TAKE ACTION – Excavation of Vermont Rivers Endangering the Future

Call to action from the Vermont Natural Resources Council :

In the days after Irene struck Vermont, the state responded to the emergency by allowing contractors with excavators into rivers in order to conduct critical repairs to roads other infrastructure. Now, four weeks after Irene, many municipalities have taken advantage of the situation, and excavators remain in many of our rivers, chewing away at river banks and river bottoms in a misguided effort to clean out the rivers. Cleaning out the rivers is not only a disaster for river ecology and fish habitat, it is actually going to make future flooding worse

We strongly urge you to call Gov. Shumlin’s office right now at

802-828-3333 and leave a clear message for him that this continued digging in the rivers must end because continuing to deepen and widen river channels will increase the risk of damage to property and public safety. Read more about the science here. 

Please call the governor’s office today. Urge him to rescind the emergency rules that are allowing unchecked in-stream excavation, and restore the rules that were in place before the storm to protect river health and public safety.

Thanks for all you do.

The VNRC water program

Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now! at St. Michael’s Oct. 2nd



Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now – Tour Breaking the Sound Barrier..

Award-winning journalist Amy Goodman, host of the daily, grassroots, global, radio/TV news hour Democracy Now!, is on a national speaking tour to celebrate 15 years of DN!, now broadcasting on over 900 public television and radio stations around the world.

WHEN: Oct. 2nd – 3 pm

WHERE: St. Michael’s College, One Winooski Park, Colchester, VT 05439

DESCRIPTION:Amy Goodman will be the keynote speaker at St. Michael’s College Annual Peace Pledge Ceremony, celebrating birthday of Mohandas K. Gandhi; to be followed by book signing.

TICKETS: Free and open to the public.

MORE INFO: http://tour.democracynow.org/2011/10/colchester_vt.html

Entergy TWO Nuclear Reactors down on the Same Night

Apparently this last Sunday night was a bad night for Entergy, the corporation that owns Vermont Yankee Nuclear Reactor and is suing the State of Vermont. On Sunday night as I report earlierVermont Yankee had to step Vermont Yankee’s energy production down to 36% because of a recirculation pump malfunction. Now I just saw this article from the American Independent stating that Entergy’s Michigan Palisades Reactor “abruptly powered down on Sunday night when an electrical malfunction took out the power supply to several safety-related valves and switches.” here is an excerpt from the article –

Entergy faces another special investigation over malfunction at Michigan’s Palisades

By Eartha Jane Melzer | 09.29.11 

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has sent a special investigation team to Entergy’s Palisades nuclear power plant to examine the circumstances around the plant’s latest unplanned shutdown.

Palisades 798 MW pressurized water reactor, located about 70 miles southwest of Grand Rapids on Lake Michigan, abruptly powered down on Sunday night when an electrical malfunction took out the power supply to several safety-related valves and switches.

“The issue involved plant workers who were performing maintenance activities on an electrical panel when a small metal piece located inside the breaker panel came into contact with another metal piece and caused an arc,” the NRC said Wednesday. “This resulted in a series of electrical issues that caused the plant to shut down and sent signals to multiple plant systems causing certain safety pumps to start and some safety valves to reposition.”

Officials say the plant has been controlling temperature by venting steam, that contains low levels of tritium, into in the environment.

Tritium is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen that has a 12-year half life.

“The plant is in a safe shutdown condition but we have a number of questions about the complexity of the series of events that led to the reactor trip and want to better understand the actions taken by the plant staff before the reactor shutdown and in response to the event,” said NRC Region III Administrator Mark Satorius.

The agency said it will release a report from the special investigation within 45 days.

The shutdown at Palisades is the second this month and occurred just five days after the plant restarted from a shutdown triggered by a leak in the plant’s cooling system. The NRC has not yet released the report from the special investigation into that event. The agency also inspected the plant in August after a water pump failed.

With three problematic incidents this quarter, Palisades may be flagged for ongoing additional oversight by the NRC.

“This would be appropriate,” said David Lochbaum, a nuclear power expert with the Union of Concerned Scientists, “but NRC should go a step further and look to see if there is a corporate hand in the problems.

“Anytime there is a series of problems, it’s worth checking,” he said, “Are the plants being given enough money for operations? Are appropriate standards in place?”

link – http://www.americanindependent.com/196469/entergy-faces-another-special-investigation-over-malfunction-at-michigans-palisades

link to NRC Investigation announcement – http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/news/2011/11-034.iii.pdf

(Vermont) Yankee still at reduced power

September 29, 2011

BRATTLEBORO — The Vermont Yankee nuclear reactor remained at below 50 percent power Wednesday as Entergy Nuclear technicians worked to repair electrical controls on a key cooling pump.
Entergy Nuclear spokesman Laurence Smith said that Yankee remained at 46 percent power, although the reactor dipped to 39 percent power earlier in the day as technicians performed some tests.

Neil Sheehan, a spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said that Entergy was still “trouble-shooting” the problem, which caused one of two recirculation pumps to stop working Sunday night.

Entergy reconfigured the flow of the existing operating pump, so the plant did not have to shut down, but must remain at reduced power until it is fixed, Sheehan said.

Smith said that some of the Entergy administrative staff had moved back into the corporate offices on Old Ferry Road in Brattleboro, which was hit by an arsonist last week.

Brattleboro Police Chief Eugene Wrinn said the arson case remained under investigation.

link – http://www.rutlandherald.com/article/20110929/NEWS02/709299891/1003/NEWS02

Canadian Native Leaders and Activists Oppose Tar Sands Pipeline

180 protestors arrested as protest condemns PM Harper tar sands plans

Cooling pump problem at Vermont Yankee

VT4Evolution Image


BRATTLEBORO — One of the two main cooling pumps at the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant stopped working unexpectedly late Sunday night, forcing the plant to reduce power to 36 percent.

According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s spokesman Neil Sheehan, Entergy is currently trouble-shooting the problem, which is believed to be electrical in nature.If the repairs aren’t complete by 11 p.m. Monday, Entergy Nuclear will have to shut the plant down.

Entergy Nuclear spokesman Larry Smith said that progress was being made to repair the problem, but gave no timetable for repairs. Vermont Yankee had been starting to reduce power production in anticipation of its regularly scheduled refueling outage next month.

link – http://rutlandherald.typepad.com/vermonttoday/2011/09/major-problem-at-vermont-yankee-.html

Nobody Can Predict The Moment Of Revolution ( Occupy Wall Street )

New York City Occupy Wall Street Movement – Sep 23, 2011

1,000 + people marched through nyc and many were arrested. the crowd at the park grows each day. if you have not heard from your friends lately … maybe they’re there.


We want to share insights into the formation of a new social movement as it is still taking shape in real time.
The video was shot during the 5th and 6th day of the occupation.
This idea to occupy the financial district in New York City was inspired by recent uprisings in Spain, Greece, Egypt, and Tunisia
which most of us were following online.
Despite of the corporate media’s effort to silence the protests, and Yahoo’s attempt to to censor it in e-mail communication,
the occupation is growing in numbers and spreading to other cities in the US and abroad.


Moving Planet Rally 350 – Montpelier, VT * UPDATED

Video from the event on September 24th

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin gets the crowd all fired up at 350.org’s “Moving Planet” event at the Vermont Statehouse in Montpelier on 9/24/2011. Shumlin spoke about the recent impacts of global climate change on Vermont, how Vermont has taken a leadership role in doing something about it, and how the state can do even more to overcome this challenge in the future.

Senator Bernie Sanders addresses the crowd at 350.org’s “Moving Planet” event at the Vermont Statehouse in Montpelier on 9/24/2011. Sanders refuted skepticism of the science behind climate change, and spoke about solutions available today for America to reduce climate change while creating jobs.

This rally will make the voice of Vermonters heard in the Statehouse and beyond on those social and environmental issues that are important to all of us. So please do mark your calendar, gather your friends and neighbors, and come to Montpelier on Saturday, September 24th to stop the clock on climate change, to support community forests (as part of the Our Forests Our Future campaign), and to demand that green jobs be Vermont Jobs!

Where: Statehouse Lawn, Montpelier, VT

When: Saturday, September 24th, 3PM sharp!

Why: To support the creation of new community forests, to make sure green jobs are Vermont jobs, and to join the fight against climate change!!!

The Vermont Moving Planet Rally is built around the following demands:

*Green Jobs For All!
*Energy Efficient Homes and Buildings For All!
*100% Renewable Energy For All!
*Local, Healthy Food For All!
*Green Transportation For All
*Community Forests For All!

If there is only one thing you do this fall for the environment, being at this rally and making sure our voice is heard is the most important thing you can do. So join us, the Sierra Club, and dozens of other organizations in saying it is time for real change!

For potential carpooling information from your area, please see the below website:

more info – http://www.moving-planet.org/events/us/montpelier/232

The NRC – justifying continued operation of reactors without safety modifications

Gundersen expresses concerns that the nuclear industry and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission are not addressing major safety issues that have become evident since Fukushima. These issues include serious design flaws in the BWR Mark 1 containment, fundamental flaws in the Boiling Water Reactor vessel design, and problems with detonation shockwaves. The NRC and the nuclear industry are using a flawed cost benefit computer code that underestimates the value of human life and minimize property damages after an accident, which has the effect of justifying continued operation of reactors without safety modifications.

Also, Fairewinds announces the launch of the Japanese language version of its site, Fairewinds.jp.


95% White – Racial Profiling in Vermont

This past Tuesday, the 13th of September, two migrant farm workers were arrested during a “routine traffic stop”. VT Governor Shumlin has ordered an investigation. Excerpts from The Seven Days Blog article with my responses.

According to Hoag (the Driver a US citizen), during the stop State Trooper Jared Hatch radioed back to a supervisor to check whether he could ask the passengers about their immigration status. As Hoag recalls, the trooper then told him that he could, as long as the farm workers were not victims of or witnesses to a crime. When Lopez and Antonio couldn’t produce documentation, police took them into custody and called the Border Patrol.

Response – First, this is a breach of the VT State Police’s bias-free policy that The director of the state police says they take seriously. Profiling someone because they look like a foreigner is racial discrimination, his motive was to find out if they were illegal immigrants, plain and simple. Second, none of the migrant workers were driving so they were not required by law to produce any identification, only if the officer had probable cause to believe they had just committed a crime or he had a warrant. There is no law in Vermont requiring people to carry or produce ID on request of an officer unless you are driving.

“Through the course of the traffic stop it was learned that the passengers were allegedly residing illegally in the United States,” a state police press release said.

Response – The officer had no right for interrogating them without a warrant or unless they had been crossing a boarder. As far as the details of this stop have been reported this should be considered racial profiling.

It is clear this is one of those issues people have a lot of opinion on, just read the comments on the 7 Days Blog. The problem is, opinion means nothing when it comes to the law. It appears this officer over stepped his jurisdiction, it will be interesting to see the findings of the Governor’s investigation.

– An End to Police Profiling for Communities of Color and Immigrants

–  VT Migrant Farmworker Solidarity Project

See the Blog article that details in text and video the arrest of protesters who were standing in solidarity with the migrant workers – http://7d.blogs.com/blurt/2011/09/video-migrant-farmworker-leaders-detained-3-protesters-handcuffed-and-arrested.html


Rural Vermont – 09/08 Alert & Update

Excerpt from – Rural Vermont – 09/08 Alert & Update

Rural Vermont is pleased to announce that the Vermont Community Fund Farm Disaster Relief Grants are ready for distribution. If you are a farmer who has been impacted by the flooding, please do not delay in applying, the deadlines are September 19th and September 30th. Please click HERE for the application form.

If you were not impacted by the flood, please consider making a contribution to the VT Community Foundation Farm Disaster Relief Fund to help Vermont farmers who have suffered damages. Make your donation by clicking HERE, and scroll down to “VT Farm Disaster Relief.”

This week, Rural Vermont volunteers will be at the Intervale helping Arethusa Farm recoup after the flood. Please email robb(at)ruralvermont.org  to sign up for Rural Vermont’s Rapid Farm Response Brigades for Wednesday, September 14th at 9:30 am at Arethusa Farm in the Intervale in Burlington. If you’d like to join the Intervale Farm Brigade, you MUST sign up in advance. It’s very important, and therefore worth repeating, that volunteers must be registered in advance

Check site for more information on donating and volunteering – http://www.ruralvermont.org/alerts/2267/

EVENT -** this weekend !!! **  The 4th Annual Tour de Farms

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

Shoreham Green, Addison County, VT


day-of reg: $50 adults/$20 kids 12 & under kids in trailers and bikeseats free!To register online or print registration materials, click here

more info – http://www.ruralvermont.org/alerts/2267/

Remote Control Home of the Future

The Smart Grid’s main selling point is the Smart Meter (SM). The SM will allow the utility companies to supply consumers with detailed energy usage data. This data gives the consumers insight on where they can lower their usage or shift some of their usage to off-peak hours. The feature that is being analyzed in this post is the remote control application. Your Smart Home will be linked to an app. on your blackberry or iphone and you will be able to turn off your air conditioner or lower your thermostat etc. from any location, though I am sure it will cost extra.

Here is a blog post (2010) from a specialist in the security of embedded systems, after a smart meter was installed to replace his analogue gas meter he bought a SM on e-bay to reverse engineer it. He gets so far and says he won’t be revealing any more information. In the comments of the post someone asks him for the schematics of the smart meter, he replies:

“No, I’ve decided not to give out more details. Suffice to say, there are a lot of security flaws in the firmware and helping hackers turn off my gas is not something I am going to do.”

Here is a video about the future remote application of smart meters.

U.S. Representative Ed Markey, a “progressive democrat” who has made energy policy his top priority, says in this video,

…I’m very proud of that revolution, since it was my bills that made it all possible. My hope is that we can reach a day when people never look up again, they’re managing.. they’re managing everything their managing their refrigerator… their… their air conditioning. Everything in their home and they never have to look up again, human interaction will be unnecessary. It will just be a relationship between you and this electronic device in your pocket. Thats what the three telecom bills make possible, thats what the stimulus money for the smart grid continues to enhance because people can manage their energy use.”… “but we know it will spread like a mania.

Notice how the industry spokesman thanks Ed for the smart grid stimulus. This is what it is really about, profits for utility companies and the Tech industry, not conservation of energy, not lower energy bills and not a more secure grid. As the wireless industry booms it is yet another niche to be capitalized on, they “know it will spread like a mania”. This is not fear mongering, as I have been accused of. Do your own research and come to your own conclusion.

other VT4Evolution posts on Smart Grid – https://vermont4evolution.wordpress.com/?s=smart+grid

Vermont – Education for Change

The Sustainability Academy at Lawrence Barnes Elementary School in Burlington, Vermont is the nation’s first K-5 magnet school with a sustainability theme.

From their web page: Sustainability:  the shared responsibility for improving the quality of life for all – economically, socially, and environmentally, – now and for future generations

The Sustainability Academy at Lawrence Barnes, a collaborative partnership of educators, families and the community, integrates the big ideas of sustainability into the curriculum and campus practices.

The goal of the Academy is to prepare students to be responsible citizens and agents for change, in their community and beyond.  The Academy is an international model for using sustainability as a lens for place-based education and service learning.  We maintain the highest expectations for academic and personal growth for all of our students and embrace the rich economic and cultural diversity of our community.

Their home page – http://sa.bsdvt.org/

A Wet Year Threatens our Bee Colonies Winter Survival

As the year’s theme of rain continues in Vermont, most of us are thinking of people who have lost their homes and farmers who have lost their crop, but this year’s soggy days are impacting more than just us humans.

Honey Bees, they can’t fly in the rain and so for everyday of rain, they miss vital days of harvest, possibly causing their winter stores of honey to fall short.

Many Beekeepers are now mixing their sugar syrup solutions to supplement the short comings of a insufficient harvest. The solution is fed to the bees in the fall so they can store it in the honeycomb before the cold triggers the hive’s semi-hibernation. Ideally the bees would have stored enough honey to make it through the long winter, yet for wet years like this one beekeepers want to make sure that the hives will have enough stores to make it through the cold months ahead.

Biodynamic sugar syrup is a mixture that includes Camomile tea and essential oils of lemongrass and peppermint. The antibacterial and other properties of the plants help to mimmic honey. If there is not enough stores to make it through the winter all the bees die. A beehive is an organism in its self, they are codependent and have no chance at individual survival.

The Drone bees whose sole purpose is to fertilize the Queen to produce the brood are sacrificed this time of year. The drones purpose has been fulfilled during the warm months and are now only eating the vital stores of honey endangering the survival of the hive. The worker bees who do everything else, will now start to prevent the drones from reaching the honey and will eventually kick them out of the hive to increase the chances that the hive will see the first flowers of spring.

We need honeybees for pollination and it seems that right now honeybees need us, although they only need us because of us. If it wasn’t for our spraying of insecticides and chemical fertilizers, the devastation of nectar plant habitat, and all our other impacting activities I’m sure bees would be thriving.

I thank all beekeepers who keep bees out of a love for Life and for the bees themselves – VT4Evolution

From the Vermont Beekeepers Association – 

We’ve heard reports of Vermont beekeepers losing hives to flooding and falling trees as a result of Tropical Storm Irene.

If you’ve experienced losses in your apiaries we’d like to hear from you. Simply write your stories and send them to storm@vermontbeekeepers.org. (Include pictures if you have them.)

Any information and images received will be posted here and forwarded to Vermont State Apiculturist Steve Parise at the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets.

Take Action –

Please sign on to support this act about preserving habitat and forage plants along our highways. This is H.R. 2381 and has just been introduced. It’s supported by many organizations including the American Beekeeping Federation and the American Honey Producers Association

Loss of habitat is a big issue for many pollinators, honeybees not the least of which, as well as birds, bats, and butterflies. Reducing mowing would preserve habitat as well as reduce pollution and local and state transportation costs. More info and the support letter to sign can be found at  http://pollinator.org/BEEAct.htm.


Maine Farmers Leading the Way to Food Sovereignty

Following the Food Sovereignty Movement that was solidified by the Via Campesina, Family Farmers in Maine are standing-up to state and federal regulations, claiming their right to sell their farm products locally. Watch the recent Maine PBS report on the four towns that have passed Food Sovereignty Ordinances. If it weren’t for these local ordinances some of these family farms would have gone under!

Via Campesina “the Peasants’ Way” is an international grassroots movement which coordinates local organizations world wide. It is a coalition of over 148 organizations, advocating family-farm-based sustainable agriculture and coined the term “food sovereignty” in 1996.

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/27473286]

The Seven Principles of Food Sovereignty 

Thanks to The Bovine Blog for reporting on this and their steadfast dedication to spreading Food Freedom!

Link to the Maine PBS Food Sovereignty Report


 The Vermont Resolution for Food Sovereignty