GreenYes Digest V97 #154

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Fri, 22 Jan 1999 17:11:16 -0500

GreenYes Digest Tue, 1 Jul 97 Volume 97 : Issue 154

Today's Topics:
Fwd: toxic sludge
IMPORTANT: Right to Know Nothing
True Believers and Recycling Realists (2 msgs)
Why will world population stabilize at 10 billion? (2 msgs)

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Date: Mon, 30 Jun 1997 13:23:28 -0700
From: Robin Salsburg <>
Subject: FW: DEAR COLLEAGUE LETTER--Smith/Leahy Letter on LWCF

From: Roger Featherstone[]
Sent: Friday, June 27, 1997 3:46 PM
Subject: DEAR COLLEAGUE LETTER--Smith/Leahy Letter on LWCF


Call Your Senators ASAP.

Ask Them to Sign on to the Smith/Leahy
Land and Water Conservation Fund "Dear Colleague" Letter

Senators Robert Smith (R-NH) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) are circulating a
letter asking for support for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
The letter asks senators to join a letter to Appropriations Chair Ted
Stevens, requesting that he allocate the funds to their intended use.

By using federal revenues from off-shore oil and gas leases, the Land
and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has made it possible to protect over
7 million acres of parkland and create over 37,000 local parks and
playgrounds nationwide. The problem is that Congress has raided $11
billion from this fund over the years.

This year Congress has created an unusual opportunity to revitalize
LWCF by authorizing as much as $867 million for land and water
conservation projects this year. Unless Congress actually includes
this funding increase in the final budget, we will go another year
without critical resources for parks and open space projects.


Urge your senators to sign the Dear Colleague letter today.

Capitol Switchboard (202) 224-3121 or (800) 972-3524

Call your senators (Capitol Switchboard 1 (800) 972-3524) using the
local examples laid out in our LWCF action alert sent out last week.
Explain to them how the fund helps support parks in your area.

If your Senator wishes to to-sign this letter or has any questions
regarding it, please ask him/her to contact Susanne Fleek at (202) 224-
2409 (Leahy) or Chris Russell at (202) 224-2841 (Smith).

For more info contact: Roger Featherstone (202) 682-9400 x 290,

Dear Colleague Letter

Washington, DC 20510
June 27, 1997

The Honorable Ted Stevens, Chairman
Committee on Appropriations
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Mr. Chairman:

The budget agreement's expectation of an estimated 1.5 billion
investment over five years from the Land and Water Conservation Fund
(LWCF) recognizes the need and public demand to conserve our natural
resources and enhance recreation access across our nation. The
infusion of $700 million for the LWCF in Fiscal Year 1998 creates an
unprecedented opportunity to address this need. We urge the
Appropriations Committee to capitalize on this opportunity and allocate
the additional funding.

However, the Committee must also recognize that perhaps the
greatest public benefit, return on investment and leveraging of limited
resources will be attained by those actions which encourage national
partnerships with local and state governments. The LWCF state
assistance program is premised on that concept. It merits full
consideration and an appropriation of at least one-third of the LWCF
allocation. The matching requirement of the act will leverage far more
value than the federal share, often softening the demand for the
federal government alone to assume the full cost of land conservation
and management in perpetuity. Since the state assistance program has
been dormant for three years, the need for local project funding has
grown to over $450 million according to a recent survey.

The sharing of Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) revenues through
LWCF state assistance is rooted in the concept of reinvestment of
fiscal resources earned by depletion of other resources. The Congress
has repeatedly recognized its view that the American people should
benefit from this principle through state and local recreation
resources. OCS revenues over the life of the budget agreement are
expected to exceed the authorized lever of $900 million annually for
LWCF, providing considerable basis for our recommendation.

A number of public interests agree with our view of reinvestment.
On April 30, 1997, the Secretary of the Interior Outer Continental
Shelf Policy Committee unanimously called for aggressive action to
share OCS revenue with the states. The group took particular note of
the positive impact of the Land and Water Conservation Fund's state
assistance program.

We join an increasing number of legislators who recognize that
OCS resources belonging to all Americans should be invested in sites
and facilities which can be accessed frequently and help address state
and local government's highest recreation resource priorities. Funding
the state-side portion of the LWCF is the best way to accomplish these


Bob Smith Patrick Leahy

Roger Featherstone -- Director
GrassRoots Environmental Effectiveness Network
A project of Defenders of Wildlife
1101 14th St. NW, Suite 1400, Washington, DC 20005
(202) 682-9400 x290 fax:(202) 682-1331 e-mail:
check out our web page at:
For correspondence regarding our listserve and GREENLines
contact: (NOT


Date: Tue, 1 Jul 1997 02:53:05 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Fwd: toxic sludge

Apropos previous discussion on biosolids on this list. Thought it would
be relevant...

> From: jack ossont <>
> This is my first posting and I'm glad that I can pass along such
>a fine article. I've been active in incineration and sewage sludge
>issues locally for twelve years. In the last year a new oganization has
>formed called the National Sludge Alliance, whose founding meeting
>occured in July of 96' and whose mission statement includes the
>prevention of the land application and disposal of sludges. This
>includes those products derived from sludge that have been magically
>transformed into fertilizer by a change in the EPA's Clean Water Act,
>part 503 regulations, which dramatically raise the heavy metal limits
>and allow lax oversight of many other toxins found in the sludge.
> Hope this is of interest to the discussion on sludge as well as
>dioxin as they are linked to all of us. This is posted with the
>permission of the author, Joel Bleifuss, whose biweekly section in "In
>These Times" is titled The First Stone. In These Times is published by
>The Institute for Public Affairs, 2040 N. Milwalkee Ave., Chicago, IL
> In 1993, the Environmental Protection Agency redefined sewage
>sludge, transforming it from a regulated waste into an unregulated
>fertilizer. That attempt at linguistic detoxification is now reaching
>its logical--and absurd--conclusion in Colorado.
> The EPA has secretly approved a scheme to pipe
>plutonium-contaminated waste from the Lowry Landfill Superfund Site to a
>sewage treatment plant operated by the Metro Waste Water Reclamation
>District, the Denver area public sewer works. This Superfund waste will
>flow through municipal sewer lines to the Metro plant, where it will be
>treated like all other sewage. The liquid portion of the treated sewage
>will be discharged into the South Platte River, and the remaining
>sludge--or "beneficial biosolids," as the EPA calls this waste product--
>will be sold to the public as MetroGro fertilizer for $2 per 20-pound
>bag or $20 a ton. Sludge not sold will be applied as "fertilizer" on a
>41,000-acre wheat farm owned by Metro near the town of Deer Trail, east
>of Denver.
> Each year, about 4 million tons of municipal sludge--about half
>of the total produced annually by the 15,000 publicly owned sewer plants
>in the United States--are dumped on farm land. That sludge is derived
>chiefly from human excreta and from the water wastes of 130,000
>industrial plants. The 1993 revision of Section 503 of the Clean Water
>Act, which deals with sludge, increased the limits of acceptable
>exposure to some toxins, thereby insuring that most of the nation's
>sludge could be classified as "clean" (see "The First Stone," October
>16,1995; May 27,1996; and June 10,1996}. Typically, municipal sewer
>sludge contains dangerous pesticides such as chlordane, chlorinated
>compounds like dioxin, a host of biologic pathogens, and an assortment
>of heavy metals including mercury, cadmium, lead and arsenic. In the
>Denver case, the toxic soup could come to include radioactive waste.
> The Lowry Landfill Superfund Site is owned by the city of Denver
>and managed by two subsidiaries of Waste Management Inc. The dump,
>located 15 miles southwest of Denver, in Arapahoe County, sits on a
>former military bombing range where chenical and conventional weapons
>were tested between 1940 and 1962.
> Between 1966 and 1980, the city used the property as a dump for
>household trash, sludge from the Metro sewer system, and liquid and
>solid industrial waste produced by local industry. Adolph Coors Co.,
>which had two nuclear contracts with the Atomic Energy Commission in the
>early '60s, was the top corporate user of the Lowry Landfill, disposing
>of industrial solvents and other wastes on the site. Other industrial
>dumpers included Conoco, Syntex, Hewlett Packard and Gates Rubber. In
>1986, the EPA declared the Lowry Landfill a Superfund site; for more
>than a decade, the agency has been trying to figure out how to clean up
>the site and who will pay for it. In June 1996. Denver Mayor Wellington
>Webb appointed Adrienne Anderson to serve on the Metro board as an
>advocate for sewer-district workers. Anderson, former Western regional
>director of the National Toxics Campaign, teaches environmental ethics
>at the University of Colorado at Boulder ( In These Times cover story,
>October 28,1992}.
> The agenda for the first board meeting that Anderson was to
>attend included an item approving the payment of $175,000 in attorney
>fees. "I began researching the issue through the Colorado Open Records
>Act, and lo and behold, I found that as part of a secretive agreement,
>Metro had agreed that the Lowry Landfill Superfund waste, after going
>through an ineffective treatment on site, would be dumped into the sewer
>system," Anderson says.
> Anderson's research indicated that the EPA had determined that
>the landfill's current on-site treatment plant, run by Waste Management,
>was not adequate, and that the treatment plant would have to be either
>upgraded or replaced. Both options were very expensive. "In the
>documents I reviewed, it was determined that it would be much cheaper to
>pipe the waste to Metro," Anderson says.
> "Follow the money," says Hugh Kaufman, the EPA engineer who
>tipped me off to this story. "If you run it through the city's waste-
>water treatment plant, then the financial liability transfers from all
>the parties responsible for putting waste in the landfill to
>Metro--which means to the taxpayers of Denver and suburbs--and Coors and
>others are off the liability hook."
> Anderson,through her years of work with the National Toxics
>Campaign, knew that the EPA could not legally approve this plan without
>first going through a public-hearing process. She notified members of
>the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers local who work at the Metro
>treatment plant, as well as the leaders of anti-sludge farming groups
>such as Family Farmers for Environmentally Safe Use of Property {FES
> Anderson's fellow board members criticized her for making the
>deal public. "I was chided for informing workers at Metro about the
>plan," says Anderson. "The board chairman told me that there were board
>members who thought I was being 'devious' for looking into this issue.
>But this is not a fraternity, it is a public board that is dealing with
>millions of dollars of public funds and with serious environmental
>decisions that have to be made that affect the health and safety of
>communities throughout the region."
> Under public pressure, The EPA sponsored a public hearing on the
>plan on April 2 of this year. For that meeting, the EPA prepared a "fact
>sheet" entitled "Lowry Landfill Superfund Site: Second Explanation of
>Significant Differences."
> The agency's fact sheet notes that the Lowry Landfill includes
>"hazardous substances, such as volatile organic compounds and heavy
>metals." Further, over the years, about 130 million gallons of liquid
>industrial waste were dumped at Lowry, in what the EPA describes as
>"some 75 unlined waste pits or trenches...about 15 to 30 feet deep and
>about 100 to 1,000 feet long and about 50 to 150 feet wide." According
>to the EPA, the dumping took place in the following manner: "The pits
>were nearly filled with liquid wastes and then 25 to 60 feet of
>household garbage was placed over the pits....Over time, these wastes
>seeped out of the pits and mixed with the garbage and ground water."
> What the EPA fact sheet doesn't say is that the site's waste
>also contains man-made radionuclides such as plutonium, americium,
>tritium, strontium, cerium and cesium. According to an April 1993 EPA
>risk assessment done by CH2MHill, a longtime EPA subcontractor, these
>"radionuclides were detected in ground water, subsurface and surface
>soil, surface water and sediment" at the Lowry site.
> Anderson had discovered this radionuclide risk assessment while
>going through health department files. At the EPA's April 2 public
>hearing, Anderson pressed her case, eventually extracting from Marc
>Herman, who manages the site's cleanup for the EPA, an admission that
>plutonium was detected in the Lowry Landfill. Then at its April 15
>board meeting, Metro issued a fact sheet formally acknowledging that
>"radioactive plutonium has been detected in the Lowry site ground
>water," which is to be piped into Metro's sewer plant.
> Herman contends that the concentrations of plutonium and other
>man-made radionuclides in the waste are within background levels, since
>they were found in similar concentrations on other parts of the federal
>bombing range where background tests were done for comparison.
> But, according to Anderson, those background sites are
>themselves under investigation by the Department of Defense, which in
>1995 declared the whole bombing range a "catastrophic risk zone," due to
>unexploded bombs and chemical and other hazards.
> Was radioactive waste from the Cold War arms buildup dumped at
>the bombing range or at the Lowry Landfill? "I haven't looked in the
>information file on Rocky Flats," the EPA's Herman told Anderson's class
>in environmental ethics on April 15. "I don't know what, if anything,
>was taken from Rocky Flats out to the Lowry site."
> Yet in her investigation, Anderson has come across EPA documents
>indicating that on September 26, 1994, Rockwell International, which ran
>the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant for the federal government, agreed
>to pay $314,000 to the EPA for having dumped 55,000 gallons of waste in
>the Lowry Landfill. The nature of the waste was unspecified.
> None of this reassures Lylamae and Richard Price.
> The Prices run 600 cattle and grow wheat on their 19,000-acre
>ranch, which abuts Metro's wheat fields. The couple, who have been on
>their land for four generations and are members of FES UP, were none too
>happy to discover that the EPA had, behind their backs, approved the
>proposal to dump Superfund sludge on Metro's farm.
> During heavy rains, like those which regularly occur on the
>plains, runoff from Metro's sludge-fertilized farm runs straight into
>the resevoir from which the Prices' cattle drink. And during periods of
>high wind, loose soil and sludge drift like snow across their property,
>at times covering their fence posts.
> "In England, toxic cadmium was found in sheep grazing on
>sludge-covered land," says Lylamae, referring to an article in New
>Scientist that she had read. "We wonder what is happening with our
>cattle that we sell to you people out there who eat beef."
> If the EPA's precedent-setting Superfund disposal plan in Denver
>is allowed to stand, an already intolerable situation will get worse.
>We can then expect to see the industrial poisons from the nation's 1,255
>other Superfund sites piped into local sewer systems, turned into
>fertilizer, and introduced into the food chain.
>Published April,28,1997 by IN THESE TIMES


Date: Mon, 30 Jun 1997 13:24:50 -0700
From: Robin Salsburg <>
Subject: IMPORTANT: Right to Know Nothing

Talk about producer responsibility!!! These laws being adopted by =
states and now introduced at the national level are enabling the worst =
corporate polluters to avoid prosecution for environmental regulation =
violations. Read on, and feel the hair on the back of your neck stand =


P.S. If you are not already subscribing to this weekly electronic =
newsletter, sign on. And send them some money, if you can, to help =
support their excellent research and reporting.

From: Peter Montague[]
Sent: Wednesday, June 25, 1997 4:04 PM
Subject: Rachel #552: Right to Know Nothing

tronic =
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American corporations are successfully pursuing a new strategy to
evade environmental laws and regulations. As the NEW YORK TIMES
describes the new strategy, "Urged on by a coalition of big
industries, one state after another is adopting legislation to
protect companies from disclosure or punishment when they
discover environmental offenses at their own plants."[1] In
essence, state laws are giving corporations immunity from
punishment if they self-report violations of environmental laws.
Furthermore, any documents related to the self-reporting become
officially secret, cannot be divulged to the public, and cannot
be used as evidence in any legal proceedings. "This is a
disaster for environmental enforcement," says David Ronald, chief
of the environmental crimes division in the Arizona State
Attorney General's Office. "It has been creeping through the
states without anybody paying much attention."[1]

The strategy took root in 1993 when the Oregon state legislature
passed the first-ever "audit privilege" law, as they are called.
Such laws --which have now been passed in at least 21 states and
are pending in 13 or 14 others --typically contain the following

** Corporations that report violations discovered during a
self-audit are immune from prosecution for their violations.
They cannot be fined or otherwise punished if they disclose
violations promptly to government authorities and take
"reasonable" steps to achieve compliance.

** Individuals who participate in conducting an environmental
audit cannot be called to testify in any judicial proceeding or
administrative hearing.

** Perhaps most importantly, if a corporation conducts an
environmental self-audit of its operations, the information in
the self-audit cannot be disclosed to the public and cannot be
used as evidence in any legal proceedings, including lawsuits
and/or regulatory actions. Any information related to a
self-audit becomes "privileged." This exemption typically covers
any documents, notes, communications, data, or opinions related
in any way to the audit. The corporation itself decides what is
related to its self-audit and what is not. In essence, audit
privilege laws allow a corporation to stamp any document
"audit-related" and thus exempt it from public disclosure,
discovery, or use as evidence in any legal proceeding. For
companies facing Superfund lawsuits, or toxic tort actions, this
exemption can translate into billions of dollars in avoided costs.

** Some states, such as Texas, have included additional
provisions that make it a crime for employees or government
officials to divulge anything related to environmental
self-audits. In Texas, if a person divulges such information and
it leads to penalties against a polluter, the individual who
divulged the information must pay the polluters' fines,
penalties, and other costs. This is a blatant
"anti-whistle-blower" provision, clearly intended to silence
individuals who might otherwise come forward with information
about violations of law.

Audit privilege laws --which are sometimes called Corporate Dirty
Secrets Laws, or Right to Know Nothing Laws --apply not only to
private corporations but also to governments as well. Thus
citizens of a municipality can lose their right to know about
pollution from their own local landfill when their state
legislature passes an "audit privilege" law.

The 21 states that have, so far, passed "audit privilege" laws
include: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana,
Ohio, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi,
Montana, New Hampshire, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota,
Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wyoming.

The Clinton administration supports environmental self-auditing.
They say that companies know how to audit their own facilities
better than the government does, and can do a better job of it.
However, initially the administration took the position that
companies should receive no immunity from fines or other
punishment if their self-audits revealed violations. Further,
the administration initially took the position that self-audit
information should not be privileged or secret, saying workers
and communities had a right to know what local corporations were
doing to the environment.

To give these views clout, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
administrator Carol Browner threatened to take enforcement
authority away from any state that passed a typical audit
privilege law. (Most U.S. federal environmental laws allow EPA
to delegate enforcement authority to the states with the
provision that federal standards must be met.)

Specifically, EPA put Texas on notice that their audit privilege
law was unacceptable because it would compromise the ability of
all governments (federal, state, and local) to enforce
environmental laws. However, in March, 1997, Ms. Browner reversed
her position and said that the Texas law, with minor changes,
would be acceptable to EPA. The Texas law gives both immunity
from prosecution AND privilege to the information produced during
a self-audit, and, as we have seen, it contains a blatant
anti-whistle-blower provision.

Most observers believe the administration cut a deal with Texas
to appease anti-environment forces in the 105th Congress. As
expected, EPA's stance in Texas has been widely regarded as the
administration's acceptance of all states' audit privilege laws.
More state laws are expected to pass, now that the threat of EPA
sanctions has been withdrawn.

However, the anti-environment forces in Congress have refused to
be appeased. This month, they proposed national "audit
privilege" legislation. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott
(R-Miss.) personally endorsed S. 866, "The Environmental
Protection Partnership Act," which is a standard audit privilege
bill.[2] It gives immunity to violators who self-report
violations; and it gives a privilege of secrecy to all
information related to self-audits. Notably, S. 866 specifically
prohibits EPA from revoking enforcement authority of states who
pass audit privilege laws. A companion bill has been introduced
in the House of Representatives --H.R. 1884, the "Voluntary
Environmental Self-Evaluation Act."

For five years, corporations have been promoting environmental
audit bills around the country, arguing that such laws would
improve environmental protection and public health. Companies
promoting audit privilege laws include AT&T, Caterpillar, Coors
Brewing, DuPont, Eli Lilly, 3M, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble,
Weyerhauser, and Waste Management, Inc. (WMI).

However, protecting public health may not be the first priority
for all these corporations. For example, as soon as Ohio passed
its "audit privilege" law in December, 1996, WMI demanded that a
citizens' group return documents --some of them dating back to
1988 --which the citizens had obtained during litigation aimed at
forcing the cleanup of the ELDA landfill near Cincinnati. WMI
says the documents are now "privileged" under Ohio law and cannot
be used in a federal court case brought by local citizens.[3]
Some of the documents in question are stamped "audit" and others
were simply claimed to be "audits" after the fact. Thus WMI has
revealed unmistakably what "audit privilege" laws are really

Some 80 citizen groups have formed a vigorous coalition to fight
audit privilege laws. Contact The Network Against Corporate
Secrecy led by Sanford Lewis in Boston: (617) 254-1030; or Their informative Web site can be found at .

As we step back and try to get this "right to know nothing" trend
into perspective, it appears to us that this is just another
aspect of the rapidly-growing power of corporations in America
and worldwide.

Big corporations approved the passage of all the major U.S.
environmental laws now on the books. (If they had seriously
opposed any of them, they would not be on the books.) These laws
impose onerous requirements for gathering and reporting data.
Large corporations complain about these features of our national
laws, but in truth these reporting requirements provide a
competitive advantage for large corporations vs. small. It is
small businesses that get hurt by all the paperwork that our
environmental laws entail. A big company just assigns a team to
the task and gets it done. So big corporations created our
complicated laws, partly for the competitive advantage that it
gives them over their smaller, more nimble competitors.

Occasionally, however, our environmental laws cost some big
polluter a major fine of $50 or $100 million dollars. And toxic
tort lawsuits can cost them hundreds of millions from time to
time. To reduce the likelihood of bearing such costs, big
polluters now want "audit privilege" laws to protect them from
public scrutiny and to give them immunity against major
penalties. This retains the burdensome paperwork in the laws,
which gives them a competitive advantage, while reducing the
risks of major costs. The anti-environment Congress is doing its
part to carry out this corporate strategy. Passing a federal
"audit privilege" law would clearly benefit the big polluters.
Congress has already taken other steps that fit into this
strategy: the federal EPA is now so weak that it cannot possibly
enforce all the laws on the books. Speaking of EPA's Carol
Browner recently, the NEW YORK TIMES said in an editorial, "As a
practical matter, the task of issuing individual permits for
thousands of companies nationwide is beyond her staff's
capabilities."[4] This weakening has not happened by accident.
Congress has systematically reduced the capacity of the federal
government to enforce our laws. In response, Ms. Browner has
willingly formed voluntary "partnerships" with the states, giving
them greater enforcement authority.

State enforcement is weaker than federal enforcement because
states compete with each other for jobs. Any state that becomes
known as a "pollution haven" will be looked upon favorably by
polluters. Conscientious states find themselves at a disadvantage
under these circumstances.

Sure enough, reports the NEW YORK TIMES, "Pennsylvania and some
other big industrial states are reporting only a handful of major
pollution violations, suggesting that inspectors in those states
may be turning a blind eye to pollution problems.... Federal
inspectors said the state [Pennsylvania] should have found at
least 10 times as many violations as were reported in 1995."[5]
The TIMES later said about 25% of all the states are failing to
enforce the nation's environmental laws.[4]

We must note once again that the fundamental problem is the
unfettered power of the modern corporation. The Clinton
administration bears as much responsibility as any in this
department. As the TIMES has said, "Ever since Bill Clinton came
to office, he has done more for the Fortune 500 than virtually
any other President in this century...."[6]

Corporations have limited capacity for self-restraint; they want
it all and they want it now and they don't want anyone telling
them what they can and cannot do. Until we recognize this --the
nature of the corporate form --as the key problem of our time,
the environment and human health will continue to deteriorate.
--Peter Montague
(National Writers Union, UAW Local 1981/AFL-CIO)

[1] John H. Cushman, Jr., "Many States Give Polluting Firms New
Protections," NEW YORK TIMES April 7, 1996, pg. 1. See also,
John H. Cushman, Jr., "Colorado and Ohio Accused of Skirting
Federal Environmental Laws," NEW YORK TIMES January 30, 1997, pg.

[2] Trent Lott, "Voluntary Environmental Self-Audit,"
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD June 11, 1997, pg. S5494.

[3] The attorney representing the citizens is David Altman;
phone: (513) 721-2180.

[4] "Environmental Defiance [editorial]," NEW YORK TIMES December
20, 1996, pg. A38.

[5] John H. Cushman, Jr., "State Neglecting Pollution Rules,
White House Says," NEW YORK TIMES December 15, 1996, pg. A1.

[6] David E. Sanger, "The Big One: Washington's Political
Earthquake," NEW YORK TIMES September 24, 1995, Section 4 ("Week
in Review"), pg. 1.

Descriptor terms: enforcement; audit privilege laws;
environmental audits; right to know nothing; corporate dirty
secrets laws; corporations; Alaska; Arkansas; Colorado; Idaho;
Illinois; Indiana; Ohio; Kansas; Kentucky; Michigan; Minnesota;
Mississippi; Montana; New Hampshire; Oregon; South Carolina;
South Dakota; Texas; Utah; Virginia; and Wyoming; bill clinton;

Environmental Research Foundation provides this electronic
version of RACHEL'S ENVIRONMENT & HEALTH WEEKLY free of charge
even though it costs our organization considerable time and money
to produce it. We would like to continue to provide this service
free. You could help by making a tax-deductible contribution
(anything you can afford, whether $5.00 or $500.00). Please send
your tax-deductible contribution to: Environmental Research
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not send credit card information via E-mail. For further
information about making tax-deductible contributions to E.R.F.
by credit card please phone us toll free at 1-888-2RACHEL.
--Peter Montague, Editor


Date: Mon, 30 Jun 1997 11:04:15 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: True Believers and Recycling Realists

In a message dated 97-06-04 22:26:46 EDT, (Frank
Ackerman) writes:

A population peak of 10 billion worldwide implies a resource burden that
is technically manageable, creating the basis for optimism about what
could be achieved through sufficiently forceful and imaginative change.

As population increases, resources on the finite will planet decrease, one
reason the population will stabliize at 10 billion will be mass starvation
resulting from the inability to distribute food to those who need it.



Date: Mon, 30 Jun 1997 21:58:08 +0200
Subject: True Believers and Recycling Realists

>Ackerman) writes:
>> A population peak of 10 billion worldwide implies a resource burden that
>> is technically manageable, creating the basis for optimism about what
>> could be achieved through sufficiently forceful and imaginative change.
> >>
Rick responds:
>As population increases, resources on the finite will planet decrease, one
>reason the population will stabliize at 10 billion will be mass starvation
>resulting from the inability to distribute food to those who need it.

Shall we try and look at another problem? The above scenario's assume that
power and politics and consumerism are not issues that come into play -
"technically" speaking, the 40 million people who will starve to death this
year could be fed for life, if it wasn't for issues of power, and politics,
and corruption...

As is often the case, the answer is not either environmental responsibility
as well as population management - it's both! Let's stop talking so
technically - people's lives are not technical issues.....

Kind Regards

Mr. Muna Lakhani

Cellfax: 082-131-416-9160
28 Currie Road - Durban - 4001 - South Africa
Phone: +27-31-20-28-291


Date: Mon, 30 Jun 1997 15:14:46 +0000
From: Pat <>
Subject: Unsubscribe



Date: Mon, 30 Jun 1997 13:30:18 -0400 (EDT)
From: Frank Ackerman <>
Subject: Why will world population stabilize at 10 billion?

I'm amazed at the level of interest in my brief comment on this subject.
As I understand it, recent thinking in demography -- statistical analysis
and forecasting of population -- suggests that the world population is
likely to stabilize around 10 billion in the mid-21st century, but NOT
because of starvation and finite food supplies.

My source on this is a collected volume of recent demography papers:
Wolfgang Lutz, editor, "The Future Population of the World: What Can We
Assume Today?" (London: Earthscan Publications, second edition 1996). The
volume is sponsored and copyrighted by IIASA -- International Institute
for Applied Systems Analysis, an international think-tank (in Austria)
whose U.S. affiliate is the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. So,
to a non-demographer like myself, it sounds authoritative as far as
current scientific conclusions and forecasts.

The authors in the Lutz volume attribute the slowdown in forecasted
population growth to several factors: above all, greater availability of
birth control, and increased education of girls, are empowering women to
make conscious choices about family size -- and in almost every region,
they are using that power to rapidly reduce the number of children. (In
China, 1/5 or more of the world population, family size has been reduced
by more repressive means as well. However, other populous countries such
as India are experiencing rapid declines in family size without repressive

It has long been known that the "demographic transition" to smaller family
sizes takes place as average incomes rise; death rates fall first, as an
early stage of economic development leads to better public health and
sanitation; birth rates fall later, as increased non-agricultural economic
opportunities open up, and education becomes more important than number of
children in determining one's economic prospects. This transition is
happening more rapidly than anyone expected 10-20 years ago, particularly
in the very populous regions of Asian and Latin America.

On the specific issue of food supply, Chapter 10 of the Lutz volume, "How
Many People Can Be Fed on Earth?", by Gerhard Heilig of IIASA, reviews the
detailed evidence on this subject, and concludes that the current world
population can be fed sustainably with current agricultural practices (not
to say that agriculture is now sustainable everywhere; just that it could
be, and we'd have enough) -- and that 10-15 billion people could be fed
sustainably IF various existing technologies and policy reforms were
sensibly applied in worldwide agriculture.

As I've argued before, this is not cause for complacency; it does NOT say
that everything will work out fine on the basis of business as usual. It
does say that there are grounds for optimism that vigorous, carefully
designed changes in policies and technologies COULD lead to feeding
everyone sustainably, even at the 21st-century peak population level.

Frank Ackerman
Global Development and Environment Institute
Tufts University
Medford MA 02155


Date: Tue, 1 Jul 1997 13:33:14 +1000
From: Ian Reeve <>
Subject: Why will world population stabilize at 10 billion?

Rick Anthony on Mon, 30 Jun 1997 11:04:15 wrote:

>As population increases, resources on the finite will planet decrease, one
>reason the population will stabliize at 10 billion will be mass starvation
>resulting from the inability to distribute food to those who need it.

Frank Ackerman on Mon, 30 Jun 1997 13:30:18 replied:

>I'm amazed at the level of interest in my brief comment on this subject.
>As I understand it, recent thinking in demography -- statistical analysis
>and forecasting of population -- suggests that the world population is
>likely to stabilize around 10 billion in the mid-21st century, but NOT
>because of starvation and finite food supplies.
>As I've argued before, this is not cause for complacency; it does NOT say
>that everything will work out fine on the basis of business as usual. It
>does say that there are grounds for optimism that vigorous, carefully
>designed changes in policies and technologies COULD lead to feeding
>everyone sustainably, even at the 21st-century peak population level.

I wonder whether, from an environmental impact perspective, whether the
magnitude of the global population and what causes it to stabilise, might
be somewhat of a side issue. If we accept Paul Ehrlich's IPAT equation:

Impact = Population X Affluence X Technology

then it would seem that the more difficult issue is what the A(ffluence)
factor is going to be in the future. A figure I recall from some years ago
was that industrialised countries consume energy at the rate of 7 kilowatts
per capita, compared to 0.6 kilowatts per capita in developing countries.
So whether the stable global population consumes energy at 7 kilowatts per
capita or 0.6 kilowatts per capita has far more serious implications for
the environment (and climate) than whether the population stabilises at 10
or 15 billion through starvation or birth control.

What I find the most worrying about optimistic prognoses based on the
falling birth rates in the developing world is the neglect of the linkage
between reduced birth rates and affluence. If the only way we can obtain
First World birth rates in Third World nations is by First World affluence,
then we are in serious trouble. The key issue seems to be whether or not
the demographic transition experienced in industrialised countries can be
repeated in the developing world, but without the huge increase in per
capita materials and energy consumption that occurred in the industrialised
world. And of course, flowing from that is the equity issue of whether we
in the industrialised nations have the right to continue to squander global
ecological assimilative capacity with our high rate of energy and materials
consumption, while calling on the developing world to achieve demographic
transition without increasing its low level of energy and materials

If population stabilisation cannot be decoupled from affluence, and equity
remains an important value, then any optimistic prognosis has to place a
great deal of faith in the T(echnology) factor. And my reading of the
history of the environmental impact of technology provides little to
suggest that such faith would be warranted.

In case this argument is seen merely as doom-mongering eco-pessimism, I
should hasten to add on the bright side that there is a simple solution -
the industrialised countries reduce their energy and materials consumption,
so that the developing world can increase its consumption without
compromising global environmental quality. Equitable distribution of the
current global energy consumption amounts to 1.6 kilowatts per capita. So,
industrialised nations need to reduce their consumption to one third of its
current value.


For me personally, it has been quite possible. Our home is passive solar
designed, uses wood for cooking and hot water, and solar and wind for
electricity. Our home energy consumption is 1/30th of that for the average
Australian home. Regrettably, I commute 20 kilometres daily by car, and my
energy consumption on transport is about 80% of the Australian average.
Putting the two together, my energy consumption is about one third of the
Australian average. I have lived in this way for the last twenty years,
have raised a family and neither I nor they feel that we have suffered as a
consequence our low level of energy consumption.

So there are solutions, but they lie neither in condemning the developing
world for its population increases, nor in the siren optimism of
technological progress and falling birthrates in the developing world. The
solutions ball is very clearly in the court of the industrialised world and
in the court of the individual. Tired as the cliche is, we still need lots
of global thinking and local acting.

Regards to all
Ian Reeve

Ian Reeve
Senior Project Director
The Rural Development Centre
The University of New England Ph: +61 67 732220
ARMIDALE, NSW 2351 Fx: +61 67 733245


End of GreenYes Digest V97 #154