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Submission + - Toronto City Council Bans Plastic Bags

theshowmecanuck writes: A CBC radio news item just in reports that at the end of council debate today, the council rather than passing a resolution to discontinue the current 5 cent tax per plastic bag imposed on shoppers a couple of years ago, instead the council imposed a complete ban on plastic bags. The mayor had initiated the debate in order to have the tax rescinded. However, at the end of the day, the council of the city of 2.5 million people voted for a complete ban on plastic bags from stores. It was close, 24 to 20 voting in favour of the ban. It comes into effect January 1rst, 2013. Along with an earlier rebuff to his effort to add subways to a system that sorely needs them (they voted for surface transport), this latest push back from city council might make Mayor Ford reconsider what he wishes for. The mayor is politically right wing, the majority of councillors are on the left. The metro area has 5.5 million people but the ban applies only to the city itself. If this carries through, we will see a strangely retro look in supermarkets and stores next year, baggers with paper bags. What's next, government imposed bell bottoms?

Submission + - Ohio Quakes Caused By Fracking Waste H2O

theshowmecanuck writes: A series of small earthquakes in Ohio (largest Saturday Dec 31, 2011, Magnitude 4.0) may have been caused by briny fracking waste water being injected into the ground close to a fault line. The waste water comes from one of the processes used in fracking natural gas. The company involved agreed to stop pumping the waste water in that location (but the activity is still ongoing elsewhere, further from the fault).

Submission + - Aplogies for Calling Env Scientists Liars (www.cbc.ca)

theshowmecanuck writes: An Alberta government scientist, apologized to two scientists for calling their research (on environmental impact of Alberta Oil Sands development) "a lie.

"...Dr. Preston McEachern, an environmental effects biologist who works for the government of Alberta, issued a letter of apology and retraction to Kevin Timoney, a researcher with Treeline Ecological Research, and Peter Lee, executive director with Global Forest Watch Canada. Timoney's and Lee's lawyer had contacted him after he said in a presentation at the University of Alberta in March that the two "chose to remove data" from a study about the environmental impact of the oil sands, and called their findings a "lie."

The Alberta Oil Sands are the worlds second largest known reserves of oil and the Alberta government has been actively promoting their development while trying to minimize the developments known major environmental impact to the media.

Submission + - BP Engineers Worried About G0fM Well Last Year (nytimes.com)

theshowmecanuck writes: The New York Times reports that BP engineers had concerns over the safety of the Deepwater Horizon well as early as June 2009. BP documents show that there was concern over the equipment that failed at the bottom of the ocean being appropriate for use at that depth. From the article:

Internal documents from BP show that there were serious problems and safety concerns with the Deepwater Horizon rig far earlier than those the company described to Congress last week. The problems involved the well casing and the blowout preventer, which are considered critical pieces in the chain of events that led to the disaster on the rig. The documents show that in March, after several weeks of problems on the rig, BP was struggling with a loss of “well control.” And as far back as 11 months ago, it was concerned about the well casing and the blowout preventer. On June 22, for example, BP engineers expressed concerns that the metal casing the company wanted to use might collapse under high pressure. “This would certainly be a worst-case scenario,” Mark E. Hafle, a senior drilling engineer at BP, warned in an internal report. “However, I have seen it happen so know it can occur.”

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