Archive for January 20th, 2011

Green Roofs: 5 Standout Species

Green Roofs: 5 Standout Species


Posted January 2011,

Green roof species selection is important when adapting your roofing to the environment

Colorado State University’s department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture has identified 5 plants optimum for green roof use in semiarid regions.  This 2-year experiment proposed that plants native to the Rocky Mountain region may be ideal specimens due to acclamation to shallow, rocky environments.

Jennifer Bousselot, who led the research, says that other green roof studies focus on nonsucculents “Typically native to areas with high annual precipitation and relatively deep soil profiles”.  Bousselot maintains that until this study, green roofs have not undergone scientific evaluation in semiarid environments such as Colorado.

One species tested, Kannah Creek Buckwheat, was removed from the study due to poor performance.  The remaining five all tested well and can be considered for green roofs in semiarid environments, with blue grama and hardy iceplant leading the pack, followed by small-leaf pussytoes, brittle pricklypear, and spearleaf stonecrop.

Green Roofs and the Urban Island Heat Effect

Vegetative Roofing Systems

Green Roofs: A Cool Choice

Special Autonomy Is Illegal Under International Law

West Papua: Special Autonomy Is Illegal Under International Law


Posted Thursday, 20 January 2011 14:37

Indigenous Peoples, Issues & Resources,

The International Lawyers for West Papua (ILWP) wishes to remind the Indonesian government that special autonomy for West Papua (now divided into West Papua and Papua) is illegal under international law.


West Papua has a legal right to self-determination i.e. a right under international law to choose freely its international status. West Papua’s legal right to self-determination has never been validly exercised and therefore that right continues to exist in law.


Special autonomy is not self-determination. Under international law, autonomy falls short of the freedom of choice demanded by the right of self-determination. Any attempt to substitute special autonomy for self-determination is a violation of international law.


The ILWP notes with concern that according to the Papuan Peoples Coalition for Truth (KRPBK) special autonomy has been a “catastrophe.” The rule of law


We ask the international community of States and all international funding agencies

– to respect the rule of law

– to cease immediately from providing any funding or other support for special autonomy.


We once again ask the United Nations to place West Papua under international administration and to hold a genuine act of self-determination for indigenous West Papuans.


Melinda Janki LLB, BCL, LLM,

Chair ILWP

International Lawyer for West Papua

Pack Up And Go! Environmental Activist Groups Tell Australian Mining Company

Philippines: Pack Up And Go! Environmental Activist Groups Tell Australian Mining Company


Posted Thursday, 20 January 2011 14:32

Indigenous Peoples, Issues & Resources,

Environmental activist group Kalikasan PNE lauds the recommendation of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) investigation, urging the national government to revoke the permit of the Australian mining company Oceana Gold Corporation (OGC) after it was found to have violated the rights of the indigenous peoples in Nueva Vizcaya.


“Companies like OGC that violate human rights and destroy the environment have no reason to stay and should not be allowed to operate in our country. President Noynoy Aquino should immediately rescind the mineral agreement of OGC if he is truly concerned about the environment and if his ‘responsible mining’ advocacy is pro-people and not pro-corporate,” said Clemente G. Bautista Jr., national coordinator of Kalikasan PNE.


Ocean Gold acquired a Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) covering 17,626 hectares of mineral lands in Didipio, Nueva Vizcaya. In December 2008, OGC stopped their mining development in the area because of financial trouble, disapproval of local government units, and strong community resistance.


“The local indigenous people’s organizations, environmental groups, the local Churches, municipal government, the provincial government, and even the House of Congress have the same findings and position as the CHR. We want Oceana Gold to be kicked out of Nueva Vizcaya, it should pack up and go immediately. Only the corrupt and pro-mining administration of Gloria Arroyo allowed Oceana Gold to stay in the past.”


In the 14th Congress, the Committee on National Cultural Communities investigated mining operations in Nueva Vizcaya in 2008 and found out that Oceana Gold had committed several violations. The Committee reported that OGC did not properly follow the required Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) process, it violated the rights of the indigenous communities, and failed to report its FTAA to Congress which is required by law. The House Committee also recommended the reprocessing of the mining agreement of Oceana Gold.


Defend Patrimony; a multisectoral alliance opposing foreign mining, urged the government to follow the recommendation of CHR and the House Committee. “The national government should heed the demands of the local government units and communities especially the indigenous people of Nueva Vizcaya. The new Aquino administration should prove that it is an opposite of the previous administration of Arroyo which at the expense of the indigenous people and the environment, has allowed foreign mining companies to plunder our mineral resources and degrade our ecosystem,” say Pia Malayao, an indigenous leader from Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KAMP) and spokesperson of Defend Patrimony.


“More so, the Aquino administration should stop and reverse its policy of mining liberalization. As long this policy continues, the operation of foreign mining companies will continue to result to human rights violations and displacement of indigenous people’s communities,” Malayao explained.

Navajos join legal action against Navajo power plants pollution

Navajos join legal action against Navajo power plants pollution

Grassroots Navajos join legal action to halt pollution from Navajo power plants near Shiprock, N.M., and Page, Ariz.
Coalition of Clean Air Groups Bring Actions Against Federal Government For Failure to Protect People and National Parks
Federal agencies fail to meet legal duty to reduce air pollution in national parks and wilderness areas across the country

Press statement
re-posted from Censored News
(WASHINGTON, DC) — Today, a coalition of clear air advocates is acting to compel the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to fulfill their obligations to protect the nation’s largest and most scenic national parks, wilderness areas, and wildlife refuges from unhealthful haze pollution that dirties the sky and drastically reduces visibility.


“Every year, millions of visitors to our national parks and wilderness areas are unable to see the postcard views because they have been obscured by haze pollution,” said NPCA Clean Air Counsel Stephanie Kodish. “More than 30 years ago Congress committed to restore clean, clear air to America’s most prized national parks and wilderness areas. But EPA has repeatedly escaped its duty to regulate polluters by missing deadlines to develop and implement meaningful plans to reduce air pollution that makes people sick and skies look more like muddy water than the crystal-clear views they once were.”

“Americans go to national parks to breathe clean air, not choke on soot and smog,” said Earthjustice Attorney David Baron. “It’s time for the states and the EPA to clean up the air in parks and wilderness areas as required by the Clean Air Act. Leaving our mountains and canyons buried under filthy haze is not an option.”

The first of the two legal actions that are being filed today seeks to enforce EPA’s obligation to require national park polluters to clean up. The Clean Air Act requires EPA to finalize state plans to substantially reduce haze pollution in all protected national parks, wilderness areas and wildlife refugees by January 15, 2011. But, EPA has failed to finalize a single state’s haze reduction plan, missing more than 50 regulatory deadlines. Today’s action, the filing of formal notices of intent to sue, is an effort to ensure EPA complies with the Clean Air Act’s Regional Haze program and move clean air plans forward after decades of delay. NPCA, Powder River Basin Resource Council, Montana Environmental Information Center, Grand Canyon Trust, Sierra Club, Environmental Defense Fund, WildEarth Guardians, San Juan Citizens Alliance, Our Children’s Earth, and Plains Justice are collaborating to bring this action.

In addition, NPCA, Grand Canyon Trust, Sierra Club, Dooda (NO) Desert Rock, To Nizhoni Ani, WildEarth Guardians, Northwest Environmental Defense Center, Washington Wildlife Federation, San Juan Citizens Alliance, and the Center for Biological Diversity have joined to file an “unreasonable delay” lawsuit against DOI and USDA. The lawsuit is in reaction to the failure by these agencies to find that pollution from Navajo Generating Station in Page, Ariz., TransAlta/Centralia power plant in Centralia, Wash., and Four Corners Power Plant in Fruitland, NM devastate air quality in gems such as Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado, Mount Rainier and Olympic National Parks in Washington, and Grand Canyon and Petrified Forest National Parks in Arizona. These petitions ask DOI, and in the case of Four Corners USDA, to protect public lands by certifying that specific large, outdated coal-fired power plants are causing haze pollution in these national treasures. To date, little progress has been achieved with the two agencies regarding a formal certification of visibility impairment around these sites.

“It is the Navajo people living near [the Four Corners coal-fired power plant] who suffer the effects of this pollution,” said Elouise Brown, president of Dooda (No) Desert Rock- an organization of indigenous people working to protect people from the harm done by coal’s pollution. “This air pollution causes respiratory problems like asthma, emphysema and bronchitis, it aggravates heart disease and it damages lung tissue. The air we breathe has been polluted by coal-fired power plants for far too long.”

“Through the Regional Haze program, state and federal agencies have an unprecedented opportunity to ensure healthier air and clearer scenic vistas by requiring affordable and routine controls that reduce air pollution from industrial sources like coal-fired power plants,” Kodish added. “The regional haze program was designed to reduce pollution and restore pristine visibility to national parks and wilderness areas. The Federal government must swiftly act to enforce this program.”

“Our Rocky Mountain highs are increasingly under siege from haze, especially here in Colorado, yet it’s a problem we can easily solve,” said Jeremy Nichols, Climate and Energy Program director for WildEarth Guardians. “With sensible plans to limit air pollution, we can finally protect parks, people, and our cherished western landscape.”

“These actions simply ask EPA to follow-through with programs that will protect people from the dangerously harmful pollution that jeopardizes our health when coal is burned at power plants,” added Bill Corcoran, Western Regional Director for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign. “The same pollution that literally makes it difficult for people to see our priceless natural treasures also ends up in people’s lungs. This is both harmful and preventable and we urge the EPA to act quickly to solve this problem.”

“We can clear the air in our nation’s parks. In Colorado, a bipartisan coalition has already come together to find solutions for reducing dangerous haze in areas such as Rocky Mountain National Park,” said Environmental Defense Fund Attorney Pamela Campos. “It’s time to work together to clean up all of our nation’s most treasured areas.”

“Coal pollution is ruining vistas in southwestern National Parks and poisoning waterways that people and wildlife depend on,” said Taylor McKinnon with the Center for Biological Diversity. “It’s long past time to begin a new era of clean energy in the southwest—one that doesn’t include coal.”

These legal actions, while far-reaching and important in impact, represent only a portion of the Clean Air Act’s provisions that have yet to be fully implemented. In the coming months, EPA is expected to finalize new regulations under the “good neighbor” provision of the act to reduce interstate transport of pollution to states that are downwind, and stronger air quality standards for ozone. The agency is also expected to soon propose a utility toxics rule that addresses mercury and other pollutants from coal and oil fired utility boilers. These actions complement the actions that are being sought by these legal filings and represent a great opportunity for putting the right policies in place to clean the air, restore our national parks and improve public health.

To see photos and additional information on how regional haze impacts views in our parks and wilderness lands, go to:

Stephanie Kodish, National Parks Conservation Association
(865) 329-2424,
David Baron, Earthjustice
(202) 667-4500 ext. 203,
David Graham-Caso, Sierra Club
(213) 387-6528 ext. 214,
Pamela Campos, Environmental Defense Fund
Jeremy Nichols, WildEarth Guardians
303-573-4898 ext. 1303,
Taylor McKinnon, Center for Biological Diversity
(928) 310-6713,