Top Broadway producer fights to stop sewage threat to Irish waters featured in “Game of Thrones”

Article is by Paddy Clancy @IrishCentral irishcentral.com claims to be the largest Irish site in North America.

Top Broadway producer John Gore seeks to stop sewage dumped into Lough Foyle. Image: Paddy Clancy.

Top Broadway producer John Gore seeks to stop sewage dumped into Lough Foyle. Image: Paddy Clancy.

A top Broadway producer has joined a 30-year campaign to stop sewage pouring into the Irish waters over which the dragons fly in the TV series “Game of Thrones.”

John Gore, the owner of multi-billion dollar Broadway.com, the largest live entertainment company on the planet, is fuming at plans by Irish Water to construct a sewage treatment plant near his shore-side Irish holiday home and pipe the contents out into Lough Foyle.

Local residents in the Community for a Clean Estuary have been campaigning to get the scheme transferred a few kilometers north so the effluent can be piped into the Atlantic and away from Lough Foyle which is bordered by Northern Ireland and the Republic.

Irish Water says it will apply this year for permission to start the scheme on the Republic’s side at Carnagarve, outside Moville, Co. Donegal.

Carnagarve is an area of outstanding beauty, with about a dozen small beaches with pristine bathing conditions along four kilometers linked by a shoreside walk that runs between Moville and Greencastle.

Glenburnie beach adjacant to proposed sewerage discharge pipe location.

Glenburnie beach adjacant to proposed sewerage discharge pipe location.


Gore, who has been visiting the area for 15 years, recently bought a period house on land running to the water’s edge which he has been renovating as a holiday home.

He loves the beauty of the area, not far from Malin Head where part of Star Wars was filmed.

Across the Lough in Northern Ireland, he can see the site from which dragons flew in Game of Thrones.

Campaigners in the Republic insist that Irish Water should retain a scheme first approved by the local council in 1990 to construct the sewage plant on land near Greencastle with a discharge pipe running out to the Atlantic. The plan was, somehow, later changed. Officials opted instead to have a pipe discharging the sewage directly into Lough Foyle less than 300 meters from the shore.

Gore, whose Broadway stage productions won several Tony awards, says he is prepared to put millions of dollars of his own money into any litigation involved in saving the Lough from pollution.

He said: “If the Irish Water scheme goes ahead can you imagine what the smell would be like? Can you imagine what it would do to all those beaches? It would never be allowed anywhere else.

“Somehow, in 1990, the elected members of Donegal County Council voted unanimously for the scheme not to be in the Lough, but for it to be out at sea. We don’t see where the legal precedent is that enables that ruling to be changed, apart from the fact they kind of shoved it around.

“There seems to be no record that the council reversed the decision or changed it.”

Irish Water, created in 2013, has taken over all water and sewage facilities from local authorities which previously cared for them all around Ireland.

Gore added: “The way they are behaving here is outrageous. My holiday home is going to be seriously damaged by this situation.”

Campaigners John Gore, Dr Don McGinley and Enda Craig at the site where the outfall will carry sewage into Lough Foyle behind them. Image: Paddy Clancy.

Campaigners John Gore, Dr Don McGinley and Enda Craig at the site where the outfall will carry sewage into Lough Foyle behind them. Image: Paddy Clancy.

Local campaigners brought their objections as far as the European Commission, the legislation-proposing arm of the European Union.

Now that Gore has joined the campaign, he is prepared to back the process of preventing sewage going into Lough Foyle “with millions if necessary.”

Locally-based Senator Pádraig Mac Lochlainn said after a recent information meeting that Irish Water was proposing the same controversial scheme that attracted community opposition for 30 years. “The definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different outcome”, he said.

One of the campaign leaders, Enda Craig, reckons the original council decision in 1990 to operate a discharge pipe from Greencastle into the sea instead of the Lough, was overturned when parties with vested interests resorted to “uncalled for and unwanted political interference.”

Since then there was a series of studies and proposed news sites, as well as conflicts between campaigners and council officials in the courts and in the EU.

On one occasion the campaigners were advised by a top oceanographer in Singapore that a hydrodynamics study of the tidal flows by the council was inaccurate. Local fishermen gave similar advice.

Craig agreed there was a tremendous problem with raw sewage going into the Lough and Bredagh River from existing outlets in Moville, and demand for the location of a treatment plant was understandable, but the beautiful Carnagarve area was the wrong place for it.

Campaign committee member Don McGinley, a retired family doctor, who is a keen rower, said: “Lough Foyle is a recreational area for swimmers, rowers, kayakers, sailors and jet-skiers. It is not in the least desirable that the proposed discharge pipe lies directly on our training routes midway between Moville and Greencastle, adjacent to the traditional beach at Glenburnie and the Sli a Slainte designated coastal path.”

The proposed scheme is also close to the holiday home of one of Ireland’s greatest peace campaigners, John Hume, who was jointly awarded the 1998 Nobel Peace Prize.

One of Ireland’s greatest peace campaigners, John Hume, also lives in the area. Image: RollingNews.ie.

One of Ireland’s greatest peace campaigners, John Hume, also lives in the area. Image: RollingNews.ie.

Irish Water said it is lodging a planning application this year to develop a wastewater treatment plant at Carnagarve. It envisages planning, design and construction will take four years.

It added that the outfall pipeline will safely discharge the treated effluent 200 to 300 meters out into Lough Foyle.

Campaigners plan to seek a meeting with Irish Water chiefs and persuade them to return to the 1990 scheme.

Craig said if that fails they plan to raise a challenge on the ownership of the seabed. He claims Queen Elizabeth’s Crown Estate owns the seabed from the Northern Ireland side right up to the shore in Donegal.

He says the Irish authorities wrongly claim the seabed on the Donegal side is owned by the Agriculture Minister.

If talks fail, the campaign will register an injunction against Irish Water to produce evidence of ownership of the seabed.

A spokesperson for Crown Estate said in a statement that the exact location for the international boundary between Northern Ireland and the Republic remains an issue for determination between the UK and Irish governments.

The statement said that the Crown Estate has worked with relevant stakeholders, including the cross-border Loughs Agency, to help inform discussions about this issue.

It added: “Any planning decision regarding the Irish Water project would not be a matter for the Crown Estate, but would rest with the relevant planning and marine licensing authorities”

Source; https://www.irishcentral.com/news/broadway-producer-john-gore-irish-waters-game-of-thrones


More Bad News About Water Safety Could Affect Millions of Americans

 

New research suggests that industrial chemicals in public drinking water have exceeded federal safety levels for 6 million Americans.

A study just released by two departments at Harvard University reported that unacceptable levels of polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl chemicals (PFASs)—linked to a host of ailments including cancer, obesity and hormone disruption—are circulating in the nation’s drinking water supply.

Here’s more from the research team’s findings, as reported in a news release from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health:

“For many years, chemicals with unknown toxicities, such as PFASs, were allowed to be used and released to the environment, and we now have to face the severe consequences,” said lead author Xindi Hu, a doctoral student in the Department of Environmental Health at Harvard Chan School and Environmental Science and Engineering at SEAS. “In addition, the actual number of people exposed may be even higher than our study found, because government data for levels of these compounds in drinking water is lacking for almost a third of the U.S. population—about 100 million people.”

The study found that PFASs were detectable at the minimum reporting levels required by the EPA in 194 out of 4,864 water supplies in 33 states across the U.S. Drinking water from 13 states accounted for 75% of the detections, including, in order of frequency of detection, California, New Jersey, North Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, Georgia, Minnesota, Arizona, Massachusetts, and Illinois.

Read the full study, released Tuesday, here


Smart meters: criminalising landlords, ripping off consumers

This article is written by Mel Kelly in www.opendemocracy.net August 11, 2015.  It concerns the implementation of a controversial European energy directive in the UK.  (Buncrana Together)

By Mel Kelly

Why is the government rolling out smart meters that have been repeatedly exposed as expensive, poorly tested and potential threats to our privacy?

An EU energy directive proclaimed 80% of homes across the EU should have smart meters fitted by 2020 if fitting them is cost effective in the long run. 

In 2013, the German Economy Ministry described the EU’s recommendation as “inadvisable” because the installation of smart meters “would be too costly for customers… citing an Ernst & Young report which concluded the cost of fitting them outweighs the installation costs”. Nine other EU countries agreed with Germany.

The Coalition government, on the other hand, decided Britain’s taxpayers, already struggling to meet deficit reduction, should be forced to pay £11 billion to roll out “smart” meters to replace the energy meters on behalf of the poor energy industry.

One article which slammed the decision as a colossal waste of cash revealed an independent report written by Mott McDonald for the government stated smart meters would not be cost effective as they would bring a £4 billion net present value cost – the civil service, in contrast, inflated this figure by £8 billion, claiming there would be a £4 billion net present value benefit instead.

But by March this year the Energy and Climate Change Committee themselves agreed with the Mott McDonald conclusion, stating the planned roll-out “runs the risk of falling far short of expectations. At worst, it could prove to be a costly failure”, costing most consumers more than it could save them.

This was backed by a report by the institute of directors in the same month, which warned that the government’s rollout of smart meters “‘should be halted, altered or scrapped’ to avoid a potentially catastrophic government IT disaster” with their report describing the £11bn scheme as “unwanted by consumers, over-engineered and mind-blowingly expensive”.

“No legal obligation”

Despite the weight of evidence now coming against the government rolling out smart meters and the government commitment “there will not be a legal obligation on individuals to have one” the government has decided to not only force smart meters on the nation but to start criminalising those who don’t fit them.

In March this year the coalition government amended “The Heat Network (Metering and Billing Regulations) 2014 ” to make it a criminal offence if public and private landlords do not fit smart meters in their properties if they have more than one tenant and the heat is supplied from “communal or district” heat networks.

The legislation covers both the landlord and all their tenants (and sub-tenants) placing a legal obligation on all to supply “accurate billing information” with landlords having to report to the “National Measurement and Regulations Office” (weights and measures).

This means people renting  in high rise tower blocks, sheltered Housing complexes, eco communities where the power comes from communal and community heating systems must have smart meters fitted by their landlords – by law – despite the government’s claim there would be “no legal obligation” to have one fitted.

Homeowners and sole tenancies are exempt, for now, with the government choosing to target pensioners and the poor in high rise tower blocks first, like benefit changes, targeting the weakest in society first who are paying higher bills than the rest of the nation.

The government has also chosen to target the least powerful in the business community too for smart meters to be fitted first, with most small businesses still unaware “half hourly charging” by energy companies, which just happen to require smart meters, will come into effect, only for “small business premises”, from April 2017.

“Massive collection of personal data”

As well as huge economic cost to landlords, tenants, smallbusiness and the tax payer, the government’s roll out of smart meters reports warn of this also bringing major privacy and health concerns along with massively inflated energy bills due to errors that appear to be inherent in smart meter systems.

The EU Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) warned in 2012 smart meters could be a threat to privacy as they are capable of “massive collection of personal data” over and above energy consumption as smart meters could “track what households do within the privacy of their homes” with the Guardian going on to say “Anna Fielder, consumer rights advocate and campaigner at Privacy International revealed research in Germany showed Germans feel it’s really creepy and they don’t want Big Brother in their house.”

Health and cost

Dr David Carpenter MD, a Harvard Medical School graduate, who has worked in the area of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) and public health for over 18 years warns that

“While no one has actually done human health studies in relation to people living in homes with smart meters we have evidence from a whole variety of other sources of radio frequency exposure that demonstrates convincingly and consistently that exposure to radio-frequency radiation (RFR) at elevated levels for long periods of time increases the risk of cancer, damages the nervous system and adversely affects the reproductive organs”.

Worldwide, consumers are also complaining of their electricity bills increasing hugely after smart meters are fitted, with one man in Florida complaining his bed-ridden mother’s electricity bill claimed her consumption had increased nearly 59% since the smart meter was installed, despite his mother’s habits not changing.

Reports in Canada reveal energy bill shocks for Canadians too after smart meters were rolled out, with one man’s energy bill increasing 5 fold after the smart meter was fitted with the report going on to say “Since smart meters were installed, the Ontario Ombudsman was investigating nearly 11,000 complaints about the energy company Hydro One’s bills.”

Just weeks ago the Ontario Ombudsman produced a damning report where he said “Hydro One issued faulty bills to more than 100,000 customers, lied to the government and regulators in a bid to cover up the problem” with a senior citizen in Timmins who had $10,000 pulled from his bank account” and “A ski resort unexpectedly received a bill for $37 million.” Good reason for cancelling your direct debit if a smart meter is installed. 

Just last week the UK energy industry criticised the government proposals for testing smart meters, for not meeting industry standards, which does not bode well for Britain.

It is no wonder we have a deficit when the government acts against the advice of its own energy committee, the CBI and ten other EU countries who all state this is against the national interest as it adds huge unnecessary costs (£11 billion and counting) in these times of deficit and austerity while setting UK business at a disadvantage within the EU.

Add to this the likelihood of business and households up and down the country starting to receive hugely inflated energy bills with huge sums being unexpectedly taken from their bank accounts by direct debit because the government is rolling out smart meters that have not been tested to industry standards.

How will the shoddy testing impact on our health and our privacy as well as our wallets?

Who will be liable – landlords, energy companies or taxpayers when it all goes wrong?

Should it be a crime for tenants and landlords to provide wrongful billing data when the smart meters approved by the government are not tested to industry standards?

Should the government’s smart meter programme be cancelled now? The answer must be yes.

Original article in https://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/mel-kelly/smart-meters-criminalising-landlords-ripping-off-consumers