Tag: New York

Future Black Swan Weather Events | IE “Manhattan Project” Toxins

Washington (GGM) Analysis | October 8, 2021 by author and climate journalist Noreen Wise

In the midst of this summer’s deadly heatwaves, melting icecaps and ferocious wildfires, a rain bomb exploded over a five-county area in rural western Middle Tennessee, traumatizing multiple communities, most notably the small, friendly town of Waverly.

It was in the early morning hours of August 21, 2021, a Saturday thankfully, approximately ten miles further up the mountain from Waverly, in McEwen, Tennessee, that 17 inches of rain dropped from the sky, (nearly triple the amount of rain that pounded communities in New Jersey and New York when Ida’s remnants slammed the tri-state area on September 1, 2021, killing 40). The torrents of Tennessee rain quickly gushed into Trace Creek which soon grew into a massive thrust of water that raged down the mountainside and pummeled Waverly much like a tidal wave crashing ashore. The unexpected catastrophic flooding overwhelmed the small community of 4,000.

There was widespread and extensive infrastructure failure. 

  • 20 people were killed.
  • 1209 homes were flooded, with several hundred completely destroyed.
  • More than 125 homes were “twisted” off their foundations and just “gone.”
  • Humphreys County 911 center became inoperable.
  • Cell service was disrupted.
  • County water system went down.
  • Numerous main roads in multiple towns were impassable and some were completely washed away.
  • 10 bridges were closed for days, with one requiring extensive repair and is still closed.

The summer devastation in western Middle Tennessee, with rushing water so forceful that two 7-month-old twins, Ryan and Rileigh, were ripped from their father’s arms and swept away, should be at the forefront of our minds as we come to grips with our new reality. 

A clear understanding of the threats we face at 1.2ºC above the pre-industrial global temperature will be our best defense. 

Prior to this tragedy, millions of Americans likely felt somewhat safe in the heartland, as well as up the East Coast in non-coastal communities. But now, post Tennessee trauma, as we assess our personal and family exposure to the risks of extreme weather events, the western Middle Tennessee flood makes it clear that there are no safe havens or hideaways. Therefore, we all must act quickly to make different choices so we can stay below 1.5ºC. Every degree above 1.5ºC will generate weather extremes that are exponentially more perilous than the ones we suffered through during the summer of 2021. 

This week in Italy, a staggering 29 inches of rain spilled from the sky in a brief 12 hours, causing floods and landslides. Sovano, Italy is 59 miles from the coast and local official couldn’t anticipate such extreme weather impacting their community without warning.

With this in mind, it’s imperative that we begin to plan for black swan weather events like these, as well as the “what ifs.” What if torrential rains of 17 inches or 29 inches gushed from the sky onto some our 1344 superfund sites. These hidden environmental hazards quickly become mixed into the swirling, raging flood waters that surround us during extreme downpours. Take for example the Oak Ridge Reservation Superfund Site in Oak Ridge Tennessee, just 227 miles down the road from Waverly. Can you imagine the nightmare that could have struck on August 21, 2021 if the rain bomb had held out a few more miles and exploded over Oak Ridge, Tennessee instead? 

Oak Ridge, Tennessee is considered the energy capital of the world, the location of a large federal research facility, partly devoted to the research and testing of clean energy solutions to replace fossil fuels. Oak Ridge is quite historic, however, and wasn’t always clean. In fact, it used to be extremely toxic, and 35,000 acres of the campus were placed on the superfund site list in 1989.

Large sections of the landscape are labeled as “Highly Restricted,” which makes sense. Back in the 1940’s, Oak Ridge Reservation was:

  • Headquarters of the Manhattan Project beginning in 1942 after the “top-secret atomic weapons program” was moved out of Manhattan, New York to Tennessee.
  • Years were spent enriching uranium for the world’s first atomic bomb.
  • According to the EPA, over the past 79 years, toxic waste has runoff and contaminated “82 river miles of the Clinch River and the Clinch River arm of the Watts Bar Reservoir.”
  • Oak Ridge Reservation is one of the largest superfund site in the United States, clean up won’t be completed until 2028, 7 more years.
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Imagine a raging 82 miles of the potentially radioactive Clinch River gushing towards homes downstream, following an intense 17 inch or 29 inch rain bomb. It’s almost too terrifying to process. But the possibility of this actually happening is about 50 percent likely, which does inspire immediate action.

CALL TO ACTION. We must contact our local, state and federal representatives regularly to let them know how vitally important it is that laws are passed to protect us from environmental hazards in the age of climate change. 

Oak Ridge Reservation was listed as a superfund site 32 years ago. It doesn’t seem like Oak Ridge Reservation was ever a priority. How unfortunate. The situation has now morphed into a Code Red for Humanity threat. We have to start planning ahead and do whatever we can to curb the threat. 

No rose without thorns. —French Proverb.
Groundbreaking YA book series for all ages. Not only a gripping modern day nail-biter with Machiavellian villains, but also one that opens our eyes to the brutal war going on beneath our feet that controls our destiny, despite our obliviousness to this potentially civilization-destroying threat.

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Single-Use Plastic Bags MUST Go

Washington (GGM) Analysis | November 19, 2020 by Attorney Michael Wells, PodcastLegal Fact and Fiction

With the world in the grip of a pandemic, everyone wants something to make life less troublesome. Plastic bags make carrying things much easier. More items can be carried, which means you can avoid going back to your car in the rain or marching through the snow to retrieve that one last item. If only it were so simple. If only we did not have to worry about the environment.

On March 1, 2020, New York state’s ban on plastic bags became law. This means any entity authorized to collect sales taxes cannot distribute plastic bags. Failure to follow this law subjects the entity to up to a fine of up to five-hundred dollars per incident. The State of New York created the ban for good reason. Prior to the ban, New York State produced on average twenty-three billion bags per year, which filled already overflowing landfills, snagged recycling sorters, and wreaked havoc with birds to name just a few problems.

New York is not the only state that passed such a ban. Eight other states (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Oregon and Vermont) have passed similar laws.

Of course, not all states have such rules, and these states still produce millions of plastic bags. It does raise the question: can lawsuits force other states to ban plastic bags?

Maybe. It is probably a state by state process unless Congress passes a statute under, for example, the Interstate Commerce Clause, that says plastic bags somehow affect interstate commerce. That may sound far fetched, but it is not. The Interstate Commerce Clause allowed Congress to pass much of the civil rights legislation, and it is quite a big stick to bludgeon states into submission. Whether Congress wants to take this up remains doubtful. 

In states that have the plastic bans, the bans are not absolute. New York has some restrictions. Most notably restaurants that offer takeout food, which in the age of COVID-19, can create many plastic bags, are exempt. Although it is likely not “an exception that swallows the rule,” this limitation still creates a problem when so many more people are getting takeout and likely will for the foreseeable future as virus numbers explode. 

But what about other plastic or rubber? 

Rubber glove use during the pandemic harms the environment, and there is no end in sight. While banning plastic bags everywhere will help, it will not solve all issues. It should still be done, however. 

More needs to be done because bags are not the only problem:

While plastic bags certainly make things easier to carry, their burdens to the environment certainly outweigh their benefits. The extent to which lawsuits or Congressional action will limit their use remains unknown. People should count on neither. It really is about personal choices, which must also be made with respect to other items people use. Over time it can all add up to pollution, death, and, as we have seen with COVID-19, a pandemic.

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Tesla Crushes It In 2019| How Will Other EVs Fair in 2020?

Washington (GGM) Analysis | January 29, 2020 NWHillReport-Pic by Noreen Wise After a ten year struggle to become profitable, Tesla nailed it in 2019. The 4th quarter was the turning point according to CNN. Some of the key factors for increased growth in consumer demand that put Tesla into the black are:
  • range
  • how long it takes to charge
  • how many public charging stations exist in local communities
  • and the EV car price
Every single one of these critical factors have moved in the right direction.
  • range increased with the new average at 200 miles per full charge
  • charging time went down significantly and now only averages a quick 20 minutes
  • public charging stations have mushroomed, not only businesses providing them in corporate parking lots to employees, but stores offering charging stations to consumers as a competitive advantage
  • EV car prices have dropped substantially
HillReport1-29-2020 Climate action focused states such as New York, California, Connecticut and Massachusetts have crafted creative carrots and stick, incentives and regulations, creating a patchwork of solutions that are driving results. Very happy for Tesla to finally experience the upside of being an innovator, after schlepping through the painful wilderness for so long. In 2020, Tesla will have to face a much more competitive landscape, now that most of the obstacles in the EV marketplace have been eliminated. The following is CNET’s Road Show’s official 2020 EV lineup by range:
  • Tesla Model S |373 miles | $79,990
  • Tesla Model 3 | Long Range 330 miles | $44,500
  • Tesla Model X | 328 miles | $81,000
  • Chevrolet Bolt EV | 259 miles | $36,620
  • Hyundai Kona Electric | 258 miles | $36,990
  • Kia Niro EV (SUV) | 239 miles | $38,500
  • Jaguar I-Pace | 234 miles | $69,850
  • Nissan Leaf Plus | 226 miles | $36,550
  • Audi e-tron | 204 miles | $75,000
  • Porsche Taycan | 201 miles | $150,900
  • BMW i3 | 153 miles | $44,450
  • Nissan Leaf | 150 miles | $29,990
  • Mini Cooper SE | 110 miles | $20,000
  • Honda Clarity Electric | 89 miles | lease only
Very extensive options. But the Tesla Model 3 certainly shines amongst its peers.~ HillReport1-29-2020

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More States Banning Single-Use Plastic Bags | Reusables for Every Store

Washington (GGM) Analysis | November 30, 2019
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

The holiday shopping season has begun. Packed malls and stores from coast to coast. American consumers are expected to spend nearly a half trillion dollars  from Thanksgiving through December 25, 2019. But how many US shoppers will rely on their reusable bags at every store they visit?

ST-SAGA-CovFrnt-72-300Prior to 1977, stores offered paper bags to shoppers. But once the first plastic shopping bags appeared in 1977, the switch to plastic was swift and furious and by the end of the 1990’s, the vast majority of retail outlets across the globe relied on single-use plastic. According to The World Counts:

  • we consume 5 trillion single-use plastic bags per year
  • 160,000 single-use plastic bags per second
  • but sadly, less than 1% of these are recycled
  • single-use plastic bags are made from oil, gas & coal which produce a significant amount of carbon
  • one ton of recycled single-use plastic bags equals 11 barrels of oil
  • the public’s seeming indifference to the extensive damage single-use plastic causes the environment, as well as it’s impact on climate change, has resulted in several states stepping in to regulate the use of single-use plastic bags


According to U.S. News & World Report:

  • Connecticut just passed a law that went into effect August 1 2019, banning single-use plastic bags in grocery stores and restaurants by July 2021. Some grocery store chains and restaurants have already begun transitioning patrons to the ban by ditching all plastic bags and charging shoppers .10 cents for paper bags, as well as passing along a discount to shoppers who bring their own reusables. Businesses that continue to provide singles-use plastic bags these next 19 months will charge shoppers a .10 cent tax for each plastic bag. This is an excellent model for other states to follow.


  • California was the very first state to ban single-use plastic bags back in 2014, and San Francisco was the first US city in 2007
  • New York jumped in and banned single-use plastic bags on Earth Day 2019; the ban will go into effective March of 2020
  • Hawaii hasn’t officially banned these deadly bags, but beginning in 2015 every county in the state has barred them, so Hawaii too is included in the count of state bans


The Center for Biological Diversity has provided a critical list of key facts about the harm of single-use plastic bags:

  • the average American household uses 1,500 sing-use plastic shopping bags per year
  • 80% of the oceans’ massive toxic plastic island, the size of France, floating in the Pacific, comes from the plastic’s use on land
  • once it begins swirling around in the ocean, plastic is broken down into micro plastic fragments the size of rice and ingested by the majority of marine mammals
  • 267 marine species are impacted by plastic
  • each year, 100,000 marine animals die from plastic consumption
  • once dumped in a landfill, it will take 500+ years for a plastic bag to degrade


It’s time to ACT. SAVE a LIFE this Holiday Season. There’s no need to wait for a ban in our states. Shop with REUSABLE bags at EVERY store beginning immediately.

Let’s GO. We can do this!

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