Recent tests have shown that an oil refinery in Denver called Suncor Energy has been spewing over 8.5 tons of hydrogen cyanide gas over the low-income communities that surround it. Oddly enough, the refinery is exempt from disclosing their hydrogen cyanide emissions to the public, but independent tests have shown their output of the gas to be astronomical.
In fact, according to Cross Community Coalition director Candi Cdebaca, air quality control officials actually gave the refinery a special permit that allows them to release levels of toxins that surpass recommended levels.
“It’s absurd to think state health officials would even consider granting permits to pollute more. The state health officials are completely failing to protect these neighborhoods. And they are disregarding the cumulative impact of the many pollutants in the area. The ideal would be we aren’t letting them put that into the air at all, and if they are, we would know how to respond,” Cdebaca said.
According to the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, hydrogen cyanide is an invisible gas that attacks the brain and heart, causing rapid breathing, convulsions, and loss of consciousness when someone is exposed to large amounts. Even low-level exposure can still cause breathing problems, headaches, and thyroid gland problems.
The gas is even classified as a chemical weapon by The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which was established under the 1997 global Chemical Weapons Convention.
Earthjustice attorney Joel Minor is one of many Colorado residents who have filed a petition for a reasonable limit to be set on the level of hydrogen cyanide that can be released into the air.
“Everyone who lives near Suncor, as well as Suncor employees, have been breathing hydrogen cyanide. If the state is going to set a limit for hydrogen cyanide, it needs to set a limit that protects public health. And we have these laws requiring disclosure for a reason. People do have a right to know what they are breathing,” Minor said.
Many activists are calling on the EPA to step in and set regulations, but the regulators are obviously a part of the problem in this scenario. It may seem like regulators are acting as enforcers to keep polluters in check, but in reality, they act as a buffer that protects powerful interests from the public that they are harming. Just consider how the air quality control officials were handing out special permits allowing protected companies to work outside of the laws that were supposedly intended for these very companies.
The EPA actually has no concern for the environment, they just happen to use the environment as a cover story to create laws and gain an advantage for the companies that lobbied for exemptions to the agency’s regulations, and to collect money in fines. There are real solutions outside the common government paradigm, and that is mainly the ability for individuals, not governments, to hold polluters personally and financially accountable.
What this means is that the residents who are affected by this pollution should be able to sue the company directly for harming their health and damaging their property. It is actually the regulators who are preventing this from happening since it is their job to be judge, jury, and plaintiff, it takes that power away from the average people, and leaves us with no recourse to address the problems that are present in our communities.
Image: The Suncor oil refinery pews yellow smoke in this photo from late 2016/ColoradoPols.
Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida
A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.
In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.
“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.
Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.
Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.
Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.
Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.
However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.
Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son
A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.
The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.
The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.
“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.
“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.
The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.
The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.
“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.
The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.
The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.
Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter
The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.
However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.
In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.
It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.
The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.
Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.
The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.
Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.
The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.
The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.