community-based, non-corporate, participatory media
On today's show: An interview with author and anti-prison activist Victoria Law, The Women's Health and the Environment Conference addresses the effects of common chemicals, A community forum on historic preservation in Pittsburgh and more in our local and global headlines
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Rustbelt Radio for April 26, 2010
Welcome to this week's edition of Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of the news from the grassroots, news overlooked by the corporate media.
On today's show...
Rustbelt Radio is broadcast live from WRCT studios every other Monday at 6 PM on 88.3 FM in Pittsburgh, and the program airs again on WRCT every Tuesday morning at 9AM.
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We turn now to local stories.
On Wednesday, April 21, over 70 local residents gathered for a town hall meeting at Mifflin Elementary School to learn about Marcellus Shale drilling in the Lincoln Place area of Pittsburgh. Lincoln Place is a small neighborhood located in the southeast corner of the city, bordering the communities of Hays, Munhall, West Mifflin, and New Homestead. The meeting was organized by the Lincoln Place Action Group--a small group of concerned individuals working to bring information about the potential negative impacts the gas drilling could have in the local community. Speakers at the event included representatives from Clean Water Action, Three Rivers Waterkeeper, a resident of Washington County who has a Marcellus Shale drilling site located next to her home, and many others. Stay tuned to the next Rustbelt Radio for the voices from this town hall meeting.
On Thursday April 22, over 2000 people attended a free conference that focused on new research linking human health problems to environmental exposures in daily life. The Women’s Health and the Environment Conference is organized and funded annually by the Heinz foundation and the UPMC Magee Women’s Hospital.
In the last 15 years, toxicology has undergone a paradigm shift, as researchers realized that chemicals can affect us in ways beyond immediate poisoning, or causing cancer years down the road. In fact, many chemicals also mimic our bodies’ hormones. The hormone systems influence every aspect of the body. Hormones operate at very low concentrations; thus, chemicals that mimic hormones can cause serious problems even at levels that measure in parts per billion. The chemicals in question are ubiquitous in our environment – they are pesticides, ingredients in personal care products, and coatings used on mattresses, carpets and furniture.
Dr. Allan Greene summarizes some new research findings:
Lisa Jackson, head of the U.S. E.P.A., gave a keynote address at the conference. She outlined the problems with the current law that regulates chemical use, the Toxic Substances Control Act or TOSCA.
Jackson said the EPA’s control of chemicals is so weak that it could not even ban asbestos. It tried, but industry challenges prevented a complete ban.
The theme of how consumers can choose less toxic products was emphasized throughout the day. Speakers also urged people to call their legislators in support of newly proposed legislation to regulate chemicals. They stopped short of making any calls for systemic change, although some presenters have taken more outspoken positions in other forums. In their new book Slow Death by Rubber Duck: the secret dangers of everyday things, Bruce Lourie and Rick Smith monitor the rise of chemicals in their blood over just one week of using common household products. In the book’s forward, toxics research pioneer Theo Colburn writes (quote) “little or no attention has been give to the energy corporations who sell their toxic byproducts for feedstock to the companies that make the hormone-disrupting chemicals. The most effective way to strike at the heart of the problem is to switch as soon as possible to alternative, non-fossil fuel sources of energy to reduce the availability of the basic precursors of hormone-disrupting chemicals. At whatever level climate change is being dealt with, it should be understood that reliance on fossil fuels carries more risks than have been put on the table” (unquote)
On April 19th, 60 residents filled the New Hazlett Theater for a community forum to discuss PreservePgh. As part of the City's Comprehensive Plan, PreservePgh will ultimately offer an outline for the City to preserve its cultural heritage landmarks. Assistant Planning Director, Joy Wright Abbot, explains the importance of community involvement during the planning process.
With a budget of $133,000, the Department of City Planning and three consulting firms will compile the cultural heritage plan by 2011. The firms include T&B Planning Consultants, the Walker Collaborative, and Thomason & Associates; two of three are from Tennessee.
A Northside native raises her concerns about hiring consultants that would not reflect the interests or needs Pittsburgh's neighborhoods. Tracy Zinn, Principal of T&B Planning, responds.
Clicking through a PowerPoint presentation, Zinn optimistically explains how--unlike other plans that start with land development first--Pittsburgh's Comprehensive Plan will work the other way around.
Many raised fears about mirroring development plans that decimate communities--including comments about how Allegheny Commons gutted the Northside neighborhoods during the 1960s.
Others expressed their concerns that the Comprehensive Plan would leave behind the City's lower income neighborhoods. Manchester resident, Stanley Lowe, responds to demolition problem here in the City, in part because there is no existing preservation policy.
Among the suggestions of historic sites to preserve, residents expressed a need for bike lanes, community gardens, light rail systems, and handicapped accessible points of interest to be included in the Comprehensive Plan.
After the forum, Joy Wright Abbott of the Planning Department, bridged the topic of gentrification.
The Comprehensive Plan will serve as Pittsburgh's model for growth during the next 25 years. Let the City know your thoughts by visiting planpgh.com.
For more on local news, you can visit pittsburgh dot I-N-D-Y-M-E-D-I-A dot org.
[ HMB BREAK RUSTBELT - 0:20 (fades down 0:10 in to start global intro) ]
You are listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news overlooked by the corporate media. We turn now to news from other independent media sources around the world.
Uprising Radio brings us this report on Arizona immigration legislation:
You're listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news from the grassroots.
For this week's 2.3 Million and Rising, Rustbelt Radio's Lizzie Anderson and Erika Harrison spoke with author and anti-prison activist, Victoria Law.
And now we present the Indymedia Calendar of Events:
[ Outro Music ]
Thanks for tuning in to Rustbelt Radio here on WRCT Pittsburgh, WNJR Washington, and FRSC Santa Cruz.
Our hosts this week are Carlin Christy and Nigel Parry with additional contributions from Lizzie Anderson, Erika Harrison, Emily DeMarco, Jessica McPherson, and Juliana Stricklen. This week's show was produced by Shawn Watson (and) Phill Cresswell. Special thanks to all of our hosts, producers, and contributors.
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Tune in next week at this time for another edition of Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news from the grassroots.