Tag Archives: pollution

Chicago: the greenest city *snicker*

Based on the frequency of news coverage about polluted soil or buildings in Chicago, you might think there really isn’t much of that here. After all, only a single EPA National Priorities List site exists in Chicago. But it was tough to get listed because the city would rather not have those blemishes on its record.

And cleanups of pollution happen all the time, all over the city, as the map below shows when you zoom into Chicago. Have there have been any near your house or workplace in recent years? The key below explains the different colored pins.

BLUE: Federal CERCLA (“Superfund”) sites in Illinois that are on the National Priorities List. There is only one NPL site in Chicago, at Lake Calumet on the far south side. (Note: Except for the location of the Lake Calumet site, these pins are approximations based on the city associated with the listing.)

YELLOW: CERCLA cleanups that are NOT on the NPL, whose city is listed as “Chicago.” Exact addresses were used in this case. These cases, as you’ll read below, are interesting.

TURQUOISE: “Non-voluntary” (usually court-mandated) cleanups performed or supervised by Illinois EPA. Again, exact addresses used.

A few disclosures after the break…

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Bobby Kennedy, Jr. liveblog transcript

Flickr CC photo by Erik R. Bishoff

Flickr CC photo by Erik R. Bishoff

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. spoke at my school this morning, at an environmental conference. Had to post a stock photo because I don’t yet have a camera…

I ate breakfast with him before his speech, basically a preview of the kinds of things he was gonna say, then live-blogged the speech itself on twitter.com/greenletters. The transcript of the liveblog is below for your consumption. I left out the analysis. If I end up doing that for a class, I’ll listen to a recording of the speech. (I’ll let you see that, too, if I do it.)

Gonna try to liveblog Bobby Kennedy Jr.’s speech at GreenTown Chicago. That is, until my laptop battery runs out.

RFK Jr.: Protect the commonwealth, the shared properties like air & water. The private sector takes them over when they pollute them.

RFK Jr.: “Environmental impact is defecit spending. it’s a way of loading costs onto our children’s future.”

RFK Jr.: Conversely, environmentally friendly stuff is not throwing money away, it’s an investment. It’s money in the bank.

#greentown RFK Jr.: We are borrowing a billion dollars a day from nations that largely don’t share our values…

#greentown RFK Jr.: …to buy a billion dollars of oil a day from nations that largely don’t share our values.

#greentown RFK Jr: Coal isn’t the cheapest source of energy: The U.S. subsidizes the industry $1 tril. annually; that’s not accounted for.

#greentown RFK Jr.: The reason we can’t have high speed rail in this country is because the coal gondolas have warped all the rail tracks.

#greentown RFK Jr.: “Whenever you see the destruction of the environment, you always see the subversion of democracy.” (“corruption.”)

#greentown RFK Jr.: As Sweden, Iceland and Brazil decarbonize, they give us evidence of the economic successes that can be had doing it.

#greentown RFK Jr.: There’s enough wind in Montana and S.D. to supply all the U.S.’ energy, even if every American owned an electric car.

#greentown RFK Jr.: We can do long-haul transmission of electricity. We need to do it. The problem? Stupid, “irrational” rules.

#greentown RFK Jr.: A CEO must choose between his loyalty to shareholders and his loyalty to humanity. That’s an unfair decision. Change it.

#greentown RFK Jr: Price of bits and bytes has dropped to about 0. That’s what’s gonna happen to electrons as soon as we build a nat’l grid.

#greentown RFK Jr: How do you pay back $1.4 tril? In 2 years, by saving the $700 billion a year we’re sending to places like Saudi Arabia.

#greentown RFK Jr: Solar-thermal: Roughly $3 billion a gigawatt, same as a coal plant. But free energy for the life of the plant.

#greentown RFK Jr’s green venture capital firm: we’re gonna take trillions away from carbon-energy in 10 yrs. “Destroy” em at their own game

#greentown RFK Jr.: We’re funding both sides of the war against terror… How to stop? Stop buying gas from the guys who drop bombs on us.

#greentown RFK Jr.: “Polluters make themselves rich by making everyone else poor. … You show me a polluter, i’ll show you a subsidy.”

Published!

IMG_1982

The Lammers site pollution investigation has finally seen the light of day. Beavercreek is running it as a 3-part series on Thursdays, starting yesterday. Xenia, Fairborn and Bellbrook are running it as a 3-part series on Fridays starting today. Wilmington is running it as a 2-part series, today and Saturday.

(Since this post was first written, I have added links to the final parts in the series. Otherwise this post is unchanged.)

Part I and Part II made an appearance on the web for Xenia. Part III didn’t make it there for whatever reason. Here are Xenia’s PDFs of the story: Part I, Part II and Part III.

Wilmington didn’t place it online, but here are their two PDFs: Part I and Part II.

If you’re from a big paper, you might find it odd that I just give out the PDFs like that. Don’t worry — all these papers are owned by Brown Publishing, and they offer the PDFs for free to everyone, every morning on their websites.

I don’t think any of these papers ended up using my multimedia online, at least as of yet. But here are links to that stuff:

A video of the 1969 chemical fire narrated by a man who witnessed it. Maybe it impacted him, because he’s now Battalion Chief at Beavercreek Fire Department.

A slideshow of still photos showing what the site looks like now.

A TV-news style report that I produced for journalism class with the help of a talented videographer and editor friend, Chris Powers.

On an unrelated note, today is my 23rd birthday. Maybe that’s a good sign, since my first-place editorial was also published on a birthday — my 21st.

Superfund multimedia extravaganza!

Or at least, that’s what I call my textual-visual-auditory, multi-platform news story about the nearest Superfund site to me, Lammers Barrel Factory.

super-fun

The old (and toxic) "Lammers Barrel Factory" is next to a residential subdivision.

In case you didn’t get to see the TV news package a couple weeks ago, here it is again. (If the video’s still squished, pardon me. The fix is on the way.)

But now I have more for you. Much, much more.

I’ve written a web-magazine format story with all the juicy details I haven’t included elsewhere before.

Here’s a really cool feature: a video of the actual 1969 fire that released all the pollution. It was shot by a Beavercreek fireman with a Super 8 camera. Since the video itself didn’t have sound, music was inserted into the background when the footage was digitized a few years ago. Kip Smith, currently Battalion Chief with the Beavercreek Fire Department, was kind enough to narrate the 15-minute long video. (He was at the fire, too.)

Last but not least, you can view a slideshow of pictures I took about a month ago at the site itself. I know you’ll be curious about this place, so spare yourself from getting the cancer-causing chemicals on your shoes and look at the pictures I took.

TV news pollution report

I produced this TV news package for a newswriting class this semester. I’m currently working on a full-blown cross-platform version of this story. That’ll include a web (text) version as well as three radio stories, a slideshow, SMS updates, PDF copies of official documents, extended “directors cut” interviews and more.

Sadly, until I can render a version of the video above in a less-compressed format (I did it in AVI), it looks like Youtube will play it squished. Even though I followed all directions about aspect ratio, the site scrunches my video in from both sides, killing the native 16×9. I don’t like it as-is, but it’s still viewable until I have more time to re-render.

The “anchor” is played by my friend Chris P. Powers, and he also did all the Adobe Premiere work involved, plus the graphics. The research took a long while, but his work really makes it look professional. Thanks, Chris!