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February 2017 Archives

What the People Near the Livonia Ford Plant Need to Know About Vinyl Chloride Contamination

Recently, Ford Motor Company sent a letter to the owners of homes and businesses to the immediate east of Ford's Transmission Plant in Livonia, Michigan, to deliver the unfortunate news that a chemical known as "vinyl chloride" is contaminating the shallow groundwater in their neighborhood. The revelation of this serious groundwater contamination demands more and urgent testing, specifically to determine how and where the vinyl chloride may be moving, and whether it is threatening to intrude--in "vapor" form-- into the homes and businesses, where people are breathing the air. However, even though it has apparently not done this critical testing, Ford nevertheless wrote in its letter that "there is no health risk to residents" from the contamination, and that the "extent of the vinyl chloride has successfully been defined".

Will Michigan Finally Confront the Vapor Intrusion Problem Threatening Thousands of its People?

vaporintrusion.jpgBeware of anyone who knows that people may be drinking or breathing dangerous chemicals, and yet doesn't want to test to learn for certain if the chemicals are actually there. That kind of self-induced ignorance can cost people their health, even their lives.

Traffic Deaths Increase for Second Straight Year

Despite all of the advances in automobile safety, traffic-related deaths are on the rise. Over 40,000 people died in automobile crashes in 2016. According to new estimates from the National Safety Council, some factors contributing to the increase include distracted driving and not taking proper precautions. 47 percent of motorists are comfortable with texting while driving, while 16 percent do not wear seat belts, and 10 percent drive under the influence of alcohol or marijuana. The NSC is calling for a total ban of cell phone use while driving, a stronger measure than Illinois' push for hands-free driving. NCS also is pushing lawmakers to make collision avoidance technology like automatic braking standard in all vehicles.

Michael Flynn Had the Russians; Scott Pruitt Has the Oil Companies: Why the US Senate should reject Pruitt to Head the EPA

The recent resignation-in-disgrace of Trump Administration National Security Advisor (NSA), Michael Flynn, and the resulting damage to the country could have been avoided. If the President and his advisers had looked at Flynn more carefully before he was appointed to head the NSA (and assuming that they even cared about what they would have found), they would have realized that the conflicts created by Flynn's unusual coziness with the Russians would explode in their faces, and badly damage our national security interests.

Naperville Homeowners with Lead Service Lines Must "Get the Lead Out"

The City of Naperville has recently identified some 341 Naperville homes with lead water service lines. The City has yet to test 143 other homes that likewise may have lead service lines. Homes with lead service lines in Naperville would typically have been built before 1930-when the City outlawed lead in the service lines of newly-constructed homes. It is possible that some homes built after 1930, but before 1986, also have lead service lines, because in 1986, lead in service lines was outlawed nationally. 1

Scott Pruitt has no Business Running the Environmental Protection Agency

This week, the U.S. Senate votes on whether to approve President Trump's choice, Scott Pruitt, to head the Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA"). Why should every Senator in the building vote "No"?

Scott Pruitt: Donald Trump's Pick to Dismantle the US EPA

I've written recently about President Trump's determination to get the EPA out of the business of protecting the environment and the lives and health of the American people. (EPA Blog) (Gorsuch blog). Huge corporate polluters-including petroleum and mining companies-are tired of having to comply with the federal clean air and water laws, and, in Trump, have found their man to take them off the hook.

Dirty Water: House of Representatives Kills Stream Protection Rule

The House of Representatives voted Wednesday to gut the Stream Protection Rule, which prevents coal companies from duping mining waste into local streams. The environmental regulations on coal mining also required companies to test the quality of water that their mining operations could affect and to restore streams that were damaged by coal mining operations.

Why Trump's Supreme Court Nominee, Neil Gorsuch, Matters so much to Those Whose Lives and Health are Threatened by a Polluted Environment

If you care about the environment's impact on our life and health, should you care about whether Judge Neil Gorsuch, who President Trump has just nominated, is approved for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court?

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