This Week on Between The Lines

Posted Aug. 30, 2017 for week ending Sept. 8, 2017

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"Until we recognize the costs of climate change and incorporate it into the market price of fossil fuels, we are not going to be able to steer ourselves successfully to alternative fuels. And the time for alternative fuels has now arrived. "

–John H. Cushman Jr., managing editor with Inside Climate News, on addressing climate change in the wake of Hurricane Harvey's catastrophic flooding in Houston, Texas, the global hub of the petrochemical industry


Listen to the entire program using these links, or to individual interviews via the links appearing prior to each segment description below.

  MP3  64 kb/s   podcast  Podcast


Texas Flood Linked with Extreme Weather Patterns Long Predicted by Climate Change Research

MP3 Interview with John H. Cushman Jr., managing editor of Inside Climate News, conducted by Scott Harris

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As large sections of Houston, America’s fourth largest city, were inundated with floodwaters, driving tens of thousands of residents from their homes, the nation received yet another wake-up call regarding the increasing frequency of extreme weather events that have triggered a series of recent historic natural disasters. Since Hurricane Harvey struck the Texas coast on Aug. 25, parts of Houston have seen a record 50 inches of rainfall — more than the city usually receives in a year. The death toll stood at 11 on Aug. 29, but officials feared that number would likely rise. Federal agencies estimated that as many as 30,000 people have been forced to leave their homes for shelters and more than 450,000 people are likely to seek federal aid.  Story continues

Trump Suspends Funds for Health Impact Study of Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining

MP3 Interview with Bo Webb, former board president and current member of the group Coal River Mountain Watch, conducted by Melinda Tuhus

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For years, medical research in communities near mountaintop removal coal-mining sites, or MTR, has revealed higher incidences of birth defects, cancer and early mortality than in control communities. MTR blasts the tops off mountain ridges with dynamite, contaminating the air and impacting water quality. After years of grassroots organizing against MTR in southern West Virginia, the state Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Health requested help from the federal Office of Surface Mining to review the health studies. In the waning days of the Obama administration, the office – which is part of the Interior Department – allocated a million dollars for the review. However, on Aug. 20, the Trump administration’s Interior Department halted the study in order to review all grants over $100,000.  Story continues

NAFTA Renegotiation Must Prioritize Public Interest Over Corporate Power

MP3 Interview with Melinda St. Louis, international campaigns director with Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, conducted by Scott Harris

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After a contentious national debate, The North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, came into force on Jan. 1, 1994. The trade treaty between the United States, Canada and Mexico, granted new powers and privileges to multinational corporations. Key provisions in NAFTA made it easier for U.S.-based corporations to outsource jobs to cheap labor markets overseas, where governments don’t protect workers' rights. NAFTA also permits corporations to challenge government regulations that protect public health, consumer safety and the environment – and launch lawsuits to recover lost profits.  Story continues

This week’s summary of under-reported news

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Compiled by Bob Nixon

 

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