Articles Tagged with EPA

Thumbnail image for EPA 2428323462_b1d7b53238_o.jpgAccording to a recent Washington Post article, the EPA has lost a tenth of its criminal investigators since Trump has been in office.

The reason this is good news to polluters is that the special agents in the EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division are responsible for investigating the most serious criminal violations of the nation’s anti-pollution laws–violations which can result in prison time for those convicted.

The result is: less investigators, less referrals to the Justice Department for prosecution. In 2017, only 206 criminal cases were referred to the Justice Department compared to 228 during the previous 12 month period under President Obama. Not surprisingly, the number of referrals in 2018 is on pace to drop even lower.

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We keep hearing about big spender, Scott Pruitt, taking first class flights around the globe on the taxpayer’s dime. In fact, Politico reported in February that Pruitt spent over $90,000 last June on first class flights instead of coach, as required by federal regulation, because angry individuals were confronting him in airports and occasionally yelling profanities at him.

It appears, however, that when it comes to spending his own money, he is a bit cheaper.

Last week, ABC News revealed that EPA Chief Pruitt had been renting a Capitol Hill condo partly owned by lobbyist Vicki Hart, whose husband, J. Steven Hart, is president of Williams and Jensen, a firm who lobbies the EPA on behalf of polluters. The terms of the unconventional lease with the lobbyist allowed Pruitt to pay only for nights when he used the condo, at a rate of $50 a night. Apparently, Pruitt’s daughter and wife also stayed at the condo with Pruitt at times. Documents further show that Pruitt paid only $6100 to use the condo over about 6 months, which works out to approximately $1020 for about 20 nights use per month. With weekday rates at 3 star Capitol Hill hotels starting in the mid $200’s, or 2 bedroom apartment rentals running $3000 a month and up, this below-market deal would appear to be an in kind gift to the EPA administrator from a lobbyist…who lobbies the EPA.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for EPA 2428323462_b1d7b53238_o.jpgYou know when Republican senators start opposing their own president’s nominees, things must be really bad.

Such is the case with Michael Dourson, Trump’s pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) chemical safety office. Two Republican senators from North Carolina, Thom Tillis and Richard Burr, recently announced they would not support Dourson. Their opposition stems from the fact that they do not believe that Dourson would protect North Carolina residents from contamination threats–like the Camp Lejeune water contamination and the recent discovery of a chemical called Gen X in the Cape Fear River–which plague their state.

The reason for their concern is apparent to anyone who cares about environmental protection: Dourson, a lackey for the chemical industry, has been paid for years to underplay the harm of various chemicals. His history makes clear which side of the issue this nominee stands on. He has no intention of protecting the people from dangerous chemicals; his loyalty belongs to the industries which paid him.

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climate-change-2254711_1920.jpgThe world is heading for a potential climate catastrophe and a recently released report has unmasked the biggest corporations responsible. The report entitled “Carbon Majors: Accounting for Carbon and Methane Emissions 1854-2010”, by researcher Richard Heede, “offers the most complete picture to date of which institutions extracted the fossil fuels that have been the root cause of global warming since the Industrial Revolution.”

In other words, this report lists which corporations are responsible for the majority of the carbon dioxide emissions that are fueling climate change. It’s obvious that energy corporations would be on this list. What is surprising is how few corporations can be responsible for so much. A full 63% of carbon dioxide emissions since the 1850s can be traced back to only 90 of the largest fossil fuel and cement producers in the world. Predictably, the United States accounts for a large share of these corporate giants. Among the nefarious 90 are the 21 American corporations listed below:

Chevron Texaco

Thumbnail image for usa-1356800_1920.jpgThere are many potential reasons why you might want to contact your state’s most important environmental and health agencies. Usually it is because you are concerned about an environmental issue in your area. Here are 10 questions you may want answered:

(1) Is there an environmental investigation being conducted in my area into possible groundwater or air contamination?

(2) Has a local plant, factory or landfill been cited for violating environmental laws or regulations?

If Scott Pruitt wants to spend his professional career as little more than a cabana boy to polluters, that’s his business.

Until.Scott Pruitt 2 (2).jpg

He wants to be in charge of the US Environmental Protection Agency, whose mission it is to regulate and, where necessary, punish those same polluters. There, Pruitt’s joy in providing total, unbridled servitude to polluters has no place.

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Over these last few days since President Trump pulled the US out of the Paris climate accord, he and his aides-most prominently, EPA chief Scott Pruitt-have been unwilling to answer a simple question: “Does the President think that climate change is a hoax?”

However, for as important as this question is, it is unnecessary. Why? Because we already know the answer. And the answer is that Trump and Pruitt do not believe in global warming. In fact, it’s even worse than that. These guys do not believe in science. They do not accept that science has any role to play in environmental decision-making.

We know this because their contempt for science has been at the root of every decision they have made: from pulling out of the Paris deal; to insisting that the EPA’s budget be slashed by a third; to firing EPA scientists and pulling scientific information off the EPA’s website; to wanting to cut almost half the resources currently being used to clean up the country’s most dangerously contaminated (“Superfund”) sites; to putting back on the market a pesticide already proven (by EPA scientists, no less) to damage children’s brains.

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Thumbnail image for coal-1626401_1920.jpgYour average second grader knows that 1,300 is not the same as 50,000…..and that 400 is not the same as 7,000.

But the man who heads the US EPA evidently does not know this.

EPA chief Scott Pruitt was all over the airwaves the last few days, defending the United States’ backing out of the Paris climate change accord by saying that the decision was necessary to support coal industry job creation. As statistical evidence to support this, Pruitt claimed:

pollution-1365625_1280.jpgThe most dangerously contaminated sites in the US are “Superfund” sites. There are, currently, 1,317 of them. New Jersey has the most-114-while California and Pennsylvania follow right behind. The map in this article identifies all of the Superfund sites, and allows you to search for where such sites may be in your state. http://time.com/4695109/superfund-sites-toxic-waste-locations/

A plant or factory or waste dump, etc., is designated a “Superfund” site according to a federal formula which is specifically concerned with the ways in which toxic chemicals at the site might come into contact with, and hurt, human beings. So, for example, if an industrial plant years ago dumped chemicals which have migrated into area groundwater that local residents use for drinking and bathing, and/or if that contaminated groundwater produces a toxic vapor that might intrude into the breathing spaces of their homes, these threats weigh heavily in favor of determining that the plant should be a Superfund site.

The original idea of Superfund site designation in the 1980’s was that the federal government would dedicate significant resources to cleaning up these sites, and protecting nearby residents from their threats. However, as time went by, our commitment to this important protection has flagged badly; today, many of these sites receive little or no government attention, even though nearby residents may remain in serious danger. Politically, both Democrats and Republicans have been complicit in this abandonment, largely because Superfund sites are typically found in poor and minority neighborhoods, and many politicians of both parties believe that there is little price to pay for ignoring their needs.

Thumbnail image for EPA 2428323462_b1d7b53238_o.jpgHot off the presses is the Trump/Pruitt proposed 31% cut to the EPA’s budget, including slashing more than $300 million from the fund used to clean up the most toxic and dangerous sites in America, i.e., “Superfund” sites. If this cut passes Congress, thousands will get sick and others still will die because the contamination that the EPA would have cleaned up or mitigated will now be left in the environment to wreak havoc on our citizens, mostly children.

For the last 3 months, EPA Chief Pruitt has promised that such massive cuts made sense because the states were in a better position than the federal government to provide the necessary environmental protection.

Well, the new budget proposal reveals Pruitt’s promise to be a lie, as it proposes to slash the environmental grants to states by 45%, from $1.1 billion to $600 million. In other words, Pruitt wants to take away half of the states’ resources for fighting pollution, at the same time that he promises that they will fight more pollution.

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