For the first time in the 40 year history of the Clean Air Act, a majority of the House of Representatives voted to block EPA from enforcing standards to reduce mercury and other toxic air emissions from a polluting industry.
Our newly elected Congressional representative Nan Hayworth unfortunately voted against these health protections and voted to block EPA standards to reduce mercury, arsenic, lead, PCBs, dioxins and furans, and heavy metals from cement plants.
Mercury and lead both are dangerous neurotoxins — brain poisons — that harm the developing brains of children and fetuses. Dioxins are known human carcinogens linked to birth defects, reproductive abnormalities, and lung and breast cancer. Arsenic is a known human carcinogen linked to lung and kidney cancer and PCBs are probable human carcinogens linked to liver cancer.
On February 17 Ms. Hayworth voted to approve an amendment by Rep. John Carter (R-Texas) to deny any funds to EPA to “implement, administer or enforce” mercury and other toxic air pollution standards for all cement plants in the country.
Were these toxic pollution safeguards allowed to take effect, EPA projects that starting in 2013 and every year thereafter, the standards would avoid: up to 2,500 premature deaths; 1,500 heart attacks; 17,000 cases of aggravated asthma; 32,000 cases of upper and lower respiratory symptoms; and 130,000 days when people would have missed miss work.
Instead, our Congresswoman Nan Hayworth voted to block EPA from enforcing toxic air pollution standards and sided with corporate polluters over America’s children, health and environment.
There are some people in this town who speak the truth as only they see it and try to foist their beliefs upon others.
Referring to Violet Snow’s excellent article “Rain Country,” my class on Campus Environmental Sustainability recently viewed some striking online footage of the performance of the same porous pavements mentioned in her article. Readers can see the recording at www.youtube.com/watchv=5NvCSw_uXZY; additional details are at www.epa.gov/greeningepa/stormwater/edison_swm_projects.htm.
The regional headquarters of the New York State Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation in Staatsburg has porous pavement in its parking lot. Marist College’s newest building, the Hancock Center, has a green roof comprised of dense, low, slow growing plants adapted to the extreme conditions of a roof. Hopefully these and other approaches will become more common in our region to help deal with the reality of more intense storms and snowmelt events, which are part of our climate change in the Catskills and more broadly in the Northeast.
I applaud the gutsy efforts of Paul Andreassen who is attempting to streamline the convoluted and confounding zoning laws of our community. Many of the Woodstock building and zoning laws have developed ad hoc and would benefit from a complete review and simplification.
Please refer to three key points I suggested (in the Woodstock Times Feedback section — page 16, March 3) to “target” the day when we can balance our runaway state-deficits:
Reduce Union Job Categories so wages and benefits can be standardized; Index future wage-increases and benefits to inflation, not wages, as wage increases have far outpaced inflation; Scrap the U.S. Tax Code and go to a flat tax, as just advocated by billionaire Mort Zuckerman, on ABC’s Sunday Morning.
“Status Cuomo,” regrettably, won’t work. The other party offers no real solutions either. It’s time to look away from those who influence fiscal policy and turn to simple, time-tested solutions to human-made problems. It is time for financial realities, not economic ideologies.
Neo-Nazis can be defined as people who are virulently anti-Semitic, anti-black, and homophobic. In a word, racist. They seek the destruction of Israel and all its Jews – not a two-state solution; they also favor a re-armed Gaza, with a terrorist government hell bent on attacking and killing as many Israelis as possible. They do not acknowledge Israel’s legitimate rights to its homeland; they do not sympathize with the Jews expelled from Arab countries. In general, as surveys of the prejudiced have found, they are poorly educated. And like the deluded Bill Campion of Mount Temper, they are probably Holocaust-deniers.
As one writer once wrote of another writer, everything he writes is untrue — including the words “and” and “the.”
Being neo-Nazis gives these shallow, empty people a sense of identity. They are life’s losers, and being anti-Semitic is their way of expressing their anger and frustration.
ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF HISTORY
If you read Mondoweiss, The War of Ideas in the Middle East, mondoweiss.net, you are familiar with headlines, such as: The illegal wall creates ghettos; Construction in the West Bank quadruples; Settlers chop down 500 trees in Nablus, attack Palestinian villages, and desecrate the mosque in Al-Khalil; the Israeli authority evicts Palestinian families and demolishes their; and Israeli forces arrest Palestinian youth and use illegal interrogation to torture children as young as seven.
If you listened to Al Jazeera English online, english.aljazeera.net, or on WBAI, 99.5 fm, between 5 a.m.-6 a.m., you heard a minute-by-minute account of the recent Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions and the current the Libyan revolution. You learned about the people’s yearnings for freedom, democracy, employment, and fair wages.
If you attended the Middle East Crisis Response fundraiser for the U.S. Boat to Gaza, www.ustogaza.org, or watched the video on Woodstock TV, you were fortunate to hear three activists who risked their lives to challenge the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza. British citizen, Glynn Secker, captain of the Jewish Boat to Gaza, September 2010, gave a comprehensive history of Israel. Israeli passenger Reuven Moskovitz, a Holocaust survivor of Auschwitz and Israeli activist, spoke of his life on a kibbutz in northern Israel, where he was shocked by the way the Palestinians were treated. He saw many of the same injustices he remembered from his childhood. Seeing thousands of families driven out from their villages, he saw himself during his own persecutions and homelessness. He joined the peace movement and working for Peace and Reconciliation became an important part of his life. Because of his criticism of Israeli politics and Israel’s confiscation of Palestinian land, his family and a small group of resisters were eventually expelled from the kibbutz. U.S. activist, Lillian Rosengarten, a refugee of Nazi Germany, psychotherapist, and poet, read a powerful poem exploring the effect of children’s deaths on the survivors. And, Elik Elhanan, brother of 14-year-old Smadar, who died on September 4, 1977 by the acts of two suicide bombers in the center of Jerusalem, spoke of his choice between living his life in anger and vengeance, fearing everything, hating everyone, or understanding that what killed his sister was a human-made situation, which could be solved. He decided on the latter choice; he became a member of Combatants for Peace and co-founder of Israeli-Palestinian Families Forum, Bereaved Parents for Peace. Of the four, Elik was not on the Jewish boat to Gaza, although his father was. Each of these individuals spoke passionately about his/her reasons for opposing Israeli policies and/or for taking part in this historic mission to break Israel’s illegal siege on Gaza.
If you believe in free speech, freedom, democracy, full equality, and peace with justice, please become involved. We need to open this dialog; we need to be talking together, thinking of ways to change U.S. and Israeli policies vis-à-vis the Palestinian people.
I LOVE MADISON, WISCONSIN
Imagine, a bunch of Democrats, along with some Republicans getting out on the streets, in the cold, standing firm for democracy, and holding their own without any violence. Did you ever think that would come from Wisconsin? I didn’t. Michael Moore made our present situation clear, in his emotional speech to the Wisconsin people, when he stated:
“400 obscenely wealthy individuals, 400 little Mubaraks, most of whom benefited in some way from the multi-trillion dollar taxpayer bailout of 2008, now have more cash, stock, and property than the assets of 155 million Americans combined.”
I must say that Michael Moore’s facts are usually not fictitious, as Huckabee and Bachman’s are, so wow! That’s a startling statistic, and it proves that our country has abandoned its stated raison d’être. We no longer have a government, “Of the People, For the People and By the People.” Instead we have a government “Of the wealthy, for the wealthy and by the wealthy.” It’s as simple as that.
So, what do we do next? Support the people of Wisconsin in any way possible, and stop the wealthy’s thus far successful method of “Divide and Conquer.” I know that there are more “Non-Tea Party” Republicans than there are pro. They just stick together because, well, their bosses tell them not to “Divide and Conquer.” But that seems to be falling apart, and many true Republicans are beginning to turn away from their leaders.
So, let’s not lose hope. Let’s find what We, the People have in common, and vote for people that tell the truth, that have the intellect and knowledge to make informed decisions, and that are not being sponsored by billionaires, no matter what party they belong to. And — let’s do more to spread the truth to all of our friends and family and vote in people that represent We, the People.
WOODSTOCKERS SNIFF BUTT
For those of you who haven’t heard, Woodstock is getting a dog park! It will be located back in the woods of Mallory Grove, behind the Rick Voltz Field. Don’t worry, no trees will be cut down, no hiking trails impeded. The park will be three acres of attractively fenced-in woods left in its natural state, with a few meandering wood chip paths on which to stroll. It will be two sections; one for dogs under thirty-five pounds, and another for our larger dogs.
The town has graciously agreed to build the park, but its continued maintenance will be up to us. In order to collect funds to help cover these costs, this week, we are placing donation canisters at various businesses around town. Please be generous when you see the little canister with the blue lid. Think what it will mean to our furry friends (and their people) to have another safe, shady place to socialize with each other.
Woodstock Dog Park Task Force
THE DANGERS OF HYDRO-FRACKING
The dangers from hydro-fracking come in many forms. Below are copies of an email I sent to Don Gregorius, along with his reply.
Date: Thu, Mar 3, 2011 at 6:17 PM Subject: I live on Ohayo Mountain
Road, which is Ulster County Road 41.....
Dear Neighbor/Legislator, I read in yesterday’s NYT that salt and sludge from fracking waste-water is being used to de-ice roads. Are the Ulster County road maintenance crews using that toxic stew? I am deeply concerned about its potential danger to our water, land and public health. Sincerely, Linda Leeds
Dear Linda, Thank you for your email. First I would like to tell you I am totally against “Fracking” because of the waste affecting the environment and impacts to people. I will make inquiries at the County Executives Office and get back to you.
Thank you, Don Gregorius
This exchange is only one small volley — no toxic dumping on my road — where millions are required. And I have to remember that elsewhere, down other roads, all over this country, fracking is destroying peoples lives. Property values, livelihoods, air and water quality, public health are all at stake.
The supposed and surely short-lived economic boom will not bring them back. For now, gas producers expect their various exemptions from the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act and Safe Drinking Water Act to protect them. While oil and gas subsidies remain untouched, Congress is targeting the EPA budget.
So, for now, we must protect ourselves by joining the growing number of people who demand No Fracking, Nowhere, No Way.