White House addresses methane emissions with new plan

Greenhouse gases from landfills, mines, agriculture, and the oil and gas industries are 34 times more potent than carbon dioxide. kingcounty.gov photo

Whether you believe in or are a critic of global warming, greenhouse or methane emissions continue to rise.   The Environmental Protection Agency and the departments of Interior, Energy and Agriculture are developing new standards in emissions to be implemented during the next two years.  To read the complete story in the Huffington Post, link here. 

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Faster conveyor belt poultry processing might put consumers at risk

When purchasing chicken for yourself or your families’ table, do you wonder if the chicken was processed properly?  With the popular trend toward buying free-range chickens, or chickens not raised from incubators to cages to death, does it really matter if those preferred free-range chickens end up facing questionable unsanitary processing and packaging?

The chicken industries’ bottom line might be playing a role in the disputed safety regulations of processed American chicken.  As more chicken factories speed up their conveyor belts to quicken the poultry industries’ delivery to demanding consumers, could food safety rules be waived and the humans processing the chicken be harmed?

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Hunger agency asks for help on Day of Service

America’s are asked to use Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service volunteer at local agencies serving the needs of communities, such as a food pantry. sfgate.com photo

Food banks provide nourishment for millions of people each year. Feeding America encourages people to work at food pantries on the MLK’s Day of Service, Jan. 20. Texans.clubs.com photo

- SurvivingTimes.com staff report

Chicago, Illinois – The nation will pause to reflect and remember the legacy and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on January 20. To honor his memory, his birthday is now commemorated as the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. Each year millions of Americans across the country gather on this day to serve their neighbor s and communities, especially for those who are hungry.

Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger relief organization, is asking people to consider volunteering at a local food bank, food pantry or soup kitchen to honor the holiday this year. Feeding America is a network of 203 food banks providing food and groceries to 37 million Americans each year.

“Why should there be hunger and deprivation in any land, in any city, at any table, when man has the resources and the scientific know-how to provide all mankind with the basic necessities of life?” said Dr. King as a challenge to the nation.

The United States Department of Agriculture reports 49 million Americans are food insecure, including 16 million children. “Our economy continues to be troubled, and many Americans are out of work,” said Bob Aiken, CEO of Feeding of America. “Our state and federal governments face enormous budget shortfalls, and there is concern that there will be significant cuts to SNAP (food stamp) benefits.”

Aiken says everyone can do something to help their neighbors who live at risk of hunger whether it is sorting food, packing boxes, or serving a meal at a soup kitchen. “We particularly want to encourage children to volunteer on this national holiday, when most schools will be closed,” said Aiken.  He said it is important for future leaders to learn more about the 16 million children who live at risk of hunger.

“Feeding America believes that together, we can solve hunger.” said Aiken.  To find volunteer opportunities in your community, visit: http://feedingamerica.org/foodbank-results.aspx

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42 miners died in U.S. mines in 2013

The most common cause of mining accidents last year involved machinery and powered haulage equipment. Thinkprogress.org photo

- SurvivingTimes.com staff report

WASHINGTON, D.C. - According to preliminary data released by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration, 42 miners died in work-related accidents at the nation’s mines in 2013, an increase from the 36 miners who died in 2012.

While mining fatalities occurred at a record low rate for the first three quarters of 2013, during the fourth quarter of 2013, six coal miners and nine metal/nonmetal miners died in mining accidents, a significant increase from the same period in 2012, when four coal miners and two metal/nonmetal miners died.

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Government shutdown delayed mine safety inspections

- SurvivingTimes.com staff report

After the 2010 mine explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia., killing 29 miners, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration has cited tens of thousand citations, issued hundreds of impact warnings and recently initiated an immediate withdraw order in November at one of the state’s 12 mines.

Many October and November safety inspections were curtailed due to the federal government shutdown.

During a Nov. 21 impact inspection at Maple Coal Co.’s Maple Eagle 1 Mine in Fayette County, W. Va., the following violations and issues initiated an immediate withdraw order to fix the hazards that could potentially cause catastrophic injuries or fatalities to miners, stated a MSHA press release.

  • 20 – foot crack in the mine roof at a belt feeder where miners regularly travel
  • Area of loose roof strata 60 feet long and up to 8 feet wide where miners were at risk of being struck by falling rock
  • Violating the approved roof control plan and failing to install needed roof supports
  • An operator was also cited for a loose coal rib approximately 24 feet long that was cracked and separating from the solid wall
  • An operator did not properly construct or complete several overcasts, or enclosed airways used to maintain ventilation, in several entries
  • An operator failed to maintain intake airways clear of combustible materials and allow water to accumulate in one of the entries

Since 2010, safety investigators found concluded that the Upper Branch Mine explosion was caused by methane and coal dust built up and was ignited by a spark from an improperly maintained coal-cutting machine.  Investigators also said the blast could not have been contained because of clogged water sprayers.

Since April 2010, MSHA has conducted 687 impact inspections and issued 11,427 citations, 1,052 orders and 48 safeguards in this area.

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What’s the deal with genetically modified foods?

This controversial concept of raising food through genetic manipulation is under scrutiny by many Americans.  On the other hand, how are farmers going to feed the world as population growth increases every decade?

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HuffPost: U.S. Public lands now emit more CO2 than they can possibly absorb, report says

A sign warns of possible hydrogen sulphide gas near oil rigs outside the Sespe Condor Sanctuary in 2004 in Los Padres National Forest, California. David McNew via Getty Images photo

By Brianna Elliott, Huffington Post

“Oil and gas drilling on public lands in the United States creates 4.5 times more carbon dioxide than that land can possibly absorb as carbon sinks, according to a report that the liberal think tank Center for American Progress …”  To read the complete article, link here.

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North Dakota oil spill website set will notify public about all hazardous leaks

thecontributor.com photo

By James McPherson, Huffington Post

Bismark, N.D. (AP) — “It took nearly two weeks for North Dakota officials to tell the public about an autumn pipeline rupture that caused more than 20,000 barrels of crude to ooze across a northwestern wheat field …”  To read the complete article, link here.

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Care2.com: Where are the protections for child farm laborers in America?

hrw.org photo

By Crystal Shepeard, Care2.com

“… There are few child labor laws covering the nearly 500,000 children that work on family-run farms. Another 300,000 children work as field hands, some as young as 12 years old. Field hands can perform “hazardous” work as young as 16, jobs that are prohibited in other industries until age 18. These minors can work up to 70 hours per week on summer breaks – even at 12 years old – and still not be in violation of the law. Most of these children, including those on family farms, work on farms that are either contracted with or run by large corporations such as Archer Daniels Midland, Monsanto, and tobacco giants like R.J. Reynolds …”  To read the complete article, link here.

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