United v. F.E.C. decision allowing corporations to spend unlimited funds for political advocacy?

Please phone your legislators and email them. A letter to legislators giving much information is below.

You can use it or write your own.

Please give the legislators your contact information.

All Massachusetts legislators’ contact information is at http://www.malegislature.gov/People/House, and
http://www.malegislature.gov/People/Senate

Specific contact information for Cape area legislators is at the bottom of this email.

The greater the number of cosponsors, the greater the chance of passage of this important initiative to rein in excess corporate political influence.

Your passing on responses from legislators would be appreciated.

Thank you.

John Nichols




Dear ...

Can you please cosponsor, by the deadline of Friday, Feb. 4, Sen. Jamie Eldridge’s resolution,


SD. 1488, which states: NOW BE IT RESOLVED THAT THE COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS HEREBY CALLS UPON THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS TO PASS AND SEND TO THE STATES FOR RATIFICATION A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO RESTORE THE FIRST AMENDMENT AND FAIR ELECTIONS TO THE PEOPLE. (The full resolution is given below.)

The resolution encourages Congress to pass a constitutional amendment overturning or modifying the Citizens United v. F.E.C. decision allowing corporations to spend unlimited funds for political advocacy. The resolution is written broadly to accommodate a wide range of Congressional actions.

The cosponsorship deadline is 5 p.m. Friday. Feb. 4.


You can get more information at Sen Eldridge’s website: http://www.senatoreldridge.com/legislation/jamies-2011-2012-legislation/elections-campaign-finance-ethics-reform or by emailing his legislative aide, Brendan.Jarboe@MASenate.gov (There is a dot between Brendan and Jarboe.) Sen. Eldridge’s phone number is 617-722-1120.

Congress members have proposed six constitutional amendments, all allowing Congress and the states to regulate corporate political spending.
http://freespeechforpeople.org/node/162 Having the most cosponsors (26) is H.R. 74 by Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD), which states “Congress and the States may regulate the expenditure of funds for political speech by any corporation, limited liability company, or other corporate entity.”

To reverse Citizens United requires a Constitutional amendment. Passage of the Eldridge resolution is expected to increase public awareness, cause other states’ legislators to introduce resolutions (as was done in VT this year, and in CA and WA in 2010), pressure Congress to pass an amendment, and stimulate lesser reforms such as disclosure of funding, public financing of elections, paper ballots, and perhaps reinstituting the Fairness Doctrine.

Polls have consistently shown almost 80 percent of Americans (including 67-77% of Republicans) oppose the Citizens United decision and think corporations have too much political power.


Among organizations advocating an amendment are Free Speech for People (FSFP) headed by Jeff Clements and John Bonifaz, (http://www.freespeechforpeople.org ), Move to Amend (MTA) (http://www.movetoamend.org), and Progressive Democrats of America (http://www.PDAmerica.org), which organizations have broad support. Among FSFP sponsors are voteraction.org, uspirg.org, Public Citizen [citizen.org] and the American Independent Business Alliance. MTA sponsors/endorsers include Progressive Democrats of America, National Lawyers Guild, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Program on Corporations and Law in Democracy (POCLAD), Alliance for Democracy, Family Farm Defenders, Reclaim Democracy, and Center for Media and Democracy,

Sen Eldridge has filed several related bills for which your cosponsorship is invited: (summaries are given on his website) They are An Act relative to accountability for corporate political spending (SD. 1531), An Act relative to disclosure of political spending (SD 1530), as well as An Act restoring public confidence in government by eliminating “pay-to-play” opportunities and An Act relative to fair elections in Massachusetts (“Clean Elections”),

Please cosponsor Sen. Eldridge’s amendment to RESTORE THE FIRST AMENDMENT AND FAIR ELECTIONS TO THE PEOPLE (SD. 1488) now, before the deadline of 5 p.m. Friday Feb. 4.


Thank you!

John Nichols
P.O. Box 96
East Orleans, MA 02643
508-255-5344
nikos27@earthlink.net


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
_______________
In the Year Two Thousand and Eleven
_______________
RESOLUTION
WHEREAS the First Amendment to the United States Constitution was designed to protect the free speech rights of people, not corporations;
WHEREAS, for the past three decades, a divided United States Supreme Court has transformed the First Amendment into a powerful tool for corporations seeking to evade and invalidate democratically-enacted reforms;
WHEREAS, this corporate takeover of the First Amendment has reached its extreme conclusion in the United States Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Citizens United v. FEC;
WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC overturned longstanding precedent prohibiting corporations from spending their general treasury funds in our elections;
WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC will now unleash a torrent of corporate money in our political process unmatched by any campaign expenditure totals in United States history;
WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC presents a serious and direct threat to our democracy;
WHEREAS, the people of the United States have previously used the constitutional amendment process to correct those egregiously wrong decisions of the United States Supreme Court that go to the heart of our democracy and self-government;


NOW BE IT RESOLVED THAT THE COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS HEREBY CALLS UPON THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS TO PASS AND SEND TO THE STATES FOR RATIFICATION A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO RESTORE THE FIRST AMENDMENT AND FAIR ELECTIONS TO THE PEOPLE.


MA Legislators’ Contact Information

http://www.malegislature.gov/People/House


http://www.malegislature.gov/People/Senate


All legislators’ snail mail addresses are State House, Room #, Boston, MA 02133;


Robert A DeLeo (D) Speaker of the House, (Winthrop; Revere precincts 1, 2 of Ward 1, Ward 2 [all], precincts 2, 3 of Ward 3, precinct 3 of Ward 5) Robert.Deleo@MaHouse.gov
Room 356, 617-722-2500

Cory.Atkins@mahouse.gov
(D) (Acton precincts 1, 2, 6; Carlisle, Concord, Chelmsford precincts 1, 9) Room 166, 617-722-2692

William.Straus@mahouse.gov
(D) (Fairhaven, Marion, Mattapoisett, Rochester, Middleboro precincts 3, 6) Room 473F 617-722-2210

Demetrius J. Atsalis (D) (Barnstable, precincts 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 13, Yarmouth precincts 3, 5, 6) Demetrius.Atsalis@mahouse.gov
Room 167 617-722-2810

Susan Williams Gifford (R) (Bourne precincts 1, 2, 3; Carver, Wareham) Susan.Gifford@mahouse.gov
Room 542 617-722-2976

Timothy R. Madden (D) (Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, Falmouth precincts 1, 2, 5, 6) Timothy.Madden@mahouse.gov
Room 167 617-722-2810

Sarah K. Peake (D) (Chatham, Harwich, Orleans, Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro, Provincetown) Sarah.Peake@mahouse.gov
Room 473F 617-722-2210

David T. Vieira (R) (Falmouth precincts 3, 4, 7, 8, 9; Mashpee precincts 2, 4, 5; Bourne precincts 5, 6; Barnstable precincts 5, 7) david.vieira@mahouse.gov
Room B2 617-722-2425

Cleon H. Turner (D) (Brewster, Dennis, Yarmouth precincts 1, 2 ,4, 7) Cleon.Turner@mahouse.gov
Room 540 617-722-2090

James B. Eldridge (D) (James.Eldridge@masenate.gov
(Marlboro, Acton, Ayer, Boxborough, Hudson, Littleton, Maynard, Shirley, Stow, Sudbury precincts 2, 3, 5, Harvard, Northborough precinct 5, Southborough, Westborough) Room 213-A 617-722-1120

Daniel A. Wolf (D) (Barnstable precincts 1-9, 13, Yarmouth, Mashpee, all towns between Mashpee and Barnstable through Provincetown; Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard), Daniel.Wolf@masenate.gov
Room 511B 617-722-1570

Therese Murray (D) Kingston, Pembroke, Plymouth, Plympton, Barnstable precincts 10 -12, Bourne, Falmouth and Sandwich Therese.Murray@masenate.gov Suite 332 617-722-1500

Friday, January 28, 2011

6 miles to the gallon. Really?

Save Our Environment, a coalition of environmental groups is circulating the campaign below to increase fuel efficiency of large vehicles by the EPA. Please consider adding your support HERE before the January 31st deadline.

What do freight trucks, buses and large pickups have in common?

They get terrible gas mileage (think 6 mpg!) and they've never been subject to fuel efficiency or pollution standards.

But the EPA is trying to change that by setting the first-ever fuel efficiency and global warming pollution standards for big trucks.

We rely on these vehicles – from large pickups to freight trucks to buses and garbage trucks – every day for transportation and delivery of goods across the country. Some heavy-duty vehicles like 18-wheelers can cover as much as 150,000 miles each year.

It's time to cut oil consumption and global warming pollution from our biggest gas guzzlers.

The EPA's proposal for fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas standards for trucks will cut global warming pollution and decrease our dependence on oil while saving money.

With the EPA under attack by the new Republican majority in Congress, now is the time to show strong support for the EPA to do its job.

The deadline for public comments is January 31, so don't delay!

Thank you again for all that you do.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Energy Efficiency and Retrofitting

What better use of a snowy day in Massachusetts, awaiting the next snowstorm than to putter around the Rocky Mountain Institute web site to discover their retrofitting projects and information.

40% of carbon production originates from buildings and energy reductions in most cases are permanent.

It's not sexy like the graceful moving blades of a wind turbine, but it's sensible --

RetroFit Depot

Energy efficiency is the key to reducing fossil fuel use and carbon emissions in the built environment; mitigating fossil fuel consumption in this sector offers a huge, yet-to-be exploited economic opportunity.

These "true stories" that stem from Rocky Mountain Institute's project engagements and other exemplary projects across key building types demonstrate how barriers to deep energy savings can be surmounted using integrative, whole-building design. By recognizing how efficiency gains in one system can affect other building systems and attributes, many small improvements can be combined to create substantially larger benefits.

Browse the case studies to get an inside look at how these real-world deep retrofits markedly improved the economics of energy efficiency, achieving bigger energy savings (and other important benefits) at equal or lower capital cost.


RetroFit Tools


Giving GSA Retrofits More Bang for the Buck

It’s no secret that the federal government owns a lot of buildings that are in need of renovation. But the good news is while buildings are updated for greater comfort, aesthetics and function, efficiency upgrades can be added to the list.

Recently, energy efficiency has been elevated to top priority for government-owned buildings, due to both ambitious federal goals and mandates (e.g., the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, the Energy Policy Act of 2005, and the National Energy Conservation Policy Act) requiring facility energy intensity reduction and renewable energy use increase.

This represents an enormous opportunity to implement sustainable technologies and practices on a large scale and help transform the marketplace. The federal government oversees approximately 500,000 buildings, and the General Services Administration (GSA) owns or leases 350-plus million square feet of space in which one million federal employees work. Energy costs alone in these buildings are approximately $7 billion each year.

Rocky Mountain Institute is currently helping GSA meet its mandates, and get more bang for its American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) buck by developing a renovation program for buildings so they use substantially less energy, cost less to operate and maintain, and offer greater occupant satisfaction. RMI and GSA are starting with the modernization of the Byron G. Rogers Federal Office Building in Denver, CO.

The 18-story, 494,156-square-foot office tower is currently home to 11 federal agencies. The high-performance green building project will include upgrades to the structural elements and to all major building systems; it is projected to reduce energy use by more than 70 percent over current levels, pushing the building closer to its NetZero by 2030 target.

Part of RMI’s RetroFit initiative, this project aims to serve as a pilot for the GSA’s entire building portfolio. “Amplification is a core goal of RetroFit,” said Eric Siwy from RMI’s Building Practice, “so, if this building is shown to do well, we can provide a replicable model for how to not only meet but exceed the government goals and mandates.”

What They Need to Exceed
With ambitious efficiency goals laid out for the Byron Rogers facility, the design team has quickly solicited the help of an often-ignored, but necessary component of a high-performance building—the occupants.

“GSA is only required to get a LEED Silver rating, but they are shooting for a platinum,” said Siwy. “If the goal is to be one of the most efficient office buildings in the country, we need active participation from the tenants in the design of their individual spaces.”

Tenants play an integral role in a building’s life cycle energy consumption. For a typical office building of this size, plug loads account for approximately 16 percent of total building energy use.

“In prior efficiency retrofit projects, about 30 percent of the energy reduction achieved was due to things directly affected by the building’s tenants,” said Siwy. “So we cant’ ignore energy management of tenant spaces. Even if you design the core and shell of a building with the best intentions with state-of-the-art equipment, if the tenant spaces and equipment are not used and operated properly, profound energy savings will never be realized.”

Last week, RMI and project partners held a tenant workshop at the Byron Rogers Federal Office Building to educate all occupants on the role they can play in the GSA’s ambitious energy-reduction goals.

For the design team, this offered an opportunity to clear up some common misconceptions about green buildings.

“Learning how to interact with their building in a new way requires a cultural change,” said Siwy. “ When some people hear LEED or efficiency, they immediately think ‘energy reduction,’ and don’t get the big picture that we are looking at air quality, sustainable materials, and thermal comfort as well.”

For tenants, the workshop provided a forum for questions and answers, and included information on government requirements and mandates, how the project intended to meet them, and what elements (e.g., Energy Star equipment, daylighting, or sub-metering) are necessary for tenants to consider in order to achieve the project’s sustainability goals.

A Model for Future Collaboration
Lines of communications will stay open, and the design team will continue to work with tenants on specific requirements and incorporate feedback into the design phase of the project.

Addressing these barriers on a single project will enable more sustainable solutions to be employed on future GSA retrofits.

“If we can create a good test case and prove that large-scale energy reduction is possible in a federal facility—use sub-metering to track tenant usage, potentially bill the tenants based on the actual energy they consume rather than the amount of square footage they occupy, and communicate to them which measures can lead to specific energy reductions—then this approach is more likely to be implemented elsewhere, more rapidly than otherwise,” said Siwy.

With $7 billion in annual utility bills and 350-plus million square feet of building space at stake, we can’t afford to wait.

Kelly Vaughn is a public relations specialist at Rocky Mountain Institute.

Beating the Chinese

From the League of Conservation Voters:

It sure didn’t take long for the new House Leadership to roll out their aggressive anti-environment agenda.

In fact, last Thursday top staff members for Chairman Fred Upton and Senator Jim Inhofe met in a closed-door session -- with Big Polluters -- to draft a strategy designed to handcuff the Obama administration’s efforts to address climate change, protect public health, and hold corporate polluters accountable.

And that’s not all – Rep. Upton also stated that he’s moving forward with a bill to permanently block or delay EPA’s efforts to advance common sense climate standards under the time-tested Clean Air Act.

It’s crystal clear to all of us now – the leadership of the House in the 112th Congress is quickly becoming the most anti-environment in LCV’s 40 year history.

That’s why the support of LCV’s members is absolutely critical right now. We need to expose every effort by the House leadership to gut the EPA’s authority to cut carbon pollution. And we need to hold lawmakers accountable whenever they decide it’s a good idea to cozy up to Big Oil and Dirty Coal.

As the president lays out his priorities for 2011 tonight, anti-environment lawmakers in Congress, together with FOX News, Big Oil, and Dirty Coal will be scheming to make sure 2011 unfolds according to their plan.

We can – and will -- stop them.

Your membership gift by January 31 will help:

Hold advocacy days that bring LCV activists from around the country to Washington, D.C., to encourage their representatives and senators to stand up to polluters trying to skirt laws that protect the air we breathe and the water we drink.
Mobilize phone calls from environmental supporters to Capitol Hill as key votes approach, flooding the offices of on-the-fence lawmakers – telling them to side with their constituents, not Big Oil or Dirty Coal.

Hold the media accountable for distorting the truth about climate science with aggressive rapid-response programs when talking heads like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Sarah Palin attack.

All of these efforts will be more important than ever in 2011. The attacks against the EPA and public health won’t spring from the House alone -- there’s also a new class of Senators whose campaigns were funded by big polluters and their lobbyists. Those Senators are ready to dive right in and work to undermine sound environmental policies.

They’ve got their minds set on protecting Bush-era subsides for Big Oil, crippling the EPA’s authority to regulate carbon and other dangerous sources of pollution, and opening the floodgates on offshore drilling.

Without the support of LCV members, our planet won’t stand a chance against their assault.



C-SPAN VIDEO

Last year Big Oil and other corporate polluters spent a record $168 million lobbying Congress. They’ve launched an unprecedented smear campaign to defeat comprehensive climate legislation and protect their profits.

Making matters worse, a recent Supreme Court ruling opens the floodgates for oil companies like Exxon Mobil to tap their vast corporate profits to also influence the outcome of federal elections.

We need your help now more than ever to continue building on the important progress we’ve made towards creating a cleaner, more sustainable future.

Check out the SCORECARD.

Useful Dog Tricks

Sent to me by a very special friend --

Costello Dismantling, Middleboro fined for asbestos

The comment below raises an interesting and little known practice by Beacon Hill.

The unclaimed monies from the bottle deposit had previously been used by DEP to pay for such things as those recycling buckets. Not so any longer. Those funds now go into the General Fund.


He said the asbestos was disposed of properly and the fine paid in full. Coletta said the money goes into the state’s general fund and not directly to the DEP.


Middleboro demolition company fined in Worcester asbestos case
By Alice C. Elwell
Enterprise Correspondent
MIDDLEBORO —
A Middleboro demolition company has been fined for failing to report asbestos found in underground ductwork on a site in Worcester.

Costello Dismantling Company has been fined a combined $45,000 along with J.H. Lynch & Sons, Inc., of Cumberland, R.I., according to a statement Monday from the state Department of Environmental Protection.

The fine was assessed because the contractors did not report asbestos that was found in underground ductwork at a site in Worcester where a Wal-Mart, Olive Garden and other retail stores were built in 2008, according to DEP spokesman Edmund J. Coletta Jr.

John Hastings, Costello’s chief financial officer, said the matter was “pretty much a paperwork issue.”

He said other asbestos had been found and reported, but through an oversight the ductwork was not reported. He said the fine was the first ever in Costello’s 26-year history.

Coletta said remediation was not necessary and that the ductwork was piled on the site, but proper notification had not been made.

He said the asbestos was disposed of properly and the fine paid in full. Coletta said the money goes into the state’s general fund and not directly to the DEP.


Asbestos contractors from R.I., Middleboro fined $45,412 by DEP
GateHouse News Service

BOSTON —
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection has assessed a $45,412.50 penalty jointly to J.H. Lynch & Sons, Inc. of Cumberland, R.I. and Costello Dismantling Company, Inc. of Middleboro for violations of DEP’s asbestos regulations that occurred during work that the companies conducted in Worcester, the DEP announced in a press release Monday.

DEP personnel observed the violations during a November 2008 inspection of the work site located at 25 Tobias Boland Way. During the inspection, DEP asbestos program personnel observed significant quantities of concrete duct bank containing asbestos transite pipe that had been excavated, broken up, and stockpiled in an uncontained manner at the site. Upon discovery of the violations, DEP required that a Massachusetts Division of Occupational Safety licensed asbestos contractor be retained to properly remove, package and dispose of all the asbestos-containing waste being stored at the site.

In the consent order, the companies were cited for failing to notify DEP of a demolition/renovation operation involving asbestos-containing materials; for improper handling, packaging and storage of asbestos-containing waste materials; and for allowing asbestos-containing materials to be handled in a manner that caused or contributed to a condition of air pollution. Under the terms of the order, the companies agreed to remain in compliance with applicable regulations in the future, and pay the penalty.

“Contractors doing demolition and construction site work in Massachusetts must be fully aware of their responsibilities under the regulations to identify asbestos-containing materials which they encounter in the course of their work, and then take appropriate response actions,” said Martin Suuberg, director of DEP’s Central Regional Office in Worcester. “Failing to identify asbestos materials and immediately take measures to have them removed, handled, packaged and stored in accordance with the regulations is an extremely serious oversight that potentially exposes workers and the general public to a known carcinogen. Noncompliance inevitably results in significant penalty exposure, as well as escalated cleanup, decontamination, disposal and monitoring costs.”

Property owners or contractors with questions about asbestos-containing materials, proper removal, handling, packaging, storage and disposal procedures, or the asbestos regulations in general are encouraged to contact the appropriate DEP Regional Office for assistance.

DEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills, and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.

Asbestos contractors from R.I., Middleboro fined $45,412 by DEP
By Staff reports
GateHouse News Service
Posted Jan 24, 2011 @ 11:45 AM
BOSTON —
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection has assessed a $45,412.50 penalty jointly to J.H. Lynch & Sons, Inc. of Cumberland, R.I. and Costello Dismantling Company, Inc. of Middleboro for violations of DEP’s asbestos regulations that occurred during work that the companies conducted in Worcester, the DEP announced in a press release Monday.

DEP personnel observed the violations during a November 2008 inspection of the work site located at 25 Tobias Boland Way. During the inspection, DEP asbestos program personnel observed significant quantities of concrete duct bank containing asbestos transite pipe that had been excavated, broken up, and stockpiled in an uncontained manner at the site. Upon discovery of the violations, DEP required that a Massachusetts Division of Occupational Safety licensed asbestos contractor be retained to properly remove, package and dispose of all the asbestos-containing waste being stored at the site.

In the consent order, the companies were cited for failing to notify DEP of a demolition/renovation operation involving asbestos-containing materials; for improper handling, packaging and storage of asbestos-containing waste materials; and for allowing asbestos-containing materials to be handled in a manner that caused or contributed to a condition of air pollution. Under the terms of the order, the companies agreed to remain in compliance with applicable regulations in the future, and pay the penalty.

“Contractors doing demolition and construction site work in Massachusetts must be fully aware of their responsibilities under the regulations to identify asbestos-containing materials which they encounter in the course of their work, and then take appropriate response actions,” said Martin Suuberg, director of DEP’s Central Regional Office in Worcester. “Failing to identify asbestos materials and immediately take measures to have them removed, handled, packaged and stored in accordance with the regulations is an extremely serious oversight that potentially exposes workers and the general public to a known carcinogen. Noncompliance inevitably results in significant penalty exposure, as well as escalated cleanup, decontamination, disposal and monitoring costs.”

Property owners or contractors with questions about asbestos-containing materials, proper removal, handling, packaging, storage and disposal procedures, or the asbestos regulations in general are encouraged to contact the appropriate DEP Regional Office for assistance.

DEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills, and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.

Asbestos contractors from R.I., Middleboro fined $45,412 by DEP
By Staff reports
GateHouse News Service
Posted Jan 24, 2011 @ 11:45 AM
BOSTON —
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection has assessed a $45,412.50 penalty jointly to J.H. Lynch & Sons, Inc. of Cumberland, R.I. and Costello Dismantling Company, Inc. of Middleboro for violations of DEP’s asbestos regulations that occurred during work that the companies conducted in Worcester, the DEP announced in a press release Monday.

DEP personnel observed the violations during a November 2008 inspection of the work site located at 25 Tobias Boland Way. During the inspection, DEP asbestos program personnel observed significant quantities of concrete duct bank containing asbestos transite pipe that had been excavated, broken up, and stockpiled in an uncontained manner at the site. Upon discovery of the violations, DEP required that a Massachusetts Division of Occupational Safety licensed asbestos contractor be retained to properly remove, package and dispose of all the asbestos-containing waste being stored at the site.

In the consent order, the companies were cited for failing to notify DEP of a demolition/renovation operation involving asbestos-containing materials; for improper handling, packaging and storage of asbestos-containing waste materials; and for allowing asbestos-containing materials to be handled in a manner that caused or contributed to a condition of air pollution. Under the terms of the order, the companies agreed to remain in compliance with applicable regulations in the future, and pay the penalty.

“Contractors doing demolition and construction site work in Massachusetts must be fully aware of their responsibilities under the regulations to identify asbestos-containing materials which they encounter in the course of their work, and then take appropriate response actions,” said Martin Suuberg, director of DEP’s Central Regional Office in Worcester. “Failing to identify asbestos materials and immediately take measures to have them removed, handled, packaged and stored in accordance with the regulations is an extremely serious oversight that potentially exposes workers and the general public to a known carcinogen. Noncompliance inevitably results in significant penalty exposure, as well as escalated cleanup, decontamination, disposal and monitoring costs.”

Property owners or contractors with questions about asbestos-containing materials, proper removal, handling, packaging, storage and disposal procedures, or the asbestos regulations in general are encouraged to contact the appropriate DEP Regional Office for assistance.

DEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills, and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.

Asbestos contractors from R.I., Middleboro fined $45,412 by DEP
By Staff reports
GateHouse News Service
Posted Jan 24, 2011 @ 11:45 AM
BOSTON —
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection has assessed a $45,412.50 penalty jointly to J.H. Lynch & Sons, Inc. of Cumberland, R.I. and Costello Dismantling Company, Inc. of Middleboro for violations of DEP’s asbestos regulations that occurred during work that the companies conducted in Worcester, the DEP announced in a press release Monday.

DEP personnel observed the violations during a November 2008 inspection of the work site located at 25 Tobias Boland Way. During the inspection, DEP asbestos program personnel observed significant quantities of concrete duct bank containing asbestos transite pipe that had been excavated, broken up, and stockpiled in an uncontained manner at the site. Upon discovery of the violations, DEP required that a Massachusetts Division of Occupational Safety licensed asbestos contractor be retained to properly remove, package and dispose of all the asbestos-containing waste being stored at the site.

In the consent order, the companies were cited for failing to notify DEP of a demolition/renovation operation involving asbestos-containing materials; for improper handling, packaging and storage of asbestos-containing waste materials; and for allowing asbestos-containing materials to be handled in a manner that caused or contributed to a condition of air pollution. Under the terms of the order, the companies agreed to remain in compliance with applicable regulations in the future, and pay the penalty.

“Contractors doing demolition and construction site work in Massachusetts must be fully aware of their responsibilities under the regulations to identify asbestos-containing materials which they encounter in the course of their work, and then take appropriate response actions,” said Martin Suuberg, director of DEP’s Central Regional Office in Worcester. “Failing to identify asbestos materials and immediately take measures to have them removed, handled, packaged and stored in accordance with the regulations is an extremely serious oversight that potentially exposes workers and the general public to a known carcinogen. Noncompliance inevitably results in significant penalty exposure, as well as escalated cleanup, decontamination, disposal and monitoring costs.”

Property owners or contractors with questions about asbestos-containing materials, proper removal, handling, packaging, storage and disposal procedures, or the asbestos regulations in general are encouraged to contact the appropriate DEP Regional Office for assistance.

DEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills, and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.

Asbestos contractors from R.I., Middleboro fined $45,412 by DEP
By Staff reports
GateHouse News Service
Posted Jan 24, 2011 @ 11:45 AM
BOSTON —
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection has assessed a $45,412.50 penalty jointly to J.H. Lynch & Sons, Inc. of Cumberland, R.I. and Costello Dismantling Company, Inc. of Middleboro for violations of DEP’s asbestos regulations that occurred during work that the companies conducted in Worcester, the DEP announced in a press release Monday.

DEP personnel observed the violations during a November 2008 inspection of the work site located at 25 Tobias Boland Way. During the inspection, DEP asbestos program personnel observed significant quantities of concrete duct bank containing asbestos transite pipe that had been excavated, broken up, and stockpiled in an uncontained manner at the site. Upon discovery of the violations, DEP required that a Massachusetts Division of Occupational Safety licensed asbestos contractor be retained to properly remove, package and dispose of all the asbestos-containing waste being stored at the site.

In the consent order, the companies were cited for failing to notify DEP of a demolition/renovation operation involving asbestos-containing materials; for improper handling, packaging and storage of asbestos-containing waste materials; and for allowing asbestos-containing materials to be handled in a manner that caused or contributed to a condition of air pollution. Under the terms of the order, the companies agreed to remain in compliance with applicable regulations in the future, and pay the penalty.

“Contractors doing demolition and construction site work in Massachusetts must be fully aware of their responsibilities under the regulations to identify asbestos-containing materials which they encounter in the course of their work, and then take appropriate response actions,” said Martin Suuberg, director of DEP’s Central Regional Office in Worcester. “Failing to identify asbestos materials and immediately take measures to have them removed, handled, packaged and stored in accordance with the regulations is an extremely serious oversight that potentially exposes workers and the general public to a known carcinogen. Noncompliance inevitably results in significant penalty exposure, as well as escalated cleanup, decontamination, disposal and monitoring costs.”

Property owners or contractors with questions about asbestos-containing materials, proper removal, handling, packaging, storage and disposal procedures, or the asbestos regulations in general are encouraged to contact the appropriate DEP Regional Office for assistance.

DEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills, and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.

Asbestos contractors from R.I., Middleboro fined $45,412 by DEP
By Staff reports
GateHouse News Service
Posted Jan 24, 2011 @ 11:45 AM
BOSTON —
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection has assessed a $45,412.50 penalty jointly to J.H. Lynch & Sons, Inc. of Cumberland, R.I. and Costello Dismantling Company, Inc. of Middleboro for violations of DEP’s asbestos regulations that occurred during work that the companies conducted in Worcester, the DEP announced in a press release Monday.

DEP personnel observed the violations during a November 2008 inspection of the work site located at 25 Tobias Boland Way. During the inspection, DEP asbestos program personnel observed significant quantities of concrete duct bank containing asbestos transite pipe that had been excavated, broken up, and stockpiled in an uncontained manner at the site. Upon discovery of the violations, DEP required that a Massachusetts Division of Occupational Safety licensed asbestos contractor be retained to properly remove, package and dispose of all the asbestos-containing waste being stored at the site.

In the consent order, the companies were cited for failing to notify DEP of a demolition/renovation operation involving asbestos-containing materials; for improper handling, packaging and storage of asbestos-containing waste materials; and for allowing asbestos-containing materials to be handled in a manner that caused or contributed to a condition of air pollution. Under the terms of the order, the companies agreed to remain in compliance with applicable regulations in the future, and pay the penalty.

“Contractors doing demolition and construction site work in Massachusetts must be fully aware of their responsibilities under the regulations to identify asbestos-containing materials which they encounter in the course of their work, and then take appropriate response actions,” said Martin Suuberg, director of DEP’s Central Regional Office in Worcester. “Failing to identify asbestos materials and immediately take measures to have them removed, handled, packaged and stored in accordance with the regulations is an extremely serious oversight that potentially exposes workers and the general public to a known carcinogen. Noncompliance inevitably results in significant penalty exposure, as well as escalated cleanup, decontamination, disposal and monitoring costs.”

Property owners or contractors with questions about asbestos-containing materials, proper removal, handling, packaging, storage and disposal procedures, or the asbestos regulations in general are encouraged to contact the appropriate DEP Regional Office for assistance.

DEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills, and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.

Asbestos contractors from R.I., Middleboro fined $45,412 by DEP
By Staff reports
GateHouse News Service
Posted Jan 24, 2011 @ 11:45 AM
BOSTON —
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection has assessed a $45,412.50 penalty jointly to J.H. Lynch & Sons, Inc. of Cumberland, R.I. and Costello Dismantling Company, Inc. of Middleboro for violations of DEP’s asbestos regulations that occurred during work that the companies conducted in Worcester, the DEP announced in a press release Monday.

DEP personnel observed the violations during a November 2008 inspection of the work site located at 25 Tobias Boland Way. During the inspection, DEP asbestos program personnel observed significant quantities of concrete duct bank containing asbestos transite pipe that had been excavated, broken up, and stockpiled in an uncontained manner at the site. Upon discovery of the violations, DEP required that a Massachusetts Division of Occupational Safety licensed asbestos contractor be retained to properly remove, package and dispose of all the asbestos-containing waste being stored at the site.

In the consent order, the companies were cited for failing to notify DEP of a demolition/renovation operation involving asbestos-containing materials; for improper handling, packaging and storage of asbestos-containing waste materials; and for allowing asbestos-containing materials to be handled in a manner that caused or contributed to a condition of air pollution. Under the terms of the order, the companies agreed to remain in compliance with applicable regulations in the future, and pay the penalty.

“Contractors doing demolition and construction site work in Massachusetts must be fully aware of their responsibilities under the regulations to identify asbestos-containing materials which they encounter in the course of their work, and then take appropriate response actions,” said Martin Suuberg, director of DEP’s Central Regional Office in Worcester. “Failing to identify asbestos materials and immediately take measures to have them removed, handled, packaged and stored in accordance with the regulations is an extremely serious oversight that potentially exposes workers and the general public to a known carcinogen. Noncompliance inevitably results in significant penalty exposure, as well as escalated cleanup, decontamination, disposal and monitoring costs.”

Property owners or contractors with questions about asbestos-containing materials, proper removal, handling, packaging, storage and disposal procedures, or the asbestos regulations in general are encouraged to contact the appropriate DEP Regional Office for assistance.

DEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills, and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.

Asbestos contractors from R.I., Middleboro fined $45,412 by DEP
By Staff reports
GateHouse News Service
Posted Jan 24, 2011 @ 11:45 AM
BOSTON —
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection has assessed a $45,412.50 penalty jointly to J.H. Lynch & Sons, Inc. of Cumberland, R.I. and Costello Dismantling Company, Inc. of Middleboro for violations of DEP’s asbestos regulations that occurred during work that the companies conducted in Worcester, the DEP announced in a press release Monday.

DEP personnel observed the violations during a November 2008 inspection of the work site located at 25 Tobias Boland Way. During the inspection, DEP asbestos program personnel observed significant quantities of concrete duct bank containing asbestos transite pipe that had been excavated, broken up, and stockpiled in an uncontained manner at the site. Upon discovery of the violations, DEP required that a Massachusetts Division of Occupational Safety licensed asbestos contractor be retained to properly remove, package and dispose of all the asbestos-containing waste being stored at the site.

In the consent order, the companies were cited for failing to notify DEP of a demolition/renovation operation involving asbestos-containing materials; for improper handling, packaging and storage of asbestos-containing waste materials; and for allowing asbestos-containing materials to be handled in a manner that caused or contributed to a condition of air pollution. Under the terms of the order, the companies agreed to remain in compliance with applicable regulations in the future, and pay the penalty.

“Contractors doing demolition and construction site work in Massachusetts must be fully aware of their responsibilities under the regulations to identify asbestos-containing materials which they encounter in the course of their work, and then take appropriate response actions,” said Martin Suuberg, director of DEP’s Central Regional Office in Worcester. “Failing to identify asbestos materials and immediately take measures to have them removed, handled, packaged and stored in accordance with the regulations is an extremely serious oversight that potentially exposes workers and the general public to a known carcinogen. Noncompliance inevitably results in significant penalty exposure, as well as escalated cleanup, decontamination, disposal and monitoring costs.”

Property owners or contractors with questions about asbestos-containing materials, proper removal, handling, packaging, storage and disposal procedures, or the asbestos regulations in general are encouraged to contact the appropriate DEP Regional Office for assistance.

DEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills, and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.

Asbestos contractors from R.I., Middleboro fined $45,412 by DEP
By Staff reports
GateHouse News Service
Posted Jan 24, 2011 @ 11:45 AM
BOSTON —
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection has assessed a $45,412.50 penalty jointly to J.H. Lynch & Sons, Inc. of Cumberland, R.I. and Costello Dismantling Company, Inc. of Middleboro for violations of DEP’s asbestos regulations that occurred during work that the companies conducted in Worcester, the DEP announced in a press release Monday.

DEP personnel observed the violations during a November 2008 inspection of the work site located at 25 Tobias Boland Way. During the inspection, DEP asbestos program personnel observed significant quantities of concrete duct bank containing asbestos transite pipe that had been excavated, broken up, and stockpiled in an uncontained manner at the site. Upon discovery of the violations, DEP required that a Massachusetts Division of Occupational Safety licensed asbestos contractor be retained to properly remove, package and dispose of all the asbestos-containing waste being stored at the site.

In the consent order, the companies were cited for failing to notify DEP of a demolition/renovation operation involving asbestos-containing materials; for improper handling, packaging and storage of asbestos-containing waste materials; and for allowing asbestos-containing materials to be handled in a manner that caused or contributed to a condition of air pollution. Under the terms of the order, the companies agreed to remain in compliance with applicable regulations in the future, and pay the penalty.

“Contractors doing demolition and construction site work in Massachusetts must be fully aware of their responsibilities under the regulations to identify asbestos-containing materials which they encounter in the course of their work, and then take appropriate response actions,” said Martin Suuberg, director of DEP’s Central Regional Office in Worcester. “Failing to identify asbestos materials and immediately take measures to have them removed, handled, packaged and stored in accordance with the regulations is an extremely serious oversight that potentially exposes workers and the general public to a known carcinogen. Noncompliance inevitably results in significant penalty exposure, as well as escalated cleanup, decontamination, disposal and monitoring costs.”

Property owners or contractors with questions about asbestos-containing materials, proper removal, handling, packaging, storage and disposal procedures, or the asbestos regulations in general are encouraged to contact the appropriate DEP Regional Office for assistance.

DEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills, and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.


Asbestos contractors from R.I., Middleboro fined $45,412 by DEP
By Staff reports
GateHouse News Service
Posted Jan 24, 2011 @ 11:45 AM
BOSTON —
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection has assessed a $45,412.50 penalty jointly to J.H. Lynch & Sons, Inc. of Cumberland, R.I. and Costello Dismantling Company, Inc. of Middleboro for violations of DEP’s asbestos regulations that occurred during work that the companies conducted in Worcester, the DEP announced in a press release Monday.

DEP personnel observed the violations during a November 2008 inspection of the work site located at 25 Tobias Boland Way. During the inspection, DEP asbestos program personnel observed significant quantities of concrete duct bank containing asbestos transite pipe that had been excavated, broken up, and stockpiled in an uncontained manner at the site. Upon discovery of the violations, DEP required that a Massachusetts Division of Occupational Safety licensed asbestos contractor be retained to properly remove, package and dispose of all the asbestos-containing waste being stored at the site.

In the consent order, the companies were cited for failing to notify DEP of a demolition/renovation operation involving asbestos-containing materials; for improper handling, packaging and storage of asbestos-containing waste materials; and for allowing asbestos-containing materials to be handled in a manner that caused or contributed to a condition of air pollution. Under the terms of the order, the companies agreed to remain in compliance with applicable regulations in the future, and pay the penalty.

“Contractors doing demolition and construction site work in Massachusetts must be fully aware of their responsibilities under the regulations to identify asbestos-containing materials which they encounter in the course of their work, and then take appropriate response actions,” said Martin Suuberg, director of DEP’s Central Regional Office in Worcester. “Failing to identify asbestos materials and immediately take measures to have them removed, handled, packaged and stored in accordance with the regulations is an extremely serious oversight that potentially exposes workers and the general public to a known carcinogen. Noncompliance inevitably results in significant penalty exposure, as well as escalated cleanup, decontamination, disposal and monitoring costs.”

Property owners or contractors with questions about asbestos-containing materials, proper removal, handling, packaging, storage and disposal procedures, or the asbestos regulations in general are encouraged to contact the appropriate DEP Regional Office for assistance.

DEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills, and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Democracy for sale?

Americans have been held energy hostages by short-sighted vested interest like Koch and Dirty Energy, while ATR ships jobs overseas, impoverishing us all, while the rest of the world moves forward.

The article below raises interesting questions about the impartiality of SCOTUS that we should be addressing.


Scalia and Thomas' Retreat With Koch
By Eric Lichtblau, The New York Times

When the conservative financier Charles Koch sent out invitations for a political retreat in Palm Springs later this month, he highlighted past appearances at the gathering of "notable leaders" like Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court.

A leading liberal group is now trying to use that connection to argue that Mr. Scalia and Mr. Thomas should disqualify themselves from hearing campaign finance cases because they may be biased toward Mr. Koch, a billionaire who has been a major player in financing conservative causes.

The group, Common Cause, filed a petition with the Justice Department on Wednesday asking it to investigate potential conflicts by Justices Scalia and Thomas and move for their disqualification from the landmark Citizens United case, in which the court last year lifted a ban on corporate spending on political campaigns. Common Cause also cited the role of Mr. Thomas's wife, Virginia Thomas, in forming a conservative political group opposed to the Obama administration as grounds for his disqualification.

The petition is a new tack for opponents of the court's decision in the Citizens United case. Common Cause, by its own acknowledgment, faces a difficult task in getting the justices' to remove themselves from the case and seeking to have the Citizens United decision itself vacated.

"We're treading in new territory here for us," said Arn H. Pearson, Common Cause's vice president for programs. "But a situation like this raises fundamental questions about public confidence in the Supreme Court."

Officials at Koch Industries, which Mr. Koch leads, did not respond to e-mails and a phone call Wednesday seeking comment on the petition. A spokeswoman at the Supreme Court declined comment.

Supreme Court justices have wide latitude in deciding whether to recuse themselves from hearing cases. In one of the more well-known examples in recent years, Justice Scalia refused to remove himself from hearing a challenge to Vice President Dick Cheney's energy task force after he had gone duck hunting with Mr. Cheney in 2004.

"It's a steep uphill climb for Common Cause, but not an insurmountable one," said Steven Gillers, who teaches legal ethics at New York University. At the very least, he said, the group's petition could force a "public airing" of questions surrounding the two justices' past appearances at the Koch retreat and their connections to the group.

Still unknown, for instance, is exactly when Justices Scalia and Thomas appeared before the group for its invitation-only retreat, which is aimed at promoting political strategies for economic freedom, or whether they were reimbursed for their expenses.

Common Cause said in its petition to the Justice Department that if either of the justices appeared before Mr. Koch's group between 2008 and 2010, when the court was considering aspects of the Citizens United case, "it would certainly raise serious issues of the appearance of impropriety and bias."

Mr. Koch and his brother, David Koch, were among the main beneficiaries of the Supreme Court's decision in the Citizens United case and became a favorite target of liberal groups, which accused them of effectively trying to buy the election.

The political action committee for Koch Industries, a Kansas-based energy company, spent $2.5 million in last year's elections, according to the Common Cause complaint. Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group that the Koch brothers founded, is believed to have spent tens of millions more in the campaign to support conservative candidates.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Tide is rising for underwater power plant plans

In case you missed it, this is one of the most promising alternative energy solutions for the future --

MASS. MARKET: Tide is rising for underwater power plant plans

By Jon Chesto
The Patriot Ledger

QUINCY — The murky waters of the East River between Manhattan and Queens could become home to the country’s next new source of clean, green power.

Verdant Power is boasting that the underwater turbines it wants to install just steps away from its Roosevelt Island office would represent the first tidal power plant in the country to sell the electricity that it generates.

Verdant might be the first, but it certainly won’t be the only one. The New York company is at the crest of a wave of proposals to harness our coastline’s predictable and powerful supplies of tidal energy. These underwater turbines come in different shapes and sizes. They operate like wind turbines – except instead of relying on wind, they use the natural hydrokinetic energy of a shifting tide.

While there aren’t any projects in Massachusetts that are as far along as Verdant’s East River concept, researchers certainly have been busy hunting for the right spot to build a tidal power plant here.

The most favored site, based on its high tidal speeds, has turned out to be the Muskeget Channel between Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. The town of Edgartown’s plans to develop a power plant there are about to hit an important milestone. Stephen Barrett, a consultant for the town, says his company is getting ready to file a draft application for a Muskeget tidal plant in the next few weeks with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Working on behalf of Edgartown, Barrett says it could take his firm, Harris Miller Miller & Hanson, about two years to finally get the green light to put turbines in the channel. Barrett says Edgartown eventually would sell the rights to develop the project to another private company, which in turn would sell power back to the town at below-market rates. He says the project, when complete, would include up to 14 turbines generating as much as five megawatts of power.

Meanwhile, researchers at UMass-Dartmouth are moving forward with plans to build a platform south of Nantucket that could be used to test tidal speeds as well as wind and wave power. The platform would play a key role in the university’s efforts to develop a new research zone for marine energy work off Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.

John Miller, executive director of the New England Marine Renewable Energy Center at UMass-Dartmouth, says the Muskeget Channel is one of only two locations in Massachusetts waters where tides are strong enough to make a tidal energy project feasible today. He says the next generation of turbine technology could open up areas with less powerful tides, such as the waters around the Elizabeth Islands, as well some rivers.

The Cape Cod Canal is the other location that Miller cites. But he says the heavy boat traffic and relatively shallow water have prevented any serious plans from being developed for the area so far.

However, a company from Gloucester is hoping that will change. Ramya Swaminathan, chief operating officer at Free Flow Power Corp., says FERC granted her firm a preliminary permit to develop a tidal plant at the canal last month. The preliminary permit gives Free Flow the right to be the first firm to pursue a power plant license for the site during the next three years, providing the time needed to study the canal’s currents and water depths.

So far, though, Verdant is leading the race. Verdant President Trey Taylor says his company is the first in the country to file a final permit request with FERC to run a commercial tidal power plant. Taylor says he hopes FERC will grant a final approval by the fall so Verdant can start dropping turbines into the East River’s east channel by the end of the year. By the end of 2012, Taylor says, as many as 30 tidal-powered turbines could be spinning in the East River, with a collective capacity of more than one megawatt of power.

Taylor says his firm learned a great deal from six experimental turbines it left in the river from 2006 to 2008. One of the trickiest aspects in developing an underwater power plant is coming up with the right composite material for the turbines. Taylor says his company has gone through plenty of broken blades and rotors to figure out the right blend to withstand the punishing abuse that a powerful tide brings every day.

Ocean Renewable Power Co. of Portland, Maine, isn’t far behind. Christopher Sauer, the company’s CEO, says he expects his firm will file for a final permit with FERC by the end of March. He says it’s possible that his company could be connecting its tidal power plant to the grid by the end of the year.

Ocean Renewable Power plans to start with one 150-kilowatt turbine in 2011, and then add four more for an underwater array in 2012. The power plant would be built off the coast of Eastport, Maine, near a passage to the Bay of Fundy, one of the most robust sources of tidal energy in the world.

These tidal power plants would be submerged out of sight, avoiding the aesthetic issues that have vexed wind farm developers. They also provide a source of energy that can be counted on like clockwork, offering a welcome balance to the unpredictability of wind- and solar-powered plants.

But like any other attempt to harness a natural resource, tidal energy can generate potential conflicts as well.

The executives at Verdant and Ocean Renewable Power say their turbines pose no apparent danger to marine life. The fish, they say, simply figure out how to swim around the turbine blades. But the industry is still in its infancy, and more studies will be needed before these projects’ impact on underwater ecosystems can be fully understood.

Many of the would-be power plant operators will also need to find a way to coexist with fishermen, particularly those who drag the ocean floor for their catch.

But the biggest hurdle right now is the technology itself. Until turbines can be developed to harness tidal power more efficiently than the current models, it’s hard to imagine that a widespread deployment of these devices will be possible.

This makes the race to develop a commercially viable tidal power plant in the U.S. an important one to watch. The increasingly intense competition will hopefully yield answers that will benefit all the competitors. There’s an ocean out there, filled with kinetic energy. We’ve just got to figure out the right way to tap into it.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Republican Death Panel Underway

When the possibility of universal health care was nearly reality, the Party of No concocted creative and untrue reasons for Americans to oppose something that was in their best interests and dare anyone say, "For the Common Good"?

The most creative fantasy was Death Panels and Arizona presents the first reality.

The U.S. has never fought a war without raising taxes, yet the Party of No immersed us into two wars amid tax cuts and deficits.

Banks are holding almost $2 Trillion and corporations are hold almost $1 Trillion that would fully fund an economic turn around.

ATR supports exporting jobs. Democrats support sucking money from the poor to feed slot machines and enrich already wealthy slot barn owners.

We seem to have our priorities skewed.



Arizona Death Panel Claims Another Victim

Tucson University Medical Center has confirmed that a patient who was refused a liver transplant due to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s decision to cut the state benefit that would have made the transplant possible, has died. The patient had been scheduled for the needed transplant but was dropped from the waiting list on October 1st when the cuts went into effect.

Please allow the preceding paragraph to sink into your consciousness for a moment.

The Arizona budget that previously provided transplants to people in need was $1.4 million. As there were 99 people on the waiting list for transplants at the time the cuts went into effect, the net result is that the State of Arizona valued each of these lives at something less than $14,000 a person.

Today, there are only 97 on the waiting list as two have passed away.

Can this really be happening in the United States?

I understand that life is tough and things can’t always work out as we would like. However, I cannot help but be struck by the emptiness of the argument put forth by those who suggest that government need not look out for these people because charitable Americans will always step up and help in these circumstances.

There are lots of reasons why people don’t come through in these circumstances. Often, they simply don’t know the need is there – which is precisely why they should be willing to support funding a government program such as what previously existed in Arizona.

On Monday, a bill will be introduced by Democrats in the Arizona State Senate restoring the funds that were cut. The bill will pay for the restoration by closing a corporate tax loophole.

Let’s hope that the Arizona GOP, the party in control of Arizona’s legislature, stop acting like a bunch of cold-hearted pigs and pass this legislation before anyone else dies.

Here’s something else to think about. With all the bellyaching about how the new health care reform law is a step along the way of America’s march to socialism, you might consider that this would not have been permitted to happen in those nations who offer government sponsored health care.

Is it possible that our system has some negatives when compared to these other systems after all?

For those willing to help as we wait to see if Arizona gets its head out of its rear, you can make a contribution to the National Transplants Assistance fund at
www.natfund.org

Two Dead Since Arizona Medicaid Program Slashed Transplant Coverage
Hospital Confirms Former Patient Died While Awaiting Liver Transplant

Two Arizona Medicaid recipients denied potentially life-saving organ transplants have died, even as Arizona doctors, transplant survivors and some lawmakers push to restore health care benefits slashed last fall.

On Oct. 1, the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System stopped paying for seven types of transplants that the state's GOP governor, Jan Brewer, and GOP-led legislature said they could no longer afford. The state faces a projected $1 billion program deficit by July 2011.

They eliminated heart transplants for non-ischemic cardiomyopathy, lung transplants, pancreatic transplants, some bone marrow transplants, and liver transplants for patients infected with hepatitis C. Arizona also restricted coverage of prosthetics, eliminated podiatric services, preventive dental services, and wellness and physical exams for adult Medicaid enrollees

A former University of Arizona Medical Center patient waiting for a new liver died on Dec. 28 -- the second person to die since the cuts went into effect, according to Dr. Rainer Gruessner, chairman of surgery at the University of Arizona Medical Center in Tucson.

On Thursday, surgery department spokeswoman Jo Marie Gellerman confirmed that the patient, who died at another facility, "was our patient. He was on our list." She declined to identify the patient, citing medical confidentiality.

On Nov. 28, Mark Price, a 37-year-old leukemia patient from Goodyear, Ariz., died before he could obtain a $250,000 bone marrow transplant that an anonymous donor offered to fund after hearing media reports about Price's plight.

According to a Nov. 29 report by ABC's Phoenix affiliate KTAR, AHCCCS said Price's transplant was not covered because bone marrow donations from unrelated donors fail. Price's doctor said such procedures succeed 42 percent of the time. Price's family said his home went into foreclosure as he struggled with accumulating medical expenses.

The reductions in Arizona's safety net for the poor have drawn criticism from physicians as well as transplant recipients. Both groups have particularly attacked the practice of denying services to sick patients who had qualified for transplants before Arizona, with federal approval, changed its law. They warn that Arizona's actions may be a harbinger for the rest of the country as needs continue to outpace budgets.