Refuse to cut 400,000 retirees pensions
Imagine working 30 years for the same company. Every morning, you wake at the crack of dawn, put on your uniform and do backbreaking work so you can get food on your family's table. All the while, you dream about retirement, when you will have the freedom and funds to enjoy the rest of your life with the person you love. Many of us do just this, every day. If we are lucky, we work for a company that provides us with a pension that will allow us to take that post-retirement trip around the world, build that new house, or simply enjoy our old age. That is what my husband and I thought we had. We thought UPS was looking out for its loyal employees, making sure that the hard work we put in would come back to us in later years. But we were wrong. UPS recently reconfigured its pension plan, taking only their current employees and leaving retirees to the mercy of Central States, a multiemployer pension fund that was on the verge of collapse. Now retirees like my husband have received notice that he could lose 50% of our pension as part of their attempt to save themselves. How can they do this? My husband worked day in and day out for UPS, and they have left him and other loyal retirees to fend for themselves. The U.S. Department of Treasury has appointed Kenneth Feinberg to review these proposed pension cuts. We are asking Mr. Feinberg and the Treasury reject theses cuts. Please don’t allow Central States Pension Fund to fix its financial mistakes on the backs of these 400,000 pensioners, who worked so hard to achieve their retirement. And this issue isn’t limited to Central States Pension’s retirees -- if the Treasury approves this cutback plan, other struggling multiemployer funds could be encouraged to do the same thing. According to the government, about 10 percent of participants in such funds — more than 1 million workers and retirees — are in plans projected to run out of money soon. My husband is now disabled, and I am his fulltime caregiver. Neither of us is able to work to make up for the cuts that will be hitting us in July. Just like that, the $2500 a month that enabled us to cover our obligations will be $1250, leaving us on or near the poverty line and forcing us to rely on the government for our most basic needs. No one should have to face this, especially not employees of a company that earned more than $3 billion last year. Employees like my husband kept up their end of the bargain, now let's make pension funds keep theirs. Please stand up for hardworking Americans. Please ask Kenneth Feinberg and the Treasury not to approve these cuts.
Protect Immigrant Physicians From Executive Order, Protect Patients From Losing Doctors
Dear Madam, Dear Sir, On January 27th 2017, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order (EO) which implemented a 90-day suspension of visas and other immigration benefits to all nationals of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Yemen, Libya and Somalia. Legal experts believe this suspension may be extended indefinitely. We have learned that there is a tremendous amount of confusion regarding the implementation of this order. The latest information we have obtained reveals that the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has put a hold on all visa extensions and immigration benefits (including adjustment of status and employment authorization) for citizens from the above-mentioned countries who are inside the United States. We have been notified about cases involving physicians and their families who left the United States for a short vacation or a humanitarian mission and were not allowed back into the United States. The unrealistic conditions required in the EO for discontinuing the suspension make it very likely that this EO will turn into a permanent ban. We, physicians and healthcare providers of various nationalities practicing medicine in the United States in a variety of different fields, are directly impacted by these decisions and we would like to voice our deepest concerns and strongest opposition to this measure, as it directly affects patient care as much as it affects us. This EO will result in a lot of hard-working, compassionate physicians who go above and beyond in patient care not being able to have their legal status extended, not being able to continue practicing medicine, not being able to serve their patients and communities because their work authorizations will not be renewed, and not being able to see their families abroad for years. As it is, many physicians have not seen their families in several years due to the unfortunate and tumultuous events in their home countries. Many International Medical Graduates (IMGs) who are in search for residency training positions will also be blocked from matching to a residency spot, and many medical researchers will not be able to continue contributing to science and development. These bans have highly negative consequences. The unethical and discriminatory treatment of law-abiding, hard-working, and well-integrated immigrant physicians fundamentally contravenes the founding principles of the United States. The long term effect of this EO will result in a decline in the number of practicing healthcare providers in USA causing abrupt cessation of patient care, which will affect patient safety and work flow in vast institution throughout the country. We appreciate all the supporting statements issued by multiple medical organizations including the statement by the American College of Physicians on Jan 31st, 2017. We find it a source of relief knowing that our medical society realizes how important immigrant physicians are to the American communities. However, we would like to respectfully ask for more. We would like for all possible legal action to be taken to make sure that physicians will not be forced out of the country and out of practice. We also need a strong push towards allowing physicians from the above-mentioned countries to enter the United States. We strongly urge the use of all possible legal power to have this Executive Order rescinded due to its tremendously negative impact on physicians, their families, and on patient care.
No on HJ69/SJ18: killing wolf pups in dens, hibernating bears, stealjaw toe traps on bears
Tell your Senator and President Trump to vote NO on H.J. 69/S.J. Res. 18! 225 heartless House Members voted to overturn a federal rule – years in the works, and crafted by professional wildlife managers at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – to stop some of the most appalling practices ever imagined in the contemporary era of wildlife management. Denning of wolf pups, killing hibernating bears, spotting grizzly bears from aircraft and then shooting them after landing, and trapping grizzly bears and black bears with steel-jawed leghold traps and snares. The stuff of wildlife snuff films. And not just on any land. On our country’s national wildlife refuges. More specifically, on 16 national wildlife refuges covering 76 million acres, all in the state of Alaska. In this case, Alaska has a bloodthirsty Board of Game, whose members enthusiastically implement a draconian policy called “Intensive Management.” That policy dictates that state managers drive down wolf, bear, and coyote numbers to boost caribou and moose numbers for hunters — turning Alaska’s wildlife refuges into what retired Arctic National Wildlife biologist Fran Mauer calls “game farms” — the very thing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service acted to stop through a rigorous, science-based, and legal federal rulemaking process that was overturned by today’s vote. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shouldn’t run refuges like game farms, as Alaskan officials want to do. Only the U.S. Senate and President Trump can now stop this unwinding of a decision by a professional wildlife management agency. Please contact your U.S. Senators and tell them to steer clear of a disgraceful resolution, and to honor limits in the conduct of wildlife policy in the United States of America. From the Humane Society (http://blog.humanesociety.org/wayne/2017/02/u-s-house-sanctions-killing-hibernating-bears-wolf-pups-dens-federal-refuges-alaska.html
Save the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Program
Combat translators in Afghanistan and Iraq have saved countless lives of American troops and diplomats. For their service to the US, they are often marked for death in their own countries. Thankfully, in 2008, the US created Special Immigrant Visa programs to provide them with a pathway to safety in America. The Congress will soon consider the National Defense Authorization Act, an annual piece of legislation that sets policy for the military. If the bill becomes law in its current form, the United States will break faith with the Afghans who served with U.S. troops and diplomats. The Act, as proposed, has no provision to increase the number of visas in the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa program - leaving a backlog of over 4,000 applicants without the life saving visas we promised them. Even more egregiously, it restricts the criteria for eligibility to military interpreters and translators who worked off-base and individuals who worked on-base in “trusted and sensitive” military support roles, excluding Afghans who worked in non-military roles such as on-base security, maintenance and support for diplomats and other government entities. When deciding whom to kill, the Taliban do not make such distinctions in service — nor should we when determining whom to save. Tell Congress to stop playing games with the lives of America's veteran interpreters and to extend and expand the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa program to cover all applicants who qualify to earn a visa.
Together we can help fight a disease impacting sickle cell trait carriers
My name is Cora Connor and I am writing you on behalf of the estimated 3.1 million Americans affected by Sickle Cell Trait, a common blood disorder, affecting more than three hundred million people worldwide. Individuals with this disorder only carry one defective gene and generally live normal lives. These individuals are at risk for kidney injury, as recently recognized by the NCAA, and other illness. Many people (Sickle Cell Trait carriers, family members, and even physicians) are unaware that there is a rare form of kidney cancer associated with sickle cell trait, called Renal Medullary Carcinoma (RMC). Renal Medullary Carcinoma is a very aggressive form of kidney cancer and is almost exclusively seen in young African Americans, under the age of 30. The prognosis of these young patients is dismal. Typical survival is under 12 months. Renal medullary carcinoma was first discovered in 1995, but between 1995 and 2012, only 240 cases were reported to The North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR). There are a number of areas of concern with regard to this cancer: We need to determine the true prevalence of RMC. Because we lack national health policy that reinforces education about sickle cell trait, many patients do not know their status, or their risk. Without standard screening tests, early detection is almost impossible. There has never been research funding for RMC, so treatment options are limited. Furthermore, most physicians are not familiar with the disease and lack knowledge to deal with this cancer effectively. When patients are able to reach doctors that have RMC expertise, they are usually out of state and many insurance plans will not allow their patients to leave the state of residence, even if there are no local options. This is particularly true for Medicaid covered children and young adults. As a result, many people are denied the option to receive expert care. We have assembled a multidisciplinary focus group, initially through support from The William Guy Forbeck Research Foundation, with physicians, scientists, and lay participant advocates from across the United States, Europe and the Middle East. The goal of this focus group is to begin to raise awareness and to elevate the research for RMC. We are appealing to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to promote Renal Medullary Carcinoma research, awareness and disease intervention initiatives across the United States. We need to educate the public, as well as health care providers, about Sickle Cell Trait and Renal Medullary Carcinoma. We also need to launch a screening program and create a registry for this disease in order for health care providers to work collaboratively, nationally and internationally, to treat this disease and bridge the gap that currently exists in meeting the health care needs of the individuals suffering from this disease. Thank you for your time and consideration. Respectfully, Cora Connor
Senator Tim Scott and Senator Lindsey Graham Town Hall Meeting Request
Constituents of Tim Scott and Lindsey Graham would like to request a town hall meeting to discuss a variety of issues including: - Repeal/replacement of the Affordable Care Act -National Security Council - Pursuing sanctions against Russia for election interference -EPA and preservation of current federal park lands and forests - Gun control -Senator Scott's and Senator Graham's logic and argument for affirming controversial cabinet appointment Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education and Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. A town hall meeting would give you the opportunity to communicate with your constituents in larger numbers, and would grant us the opportunity to clearly understand your positions and to voice our own concerns. We would like to schedule this meeting as soon as possible. Thank you, Residents of South Carolina
To the Republican National Committee.
WE ARE WATCHING YOU!
Your plan to cheat Donald Trump out of the nomination will be the end of the GOP/RNC! DON’T UNDER ESTIMATE THE SNAKES AT THE GOP/RNC! Congratulations DONALD TRUMP! It appears that you are the WINNER but, we all know the establishment is out to get you. The people support you but the DC RINOs will do everything they can to stop you because they know you will expose them for the crooks they are. We ask that all supporters of Mr. Trump sign and share this petition to let the GOP know we won’t put up with their garbage. https://www.change.org/p/to-the-republican-national-committee-we-are-watching-you PLEASE sign our petition and share it! Anyone can sign. You don't even need to be a registered voter or American citizen. If you believe in fair play, sign!
Don't deport Gerardo Suarez, father of Afghanistan War Veteran!
_______________________________________________________________ Victory! ALRIGHT EVERYONE! SMALL VICTORY, BUT A VICTORY INDEED! MY father was just released on his Own Recognizance. It's not over, but my father doesn't have to suffer in jail anymore. Now we are awaiting the hearing with the Immigration Judge. CONTINUE TO PRAY STEADFAST. Pray for the softening of the judge's heart. We now have a chance to actually present his case! WOOO! PRAISE GOD! Thank you to all the petition signers, everyone who wrote their Congress, ICE, DHS, Senators, and our Governor. Your support has been paramount, and I'm proud to be an American, standing alongside all of you who helped. THANK YOU! God bless you all! _______________________________________________________________ ORIGINAL MESSAGE: Hello Everyone, As we all know, our country is in drastic need of Immigration Reform. Immigrants are fighting for their lives to be with their families day and night. As an American Soldier, and U.S. Citizen I have witnessed and experienced the hardship of battle, and separation from family whilst serving a tour overseas in Afghanistan. I have just returned home on January 15th 2012, with no injuries and all thanks to God. As of March 24th 2012, just 69 days after my post-deployment transition, my father, who is a Legal Permanent Resident, was taken by ICE Agents in my living room while I was asleep. My father has lived in the USA as a Legal Permanent Resident since 1989. 14 Years ago he was convicted of a Class D felony, and was sentenced to Probation which he was discharged Honorably (and early) because of good conduct. Since his conviction, my father has learned his lesson and completely turned his life around. As a child, my father was distant, because of type of lifestyle he was involved in. Yet, I knew he loved me, and his children, and he always took care of me as best he could. His addiction to drugs (which at the time, I was unaware of) was starting to overpower him, and finally our home was raided. After 1998, when my father was honorably discharged, he took proactive steps to make our life better. We went from poverty, to living in a room in a relative's house, to eventually renting our own place. My dad worked painstakingly hard trying to find good work to support me, pay for college, and raise me. For years, nobody would hire him. He worked odd jobs, here and there, but nothing significant enough to really get our own place to live. Finally, in 2007 he got a big break, and was hired by Veolia Transportation, driving and serving the citizens of Las Vegas on the Citizens Area Transit Bus. He was so proud. His pay was finally good enough to start saving, and he did just that. Often times telling me: "Everything I have here is for you, son." He would sacrifice his whole day doing work that very rarely gets recognition. Day in and Day out he'd wake up at 2am, deal with the abuse of the passengers, and the inability to take breaks despite working 14 hour days. He always lived by "Hard work, is good work." He always talked to me about principles of life, teaching me to "obey and submit to authority." "Strive, work hard, make investments and save money." He was really focused on setting me in the right track. In 2008, I enlisted in the Nevada Army National Guard, and 2 years later I was promoted to Sergeant. When I first heard word of my impending deployment, my dad was broken hearted. The look on his face, when I told him that I was leaving to Afghanistan was filled with shock, worry, disdain, and bitter sadness. My father suffered for a year without me in 2011, often times not even knowing if I would make it home, or if the phone would ring again with my voice on the other end. However, he remained so strong, and really played an instrumental role in my service. He would always encourage me, comfort me with scriptures, provide advice on leading my troops, and giving me the strength to move forward day by day waiting for the longest 365 days until I can reunite with him. My father has been an active member of our church, Calvary Chapel Green Valley, where he would attend regular Military Ministry meetings, often times comforting family members of deployed soldiers. While I was gone, he would spend his weekends attending the church's "Downtown Outreach" where he would feed the homeless, give them bibles, support, prayer, and minister to them. When I finally returned him this past January, my father greeted me with tears of joy. He was so happy, and proud of his son's service. He would often brag about the medals I got, my rank, and about the accomplishments during my deployment to his friends, and the cashiers at the local grocery store. It was a bit embarrassing to say the least, but that's how he showed his love and pride. I guess the picture I am trying to paint is that my father, yes he made a mistake 14 years ago, was drastically changed from that. He is a completely different man! Gone are the days where he'd be cooped up in his room with his "friends". Gone are the days, where we would barely even talk because he was too doped up. In fact, my father is a proud patriot, parent of a soldier, a productive member of society, a servant of the public sector, a tax payer and an amazing, christian father. He has taught me so much, and honestly even now, as I face his incarceration and possible deportation proceedings, all of his training that he has instilled in me is kicking in. Without it, I would have been an unorganized mess. I owe everything to my father, and even as a soldier, my performance in duty, and decorations are a direct result of his input. My father has been instrumental in my morale, my troop's morale and most importantly my re-integration into society after experiencing war. My whole family is full of Servicemen, U.S. Citizens, and law enforcement. To strip him away from me is both shattering to my morale, well-being, and inspiration to strive. This year, when I returned we were already planning to buy a house, and have signed our paperwork. I was planning to fulfill my lifelong dream of taking care of him. He is a 54 year old man, and he's turning 55 this year. He's a frail image of what he used to be in his younger days, and as his son, I've always wanted to care for him. The Arrest: The sad morning transpired as my father responded to knocks on the door by ICE Agents. My father, being as docile as he is opened the door. He was under the impression that they were just "policemen." They began asking him questions about his truck that he owned. Worried, my father opened the door a little more and started asking if everything was alright. One ICE agent already put his foot in the door. Well, noticing that, my father asked them "Who are you?" To which only a badge was shown, but no positive Identification from the agents. Nothing stating that they were ICE or anything like that. Well, a little confused, he said "come in the living room, I will brush my teeth. I just woke up." My dad ran upstairs, brushed his teeth and came back down. They began interviewing him, asking questions about his prior conviction. Moments later, they said "We have to take you in for questioning" and without a warrant of any sort, they started to cuff him. My dad submitted, as he felt it was the right thing to do (and it was). As they took him out of the house, he said "My son just returned from Afghanistan. Please let me say goodbye to him" to which they replied "No." My dad called my name, in hopes I'd awake so he can say goodbye. Sadly, I didn't hear him. The ICE Officer then walked upstairs, rummaged through my dad's belongings to get his Green Card, Wallet and House Keys. I woke up that morning thinking he was kidnapped, when I then received a call from ICE saying they had my father in custody. As a veteran who fought to protect the freedoms, and defend the constitution of this great nation this situation poses questions: Was my fight in vain? Why serve a federal duty, protect freedom, if my family will get immediately separated? I am proud of my service this great country. I know my sacrifice will not be in vain, because of everyone here that makes this place so great! I am urging anyone who sees this petition to please help me. My father is all I have. He is my motivation, my inspiration, my best friend, and most of all: MY HERO! A great man. He's a father of four, a grandfather, an Uncle, and a brother and a friend to many. A 55 year old man, that just wants to love his family, and is loved very much by them. If he is deported to the Philippines, there is no life there for him. He doesn't have the protections of Equal Employment Opportunity in a country where age discrimination is so rampant; Therefore, he wont be able to support himself. All of his brothers, sisters, friends, and most of his children are here. There is nobody there to take care of him. His life is here in America. He has nothing there. It is an old country that he left 24 years ago. My father has already done his time, and he is now a contributing member of society. He pays his taxes, he loves his family, he gives to his church, ministers to members of his community, and lives his life just. He should be allowed to stay, because he has earned that right. I hope my sacrifice has helped earn his right as well. Thank you for your consideration, Sincerely, Sergeant Marc-Johann Suarez B 422nd Expeditionary Signal Battalion
SAY NO to offshore drilling on South Carolina's pristine coast
DON'T PUT OUR PRISTINE SOUTH CAROLINA COAST AT RISK SAY "NO" to Off Shore drilling on South Carolina's beautiful coast! Sign this petition to tell Gov. Haley, Sen. Scott, & Sen. Graham "NO TO OFFSHORE DRILLING". When you look out across the horizon from South Carolina beaches, you won't see any oil rigs. Beaufort, SC mayor Billy Keyserling worries that could change, affecting marine life and our life on land. Read below to learn why offshore drilling isn't worth putting our coast at risk. Impact on marine life Concerns over new drilling amount to more than just a worry about spills. To find potential oil reserve researchers send seismic waves into the ground. The waves bounce back to reveal the buried topography and can hint at a possible reserve. But seismic noise disorientates whales and leads to mass beachings, said Richard Charter, a government relations consultant for the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund. Laboratory experiments attempting to pin down the impact of seismic waves on wildlife often must rely on caged animals, which raises questions about whether the animals would have fled and avoided ear damage if they could have, note Robert McCauley and colleagues in The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. However, Andy Radford, a policy advisor at the American Petroleum Institute, isn’t worried. "[We] make sure there are no whales in the area when we are doing our seismic search," Radford said. Several weeks ago, ExxonMobil suspended exploration near Madagascar because more than 100 whales had beached themselves. Ultimately, the seismic tests only help geologists make educated guesses. "You never know until you drill," said Eric Potter, associate director of the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas at Austin. The usual outcome is failure, Potter said, sending wildcatters back to the seismic drawing board. Questions on land too There are also questions about the impacts on land. Radford described advances that reduce oil drilling’s environmental footprint. For instance, oil companies are now able to drain several oil fields from one platform. And new horizontal drilling techniques allow more oil to be extracted from a single well. Major infrastructure – such as roads, jet landing strips, repair shops, homes and industrial complexes – is, of course, still necessary and could disturb wildlife that is accustomed to pristine land, said Charles Clusen, director of National Parks and Alaska Projects for the Natural Resources Defense Council. Similar concerns about wildlife arose before construction of the Alaskan Pipeline, built in the 1970s. "But there hasn't really been any effect on the wildlife; they congregate near the pipeline and it doesn't seem to bother them," said UT's Eric Potter. I don't know about you, but a giant industrial pipe would be so ugly and totally ruin a beautiful view! Do we really want that on our coast? However, any development of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for drilling, as President Bush has long advocated for, could have a greater impact. Polar bears, caribou and other animals trek across this unique area to give birth, said Clusen. Birth is the most vulnerable time in a species’ life cycle and disrupting it will lead to diminished populations, he explained. The true overall environmental impact of oil drilling is hard to gauge, due to the paucity of baseline studies, said Jeff Short, a supervisory researcher for the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In the wild, most animals quickly flush PAH, a toxin associated with oil wells, from their bodies — which is why PAH rarely concentrates in the food web and is of minimal risk to humans. The animal’s justifiably panicked immune response to PAH can cause cancer — especially if the animal is exposed continually by, say, living near an oil platform, explained Short. As for human populations, many coastal communities depend on tourism and fishing — both of which may be affected by off-shore drilling by increased development, pollution and disruption of marine life habitats. The Coastal Conservation League warns that just one spill, like the BP Deep Water Horizon disaster in the Gulf, could decimate tourism and fishing industries. They say that spill cost $23 billion in tourism damage over a three year span there. Spills and transportation Clusen says there are 300 to 500 spills every year, a number which will grow with increased production. "And once you have a spill, you are pretty much screwed," NOAA's Short said. That's because oil spreads on water at a rate of one-half a football field per second. Recovery can take decades. After 20 years of natural weathering, Prince William Sound — the area affected by the Exxon-Valdez spill — appears completely recovered to the casual observer, said Short, but animals high up on the food chain are just now starting to re-colonize. Even a perfectly functioning oil well is a cause of concern due to "produced water," explained Short. Produced water — which rises with oil and contains environmental toxins such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) — is usually tossed overboard. At high concentrations, the contaminants are lethal to marine life. At lower concentrations, according to lab experiments, they can cause birth defects, impaired growth and skewed sex ratios. Prices at the pump Estimates for the output of drilling sites can only accurately be given in very large ranges, Potter explained. For example, the Energy Information Administration predicts ANWR could produce between 1.9 and 4.3 billion barrels of oil, and that might not do much for our pocketbooks. In 2007, the United States consumed 7.5 billion barrels, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).In the best-case scenarios, said Clusen, "we're talking lowering the price of gas by three cents, 20 years from now." Offshore drilling poses too big of a risk to our beautiful coastline, marine life, lifestyle, and economy. All information above shared from: http://www.livescience.com/4979-oil-drilling-risks-rewards.html http://www.wsav.com/story/26585284/beaufort-mayor-asks-residents-to-write-lawmakers-on-off-shore-drilling?utm_source=County+Passes+Bailey+Bill,+Drilling,+Rising+Tides+,+Funny+video,+worthy+causes+a&utm_campaign=Billy+Keyserling&utm_medium=email KNOW YOUR NUMBERS, ECONOMICS of OFFSHORE DRILLING IN SC Offshore oil and gas development could potentially create some jobs for our state, however it also creates large liabilities in terms of oil and gas pollution. As demonstrated by the BP Deepwater Horizon accident of 2010, even one spill can decimate tourism and fishing industries. The US Travel Association estimates that the BP spill caused $23 billion in tourism impacts over a three-year span for Gulf Coast states. That doesn’t include the impacts to coastal real estate and the region’s fisheries. Considering South Carolina’s economic reliance on tourism (over 175,000 jobs and $19.3 billion in annual economic output), which is directly dependent on our pristine coastal resources and quality of life, it simply doesn’t make economic or environmental sense to pursue offshore drilling. Economics SC Board of Economic Advisors (2009) - Given the relatively low amount of potential resources off our shores and the environmental sensitivity of our coastline there does not seem to be much incentive to drilling off South Carolina at current prices. Energy Information Administration (2007 under George W. Bush) - The projections in the OCS (outer continental shelf) access case indicate that access to the Pacific, Atlantic, and eastern Gulf regions would not have a significant impact on domestic crude oil and natural gas production or prices before 2030. Because oil prices are determined on the international market, however, any impact on average wellhead prices is expected to be insignificant. SC Department of Commerce (2008) - Offshore natural gas drilling will not likely have a significant, direct economic impact in terms of new jobs and capital investment in SC. A.P. Statistical Analysis (2012) - American oil production is about 11 percent of the world's output, so even if the U.S. were to increase its oil production by 50 percent -- that is more than drilling in the Arctic, increased public-lands and offshore drilling, and the Canadian pipeline would provide -- it would at most cut gas prices by 10 percent. There are not many markets where the United States can't impose its will on market outcomes. This is one we can't, and it's hard for the average American to understand that and it's easy for politicians to feed off that. Recent Pro-Drilling Studies A number of recent studies focused on the potential for offshore drilling to create jobs and generate economic output have resulted in disparate estimates of what South Carolina could expect from the oil and gas industry within our borders. Only one of these studies attempts to quantify the environmental costs associated with oil spills and pollution. The most recent study from the Interstate Policy Council (IPC) found the largest potential benefits by a wide margin, while also considering the costs of some environmental impacts. A closer look reveals serious flows in this analysis. Flaws in the IPC Study The report assumes a revenue sharing system that does not exist for the Atlantic. It assumes the same system that is in place in the Gulf of Mexico where states receive 37.5% of lease sale and royalties payments. There is no law on the books now that provides for this system. - Although the report includes comparisons of certain cost/benefit scenarios, it ignores other less optimistic scenarios (it only matches up low production/low environmental impacts, medium production/medium environmental impacts, and high production/high environmental impacts) -A low production/high impacts scenario for SC would result in 2.4x the costs to benefits - The report also fails to consider the economic impact of accidents on tourism, real estate, and fisheries. The environmental impacts considered are for air pollution and oil spill clean up costs. - The report presents technically recoverable resources rather than current estimates for economically recoverable oil and gas resources. - For example, for the aggregate of the states in this analysis, the economically recoverable oil and gas is over 50% lower than what this the IPC study presents, thereby doubling the oil and gas estimates. - For South Carolina and Georgia, the economically recoverable oil and gas is estimated to be over 70% lower than the technically recoverable resource. - The IPC study also assumes a multiplier of around 2 to over inflate resource estimates. This multiplier is arbitrarily applied to the Atlantic based on some historical under-estimates of resources in the Gulf of Mexico. - Based on the points above, this study artificially quadruples the oil and gas estimates, which quadruples the benefits to drilling. - The report ignores other environmental impacts such as those from seismic testing and exploratory drilling. Overview of Recent Studies - Interstate Policy Council (2014) - 2035: 16,597 additional jobs - $14.5 billion in economic output - Miley & Associates (2012) - 2030: 7,485 additional jobs - $2.2 billion in economic output - Wood Mackenzie (2011) - 2030: 6,799 additional jobs - $481 mill in total government annual revenue In the IPC Study, a low production/high environmental impacts scenario for South Carolina would result in 2.4x the costs to benefits. SEISMIC TESTING Will Atlantic Ocean Oil Prospecting Silence Endangered Right Whales? Companies have been cleared to seek seismic noise permits in the Atlantic, but ocean researchers fear for whales Whales talk. But what makes them stop talking? Scientists have long known that the marine mammals use creaks, groans, growls, and buzzes to communicate with each other—often over long distances—to find food, and even for mothers to keep track of their calves.But what happens when the watery echosphere of their communication is filled with a drumbeat of undersea booms? To the dismay of some who study whales, they may soon find out. The Obama administration this month gave the go-ahead for oil and gas companies to seek permits to use seismic noise cannons to map the Atlantic Ocean off the East Coast, to prepare for possible drilling after 2017. Drilling companies already have carved up a target zone from Delaware to Cape Canaveral, Florida. The permits will allow their ships to crisscross the area dragging an array of cannons that erupt with a shock wave of sound every 10 to 15 seconds. The sound travels to the seafloor, enters the substrate, and bounces back to receivers on the ships. From the seismic pattern of those bounces, the companies' geologists can make some good guesses about the location of gas and oil deposits under the ocean floor. May Silence Whales But some scientists believe the sonic booms will be a deafening cacophony to whales and dolphins, and may prompt them to stop communicating with one another. "This is going to add more noise to the already huge problem whales are dealing with—man-made noise in the ocean," said Sofie Van Parijs, who studies acoustics for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Northeast Fisheries Science Center at Woods Hole, Massachusetts. "The long-term effects are not easily observed or clear," she said. "They may not hear each other as well, find each other, find mates. Socializing, breeding, and foraging may be affected." The whales may just clam up. Douglas Nowacek, an associate professor of conservation technology at the Duke University Marine Lab in Beaufort, North Carolina, has studied whale behavior in the Gulf of Mexico, where seismic cannons are used extensively for seabed mapping. In 2000, he and other researchers set off sonic cannons in a relatively quiet area of the Gulf and recorded the reactions of sperm whales. Those whales use what he calls "buzzes" to home in on fish at depths of 1,300 to 2,000 feet (400 to 600 meters), and especially to nab their favorite snack of giant squid. When the scientists fired the cannons, "we saw the sperm whales tended to reduce the numbers of eco-buzzes. The rate of buzzes dropped off," he said. If the cannons cut down on their feeding success, that's not good for the whales, he noted. Singing Patterns Changed This behavior was similar to that of humpback whales in the Mediterranean. Faced with noise interference, the whales changed their singing patterns over long periods, Nowacek said. The researchers are particularly concerned about the majestic North Atlantic right whale. The right whales' documented response to sudden noises is to shoot for the surface, and then remain just under water. "That's a terrible place for right whales to be," said Michael Jasny, director of the marine mammal protection program for the Natural Resources Defense Council. Faced with noise interference, the whales changed their singing patterns over long periods, Nowacek said. When they hover just under the surface, the whales are vulnerable to becoming aquatic road kill for the ships that do not see the animals. The species was nearly extinguished by whalers, who found that their thick blubber and propensity to float near the surface made them the "right whale" to hunt. The ban on commercial whaling in 1986 has helped other species rebound, but the North Atlantic right whale has struggled. Because it is often near the surface, its biggest threat now is ships. Only about 500 of the whales remain, and scientists keep meticulous track of them. They scour the waters to monitor the whales, and keep careful photo records of each known whale, often identified by the scars from the animal's encounters with propellers or bruises from hull strikes. "It's critical to understand that the ocean is an acoustic world," Jasny said. "Many species—whales, dolphins, fish, invertebrates—depend on their hearing, and the ability to be heard, for survival and to reproduce. "Air-gun surveys put out more noise than any other human source short of dynamite," he said. "Human noise can destroy the ability of right whales to communicate. If the whales are silent, then that means they are unable to feed cooperatively, unable to find mates. A silent whale is, for all intents and purposes, blind." Another Viewpoint But those predictions of grave effects on whales are rejected by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). "I think those assertions are wildly exaggerated and not supported by the evidence," William Y. Brown, BOEM's chief environmental officer, said in an interview. The agency issued the decision July 18 allowing drilling companies to take the first steps toward exploration of the East Coast waters, a move promised by President Barack Obama in 2010 but delayed by the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The real question is ... whether it disrupts them in a way that makes them move away from food or disrupts breeding. "The real question is whether [whales] are just hearing a noise and turning around, or whether it disrupts them in a way that makes them move away from food or disrupts breeding," Brown said. "There's just no evidence that happens." The bureau, part of the Department of the Interior, insists it has taken every precaution. To help "mitigate" the seismic blasts, BOEM ordered that mappers must watch and listen for whales, motor slowly and stop if a whale comes near, avoid right whale breeding grounds in the spring, and take other measures. Critics said those steps are too meager. The American Petroleum Institute, on the other hand, complains they are unneeded. "Operators already take great care to protect wildlife, and the best science and decades of experience prove that there is no danger to marine mammal populations," the oil industry association said in a statement. A federal environmental impact statement released in February asserted most impacts to sea life would be "negligible or minor, and no major impacts were identified." The Atlantic area involved contains some thousands of species, including 39 mammal species, seven of them endangered: the humpback, sperm, fin, blue, sei, and right whales and the West Indian manatee, according to the environmental impact statement. "We should be concerned about effects of sound on marine mammals and make sure it doesn't hurt them," Brown said. "But I am pretty sure the overall noise level in the Atlantic will only be incrementally affected by these surveys. There are orders of magnitude more noise from vessel traffic." Whales vs. Ships Scientists already have seen a dramatic, if tragic, demonstration that shipping traffic is weighing on the whales. Susan Parks, an assistant professor of biology at Syracuse University in New York who studies whale acoustics, and Rosalind Rolland of the New England Aquarium in Boston, who studies stress hormones in right whales, were working on September 11, 2001, the day of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. Scientists already have seen a dramatic, if tragic, demonstration that shipping traffic is weighing on the whales. When the world's ships docked for a week following the attacks, the seas went quiet and the stress-level indicators "showed a dramatic drop that we haven't seen any other years," she said. The finding showed that the whales are much more affected by human behavior than we might have thought, Parks said. "We just really don't know what it's going to do, but we know these are endangered species that are going to be put in harm's way," she said. Doug Struck is a veteran journalist and teaches at Emerson College in Boston. article via http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/08/140811-seismic-science-endangered-right-whale-atlantic-oil-ocean What other cities on the east coast have opposed seismic testing? Click or copy & paste the link below to see! http://oceana.org/en/our-work/climate-energy/seismic-airgun-blasting/overview Offshore drilling poses too big of a risk to our beautiful coastline, marine life, lifestyle, and economy. Once the rigs are erected, they cannot be taken down. Sign this petition to tell Gov. Haley, Sen. Scott, & Sen. Graham "NO TO OFFSHORE DRILLING", you can make a difference!
Urge U.S. Senate to approve $70M NIH funding for lymphedema and lymphatic disease research
United States Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) has requested “$70 million in lymphatic and lymphedema research funding be appropriated to the Office of the Director at NIH to support extramural interdisciplinary research relevant to the lymphatic system in health and disease.” This would be an unprecedented achievement in making lymphatics and lymphedema a national heath priority. Its impact on future treatments and cures must not be underestimated. We must fight for this with everything available to us. The Lymphatic Education & Research Network (LE&RN), its spokesperson Kathy Bates, the research community, and Senator Schumer have brought this issue to the forefront. It is now up to us, as a community, to get this funding in the budget. The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, and Human Services must hear from you. First, sign this petition. Herein, the signers of this petition call upon committee members to add the Report Language of Senator Schumer to the 2017 Committee Appropriations bill. Second, write directly to the Committee Members to voice your support. Links to their webpages are provided below. Both actions are needed to secure this historic funding. Be part of the greatest lymphatic disease and lymphedema research initiative in history. Make this just the beginning. This is where it all starts, and it doesn’t happen without you. Sincerely,William RepicciExecutive Director, LE&RNSenate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, and Human Services members:Senator Roy Blunt (Chairman, R-MO)Senator Patty Murray (Ranking Member, D-WA)Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS)Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL)Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS)Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN)Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL)Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA)Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)Senator James Lankford (R-OK)Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL)Senator Jack Reed (D-RI)Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR)Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI)Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)