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Emails Reveal Head of EPA Scott Pruitt’s Corrupt Ties To Oil & Gas Industry

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the government organization we’re expected to trust to protect and maintain a strong and healthy environment. However, like many other government institutions, their goals become clouded and their positions swayed by outside parties.

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The latest example comes from the new head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, whose emails have revealed his close relationships to the oil and gas industry. Dated from when he served as Oklahoma’s Attorney General, the emails were withheld during Pruitt’s EPA confirmation hearing by the State Attorney General’s office, which submitted 7,500 pages of emails to the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) Tuesday night.

Correspondance Regarding Methane Regulation

An email from the Deputy Solicitor General in April 2013 discusses a letter with representatives at Devon Energy, an oil and natural gas exploration and production company, regarding proposed regulations of methane emissions. To be clear, methane is 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide, and harms both the environment and human health, yet Pruitt and other staff members were deliberating on how to advise the EPA on methane regulations.

In May 2013, Pruitt’s office finalized the letter to the EPA, suggesting that the agency avoid regulating methane emissions, but not without the help of Devon Energy. The letter clearly stated that voluntary industry efforts were enough, that the federal emissions estimates were wrong, and that regulating methane was unnecessary.

“In sum,” the letter reads, “regulation of methane emissions from oil and gas facilities is not ‘appropriate’ under the analysis contemplated by [the Clean Air Act].”

If it sounds less like it was coming from environmental advocates, and more like it was written by the very corporations that stand to profit off methane emissions, there’s good reason for that.

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A Deputy Solicitor General in Pruitt’s office sent a note to Devon Energy executive Bill Whitsitt asking, “Any suggestions?” The email included a draft of the letter regarding methane emissions the office was planning to send to the EPA.

“Here you go,” Whitsitt replied, with the revised letter attached. “Please note that you could use just the red changes, or both red and blue (the latter being some further improvements from one of our experts) or none.”

“I sent the letter today,” the Deputy Solicitor General responded. “Thanks for all your help on this.” (source)

In regards to the released emails, Devon Energy Spokesperson John Porretto told The Intercept:

Our engagement with Scott Pruitt as Attorney General of Oklahoma is consistent — and proportionate — with our commitment to engage in conversations with policymakers on a broad range of matters,” adding, “We have a clear obligation to our shareholders and others to be involved in these discussions related to job growth, economic growth and domestic energy. It is important that we give full consideration to policymaker requests for information and expertise on industry issues. It would be indefensible for us to not be engaged in these important issues.

This clearly proves that Devon Energy has played a significant role in influencing laws and EPA rulings, and they weren’t the only company to do so. There are tons of other emails proving just how close their relationship was, discussing social outings and more between their offices and other organizations like the Petroleum Club and Koch Industries. Pruitt’s staff also held close ties to the oil and gas lobby group American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), as they discussed regulations on ozone limits and the Renewable Fuel Standard Program.

It wasn’t until May 2016 that the Obama administration’s EPA actually implemented stricter rules on methane emissions; however, only three months later, Pruitt joined a lawsuit opposing the regulations.

Pruitt’s Ties to ALEC 

The emails show Pruitt responding to an invitation for dinner at the governor’s mansion with the board of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). He was also a featured speaker at an ALEC conference held in Oklahoma City in May 2013, as he participated in a panel called “Embracing American Energy Opportunities: From Wellheads to Pipelines.”

Simply put, ALEC is a conservative group comprised of state legislators and corporate leaders that allows corporations to help write, or in some cases, just hand over legislation that the “official lawmakers” can then take credit for and formally propose.

The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) conducted an investigation on the group and found that 98% of ALEC’s funding comes from private sources other than state legislators, meaning ALEC is almost exclusively funded by global corporations like Exxon Mobil. Legislators pay a yearly membership fee of $50, whereas corporations pay anywhere between $7,000 to $25,000 annually. Corporations and other special interest groups have paid anywhere from 50 times to 500 times more than lawmakers to guarantee their spot in ALEC, since the ultimate payoff is far greater for them.

This is not the first time ALEC has tried to alter environmental regulations, and it won’t be the last. They have succeeded time and time again in changing or even creating legislation, which you can read about in our CE article here.

Perhaps the most disturbing of them all was the ALEC-backed Animal and Ecological Terrorism in America bill, otherwise known as an “ag-gag” bill, a term coined in 2011 that refers to state legislation that forbids the act of undercover filming or photographing activities on farms. It’s hardly surprising that the people who profit from factory farms and the environmental degradation associated with them would try to prevent people from exposing the cruelty that takes place there.

They even claimed that taking pictures on livestock farms can “defame the facility or its owner,” which is ironic considering they torture and kill animals every day; how great can their reputations really be? Additionally, ALEC proposed that violators be placed on a “terrorist registry.” This seems like a ridiculous and immoral way to spend taxpayers dollars, enforcing a rule that would prevent people from actually doing the “right thing.”

Let’s keep in mind that this bill also directly pertains to methane regulations, as cows produce 150 billion gallons of methane per day. Animal farming accounts for 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions; the fact that the head of the EPA has ties to ALEC is great cause for concern (source).

Yet, somehow, the Senators voted 52 to 46 confirming Pruitt, the Oklahoma Attorney General with ties to ALEC and the fossil fuel industry who has focused his career on suing to block the EPA’s environmental regulations, as the individual who will run the EPA.

What’s worse is that Oklahoma has suffered a great deal as a result of this man’s work as Attorney General, and he was just rewarded for it. Over the past eight years, earthquakes in Oklahoma have increased by approximately 4,000 percent, an astonishing shift that experts attribute to fracking.

If anything, all of this serves as a reminder that it’s our duty to fight for the environment. We shouldn’t be referring to the Earth as “our environment,” because it’s not our land to claim. Society tends to have this possessive outlook on land, as if we have any right to claim ownership over it.

The Earth is a collective of consciousness that manifested itself into a planet with the intention to house life. We should be grateful for that and be treating it accordingly. You wouldn’t destroy your own house, so why are we supporting the destruction of the environment, which literally houses all of us?

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

Watch the interview here.
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Awareness

Why Women’s Health Is Fracked Up

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Fracking is having a negative impact on our environment and our health. Specific to women, fracking can increase the risk of breast cancer, disrupt hormones and cause pregnancy problems.

  • Reflect On:

    If you live near areas where fracking is done, it is beneficial to think about how you can offset or avoid some of these potential health issues. We also can become active in asking our governments to stop this procedure.

Article was originally published on karamariaananda.com/ and is being re-published here by the author.

One of the greatest growing threats to women’s health today is the environmental and social devastation caused by fracking.
The landscape of the United States is changing irreversibly and rapidly. Over the past 20 years I have driven back and forth across this country from coast-to-coast 7 times and have seen first-hand the increasing devastation caused to our environment from the boom in gas and oil wells, and 95% of new wells are being fracked.

Hydraulic fracturing, aka fracking, is on the rise in the United States in a shocking way. This is the process of injecting pressurized water, sand, and a dangerous cocktail of hundreds of industrial chemicals deep into mined gas or oil wells in the Earth to stimulate greater production.

Over 12 million people in the United States currently live under a half-mile from active gas and oil wells, facilities, and processing plants today, in the highest threat radius, including nearly 3 million children in schools and daycares.

Modern high-volume hydraulic fracturing was only developed 20 years ago, and in the past decade it’s increased at a rapid fire rate due to advanced fracking technology and horizontal fracking practices, that even run right under the homes and neighborhoods of communities around the country.

The long-term repercussions of fracking on our health are unknown and may take decades to truly reveal themselves, as diseases like cancer can take many years to develop, and the consequences of pregnant women being exposed to extreme toxins will be passed on to the future generations.

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What A Waste

A single fracking operation can use more than 9 million gallons of freshwater, and there are over 1.3 million active drilled gas and oil wells in the US today.
Over 700 chemicals are used in the drilling and fracking process and most are undisclosed due to proprietary trade secrets, yet many of the detected chemicals are known carcinogens and endocrine disruptors, and cause environmental pollution.

The wastewater from fracking is even more toxic and dangerous than the process itself, as it creates an enormous volume of radioactive toxic fluid that must be disposed of somewhere, and is not safe for humans, animals, or the environment.

The water is usually either trucked to treatment plants to filter it, or dumped back into the earth through deep well injection at high pressures which can lead to earthquakes and groundwater contamination, while a small amount is recycled into other fracking operations.

In addition, there can be contamination of the environment by the leaking of fracking fluids from the thousands of trucks used to transport the toxic liquid from the drilling sites to the treatment plants and disposal wells. In some cases, these trucks travel extensively between states, such as how much of Pennsylvania’s used fracking fluid is being trucked to Ohio, which has more deep injection wells. In other cases, such as in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York, used drilling liquids are actually sprayed directly on public roads for de-icing.

There have been many recorded incidents of wastewater spills and explosions, as well as illegal dumping of wastewater and radioactive “filter socks”, which are used to separate solids from the post-fracking liquids.

The irreversible and immediate pollution of our water resources by fracking causes devastating environmental impacts, and effects all life and future generations, while the operations also cause significant air and noise pollution, as well as a myriad of health concerns.

We are facing a global water crisis today, and billions of gallons of water are being destroyed and removed from our water system by fracking. Yet, the U.S. Safe Drinking Water Act, a federal law to protect public drinking water, does not apply to fracking operations, and fracking wastewater is exempt from federal hazardous waste regulations.

Water is the blood of the Earth that sustains all life, all plants, all people, and is recycled through our whole planet’s biosphere. Our health depends upon access to clean fresh water for drinking, food, and washing.

Hormonal Havoc

One of the biggest dangers to human health from the byproducts of fracking is reproductive and developmental toxicity, which disproportionally impacts women’s health in communities near gas and oil wells.
Due to the sensitivity of women’s reproductive organs to environmental triggers, exposure to industrial chemicals may lead to increased breast cancer, infertility, and fetal abnormalities, among other complex systemic health issues.

The toxic soup created by fracking is full of endocrine disruptors which mimic female sex hormones and disrupt hormones. This can result in not just reproductive and developmental problems, but also interfere with immune functioning and cause neurological disorders.

Fracked Up

Fracking negatively impacts women’s health on many levels from the destruction of our homes and environment, the polluting of our water, air, food, and land, to the wide-scale sex trafficking, assault, and prostitution happening in “man camps” in large oil production sites.
It’s noteworthy that the term “frack” has also become a slang word for having sex with or taking advantage of someone. This exemplifies the connection between the violent raping of the Earth’s natural resources and fossil fuels, to the abuse of women’s bodies, health, sexuality, and lives even in the name itself.

Intensive oil and gas drilling and fracking operations bring thousands of workers to the areas, who are mostly single young transitory men, and many registered sex offenders, which results in drastic increases in violence, murder, rape, prostitution, and sex trafficking in the local regions.

The male workers are housed in vast “man camps”, which are often huge areas of mobile houses, RV’s, and barracks set up by the energy corporations.

In North Dakota, over 100,000 men have flooded in recent years to set up home in the man camps of the Bakken Shale, resulting in skyrocketing violence and sexual assault, particularly targeting the indigenous women and youth from the region, many who have become victims of rape, assault, and sex trafficking.

Native women and children are being murdered and disappearing at devastating rates, due to the complacency of the oil companies, and the government is doing nothing about this.

Sex trafficking is crime upon humanity, that affects women, children, families and communities, and disproportionally effects the indigenous population. Due to the man camps proximity to reservations, and the reduced legal prosecutorial abilities of Native governments, cases are less likely to be tried, even if a sexual abuser is known and identified.

Studies have also shown increased rates of sexually transmitted infections in areas with fracking. Research at the Yale School of Public Health has shown that Ohio counties with large-scale fracking have 21% higher rates of gonorrhea and 19% higher rates of chlamydia than the same state’s counties without high shale gas activity.

Increased Risk of Breast Cancer

New research has been released showing that prenatal exposure to fracking chemicals caused abnormal mammary gland development and pre-cancerous lesions in the female offspring of mice (Endocrinology). The scientists tested various levels of chemical exposure on the mice, from the potency that would be found in drinking water in areas near fracking, to the level found in wastewater pools on sites, and every level resulted in breast abnormalities.

In Texas, there are highly elevated breast cancer rates in the counties that have active fracking sites, despite statewide reductions in the overall breast cancer rate. Yet this is considered inconclusive evidence to show direct causation, and the Texas Department of State Health Services insists there is no reason to be concerned.

Pregnancy Problems

Proximity to fracking operations has been associated with multiple challenges with fertility, menstruation, pregnancy, and infant health. Exposure to fracking chemicals, has been linked to decreased sperm count, miscarriage, stillbirth, preterm birth, and low birth weight.

Studies in Pennsylvania have found a 25% increase in low-birth weight and decreased infant health with babies born to mothers living near active fracking sites. In response, a spokesperson for the Marcellus Shale Coalition insisted that “It’s dangerously misleading and inflammatory to suggest that natural gas development has done anything but improve public health.” (Science)

Tragically, the health problems from exposure to these chemicals during gestational periods aren’t always evident during pregnancy, birth or infancy, as seen with the mice in the breast cancer study, whose offspring didn’t develop breast lesions from prenatal exposure to fracking chemicals until puberty and maturation.

Pass On The Gas

It’s absolutely essential that the United States government and concerned citizens work together to stop this violent destruction of our environment and health due to fracking. Otherwise, we are set to experience an increasing boom of oil and gas fracking, that will destroy our land, homes, water, air, health, and future, and spread into new states.

Women are leading the way in environmental activism to address the concerns about fracking, yet are more likely to be dismissed, belittled, and threatened.

A study in the UK showed that 58% of men supported fracking, while only 31% of women did. In response, the chair of UK Onshore Shale and Gas made the claim that the reason more women were opposed to fracking than men were because they were more likely to be uneducated and lacked understanding of the science. This kind of belittling sexism is rampant from fracking proponents.

We must stop the spread of fracking in the US and invest into renewable forms of energy, divest money from big banks that support fossil fuels, and demand that the U.S. government protects our water, air, and communities now.

It is clear that fracking disproportionally affects the health and lives of women, and women’s health is a vital marker for the health and future of a nation. If we seek to grow a thriving country, we must prioritize the wellbeing of women and protect the children who are the future of this land.

This boom has been lauded by the energy companies and lobbyists as an answer to cheap and domestic energy production, reducing our dependency on foreign oil, as well as causing less air pollution than the coal industry. But is cheap energy today worth thousands of years of radioactive waste, the destruction of our precious water resources, and the compromising of the health of our people?

Sources

2017 Map of Oil & Gas Activity in the U.S. – Fractracker Alliance

Water Use Rises as Fracking Expands – Scientific American

Fracking Fact Sheet – Honor The Earth

Don’t Frack With Our Health – Breast Cancer Action

Are Breast Cancer Rates Elevated Near Texas Fracking Sites? – EcoWatch

Prenatal Exposure to Unconventional Oil and Gas Operation Chemical Mixtures Altered Mammary Gland Development in Adult Female Mice – Endocrinology

Unconventional Natural Gas Development and Birth Outcomes in Pennsylvania, USA. – Epidemiology

Hydraulic fracturing and infant health: New evidence from Pennsylvania – Science Advances

Fracking Women: A Feminist Critical Analysis of Hydraulic Fracturing in Pennsylvania – International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics

Extreme Extraction and Sexual Violence Against Indigenous Women in the Great Plains

Counties With Fracking Have Increased Rates of Sexually Transmitted Infections – Yale School of Public Health

State Policies on Use of Hydraulic Fracturing Waste as a Road Deicer – OLR Research Report

Fracking Chemicals Linked to Serious Reproductive, Health Risks – Center for Environmental Health

Women Linked to Fall in Support for UK Shale Gas Extraction – The Guardian

Fracking? Women “Don’t Understand the Science” – The Times

This article was originally published on http://karamariaananda.com/ and is being re-published here by the author.

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

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Health

Being Near The Ocean Gives Many Clues About Our Well-Being

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    There are many reasons that most of us feel more relaxed, happy, even creative after spending some time near the ocean.

  • Reflect On:

    What can we learn about ourselves and what we need in our lives by examining the impact that being near the ocean, or water, usually has on us?

It is not a big stretch to say that we know ‘intuitively’ that being near the ocean can lead to improvements in our health and well-being, because so many of us have had the actual experience when we have gone to the beach. Feelings of serenity, calm, happiness and balance seem to arise in us as naturally as the waves that crawl rhythmically onto the shore and immerse our toes with refreshment.

There is some science to support this. An English study analyzed data from 48 million people ‘which indicate that good health is more prevalent the closer one lives to the coast.’

Water Is Essential To Life

To say that water is essential to life, as we know it, is not an overstatement, it is a fact. That’s why NASA’s motto in the hunt for extraterrestrial life has been “follow the water.” And here at home, water is the conduit for many of the processes essential for complex biological life. For human beings, it makes up over half of what we are physically. Up to 60% of the adult body is water, with the brain and heart at 73%, and the lungs at about 83%.

It’s no wonder that we are drawn to water, even as being fully immersed in it would cause us to drown. We have the need to be close to water at times just to feel good, to see it, to touch it, to drink it, to have it splash upon our body. If I ever get blocked or feel my thoughts getting confused while writing, my healing salve is a warm shower. It inevitably returns me to calm clarity, where my ideas become more supple, integrated, and ultimately creative.

The Ocean

Being in the presence of the ocean, then, would seem to be the quintessential place of healing and rejuvenation. It’s why people have always flocked to the beach. Yes, many like to lie on the sand and take in the sun, but far fewer people would take the trouble to go to the desert to do that. There is a feeling that sun-worshipping usually goes hand in hand with a refreshing plunge in the water, if only a brief one.

And even if one is laying down with eyes closed, there is the rhythmic sound of the waves advancing and receding, that attunes us to the in-and-out cadence of our breathing, our source of life. This immense presence is there, and we can feel it even when we don’t look at it. There is a gravity, a pull from the center of this big body, and the feeling that we are resting with this gentle pull upon us is both relaxing and energizing.

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By The Shore

Many, many go to the beach to simply walk for miles and miles along the shore, the meeting point of earth and water. This meeting point seems like home for many of us, as we experience our human lives as occurring in a meeting point between conscious and unconscious, between matter and spirit. The water inside of us is put into calm and balanced movement, and entrains itself to the rise and fall of water on the shore that we see and feel.

Just looking out at its immensity seems to give us comfort, a feeling that we are part of something much bigger, something that connects us all. It both reminds us that we ourselves are not as significant as our worries would have us believe, and yet confirms that we are much deeper and more vast than we appear.

Then of course there is the deep blueness of the ocean, which of all the colors in the spectrum is known to most evoke happiness and creativity. Ernest Hemmingway loved to look out at and be near the ocean to help foster his creativity and imagination. Marine Biologist Wallace J. Nichols also notes that looking out on the ocean,

“…the visual input is simplified. When you stand at the edge of water and look out on the horizon, it’s visually simplified relative to the room you’re sitting in right now, or a city you’re walking through, where you’re taking in millions of pieces of information every second.”

If You Can’t Reach The Ocean

Of course, not everyone has the luxury of living Oceanside or even has the means to visit the ocean on a regular basis. Still, we can take many clues from what the ocean provides us and how it makes us feel to understand what we need in our lives to live in a balanced and happy way. Lakes, rivers, even ponds have something to offer us, and we may want to take more opportunities in our busy lives to sit quietly near them and gaze upon them, in a state of openness and curiosity about what the experience has to offer us.

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

Watch the interview here.
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Awareness

Ending The Debate About The Ketogenic Diet – 9 Studies You Must Be Aware Of

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The Ketogenic diet is a popular fad diet that promotes quick weight loss and symptom management for bodies that are dealing with poor lymph, kidney and digestion health.

  • Reflect On:

    Based on the studies that are emerging, is our desire for quick weight loss more important than living a long and healthy life? Are we learning about these diets primarily through those with strong ties to upholding these diets?

The ketogenic diet has popped up as a popular approach to weight loss in the last few years. Is it successful at that? Sure, it is. I’ve experimented with the diet myself years ago when I was looking to lose some belly fat. I was entering into ketosis in a different way than most, as I was not eating any animal products, but it does in fact work.

But like any animal product based diet, what are the consequences of eating so much food that does not truly jive with our human bodies? Not only that, is fast weight loss more important than keeping our morality rate down?

In the last few years, we’ve reported a lot on the Keto diet and the various ways it can be done. We have explored the studies, the results and in some ways, we supported it. But lately, I have been thinking about how supporting this could actually be encouraging people to jump into these diets, including the paleo diet, when in reality these diets increase mortality rates and are not healthy for the human body.

It became a thought in the back of my mind, I have always strived to put the best information out that I can through this platform to promote good health. And so we must look at that, even if that means upsetting some people who currently are on paleo or keto and are seeing some good weight loss or symptom management. The truth is, like the many people I’ve seen crash on these diets after a few years, I want people to know the truth of what’s going on out there. And how we can get beyond diets that symptom manage, and instead get onto diets that truly heal.

Anytime we have fad diets, which paleo and keto are, we see products and bias pop up all over the place to support the continuation of these trends. It becomes less about health and more about upholding an identity or a business.

So as I recently looked into what experts are saying about these diets, I came upon two important videos I think everyone should check out. Both have been embedded below. Remember, it’s not that I care what you choose in your own life, or that I feel there is a right or wrong, it’s that I believe we should be informed and I wish to use this platform to promote as best a message as I can.

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The Videos

Thanks to Plant-Based News for creating such a good channel and resource of information on YouTube.

In this video, several plant-based health experts talk through 9 nutrition studies that would be of interest to low carb keto diet proponents. To read the 9 studies, click here.

Next up, Dr. Kim Williams (past President of the American College of Cardiology) shares his insights about the ketogenic.

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

Watch the interview here.
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