Sunday, May 30, 2010

Contradicting a Lawyer: Worst US Environmental Disaster Definitely Not from an Oil Well

The Gulf of Mexico oil spill is the worst environmental disaster the US has faced, a senior Obama official has said. Carol Martha Browner, Director of White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy in the Obama Administration and a lawyer, called the Gulf spill, which started April 22, “probably the worst environmental disaster we’ve ever faced in this country,” and said that it was being met with “the biggest environmental response.”

Very interesting and WRONG! How can anyone contradict Ms. Browner?

Is there a larger environmental disaster in the US? Yes, but lawyers naturally blame private business and industry, the source for most of the parasitic fees they collect, funds they exploit, and insurance claims built into the prices of products they intend to litigate eventually rather than governments. If there is an even larger environmental disaster looming, why is the public relatively unconcerned about it?

First, because the handmaiden of government, the mainstream media, does so little reporting to remind the public. Secondly, because the government has done something about the larger ecological disaster -- legislated laws to fix it by 2024 (still indefinite). Thirdly, it is not private businesses that have been the culprits in the larger environmental disaster, it is municipal governments like New York and Washington, D.C., etc.

Government data released Thursday suggests some 19 to 30 million gallons of oil have poured into the Gulf. Taking the worst case, that is 750,000 gallons daily, a large quantity to be sure, but not as large as the real culprit.

A Gathering Storm - New York Wastewater Infrastructure in Crisis -... one-quarter of the 610 facilities in New York are operating beyond their useful life expectancy and many others are using outmoded, inadequate technology, increasing their likelihood of tainting our waters... Every year, old sewers flooded by stormwater release more than 27 billion gallons of untreated sewage into the New York Harbor alone.

Every year, old sewers flooded by stormwater release more than 27 billion gallons of untreated sewage into the New York Harbor alone... An inadequate sewage treatment infrastructure jeopardizes the viability of current and future businesses, stymies economic growth and threatens the quality of life for New York State residents. - 2010 New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

Washington: Agreement On Storm Runoff - [2004]
The District of Columbia, in a settlement with federal environmental officials, agreed to build a $1.4 billion underground storm water storage system over the next 20 years to prevent raw sewage from entering rivers during heavy storms, the Justice Department said. The agreement should stop the annual discharge of an estimated 3.2 billion gallons of untreated sewage into the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers and Rock Creek. Eric Lipton (NYT)
For just D.C. and NY alone, the raw sewage flowing from rivers to the ocean is over 30 Billion gallons per year (average of over 82 Million gals/day). In addition to fecal coliform and disease, other pollutants may include pharmaceutical trace drugs, nickel, copper, zinc, cadmium, lead and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). See what I mean, now which do believe is really the larger environmental disaster?

82 Million gallons /day of raw sewage is 100x more than 750 Thousand gallons / day of raw oil, and it ain't good for shrimp, oysters, seafood, and fishermen either.

Are lawyers accustomed to say only that which helps those paying them? Absolutely, with practice and testing provided by Law Schools.


Monday, May 03, 2010

Lawyers' Network Quote of the Quarter

April 23, 2010 - The new United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, Ronald C. Machen Jr., spoke recently at the American Bar Association. Addressing a laughing crowd of defense attorneys, prosecutors and other law school grads Machen said,

“The more indictments, the more business you get.”

They should be laughing, as taxpayers it is we who foot the bills for court costs and $billions of legal fees. Is concentration of authority by elected lawyers, appointed judges and the networked legal profession a threat to the U.S. Treasury?

You be the judge...
The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is a private, non-profit corporation established in 1974 by the United States Congress to seek to ensure equal access to justice for all by providing civil legal assistance to those who otherwise would be unable to afford it (and job security for lawyers).

On April 2o this year, the presidents of 61 state and territorial bar associations and their counterparts at five national bar associations sent Congress a request for increased LSC funding. The request urged lawmakers to add at least $15 million in new funds, giving the LSC a budget of $435 million.
In the midst of the nation's financial crisis (March 2009), a Senate lawyer introduced the Civil Access to Justice Act, a bill reauthorizing the LSC and increasing its funding level to $750 million. The Senate lawyer was Tom Harkin - J.D, Columbus School of Law, 1972.
The LSC has resisted reforms because it was designed by LAWYERS to avoid external controls. In affect, it takes public funds (your tax dollars) and transforms them into private funds (LAWYER INCOME), $335,282,000. in FY 2005. The Heritage Foundation has alleged that "Unfortunately, taxpayer-funded legal groups, under LSC, engage in political, lobbyist, and cause-advocacy activities, often at the expense of providing real legal services needed by poor people."
In the United States, scholars have analyzed the Legal Services Corporation in terms of the choice between pursuing appellate cases, which might change rules, such as trying to get the housing rules changed through litigation, and pursuing cases that will solve immediate problems of poor clients, such as stopping an eviction. Criticism of the choice to pursue appellate cases colored the opposition to the Legal Services Corporation and lead to its losses in the Reagan administration. (Budget had been $400,000,000) What can this mean? Check out these outrages, here.