Friday, May 25, 2018

Lung Association gave an 'F' to Erie and Chautauqua Counties for Ozone -- Increased Heat due to Climate Change is one Contributing Factor

Erie, Chautauqua counties receive 'F' in Lung Association's annual 'State of the Air'
  | Apr 18, 2018 | WBFO

The American Lung Association has released their 2018 “State of the Air” report citing air quality has worsened. It found 9.4 million New Yorkers are breathing unhealthy air.

Credit: American Lung Association
Chautauqua and Erie counties both received an "F" grade for high ozone days from 2014 to 2016. Ozone can have a major impact on children and older adults with asthma and other lung diseases. One of the reasons things look worse is because 2016 was the second hottest year in recorded history for most of America.  Increased heat often means increased ozone.

American Lung Association Vice President for National Policy Janice Nolen said great progress has been made over the past two decades, but rising seasonal temperatures could pose a problem in the future.

“With ozone it does vary a lot because of the relationship with the heat,” said Nolen. “It also means that we have to do more to clean it up because we are battling that heat that is growing as a result of climate change. It’s sort of a continuing struggle. When you look at the trend charts we’re heading in the right direction but we are not where we need to be yet.”

There is also a problem of pollution coming from other parts of the country and settling in certain areas. American Lung Association Vice President of Communications for the Northeast Michael Seilback said New York is part of a region that’s become known as the tailpipe of the nation.
“New York and Connecticut both filed comments with the EPA asking them to take action against a power plant in Pennsylvania, whose air pollution in the ozone is traveling and settling over our region,” said Seilback.

While a hot 2016 year caused serious ozone problems for the region, something New York got “A” grades for was short-term and year-round particle pollution maintenance.

Read more at WBFO 

The American Lung Associations's 'State of the Air 2018' report is here.

~    ~    ~

How is Ozone formed at the Ground Level?

Ground-level Ozone ('bad' ozone) is created by chemical reactions between Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx) and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in the presence of Heat and Sunlight.

Emissions from industrial facilities, electric utilities, motor vehicle exhaust, gasoline vapors, and chemical solvents are some of the major sources of NOx and VOCs.

How can Ozone affect my Health?

If you have asthma, bronchitis, or emphysema, ozone can make your symptoms worse. Carefully follow your asthma management plan on days when ozone levels are high.

Ozone has also been linked to:

    - Coughing and pain when taking a deep breath
    - Lung and throat irritation
    - Wheezing and trouble breathing during exercise or outdoor activities


Who is most at risk?

Ozone can affect anyone, but it bothers some people more than others. People most likely to experience health effects caused by ozone include:
  • People with asthma or other lung diseases
  • Older adults
  • People of all ages who exercise or work hard outside
  • Babies and children

Protect Yourself and Your Family

The good news is there's a lot you can do to protect yourself and your family from the health effects caused by ground-level ozone. Start by learning about the Air Quality Index from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

See information at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention 

See also the New York State DEC Air Monitoring Website

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Former Top EPA Official to Speak at Roosevelt Inauguration Site in Buffalo

EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck | AP Photo/Mike Groll

Judith Enck is a former top official in the Environmental Protection Agency during the Obama administration. She previously served as New York’s deputy secretary for the environment. 

Enck has a lot to say about climate change, the assault on environmental regulations and more-talk-than-action involving renewable energy.

Jim Heaney, Investigative Post Editor, will interview Judith Enck.

WHEN: Wednesday, June 6, 2018, 7 p.m.

WHERE: Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site, 641 Delaware Ave., Buffalo [Map]

TICKETS: $10 -- Click here


Attendance includes free admission to the inaugural site’s museum between 6 and 7 p.m., complete with docents to help you make the most of your visit. The museum tells the story of Roosevelt’s inauguration in Buffalo and his legacy as president and conservationist. 

Waste Tunnel Collapse at Tonawanda Coke Plant triggers Call for Government Investigation of Emissions


Tonawanda Coke Confirms Waste Tunnel Collapse

Last Friday, The Tonawanda Coke Corporation confirmed allegations by the Clean Air Coalition that the waste heat tunnel at their facility had collapsed, possibly causing toxic emissions to spew into the surrounding community.

The waste heat tunnel is a concrete tunnel that runs underground the length of the battery, all 60 coke manufacturing ovens. The main purpose of the waste heat tunnel is to collect the waste combustible heat from the ovens. Now that the tunnel has collapsed, gases can't normally flow into the facility's chimneys, and the company can't draw enough fresh air into the manufacturing process. Without enough fresh air drawn into the process, the coking process will possibly create toxic releases into the ambient air, and into the surrounding community.

One of the chemical's of concern is benzene, a known carcinogen linked to leukemia and other types of illnesses.

You can view the press coverage here from the Buffalo News, WIVB Channel 4, and WGRZ, Channel 2.

We call on the Environmental Protection Agency, the US Attorney General's Office and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to perform a full investigation of the incident. We are calling on state and federal agencies to determine the cause of the tunnel collapse, risks posed to workers, and risks posed to the surrounding community.

If you live or work in the area and are noticing dark smoke or odors coming from the facility, submit a complaint to the New York Department of Conservation by calling 851-7000 or completing and mailing in this complaint form.

The Clean Air Coalition of WNY will keep you posted as this situation progresses. 

Distinguished Lecture: Global Warming and a Call to Action - How ice foretells the next systemic transformation

`

Global Warming and a Call to Action: 
How ice foretells the next systemic transformation

Thursday, June 7, 2018
2:30pm - 5:00pm
Hotel at the Lafayette - Marquis Ballroom
391 Washington St., Buffalo

Sebastian Copeland will chronicle some of his seminal expedition crossings, and share impressions on what it means to spend three months of isolated travel in the most remote polar environments. Illustrated with award winning photographs, his anecdotes range from close encounters with polar bears, falling through the ice into the frigid Arctic ocean, surviving hurricanes in a tent, and traveling with severe frostbites, broken bones and food shortage. Copeland will explore the meaning of living in a truly antagonistic environment and how he learned to love everything about survival to find epiphanies and discover the true essence of self. More pointedly, Copeland makes the case that climate transformations taking place in the polar regions foretell global systemic chaos from anthropogenic activities, and their geopolitical consequences.

Following the lecture there will be a Fireside Chat hosted by Prof. Richard Alley and a Distinguished Lecture Recognition

Limited space available
Please RSVP by June 6, 2018 - Click here

Friday, April 27, 2018

NYS Assembly Passes Climate Bill Promoting Renewable Energy, Green Jobs, and Community/Worker Protections


THANK YOU New York State Assembly, Assemblyman Steve Englebright, Honorable Speaker of the New York State Assembly Carl E. Heastie, for passing the Climate and Community Protection Act by a huge margin!

Now we need the same climate leadership from Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York State Senate, so we can get this critical bill passed in 2018, fight climate change, protect frontline communities, and ensure green jobs are good jobs.

Big
THANK YOU to Assemblyman Ray Walter (R,C,I - Amherst) and others for changing their votes from No in 2017 to YES in 2018!
To see how Your Assembly Member voted, click here.

For a Summary of the Bill, click here.

Public Meeting: Connecting Buffalo-Niagara and Toronto with Commuter Rail

CITIZENS FOR REGIONAL TRANSIT Quarterly Meeting
 
Connecting Buffalo-Niagara and the Larger Bi-National Region with Commuter Rail:
What's Feasible? Where to Start?


Free and Open to All
 
Tuesday, May 1, 2018
5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Doors open at 5:00 p.m.


First Presbyterian Church [Map]
1 Symphony Circle, Buffalo, NY
 
The Citizens for Regional Transit quarterly meeting will feature Congressman Brian Higgins with panelists Pat Whalen, Director of the Niagara Falls Global Tourism Institute, and Bruce Becker, Vice President of the National Association of Rail Passengers.
 

When looking at a satellite image of the region between Toronto and Buffalo-Niagara, it becomes clear that it’s a contiguously urbanized area; we are part of a binational mega-region. This linear arrangement of urban centers has a population of nine million people and a combined GDP of $450 billion.

However, this mega-region is lacking one important feature: transit connectivity. With only one Amtrak train per day (in each direction), travel between U.S. cities and Toronto is largely limited to car. This creates recurring traffic congestion – especially at the international bridges and near Toronto. This impeded mobility also restricts economic opportunities.
 
The good news is that there have already been several steps toward making transit connectivity a reality, such as the opening of the new Niagara Falls, New York Amtrak Station; the planning of the new Buffalo downtown station; and the future extension of commuter rail from Toronto to Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Join Citizens for Regional Transit on Tuesday, May 1 to learn more about plans, challenges, and possibilities for the future of rail connections between Buffalo and Niagara Falls as a first step in linking Western New York to Toronto.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Public Comments on Decommisioning of the West Valley Nuclear Site Extended to May 25

Positive Declaration Extension of Scoping Period
 
Cattaraugus County - The New York State Energy Research and Development Agency (NYS ERDA), as lead agency, has determined that the proposed Phase 2 Decommissioning of the West Valley Site may have a significant adverse impact on the environment and a Draft Environmental Impact Statement must be prepared.
On February 21, 2018, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYS ERDA) and the United State Department of Energy (US DOE) announced their intent to jointly prepare a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for Decommissioning and/or Long-Term Stewardship at the West Valley Demonstration Project and Western New York Nuclear Service Center (DOE/EIS-0226-S1) (SEIS) and to conduct a public scoping process. The SEIS will assess the range of reasonable alternatives for Phase 2 decommissioning of the West Valley Site.
NYS ERDA and US DOE invited public comments on the scope and content of the SEIS for the West Valley Site during a public scoping period through April 23, 2018. NYSERDA and DOE have determined to extend the public comment period deadline from Monday, April 23, 2018, to Friday, May 25, 2018.
Written comments on the scope of the SEIS, requests to be placed on the SEIS mailing list, and requests for information may be submitted by U.S. mail to the DOE Document Manager, Martin Krentz, West Valley Demonstration Project, U.S. DOE, 10282 Rock Springs Road, AC-DOE, West Valley, New York 14171-9799, by e-mail to SEISWestValleySite@emcbc.doe.gov, or via the SEIS website at www.SEISWestValleySite.com. The Notice of Intent and Draft Scope is available on the SEIS website and on the NYSERDA website at www.nyserda.ny.gov/-/media/files/ee/west-valley/Supplemental-Environmental-Impact-Statement-NOI.pdf.
Further information, including a form for submitting comments, is available on the project website at www.SEISWestValleySite.com.
The project is located at 10282 Rock Springs Road in West Valley, New York.
Contact: Dr. Lee Gordon, NYS ERDA, 9030-B Route 219, West Valley, NY 14171; Phone: (716)942-9960, extension 4963, Fax: 716-942-9961, E-mail: lee.gordon@nyserda.ny.gov

Monday, April 16, 2018

Presentation: EARTH DEMOCRACY - Sustainability, Justice and Peace

RENEW Distinguished Lecture Series Presents


Dr. Vandana Shiva


LECTURE: Earth Democracy - Sustainability, Justice and Peace


Friday, April 20 at 3:00 PM


UB  Center for the Arts Screening Room, UB North Campus [Map]


Free and Open to the Public

RSVP if you plan to attend - Click Here

Although a Quantum Physicist by training, Dr. Shiva has spent her life on interdisciplinary work related to science, technology and environmental policy.  Time Magazine identified Dr. Shiva as an environmental “hero” in 2003 and Asia Week has called her one of the five most powerful communicators of Asia. Forbes magazine in November 2010 has identified Dr. Vandana Shiva as one of the top Seven most Powerful Women on the Globe.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Presentation: PROTECTING OUR WATERS -- From the Lake of Betrayal to Defend the Ohiyo

The Sierra Club
Climate and Clean Energy Writers Group


Thursday, April 19, 2018 


 PROTECTING OUR WATERS

From the Lake of Betrayal to Defend the Ohiyo


By Caleb Abrams, Onödowa’ga:’ (Seneca) filmmaker and multimedia artist



Caleb’s presentation and discussion will cover impacts on water and the Seneca people from the displacement and damage caused by the Kinzua Dam to nuclear waste at West Valley. He will give an overview of the now successful Defend the Ohiyo campaign to protect the Allegheny River from a proposed frack waste facility at the river’s headwaters in Coudersport, PA. With local interest now reinvigorated towards clean-up of Cattaraugus Creek, join us and learn how to support this effort.

6:00-7:30 PM
Crane Branch Library
633 Elmwood at Highland
2nd Floor Meeting Room

Free and open to the public – writers and non-writers alike