Econintersect: Every day our editors collect the most interesting things they find from around the internet and present a summary "reading list" which will include very brief summaries of why each item has gotten our attention. Suggestions from readers for "reading list" items are gratefully reviewed, although sometimes space limits the number included.
- Russia says it backs transparent international probe of jet crash in Ukraine (Karen DeYoung, The Washington Post) But the separatists are still not allowing access to the crash site.
- EU divided over severity of sanctions (Alex Barker, Hugh Carnegy, Jim Pickard and Chris Bryant, Financial Times) EU members Britain, France and Germany issued warnings over possible further sanctiosn if Russia did not "help establish a safe environment to recover bodies and investigate the MH17 crash". But if past is prelude, when the EU foreign ministers meet on Tuesday there may be as many different recipes as there are ministers for a sanction stew, and some might hardly qualify as hors d'oeurves rather than a main course entré.
- The Mystery of Flight MH17: Motives, Missiles, Flight Plans, and the Media (Lambert Strether, Naked Capitalism) Lambert Strether has contributed to GEI. This is an accurate and complete description of a very fragmented and confused situation that often makes little sense. As Lambert adds in a comment:
"I just think we know a lot less than We think. My goal was not to produce a counter-narrative, but push to the limits of evidence and implication in each of the three topic areas; there are others. The results are as you see. Things don't add up because they don't add up. Personally, I think we should wait for them to do so before beating the war drums. If that's confusing, so be it."
- An Obscure Commission Just Voted To Shorten The Sentences Of 46,000 Federal Drug Offenders (Ryan J. Reilly, Huffington Post) According to Wikipedia, the United States Sentencing Commission is an independent agency of the judicial branch of the federal government of the United States, responsible for articulating the sentencing guidelines for the United States federal courts. The commission was created by the Sentencing Reform Act provisions of the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984. On Friday afternoon this 7 person commission voted unanimously to allow tens of thousands of federal prisoners to petition for sentence reductions. A statement by Judge Patti B. Saris, the chairwoman of the Sentencing Commission:
"This amendment received unanimous support from Commissioners because it is a measured approach. It reduces prison costs and populations and responds to statutory and guidelines changes since the drug guidelines were initially developed, while safeguarding public safety."
- Lawsuit Filed to Protect Hudson River, Endangered Wildlife From Massive Increase in Dangerous Crude Oil Shipments (Press Release, Center for Biological Diversity) Emphasis added by Econintersect below.
Responding to a massive increase in shipments of highly explosive crude oil along the Hudson River, the Center for Biological Diversity today filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Coast Guard and Environmental Protection Agency for failing to update their oil-spill plans to ensure that spill-response activities do not harm the many endangered species dependent on the river. The lawsuit, filed under the Endangered Species Act, identifies 17 federally protected endangered species, including Atlantic sturgeon, sea turtles and piping plovers that, like the millions of people living along the river, are threatened by the increased risk of spills.
"With little public scrutiny or input, there's been a massive increase in transport of highly flammable crude oil by rail and barge, which puts communities, rivers and wildlife in danger," said Mollie Matteson, a senior scientist at the Center. "We need a spill-response plan that actually protects residents and the precious endangered wildlife of the Hudson and northeast coast - animals like the Atlantic sturgeon, red knot and loggerhead sea turtle. We have to take immediate action to make sure these rare and marvelous creatures aren't casualties of a reckless industry."
The amount of crude oil being brought by rail to the port of Albany and then barged down the Hudson to East Coast refineries has jumped from essentially nothing, two years ago, to close to 3 billion gallons a year. The recent history of fiery derailments across North America indicates the urgency of addressing this growing threat to the environment from the rapid increase in oil trains. The U.S. Coast Guard and EPA, lead agencies on the region's spill-response plan, have not completed required Endangered Species Act consultation to keep up with rapid increases of crude oil cargos from North Dakota and the potential impacts of oil-spill response measures.
"Oil trains pose an enormous danger we can't overlook," said Matteson. "Further shipments into Albany and along the Hudson River should be stopped until there's an adequate plan in place to deal with the spills that are almost certain to occur." Read more...
- Thank you industrial revolution(s). Most important chart in human history right here. (Michael Dearing, Twitter) Remind us again, what is that bubbles look like?
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