Study: Intersex Fish Found in Delaware River Basin

Scientists are searching for the source of chemical contamination after a study found evidence of intersex fish in the basins of Pennsylvania’s major rivers, including the Delaware. The intersex fish were also found in the Susquehanna and Ohio river basins. The Susquehanna is the most contaminated of the three, while the Delaware is second-most.

Per the study, conducted by the United States Geological Survey and published in Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, smallmouth bass and white sucker with intersex characteristics were found in all three rivers. It’s a sign of exposure to reproductive endocrine-disrupting chemicals.

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Dirty Philadelphia Is Dirty

NBC 10 says the American Lung Association has bad news for Philly in a new report: “Ozone levels (commonly called smog) came in worse than it did in the 2009 data, likely due to warmer temperatures in 2012. Philadelphia County remained the most polluted county in the metro area as well as in Pennsylvania, and was graded “F,” significantly worsening its annual average to 16.7 days with unhealthful levels of ozone in 2010-2012, from 10.7 in 2009-2011.” The report said Philly tied for 11th — not an honor — for year-round particle pollution.

Philadelphia Joins “City Energy Project”

It’s Earth Day, so some related news: Philadelphia is joining a consortium of 10 cities that will bypass the federal government on climate change in institute their own standards to make new buildings more energy efficient. The City Energy Project also includes Boston, Atlanta, Orlando, Chicago, Kansas City, Houston, Denver, Salt Lake City and Los Angeles.

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We Need to Rebrand the Climate Change Conversation

As the Earth appears to snap, crackle and pop into a molten lava pulp of pain, the reaction of its largest super power inhabitant is ineptitude and partisan bickering. We’ve always known Washington is its own greatest enemy; in the case of imminent global apocalypse, we see that Washington is now the planet’s greatest enemy. As the world spins about rudderless and leaderless, policymakers delve deeper into tit-for-tat talking point plays from extreme sides of the debate.

House Republicans want us to walk away with the impression that they’ve attached some semblance of urgency to the issue by planning an unprecedented multi-agency hearing on climate change scheduled for Sept. 18. But this is really just optics and political maneuvering in the wake of slow leakage of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report due sometime next month. What we do know from what’s been released is that climate change is real and much of it is due to unmitigated human pollution. There may be minor disagreements over how soon it gets worse.

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Will Taxing Plastic Bags Save The Environment? Daylin Leach Hopes So.

State Sen. Daylin Leach has introduced legislation that would charge a two-cent tax on every plastic bag distributed by grocery stores and other retail establishments. Conceivably, the tax could add up to 10 cents to your grocery bill bottom line, and gosh, nobody better tell the Tea Partiers.

“Plastic shopping bags represent a disconnect in our consumer culture,” Leach said. “They are used for mere minutes, but can take a thousand years to degrade. They clutter our urban areas, contaminate our waterways, and kill more than one million birds and marine mammals each year.” Leach said.

“Two cents is a small price to pay for a cleaner, more vibrant planet,” Leach said. “However, our goal is not to collect the fee, but to encourage shoppers to make sustainable choices at the checkout counter.”

In fact, the two cents would be split—one penny would go back to the commonwealth, while the store collecting the tax would keep the other penny, to be used toward improving its own recycling processes.

The Inquirer reports that the typical family uses up to 60 bags in four trips to the grocery store. So let’s redo the math—Leach’s bill would add an average of 30 cents to the average grocery bill. Revolutions have been fought over less!* (*Note: Revolutions haven’t been fought over less.)

Kevin Shrivers, executive director of the National Federation of Independent Businesses of Pennsylvania, called Leach’s proposal a “tax scheme” that would hurt average families and benefit only makers of reusable cloth bags – many of them foreign.

“It’s a tax on the consumer,” Shrivers said. “Leach’s assumption is that the plastic bags are used one time and thrown away, but people use those bags over and over.”

Well, clearly Leach is just a tool of the Big Foreign Cloth Bag lobby. Why does he hate America so?

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