Disasters

3 States to Require Insurers to Disclose Climate-Change Response Plans

"Insurance commissioners in California, New York and Washington State will require that companies disclose how they intend to respond to the risks their businesses and customers face from increasingly severe storms and wildfires, rising sea levels and other consequences of climate change, California’s commissioner said Wednesday."

Source: NY Times, 02/02/2012

"BP Oil Spill: Emails Reveal Company Veiling Spill Rate"

"NEW ORLEANS -- On the day the Deepwater Horizon sank, BP officials warned in an internal memo that if the well was not protected by the blow-out preventer at the drill site, crude oil could burst into the Gulf of Mexico at a rate of 3.4 million gallons a day, an amount a million gallons higher than what the government later believed spilled daily from the site."

Source: Huffington Post, 01/30/2012

E-Mail: White House Ordered Scientists To Lowball BP Spill Rate Estimate

The e-mail pressuring agency scientists was written by USGS Director Marcia McNutt, and was never meant to be made public. Against strong agency resistance, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility forced disclosure of the e-mail with a Freedom-of-Information-Act lawsuit.

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Lejeune Secrecy May Have Caused Dead Marines

CDC's Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry has been investigating a Navy cover-up of cancer-causing drinking water at its Lejeune, NC, base. Now, Project on Government Oversight has released a January 5, 2012, letter from Marine Major General J.A. Kessler asking ATSDR to redact its report in the name of "force protection."

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Email: White House Pressured Scientists to Underestimate BP Spill Size

Is the press office helping or hurting journalists' efforts to get science stories right? Newly released email shows that White House and agency "communications people" pressured agency scientists to underestimate the amount of oil flowing into the Gulf during the 2010 BP oil spill. The case offers more evidence that press officers insist on sitting in on journalist-scientist interviews in order to insure the science gets a spin favorable to the administration's political goals. Now a watchdog group has filed a scientific integrity complaint against a NOAA scientist in the incident.

Source: Mother Jones, 01/25/2012

"Study: Big Quake Could Hit Tokyo 'Within 4 Years'"

"Japanese researchers have warned of a 70 percent chance that a magnitude-seven earthquake will strike Tokyo within four years, a report said Monday -- much higher than previous estimates.

Researchers at the University of Tokyo's earthquake research institute based the figure on data from the growing number of tremors in the capital since last year's March 11 earthquake off northeast Japan, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported.

Source: AFP, 01/24/2012

"Japanese Struggle to Protect Their Food Supply"

"ONAMI, Japan -- In the fall, as this valley’s rice paddies ripened into a carpet of gold, inspectors came to check for radioactive contamination."

"Onami sits just 35 miles northwest of the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which spewed radioactive cesium over much of this rural region last March. However, the government inspectors declared Onami’s rice safe for consumption after testing just two of its 154 rice farms.

Source: NY Times, 01/23/2012

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