Sunday, October 15, 2017

AGENT ORANGE TOWN HALL MEETING SCHEDULE









We update our meetings regularly on the Town Hall Meeting Calendar:

November 4, 2017
Sturgis, South Dakota
Contact John Price

November 4, 2017
Salem, Massachusetts
VVA Massachusetts State Council
Contact: (978) 745-0883

November 9, 2017
Carthage, North Carolina
Contact: Rossie Nance

VA Photo ID Cards for All Veterans Coming in November

All honorably discharged veterans of every era will be able to get a photo identification card from the Department of Veterans Affairs starting in November due to a law passed in 2015.
The law, known as the Veterans Identification Card Act 2015, orders the VA to issue a hard-copy photo ID to any honorably discharged veteran who applies. The card must contain the veteran's name, photo and a non-Social Security identification number, the law states.
A VA official on Wednesday confirmed the cards are on track to be available nationwide starting in November. Veterans may apply for the card online, but a timeline for how long it will take to receive a card after application has not been finalized, the official said.
No details were released on when that application process will open, what information veterans will need when applying or the web address they will use.
Although the law states that the VA may charge a fee for the card, the official said no fee is planned.

Following Obama-Era Guidance, EPA Orders San Jacinto Waste Pits Removed

Scott Pruitt, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, has made good on his word.
With three days to go before the football game between Oklahoma University and University of Texas, the deadline Pruitt set when he visited the San Jacinto Waste Pits and other Houston-area sites after Hurricane Harvey rolled through town last month, the EPA has indeed made a decision on the fate of the pits.
The dioxin-packed, partially submerged pits tucked along the lip of the San Jacinto River will be removed.
"Today, we are announcing our decision to ensure the San Jacinto site is cleaned up for the benefit of the entire community," Pruitt, the EPA administrator, said in a press release. "As exemplified today, EPA is prioritizing Superfund clean-up by making decisions in a decisive, timely manner."
So a decision has officially been made. 
It's been a long time coming. The San Jacinto Waste Pits were packed full of toxic sludge, including dioxin, a known carcinogen, from the runoff from a paper mill in the 1960s. The pits were full by the end of the decade and were then largely forgotten over the following years — U.S.Representative Gene Green noted that there were higher levels of dioxin in the area going back to the 1980s, although nobody knew for sure where the dioxin was coming from.
And then, after decades of being forgotten, the waste pits were "discovered" by the EPA in 2005 and the spot was turned into a Superfund site, designated for cleanup, by 2008.
In 2011 the companies on the hook for polluting the site, Champion Paper, McGinnis Industrial Maintenance and Waste Management Inc., placed a temporary $9 million cap on the pits. Before the cap was even completed, company officials were already hoping to talk the EPA into allowing them to simply make the cap permanent by reinforcing it and putting more rock on top.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Call in day supporting passage of H.R. 299 and S.422, October 12 at 9:00 am.

The next call in day on the hill supporting passage of H.R. 299 and S.422, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act 2017, is October 12 at 9:00 am.
304 House members have signed on to H.R. 299 and 43 Senators have signed on to the companion bill, S.422. If, your member has not signed on to these bills, please make the call on October 12 requesting they join their colleagues in support of our Navy Vietnam Veterans.

We need your voices to get these bills out of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees and to the floor of both chambers for passage.

EPA Soon to Announce Whether the San Jacinto Waste Pits Will Be Removed

When EPA administrator Scott Pruitt toured the San Jacinto Waste Pits site after Hurricane Harvey ripped through the area, he said the federal agency would make a decision by October 14 about whether to remove, dredge or permanently cap the waste pits.
In other words, the debate over what to do about the San Jacinto Waste Pits, the dioxin-filled kolache of a federal Superfund site nestled on the edge of the San Jacinto River, has been raging ever since the site was deemed toxic and given a temporary cap back in 2011. But now it's crunch time. 
The waste pits were created starting in the 1960s when International Paper's predecessor, Champion Paper, hired McGinnis Industrial Maintenance Corporation to haul off the toxic sludge the paper mill was producing in Pasadena. McGinnis toted the toxic crud up the San Jacinto and tucked containers of waste into the pits until they were packed full and written off of the company's assets in 1968.  
Since then, the containers have remained at the site, but the paper mill byproducts saturated the ground around the area and over the years dioxin, a known carcinogen, has oozed out of the site, a situation that many residents say has caused all sorts of health problems, including cancer. After decades of being forgotten, the waste pits were "discovered" by the EPA in 2005 and the spot was turned into a Superfund site, designated for cleanup, by 2008. 
The companies on the hook for polluting the site had placed a temporary $9 million cap on the pits, and before the cap was even completed, company officials were already hoping to talk the EPA into allowing them to simply make the cap permanent by reinforcing it and putting more rock on top of it.

MSU research breakthrough could cleanse soil, sediment and water pollution

New research from Michigan State University has shown for the first time that activated carbon – a substance widely used in water purification – can help eliminate the health risks associated with soils, sediments and surface water polluted by highly toxic dioxins.
Stephen Boyd, a University Distinguished Professor in the plant, soil and microbial sciences department, led the study, which is published in the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. The research looked specifically at soil and freshwater ecosystems that were contaminated mainly through the industrial manufacture of pesticides and other chemicals.
“The goal is to find and validate a new direction in the management and remediation of soils and sediments that are contaminated with industrial pollutants, like dioxin,” Boyd said. “We were finally able to achieve that goal with activated carbon.”
Activated carbon is produced when materials with high carbon concentrations, such as coal, wood, peat or even coconut shell, undergo special treatment processes that expose them to extremely high temperatures without burning them. The result is a porous, highly adsorptive substance that binds easily with organic toxins. When mixed into contaminated soil or sediment, the activated carbon draws dioxin to it and sequesters it.
Though the release of dioxins into the environment has been reduced by more than 90 percent since 1990, the toxins already released continue to persist in the environment, and can enter the food chain through fish and other organisms.
“There’s a general malaise of health issues associated with dioxin contamination,” said Brett Sallach, plant, soil and microbial sciences postdoctoral research associate, who worked on the project. “Hormone health complications, fertility issues, skin rashes, immunity problems, cancer: they all can stem from it. Most human exposure is linked to eating fish and shellfish that live in contaminated streams and riverbeds.”

Landmark decision by New Zealand Veterans’ Affairs

Veterans Affairs’ New Zealand has recognised that Parkinson’s is linked to a toxic solvent used within the Navy, both on ships and on shore, and will now be paying disability compensation.
The Royal New Zealand Navy used a number of chemical solvents on ships beginning in at least the 1950s. Among the chemical solvents was trichloroethylene (TCE), which is thought to be among the most damaging to human health, with links to a number of adverse health effects including Parkinson’s.
In the 1970s Parkinson’s New Zealand member George* (George’s name has been changed to protect his confidentiality) served on a Royal New Zealand Navy ship. Decades later, he is living with Parkinson’s, and Veterans’ Affairs New Zealand has recognised there is a connection.
In a landmark decision, Veterans’ Affairs New Zealand has agreed to provide George with an entitlement to disability compensation for Parkinson’s, a condition that is attributed to his operational service on a Royal New Zealand Navy ship during the Malayan Emergency.
The link between exposure to the chemical solvent TCE and Parkinson’s has been recognised by the US Department of Veterans Affairs, but George’s case is the only known case in which this link has been recognised.
The recognition from Veterans Affairs’ New Zealand that disabilities stemming from Parkinson’s can be attributed to exposures to TCE means that George will be entitled to receive disability compensation.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

AGENT ORANGE TOWN HALL MEETING SCHEDULE








We update our meetings regularly on the Town Hall Meeting Calendar:

November 4, 2017
Sturgis, South Dakota
Contact John Price

November 4, 2017
Salem, Massachusetts
Sponsors: Witch City Post #1524
VVA Massachusetts State Council
Contact: (978) 745-0883