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Opposition Mounts to "NAFTA Superhighway" I-69
I-69Logo.gifThe U.S. government is currently poised to roll out a new strip of asphalt all the way from Loredo, Texas up to Port Huron, Michigan. Interstate 69, if completed, will stretch over 2000 miles, through Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, and Michigan.

The main purpose of this interstate is to provide a channel for trading goods between Mexico, the U.S. and Canada. It would act as a piece of the life-support system for the North American Free Trade Agreement (or NAFTA) and, if enacted, the Free Trade Area of the Americas. Some are calling it the “NAFTA Superhighway”.
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13 Jun 2005 | Filed under: News / Environment : Globalization : Human Rights : Labor
Holyoke struggles to keep wastewater as a public utility
kelda.jpgKelda may sell Aquarion, US profits fall 21% in 2004.
Holyoke deal falls on even shakier ground.

The UK Independent reports “Kelda mulls the sell-off of its not so profitable US subsidiary” as Aquarion reports a 21% fall in profits in 2004. Residents and DPW workers in Holyoke, Massachusetts, facing a 20-year, $176 million contract with Aquarion Services Company, should be worried. The main selling points of the contract have been the purported savings to ratepayers and the sweetheart deal promised to the current workers, which maintains existing pay and benefits. Workers will already lose civil service protection in the Aquarion deal, and what more will they lose if Aquarion is sold? Can Aquarion really save the city millions if under the gun to show a profit to Kelda shareholders?
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31 May 2005 | Filed under: News / Environment : Labor : Social Welfare
Anti-Vivisection Activists Had A Busy Month
P4150039withbanner.jpgOn Saturday, April 16 and Saturday, April 30 members of animal rights groups such as The Animal Defense League of Boston (ADL), The Massachusetts Animal Rights Coalition (MARC) and Stop Animal Exploitation Now! (SAEN) marched, rallied, chanted and otherwise expressed their disdain for the animal experimentation that happens with help from their tax dollars in their own home state.

viv·i·sec·tion - n. -The act or practice of cutting into or otherwise injuring living animals, especially for the purpose of scientific research. [from dictionary.com]

Harvard Medical School's "New England Regional Primate Research Center" or NERPRC was the focus of these protests although many universities and private companies in Massachusetts experiment on animals, including M.I.T., Tufts University, and Charles River Laboratories.
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02 May 2005 | Filed under: News / Environment : Globalization : Human Rights : Labor : Organizing : Politics : Social Welfare
Where Boston's bikers go to retire
bikepath.jpgChris Grealish’s first thoughts of leaving Boston were inspired by bone-crushing accidents. In his three years riding as a courier he received a broken collar bone, a demobilizing blow to the hip, stitches on a gruesomely torn upper lip, lost skin on his hands, legs and arms, and a knee swelled up to the size of a grapefruit. Instead of vacations, Grealish was often forced to take unpaid downtime to heal his wounds. He claims he averaged one accident or serious altercation with a cabdriver every three months.

Yet he loved the job.

“I had no formal education. I found something that I wanted to do and I was really good at it. Having that taken away was pretty alarming,” says Grealish 42, “It became very apparent that my shelf life was limited.”
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30 Mar 2005 | Filed under: News / Environment : Politics : Social Welfare : Technology
Soft-drink Giant Benefits from Contributions to the Bush Administration
dasani.jpgContributions from Coca-Cola and its enterprises to federal candidates and parties rose as much as 31% between 1998 and 2004, with the greatest concentration of funds during the 2000 election, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Seventy-one percent of those contributions, or $2,483,283, went to the Republican Party and GOP candidates. Relationships between the soft-drink giant and Bush’s chums have indeed gone sweeter since many issues affecting Coca-Cola’s assets are at stake: soda consumption in schools, environmental standards, bottled water labeling, and human rights concerns overseas.
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25 Mar 2005 | Filed under: News / Education : Environment : International : Politics
Boston Wants More Sensible Transportation
TRUFare2000.jpgIn Chicago, London and Bogotá, more cyclists are using the roads, and the roads are more accommodating to cyclists than ever before. Yet in Boston, Massachusetts, traffic jams and dangerous streets prevail. Advocates for better conditions for cyclists in Boston have had limited success in the past several decades, and a consensus is building about the need to update our strategies for change.

Boston area transit advocates are livid over the state's attempts to weasel its way out of commitments made two decades ago to expand public transit as a requirement for building the $15 billion dollar central artery highway. Fred Salvucci, the former state transportation chief who championed the Big Dig, recently told the Boston Globe, "We always knew that this thing would create a very brief improvement and things would recongest if we did not improve public transportation." Bicycling and pedestrian advocates, too, are disappointed that little money and attention has been allocated to their modes.
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14 Mar 2005 | Filed under: Commentary / Environment : Technology
Population Density Poses Challenge to Construction of BU Bioterror Lab
ebola.jpgThe New Year has brought some new bumps in Boston University Medical Center’s plan to construct their new security level 4 bio-containment safety laboratory (BSL4) on the bustling border where the South End and Roxbury meet. BU is planning to begin construction on the lab, which would enable researchers to investigate weaponized strains of the most deadly biological agents known to man, this summer.

And until recently, the year and a half of debate over the hotly contested plan certainly seemed to be balancing in BU’s favor. Backed by key players in Commonwealth politics, the project coasted through city and state permit and approval processes. Rose Arruda of the Roxbury community organization Safety Net told the Boston Globe on February 5 that since the group had begun their opposition to the lab, “People just ignored us. They’d say, ‘You are just a bunch of crazy activists.’”

But then everything went to hell at the BUMC press office in late January when the Boston Globe revealed that researchers had been doing everything short of seasoning the lunch meat in the cafeterias at their BSL2 labs with an infectious strain of the deadly disease tularemia. According to an article that ran in the Boston Globe on January 20th, the University had, on the previous day, “confirmed that on October 28 test results showed that researchers who had thought they were working with a harmless variety of the bacteria tularemia instead had been working with material that appeared to be contaminated and might have caused illnesses in three researchers.” The article stated that Massachusetts State law required BU to report their suspicions that infections had occurred within 24 hours.

It took the university 11 days.
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02 Mar 2005 | Filed under: News / Environment : Organizing : Politics : Technology
Maine Woods Named One of Nation's Biggest and Best Forests in New Report
The Maine Woods was named as one of the nation’s “Keystone Forests” by the environmental group Greenpeace today.

In a new report, "America’s Keystone Forests: Mapping the Next 100 Years of Forest Protection," Greenpeace identifies the biggest forest areas left in the United States that provide the best habitat for the most diverse species. Of the 11 forests named, the Maine Woods stood out as the keystone forest made up of the highest percentage of private land. Most of the other keystone forests consist primarily of public lands.
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05 Jan 2005 | Filed under: News / Environment
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