CHEJ In The News

EPA orders dioxin removal to commence at Superfund site

September 13th, 2021|Comments Off on EPA orders dioxin removal to commence at Superfund site

SAN JACINTO, Texas - In October of 2017 Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, Scott Pruitt ordered the complete clean-up of the San Jacinto River Waste Pits. "To witness the threat, the danger that this site poses to the community in person makes a difference and the difference it makes is urgency," said Pruitt at the time. Read more... Photo Credit: Mark Mulligan/Houston Chronicle

Hurricane Ida Leaves Path of Oil and Chemical Spills in South Louisiana

September 10th, 2021|Comments Off on Hurricane Ida Leaves Path of Oil and Chemical Spills in South Louisiana

In the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, Healthy Gulf documented the damage in Cancer Alley, Port Fourchon and Lafourche, Terrebonne, Plaquemines and Jefferson Parishes in Louisiana. On two flights provided by SouthWings, Healthy Gulf documented the catastrophic damage to the communities and industries that bore the brunt of Hurricane Ida’s wrath. Read more... Photo Credit: Healthy Gulf, flight provided by SouthWings.org

Ohio plans to discontinue use of controversial road deicer AquaSalina

August 31st, 2021|Comments Off on Ohio plans to discontinue use of controversial road deicer AquaSalina

The Ohio Department of Transportation plans to stop purchasing a deicer made from processed brine drawn from oil and gas wells. The department made the call after the Ohio-made deicer product, AquaSalina, became the subject of House Bill 282. The bill would allow the product to be sold to the general public and remove a requirement that users pay a $50 fee to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and report where every gallon gets spread. ODOT did not cite the bill or environmental concerns for its decision to stop buying the product. "We only need additives when pavement temperatures get extremely cold, which is fortunately the exception, [...]

Almost 600 Louisiana sites with toxic chemicals lie in Hurricane Ida’s path

August 31st, 2021|Comments Off on Almost 600 Louisiana sites with toxic chemicals lie in Hurricane Ida’s path

About two thirds of Louisiana industrial sites with toxic chemicals lie in the path of Hurricane Ida, a storm with the potential to batter or flood refineries, storage tanks and other infrastructure that can release oil and other harmful liquids and gases into communities and the environment. A Times-Picayune | New Orleans Advocate analysis of industrial data and Ida’s predicted route through the state indicates 590 sites that produce or store toxic chemicals are in harm’s way. Almost 380 of them are within 50 miles of the coast, putting them at particular risk from storm surge, strong winds and heavy rain, according [...]

EPA is falsifying risk assessments for dangerous chemicals, say whistleblowers

August 30th, 2021|Comments Off on EPA is falsifying risk assessments for dangerous chemicals, say whistleblowers

Whistleblowers say the US Environmental Protection Agency has been falsifying dangerous new chemicals’ risk assessments in an effort to make the compounds appear safe and quickly approve them for commercial use. Over the past five years, the EPA has not rejected any new chemicals submitted by industry despite agency scientists flagging dozens of compounds for high toxicity. Four EPA whistleblowers and industry watchdogs say a revolving door between the agency and chemical companies is to blame, and that the program’s management has been “captured by industry”. The charges are supported by emails, documents and additional records that were provided to the Guardian. Read More... [...]

Severe oil leaks worsened Keystone pipeline’s spill record, GAO finds

August 25th, 2021|Comments Off on Severe oil leaks worsened Keystone pipeline’s spill record, GAO finds

The company behind the controversial Keystone XL project that President Joe Biden effectively killed on his first day of office had an oil spill record "worse than the national average" over a five-year period thanks to two major spills, according to a Government Accountability Office report published Monday. The two spills from the Keystone pipelines dumped a combined 12,000 barrels of oil in the Dakotas even as operator TC Energy was planning to expand that pipeline with its proposed Keystone XL project, which would have tripled the amount of crude the pipeline system would carry from Canada into the United [...]

For 30 years, she has fought a waste-to-energy plant in Chester City: ‘We don’t have a choice’

August 24th, 2021|Comments Off on For 30 years, she has fought a waste-to-energy plant in Chester City: ‘We don’t have a choice’

Dozens of large trucks rumble hourly toward a large waste-to-energy incinerator operated by Covanta at the edge of a neighborhood in Chester City’s West End. Other trucks take a fork in the road and head to a sewage sludge incinerator operated by Delcora. A pile of scrap metal from a recycling facility juts high over back yards. Along the rail line that runs alongside the community, freight cars clack by, or stop and idle behind the homes. Glance up, and you can see the smokestacks of the Marcus Hook Industrial Complex a mile or so in the distance. Read More... [...]

INSIDE THE DECADES-LONG FIGHT OVER AN OHIO SUPERFUND SITE

August 19th, 2021|Comments Off on INSIDE THE DECADES-LONG FIGHT OVER AN OHIO SUPERFUND SITE

Thirty acres of desolate land stretch across the heart of Uniontown, Ohio, a vast expanse of grass, trees, and scruffy vegetation no one can use because a toxic stew of nearly one hundred deadly contaminants festers beneath its surface. Enclosed by chain-link fencing and warning signs, the Industrial Excess Landfill (IEL) is one of more than thirteen hundred hazardous Superfund sites on the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Priorities List. While open, IEL’s broad swath of customers ranged from Akron City Hospital to the National Guard, but, according to the EPA, the waste came primarily from the rubber industry: Firestone, General Tire, Goodrich, and [...]

Report: Aging Pa. schools ‘uniquely vulnerable’ to environmental health hazards | Wednesday Coffee

August 18th, 2021|Comments Off on Report: Aging Pa. schools ‘uniquely vulnerable’ to environmental health hazards | Wednesday Coffee

Aging infrastructure has left Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts “uniquely vulnerable” to such environmental health hazards as radon and mold, putting the safety of roughly 1.7 million public school students at risk, a new report concludes. The report, by the advocacy group Women for a Healthy Environment, calls on state officials to create “an equitable formula,” for school infrastructure investment, and to lift the existing moratorium on a reimbursement program for school construction. The report found that a majority of public school buildings across the state are within a half-mile of a polluter, and, as a result, that districts that serve more low-income and special education [...]

Environmental group: U.S. military sites are contaminating Chesapeake Bay with ‘forever chemicals’

August 17th, 2021|Comments Off on Environmental group: U.S. military sites are contaminating Chesapeake Bay with ‘forever chemicals’

ANNAPOLIS — At least nine U.S. military sites along the Chesapeake Bay are leaking contaminated fluids known as “forever chemicals” into the estuary, according to a new report from the Environmental Working Group published on Aug. 11. The Washington-based environmental organization released the study after gaining access to Department of Defense records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. The records found high levels of contamination in the Bay from toxic, man-made chemicals known as Per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which do not break down in the environment, posing serious health risks that can cause cancer. Read More... Photo Credit: [...]

Demonstrators march for local hiring, environmental justice in I-81 project

August 17th, 2021|Comments Off on Demonstrators march for local hiring, environmental justice in I-81 project

On Saturday, about 150 Syracuse community members demanding economic, racial and environmental justice for the impacts of the Interstate 81 viaduct marched from Dr. King Elementary School to the New York state office building in downtown Syracuse. “No justice, no peace,” the demonstrators chanted. “I-81 has got to go.” Read More... Photo Credit: Francis Tang/The Daily Orange

Inhaling Toxic Wildfire Smoke Increases Your Risk of Dying From COVID-19

August 16th, 2021|Comments Off on Inhaling Toxic Wildfire Smoke Increases Your Risk of Dying From COVID-19

Inhaling wildfire smoke may affect your body's immunity towards coronavirus. A recent study discovered that excess exposure to fine particulate matter in wildfire smoke could lead to more covid-19 cases and deaths. During an unprecedented fire season in the U.S. West, a new study reveals that air pollution from 2020 wildfires in Washington, California, and Oregon was linked to a high risk of getting covid-19 and even dying from it. Read More... Photo Credit: Getty Images

The Day My Life Changed Forever

August 12th, 2021|Comments Off on The Day My Life Changed Forever

It was 43 years ago when I travelled to Albany, New York from Love Canal to meet with the NYS Health Department. My goal was to deliver the petition from the Love Canal Parents Movement asking for the state to close the 99th Street Elementary School.  August 2, 1978 was the day my whole world shifted in an unimaginable way. While knocking on doors in the neighborhood to obtain signatures on the petition, I learned that my neighbors were sick, some had multicolored gunk coming up in the basement and seeping through the cement walls.  Many neighbors shared stories with [...]

Schumer Says ‘The Facts Are Clear,’ Stands Against BK Fracked Gas Pipeline

August 11th, 2021|Comments Off on Schumer Says ‘The Facts Are Clear,’ Stands Against BK Fracked Gas Pipeline

Senator Chuck Schumer has spoken out against National Grid’s North Brooklyn Pipeline after months of conflict between National Grid and community leaders who have worked to stop the pipeline’s construction. The pipeline, which would carry fracked gas through the predominately Black and Brown neighborhoods of Brownsville, Bed-Stuy, Bushwick and Williamsburg, has been in the works since 2017 and has only one building phase left before completion. National Grid is yet to start the fifth phase of construction, and, on top of numerous neighborhood and political protests, faced a recent setback to the project when a court order stopped the company from doing [...]

Report: Racial disparities afflict EPA drinking water funds

August 10th, 2021|Comments Off on Report: Racial disparities afflict EPA drinking water funds

Congress is preparing to infuse a historic amount of money into the nation’s drinking water systems — but whether that money will meet President Biden’s environmental justice goals will largely fall into the hands of states unlikely to consider race or how accessible those funds are to struggling communities, according to a new report. The groundbreaking analysis released today reveals that, over the past decade, states have been less likely to spend money from EPA’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund program on smaller and more diverse communities. Opting to release the majority of funds as loans, states are also providing fewer grants [...]

The Conversation: Male fertility declining, environmental toxins could be a culprit

August 9th, 2021|Comments Off on The Conversation: Male fertility declining, environmental toxins could be a culprit

THE CONVERSATION — In the U.S., nearly 1 in 8 couples struggle with infertility. Unfortunately, physicians like me who specialize in reproductive medicine are unable to determine the cause of male infertility around 30 to 50% of the time. There is almost nothing more disheartening than telling a couple “I don’t know” or “There’s nothing I can do to help.” Upon getting this news, couple after couple asks me questions that all follow a similar line of thinking. “What about his work, his cellphone, our laptops, all these plastics? Do you think they could have contributed to this?” What my patients are [...]

Infrastructure Summer: Polluters Don’t Pay in New ‘Polluter Pay’ Tax

August 6th, 2021|Comments Off on Infrastructure Summer: Polluters Don’t Pay in New ‘Polluter Pay’ Tax

When the Superfund program first passed Congress in 1980, there was one word that marked the moment: justice. Finally, polluters were on the hook for cleaning up neighborhoods, waterfronts, and schoolyards. Many Americans living near toxic waste sites were already mired with health complications, including epilepsy, miscarriages, nephrosis, and even fatal illnesses. For once, the afflicted would benefit from those doing the afflicting. But today, the Superfund program is languishing. Only a small fraction of identified sites have been successfully remediated during the 40 years of the program. This is mainly due to a lack of funds, after a critical [...]

A Black community in Northeast D.C. is surrounded by industrial pollution. The city plans to add more.

August 5th, 2021|Comments Off on A Black community in Northeast D.C. is surrounded by industrial pollution. The city plans to add more.

The D.C. government is preparing to build a sprawling school-bus terminal in the historically Black enclave of Brentwood, where residents have long lived amid industrial sites that discharge pollution into their community. Over the objections of neighborhood leaders, Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) and the office of the District’s superintendent of education pushed to construct the $20 million hub for 230 buses without studying the health and air-quality impact of industrial sites already in the area. Northeast Brentwood is home to a city garbage-truck fleet with its accompanying stench, a paving operation that patches up streets and bridges across the [...]

EPA Reapproves Pesticide Linked to Parkinson’s Disease

August 4th, 2021|Comments Off on EPA Reapproves Pesticide Linked to Parkinson’s Disease

WASHINGTON— The Environmental Protection Agency today reapproved paraquat, the most acutely lethal pesticide still in use. The weedkiller has resulted in the deaths of at least 30 people in the United States in the past 30 years and is one of only two pesticides still in U.S. use that is banned in the European Union, China and Brazil. It has been found to double the risk of Parkinson’s disease in farmworkers and to harm and kill wildlife. Today’s decision reverses protections proposed last year by the Trump administration that would have banned aerial application of the pesticide in most cases. This decision allows the aerial spraying of paraquat [...]

Portsmouth’s Haven well to supply water again, 7 years after PFAS contamination found

August 3rd, 2021|Comments Off on Portsmouth’s Haven well to supply water again, 7 years after PFAS contamination found

PORTSMOUTH – City officials have announced plans to bring the Haven well back online this week, seven years after it was shut down because of the presence of toxic PFAS chemicals in the water. The city received permission from the N.H. Department of Environmental Services “for the reactivation of the Haven well,” after the upgraded Pease Water Treatment Facility – which was designed to remove PFAS from city water sources – became fully operational earlier this year. DES said “laboratory results provided as part of the request (to bring the Haven well online) demonstrates the finished water quality while treating the [...]

Here’s what’s in the bipartisan infrastructure bill

August 2nd, 2021|Comments Off on Here’s what’s in the bipartisan infrastructure bill

(CNN)A bipartisan group of senators unveiled the legislative text of the infrastructure bill on Sunday night after months of negotiations. In total, the deal includes $550 billion in new federal investments in America's infrastructure over five years. READ: Bipartisan infrastructure plan 2,700-page bill However, it is far short of the $2.25 trillion proposal that President Joe Biden unveiled in March. That measure, known as the American Jobs Plan, included money for roads, bridges and public transportation, but it drew criticism from many Republicans for also making investments in areas not traditionally considered infrastructure, such as caregiving for aging Americans and workforce training. Read More... Photo Credit: [...]

The Oil and Gas Industry Produces Radioactive Waste. Lots of It

July 30th, 2021|Comments Off on The Oil and Gas Industry Produces Radioactive Waste. Lots of It

Massive amounts of radioactive waste brought to the surface by oil and gas wells have overwhelmed the industry and the state and federal agencies that regulate it, according to a report released today by the prominent environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council. The waste poses “significant health threats,” including the increased risk of cancer to oil and gas workers and their families and also nearby communities. “We know that the waste has radioactive elements, we know that it can have very high and dangerous levels, we know that some of the waste gets into the environment, and we know that people who [...]

Enlist the Ocean in Combatting Climate Change, Experts and Advocates Argue

July 28th, 2021|Comments Off on Enlist the Ocean in Combatting Climate Change, Experts and Advocates Argue

Climate scientists and marine advocates are calling on governments worldwide to look beyond green policymaking when it comes to climate change. They say a critical shade is missing in the fight against global warming. Blue. Countries must recognize the important role that oceans have in limiting climate change and enact policies to protect marine ecosystems, the U.K.-based Environmental Justice Foundation said yesterday in a report endorsed by environmental experts and advocates. Read More... Photo Credit: Jeffrey Greenberg/Getty Images

More record-shattering heat waves are likely on the way due to climate change, scientists say

July 26th, 2021|Comments Off on More record-shattering heat waves are likely on the way due to climate change, scientists say

The probability of record-shattering heat waves is increasing due to climate change, according to scientists who are measuring temperature predictions in a new way. Researchers that looked into rate of warming, rather than how much warming has occurred, found that record-shattering heat waves occur in spurts during periods of accelerated climate warming, according to a study published Monday in Nature Climate Change. Similar events as the back-to-back heat waves that have been occurring in the Western U.S., including triple-digit temperatures in the typically cool and wet Pacific Northwest, will become the norm if climate changes continue as business as usual, Erich Fischer, [...]

Study finds link between residential proximity to oil and gas drilling and lower birthweights in infants

July 23rd, 2021|Comments Off on Study finds link between residential proximity to oil and gas drilling and lower birthweights in infants

A new study from Oregon State University found that infants born within 3 kilometers of oil and natural gas drilling facilities in Texas had slightly lower birthweights than those born before drilling began in their vicinity. The study, published today in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, found that the type of drilling or resource being extracted did not change the result. Read More... Photo Credit: Eric Larson (FORGE Utah) via U.S. Department of Energy

Why Indigenous Activists Are Driving a 25-Foot Totem Pole Across the Country

July 23rd, 2021|Comments Off on Why Indigenous Activists Are Driving a 25-Foot Totem Pole Across the Country

Earlier this month, Native American activists embarked on an epic, cross-country trek that began in Washington state and is slated to end on the front lawn of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) in Washington, D.C. on July 29. The group is carrying precious cargo: namely, a monumental totem pole strapped to the back of a jumbo tractor-trailer, reports National Geographic. Organizers planned the journey to pressure the federal government, under President Joe Biden, to take immediate action to protect endangered areas that hold environmental and cultural significance for Native American tribes across the country. Measuring 25 feet tall and [...]

‘Burden falls on exposed people’ as EPA weighs PFAS rules

July 22nd, 2021|Comments Off on ‘Burden falls on exposed people’ as EPA weighs PFAS rules

Breast cancer doesn’t run in his family. But that didn’t prevent Tom Kennedy’s diagnosis with the disease five years ago, and it won’t stop the cancer, now in his brain and spine, from killing him. Kennedy, 49, blames the tap water he drank for more than a decade before learning it was contaminated with the chemical compound GenX. Now terminally ill, the Verizon consultant from Wilmington, N.C., says he hopes something can be done to get GenX out of the water his wife and two daughters still use to bathe, before they fall sick too. "I think it should be [...]

EPA’s step toward regulating PFAS welcome news for local advocates

July 21st, 2021|Comments Off on EPA’s step toward regulating PFAS welcome news for local advocates

The EPA included PFAS in a draft of a list of contaminants that may be subject to future regulation, but local water-quality activists are calling for more action more quickly. Every five years, the Environmental Protection Agency creates an updated list of water contaminants. The list released last week includes several dozen chemicals and microbes, as well as the entire category of substances often called PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. PFAS are a family of thousands of different manmade chemicals also sometimes called “forever chemicals” because they do not break down naturally. The chemicals are used in common household [...]

Residential zoning at former Monsanto site dangerous for future homebuyers

July 20th, 2021|Comments Off on Residential zoning at former Monsanto site dangerous for future homebuyers

Rezoning any of the Monsanto Plant Property From M-2 Heavy Industrial District to A-2 Rural Residential is Dangerous to the Public Health & Safety for Maury County residents and future generations of the community. More than 1,300 Superfund sites are littered across the U.S. These are the places that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has deemed so contaminated with hazardous waste that they need long-term response plans. These sites are inconspicuous and their whereabouts aren’t always obvious to the unsuspecting public. There are thousands of Superfund sites across the United States and they include manufacturing facilities, processing plants, landfills [...]

California oil regulators deny new fracking permits

July 13th, 2021|Comments Off on California oil regulators deny new fracking permits

California denied 21 oil drilling permits this week in the latest move toward ending fracking in a state that makes millions from the petroleum industry but is seeing widespread drought and more dangerous fire seasons linked to climate change. State Oil and Gas Supervisor Uduak-Joe Ntuk sent letters Thursday to Aera Energy denying permits to drill using hydraulic fracturing in two Kern County oil fields to “protect “public health and safety and environmental quality, including (the) reduction and mitigation of greehouse gas emissions." Read More... Photo Credit: Jae C. Hong/AP Photo, File

Pennsylvania’s leaders sided with fracking, despite the health risks | PennLive letters

July 13th, 2021|Comments Off on Pennsylvania’s leaders sided with fracking, despite the health risks | PennLive letters

Pennsylvania is immensely proud of its fracking business, but it shouldn’t be. Fracking creates huge environmental and health risks to surrounding areas. It has been linked to massive amounts of climate change pollution, radioactive air and water pollution, and health risks including birth defects, asthma, and cancer. Last year, a grand jury report found that Pennsylvania’s leaders failed to protect from the health risks associated with fracking by siding with the industry instead of the public. The report recommended a series of ways to limit the damage done by fracking, which included moving fracking away from homes and cutting off [...]

E.P.A. Approved Toxic Chemicals for Fracking a Decade Ago, New Files Show

July 12th, 2021|Comments Off on E.P.A. Approved Toxic Chemicals for Fracking a Decade Ago, New Files Show

The compounds can form PFAS, also known as “forever chemicals,” which have been linked to cancer and birth defects. The E.P.A. approvals came despite the agency’s own concerns about toxicity. For much of the past decade, oil companies engaged in drilling and fracking have been allowed to pump into the ground chemicals that, over time, can break down into toxic substances known as PFAS — a class of long-lasting compounds known to pose a threat to people and wildlife — according to internal documents from the Environmental Protection Agency. Read more... Photo credit: Jim West/Alamy

In Corpus Christi’s Hillcrest Neighborhood, Black Residents Feel Like They Are Living in a ‘Sacrifice Zone’

July 12th, 2021|Comments Off on In Corpus Christi’s Hillcrest Neighborhood, Black Residents Feel Like They Are Living in a ‘Sacrifice Zone’

When Justine Knox, 57, bought her single-story home in Corpus Christi’s historic Hillcrest neighborhood in 1993, she wanted to stay and raise her family in the community where she grew up and met her husband. “I wanted my kids to one day come back and say, ‘Hey, I grew up right there. It’s my home. My parents worked hard for that,’” she said. Twenty-eight years later, Knox’s house sits next to vacant lots where well-kept houses from the 1920s once stood, abuzz with family life. Her neighbors moved out under a voluntary resettlement plan with the Port of Corpus Christi, [...]

Environmental Justice: Pipeline activist sentenced to 8 years (While Big Oil crimes go unpunished)

July 9th, 2021|Comments Off on Environmental Justice: Pipeline activist sentenced to 8 years (While Big Oil crimes go unpunished)

A fracking boom in the Gulf of Mexico poses a major risk to human health and wildlife, a new report from the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) has found. The report, published Wednesday, calculated that oil and gas companies had dumped at least 66.3 million gallons of fracking fluids into the vulnerable waters of the Gulf between 2010 and 2020 with government approval. "Offshore fracking threatens Gulf communities and wildlife far more than our government has acknowledged. To protect life and our climate, we should ban these extreme extraction techniques," CBD oceans program director Miyoko Sakashita said in a press release. "A decade into the offshore fracking [...]

‘Forever chemicals’ found in tests of state’s rivers

July 8th, 2021|Comments Off on ‘Forever chemicals’ found in tests of state’s rivers

BOSTON — Tests of surface water found a toxic brew of "forever chemicals" in the state's major rivers and tributaries, environmental officials said Tuesday. The tests, conducted last fall by the U.S. Geological Survey, found per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in each of the 27 rivers and brooks sampled for the substances, which have been used to make products from frying pans to firefighting foam. In many cases, levels exceeded the state's standard for drinking water of 20 parts per trillion. Read More... Photo Credit: Ken Gallagher

Albany women say coal-plant is part of cancer-causing racism

July 7th, 2021|Comments Off on Albany women say coal-plant is part of cancer-causing racism

A group of Albany women has been fighting for nearly a dozen years to bring to light what they've long suspected, that they are the victims of environmental racism. They say cancer is showing up in their families, and it all points to one facility that still stands today. "My mom had cancer. My father had cancer too." said Elaine McCall. Read more... Photo credit: Rawpixel, Getty Images

Memphis pipeline canceled after environmental justice feud

July 7th, 2021|Comments Off on Memphis pipeline canceled after environmental justice feud

Pipeline opponents; environmental groups; and Memphis, Tenn., activists celebrated over the holiday weekend after the developers of the Byhalia Connection crude oil pipeline abruptly dropped the project. Plains All American Pipeline LP officials made the announcement late Friday, citing market factors for the cancellation. But serious legal and political obstacles loomed over the 50-mile project, which gained national prominence as a battle about environmental justice. "If anybody is asking whether the movement is alive in Memphis, you have your answer," Justin Pearson, one of the leaders of the effort to stop the pipeline, said in an online video posted shortly [...]

Solving pollution from solvents requires solvent Superfund | Editorial

July 7th, 2021|Comments Off on Solving pollution from solvents requires solvent Superfund | Editorial

Shhh! Don’t tell the Republicans, but there’s a tax increase in the bipartisan federal infrastructure legislation that some in their party have endorsed. The “deal” reinstates the tax, or fee, that feedstock chemical producers used to pay that ensure that “orphaned” Superfund contaminated sites will be cleaned up. The GOPers who signed off on the package must be OK with that, and that’s a good thing. Read More... Photo Credit: Kimberly Chandler/AP Photo

For first time, federal infrastructure projects being judged on how they tackle climate change and racial justice

July 5th, 2021|Comments Off on For first time, federal infrastructure projects being judged on how they tackle climate change and racial justice

The Department of Transportation announced $905.25 million will go to 24 projects in 18 states as part of its Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant program, established back in 2015. For the first time since then or ever before, the department is finally considering the impact of these projects on race and the environment. “These timely investments in our infrastructure will create jobs and support regional economies, while helping to spur innovation, confront climate change, and address inequities across the country,” said Secretary Pete Buttigieg in a release, noting that grants were considered by how they would address climate change, environmental [...]

Black and Latinx hairdressers exposed to high levels of phthalates

July 5th, 2021|Comments Off on Black and Latinx hairdressers exposed to high levels of phthalates

The clouds of vapor in Katrina Randolph's salon that lingered after she and her stylists worked on customers' hair in tight quarters all day made her uneasy. "I knew we were inhaling everything that we're using during the day," Randolph, owner of Tré Shadez Hair Studio in Capitol Heights, Maryland, told EHN. "Even when we would turn on the vent, or the AC, it wouldn't calm it totally down." After looking into the health effects of common chemicals in salon products, she upgraded her salon's ventilation system and started making hair oils out of essential oils. "There's definitely not enough [...]

Neighbors worried that recreation is exposing kids to toxins on the Coeur d’Alene River form a nonprofit to address issues

July 2nd, 2021|Comments Off on Neighbors worried that recreation is exposing kids to toxins on the Coeur d’Alene River form a nonprofit to address issues

Last Saturday, just as a historic heat wave hit the Northwest, thousands of people took to the north fork of the Coeur d'Alene River in Shoshone County, Idaho. Groups on inner tubes and unicorn floaties and kayaks and rafts floated the crystal-clear waters after parking wherever they could find space along stretches of road lining either side of the river. Some park their RVs for weekend getaways throughout the summer on private property rented along the river in this county of about 12,600 people. Others set up canopies and barbecues on any beach or rocky "sand bar" they can find. Locals [...]

Biden signs bill repealing Trump-era EPA rule on methane emissions

July 2nd, 2021|Comments Off on Biden signs bill repealing Trump-era EPA rule on methane emissions

(CNN)President Joe Biden on Wednesday signed a bill repealing a Trump-era rule that rolled back regulations on methane emissions -- a particularly potent greenhouse gas believed to contribute significantly to the climate crisis -- from the oil and gas industries. The President described the bill as an "important first step" to cut methane pollution and said it "reflects a return to common sense and commitment to the common good." "(President Barack Obama) in 2016 and I put in place a rule that required that companies capture methane leaks from the wells they were digging," Biden said before signing the bill. "Well, guess [...]

Big oil and gas kept a dirty secret for decades. Now they may pay the price

July 1st, 2021|Comments Off on Big oil and gas kept a dirty secret for decades. Now they may pay the price

After a century of wielding extraordinary economic and political power, America’s petroleum giants face a reckoning for driving the greatest existential threat of our lifetimes. An unprecedented wave of lawsuits, filed by cities and states across the US, aim to hold the oil and gas industry to account for the environmental devastation caused by fossil fuels – and covering up what they knew along the way. Coastal cities struggling to keep rising sea levels at bay, midwestern states watching “mega-rains” destroy crops and homes, and fishing communities losing catches to warming waters, are now demanding the oil conglomerates pay damages [...]

Improved medical screening in PFAS-impacted communities to identify early disease

June 30th, 2021|Comments Off on Improved medical screening in PFAS-impacted communities to identify early disease

When people learn they are exposed to toxic chemicals, they wonder what it means for their health and often want to take protective action. We've heard this in our conversations with residents of PFAS-affected communities, and in their public talks—calls for medical screening to learn about potential effects on their own and their families' health. However, people exposed to PFAS often face significant hurdles in getting screened for health effects from the exposure. And that needs to change. Read More... Photo Credit: Susan G. Komen Tissue Bank at the IU Simon Cancer/flickr

EPA Creates $50 Million Fund For Environmental Justice Initiatives

June 29th, 2021|Comments Off on EPA Creates $50 Million Fund For Environmental Justice Initiatives

The Environmental Protection Agency announced a new $50 million fund to identify and address low-income neighborhoods and communities of color who have been disproportionately affected by climate change, pollution, and the covid-19 pandemic. The EPA said on Friday that the environmental justice initiatives will use allocated dollars from the Biden administration’s American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion stimulus package passed by Democrats in Congress earlier this year, for underserved communities through a range of local programs. “We know how important it is to put funding to work in environmentally overburdened, economically underserved areas, and today we’re excited to let our communities know that thanks to the [...]

Superfund Tax Revival Renewing ‘Polluter Pays’ Debate

June 28th, 2021|Comments Off on Superfund Tax Revival Renewing ‘Polluter Pays’ Debate

One of the bipartisan infrastructure deal’s pay-fors is reviving longstanding questions over who should pay to clean up some of the nation’s most contaminated land. The White House released a framework on Thursday for its $579 billion bipartisan infrastructure deal. Included within the pay-fors of that plan is a line item to “reinstate Superfund fees for chemicals,” a potential restoration of excise taxes that expired in the mid-nineties. Lawmakers in favor of bringing back the “polluters pay” tax model, including Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), applauded the provision. But industry representatives said that with few details to go on, questions remain on whether the [...]

Climate change threatens more than the environment; it’s a public health crisis | COMMENTARY

June 25th, 2021|Comments Off on Climate change threatens more than the environment; it’s a public health crisis | COMMENTARY

After a four-year pause related to executive branch inaction, and with the transition to the Biden-Harris administration, we finally have new data from the federal government on the severity of the climate crisis. And it offers a grim diagnosis. Drawing from more than 50 contributors from various government agencies and academic institutions, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Climate Indicators report confirms that climate change is making life harder for Americans in new and challenging ways. Heat waves are occurring more often in the United States. Their frequency has increased from an average of two heat waves per year in the 1960s to six per [...]

Toxic beauty products contribute to health inequity

June 25th, 2021|Comments Off on Toxic beauty products contribute to health inequity

Toxic chemicals in beauty products commonly used by and marketed to Black people and other people of color could be contributing to racial health inequities. So say researchers and community groups studying chemicals in consumer goods, arguing that the term "environmental justice," which has gained prominence in recent years to describe how communities of color bear larger pollution burdens, should be expanded to include exposure from toxic beauty products. Just as communities of color often are located in more polluted areas due to discriminatory zoning and housing policies, centuries of racist and sexist beauty standards favoring straight hair, for example, [...]

‘We will not stop’: pipeline opponents ready for America’s biggest environmental fight

June 23rd, 2021|Comments Off on ‘We will not stop’: pipeline opponents ready for America’s biggest environmental fight

As the sun set, more than a dozen young people carried a wooden bridge toward a narrow section of the Mississippi River. The bridge allowed the group to cross more easily from their camp to where the immense oil pipeline was being built on the other side. They were cited for trespassing – but they had symbolically laid claim to the marshy landscape. That same day, Dawn Goodwin’s voice was soft but forceful as she spoke into the camera: “I’m calling on you, Joe Biden, to uphold our treaties, because they are the supreme law of the land.” Goodwin, an [...]

Biden must stop methane pipelines to deliver on climate change and environmental justice

June 22nd, 2021|Comments Off on Biden must stop methane pipelines to deliver on climate change and environmental justice

Four years of President Donald Trump have cost America dearly. We lost our global leadership on addressing climate change and saw the struggle for environmental justice thwarted here at home. President Joe Biden has defined both of these objectives as cornerstones of his legacy, but a huge interstate methane gas pipeline now being rammed through the Appalachian Mountains threatens to undermine the progress his administration has promised. The 42-inch diameter Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) would run 303 miles from West Virginia to Virginia, and it is one of the biggest U.S. gas pipelines in process. The pipeline's climate impact is estimated to be equivalent to about 23 typical coal [...]

California’s climate plan pits bioenergy against environmental justice goals

June 18th, 2021|Comments Off on California’s climate plan pits bioenergy against environmental justice goals

The Air Resources Board has launched a series of stakeholder engagement workshops to inform the next update of California’s Climate Change Scoping Plan, the regulatory framework guiding the state’s policy priorities. While the plan will not be finalized until the end of 2022, frustrations have already risen among dairy and bioenergy interests over an apparent shift away from dairy digesters and biomass plants for agricultural and forest waste. “I was really concerned with the presentation from the California Energy Commission, particularly the exclusion of any new biomass and no mention whatsoever of biogas,” said Julia Levin, executive director of the Bioenergy Association [...]

Toxic ‘forever chemicals’ widespread in top makeup brands, study finds

June 17th, 2021|Comments Off on Toxic ‘forever chemicals’ widespread in top makeup brands, study finds

Toxic PFAS “forever chemicals” are widely used in cosmetics produced by major brands in the US and Canada, a new study that tested for the chemicals in hundreds of products found. The peer-reviewed study, published in Environmental Science & Technology, detected what the study’s authors characterized as “high” levels of organic fluorine, an indicator of PFAS, in over half of 231 makeup and personal care samples. That includes lipstick, eyeliner, mascara, foundation, concealer, lip balm, blush, nail polish and more. Read More... Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

Cancer Alley campaigner wins Goldman prize for environmental defenders

June 17th, 2021|Comments Off on Cancer Alley campaigner wins Goldman prize for environmental defenders

A retired special education teacher from Louisiana who led a successful grassroots campaign to stop construction of a toxic plastics plant in America’s Cancer Alley has won the 2021 Goldman prize for environmental defenders. Sharon Lavigne, 68, organised marches, petitions, town hall meetings and media campaigns after elected officials gave the green light to the construction of another polluting factory in St James parish – a majority-Black community already blighted by heavy industry and exorbitant cancer rates. Read More... Photo Credit: The Goldman Environmental Prize

Is it up to consumers, businesses, or politicians to tackle toxics? All of the above.

June 11th, 2021|Comments Off on Is it up to consumers, businesses, or politicians to tackle toxics? All of the above.

I have fond childhood memories of going to dollar stores with my mom. It was what we could afford. We'd pick-up the few items we needed and sometimes I'd get to pick out a toy, make-up, or a food item as a treat. Little did we know that some of those low-cost products may have contained toxic chemicals. This was my norm growing up, as is it the norm of many children today. Over the years I became more aware of the systematic environmental injustices that people of color and low-income families face every day. I grew up more likely [...]

The Drought In The Western U.S. Is Getting Bad. Climate Change Is Making It Worse

June 10th, 2021|Comments Off on The Drought In The Western U.S. Is Getting Bad. Climate Change Is Making It Worse

By almost every measure, the drought in the Western U.S. is already one for the record books. Almost half the country's population is facing dry conditions. Soils are parched. Mountain snowpacks produce less water. Wildfire risk is already extreme. The nation's largest reservoir, Lake Mead, is headed to its lowest level since it was first filled in the 1930s. The past year has been the driest or second driest in most Southwestern states since record keeping began in 1895. Farms and cities have begun imposing water restrictions, but Western states are facing a threat that goes deeper than a single bad year. The [...]

State Trends in Environmental Justice Legislation

June 9th, 2021|Comments Off on State Trends in Environmental Justice Legislation

As most state legislative sessions begin to wind down, the National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) has continued to stay engaged with state legislatures across the country. There have been numerous topics of significance to the industry, with the most recent trending legislation addressing environmental justice (EJ). There are many definitions of environmental justice; however, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) definition is the most used by state legislatures: The EPA defines environmental justice “as the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of [...]

The same polluters destroying our climate are profiting off single-use plastics

June 4th, 2021|Comments Off on The same polluters destroying our climate are profiting off single-use plastics

Corporate plastic polluters love talking about recycling. That goes for both the petrochemical and fossil fuel industries, as well as the consumer goods and retail sectors. As long as the public views recycling as the primary solution to the plastic pollution crisis, these companies can continue producing endless quantities of single-use plastics. For decades, we have all been told that if we toss our plastic packaging into the blue bin a truck will come take it away and turn it into a new product. This story was created by corporations so they could continue churning out cheap single-use plastics. The [...]

Toxic chemicals linked to lower egg counts in women

June 4th, 2021|Comments Off on Toxic chemicals linked to lower egg counts in women

Birth rates are decreasing worldwide. In all European countries they’re even dropping below population replacement levels, which refers to the number of children needed per woman to keep a population stable. While these decreases might be due to many adults intentionally postponing when they have their first child – or actively choosing not to have children – an increasing number of studies suggests these don’t fully explain decreasing birth rates. Some research also indicates that decreasing fertility is a major contributing factor in this decline. One factor linked to decreased fertility is the presence of industrial chemicals found in our environment. Much is known about the [...]

How electric cars can advance environmental justice: By putting low-income and racially diverse drivers behind the wheel

June 2nd, 2021|Comments Off on How electric cars can advance environmental justice: By putting low-income and racially diverse drivers behind the wheel

The global auto industry has begun a historic shift from gasoline- and diesel-fueled cars to electric vehicles. President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan seeks to speed up this transition by requesting billions of dollars to modernize the electric grid and build 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations. Evidence shows that many Americans are eager to transition to EVs and participate in a clean energy economy. In a recent nationally representative consumer survey, 71% of drivers surveyed said they were interested in getting an electric car. But 48% said that lack of access to public charging infrastructure was holding them back, and 43% [...]

From pollution to policing, this Asian-American group is expanding environmental justice in the Bay Area

June 1st, 2021|Comments Off on From pollution to policing, this Asian-American group is expanding environmental justice in the Bay Area

Sandy Saeteurn grew up in Richmond, California, where Chevron’s massive 3,000-acre oil refinery reigns supreme. She’s no stranger to the refinery’s chemical flares, and she spent many of her childhood days home sick. She’s not the only one who has learned to link the refinery and the presence of illness in her community: A 2008 study (co-authored by Grist board member Rachel Morello-Frosch) found that almost half of all homes in the area had indoor levels of refinery-related particulate matter pollution that exceeded the state’s air quality standards. Every day for nearly 120 years — longer than the city has existed — [...]

Black communities must lead the charge to repair harm from freeways

May 27th, 2021|Comments Off on Black communities must lead the charge to repair harm from freeways

"Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete?" asked Tupac Shakur. I did—it's the story of Black survival in spite of living in undesirable environmental conditions. Living conditions must be improved to ensure Black futures. As a Black woman passionate about environmental justice, this is the charge that guides my work, volunteering, and activism around transportation. Racism and the political disenfranchisement of Black communities underlie transportation inequities. Following the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956, urban planners routed freeways through poor communities of color to achieve the urban renewal goal of "slum" clearance and to reinforce racial [...]

Fighting Attacks on Inconvenient Science—and Scientists

May 26th, 2021|Comments Off on Fighting Attacks on Inconvenient Science—and Scientists

Any scientist whose research might conceivably threaten the bottom line of powerful corporate interests risks facing an orchestrated campaign to destroy their reputation. That’s the message of a commentary, published May 17 in the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, that spins a cautionary tale about the fragility of scientific integrity by drawing on the disturbing history of a popular weed killer. The piece focuses on atrazine, explained author Jason Rohr, chair of the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Notre Dame, because it’s “one of the most commonly used, well studied, and controversial pesticides on the planet.” Read More... Photo [...]

North Dakota, Using Taxpayer Funds, Bailed Out Oil and Gas Companies by Plugging Abandoned Wells

May 26th, 2021|Comments Off on North Dakota, Using Taxpayer Funds, Bailed Out Oil and Gas Companies by Plugging Abandoned Wells

When North Dakota directed more than $66 million in federal pandemic relief funds to clean up old oil and gas wells last year, it seemed like the type of program everyone could get behind. The money would plug hundreds of abandoned wells and restore the often-polluted land surrounding them, and in the process would employ oilfield workers who had been furloughed after prices crashed. The program largely accomplished those goals. But some environmental advocates say it achieved another they didn’t expect: It bailed out dozens of small to mid-sized oil companies, relieving them of their responsibility to pay for cleaning [...]

AG’s office investigating Keystone Sanitary Landfill

May 25th, 2021|Comments Off on AG’s office investigating Keystone Sanitary Landfill

The Keystone Sanitary Landfill is under investigation by the state attorney general’s office, a spokeswoman said Thursday. Although she could not comment on the nature of the investigation, press secretary Molly Stieber confirmed in an email that the office is investigating the Louis and Dominick DeNaples-owned landfill in Dunmore and Throop. Scranton resident Samantha Maloney, who is one of three locals working with the attorney general’s office in its investigation, said the investigation appears to be about leachate, which is the liquid that percolates through trash piles. The other individuals declined to be identified. Read More... Photo Credit: The Times-Tribune

California Seeks to Close Loophole Allowing Schools to Be Built Near Toxic Sites

May 24th, 2021|Comments Off on California Seeks to Close Loophole Allowing Schools to Be Built Near Toxic Sites

A new bill, that could drastically limit where future schools can be built throughout the state, cleared a major hurdle in the California legislature on Thursday and is now headed for a full vote in the Assembly in the coming weeks.  The legislation would force private and charter schools to comply with tougher environmental standards – the very same regulations that are already in place for public schools – in hopes of preventing classrooms from being constructed near potentially toxic sites. Whatever school you send your child to, you should know well that they are not going to be in [...]

North Birmingham coke plant violating air regulations as superfund cleanup continues

May 18th, 2021|Comments Off on North Birmingham coke plant violating air regulations as superfund cleanup continues

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Amid a large-scale EPA superfund cleanup of contaminated soil in north Birmingham, residents are also worried about what’s being emitted into the air from local plants. After complaints from neighbors about different smells and air that’s difficult to breathe, a CBS 42 investigation revealed that not all nearby industries are compliant with EPA guidelines. Jefferson County Department of Health Director of Environmental Health Jonathan Stanton told us Bluestone Coke was issued a notice of violation of local and federal air regulations. Read More... Photo Credit: Jonece Starr Dunigan

A U.S. Virgin Islands Oil Refinery Had Yet Another Accident. Residents Are Demanding Answers

May 17th, 2021|Comments Off on A U.S. Virgin Islands Oil Refinery Had Yet Another Accident. Residents Are Demanding Answers

St. Croix residents are demanding answers from a U.S. Virgin Islands oil refinery, and from the officials regulating it, in the wake of a series of recent accidents that they worry have exposed them to toxic chemicals and endangered their health. Since restarting operations in February, the Limetree Bay oil refinery has experienced at least three accidents that have directly affected the neighborhoods surrounding it. That includes a chemical release that occurred during maintenance on the plant last week that produced a nauseating odor, forcing schools to shut down and send children home for the second time in less than [...]

Living near fracking wells is linked to higher rate of heart attacks: Study

May 14th, 2021|Comments Off on Living near fracking wells is linked to higher rate of heart attacks: Study

Living among fracking wells is linked to higher rates of hospitalizations and deaths due to heart attacks, according to a new study. The study, published in the Journal of Environmental Research, compared heart attack rates in Pennsylvania counties with fracking to demographically similar counties in New York where fracking is banned. "There's a large body of literature linking air pollution with poor cardiovascular health and heart attacks, but this is really the first study to look at this from a population level related to fracking," Elaine Hill, a researcher at the University of Rochester Medical Center and one of the study's [...]

‘They’re killing us’ 5th ward neighbors say of contamination from railyard

May 14th, 2021|Comments Off on ‘They’re killing us’ 5th ward neighbors say of contamination from railyard

"We all had to deal with it. I know at least every person I grew up with within this area," Kashmere Garden's resident Nakia Osbourne said. "I'm 44 right now, almost 45. Half of them have a child that has a disability." Osbourne's son, Charlie, was one of them. He was born with autism and severe intellectual disabilities. He died in 2014 at the age of 13 from a burn accident, but Osbourne said his life proves what everyone already knows. Creosote, once used at the Union Pacific facility, hit the community hard. "They destroyed a lot of people's lives," [...]

“Chemical giants hid dangers of ‘forever chemicals’ in food packaging”

May 13th, 2021|Comments Off on “Chemical giants hid dangers of ‘forever chemicals’ in food packaging”

Chemical giants DuPont and Daikin knew the dangers of a PFAS compound widely used in food packaging since 2010, but hid them from the public and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), company studies obtained by the Guardian reveal. The chemicals, called 6:2 FTOH, are now linked to a range of serious health issues, and Americans are still being exposed to them in greaseproof pizza boxes, carryout containers, fast-food wrappers, and paperboard packaging. The companies initially told the FDA that the compounds were safer and less likely to accumulate in humans than older types of PFAS, also known as “forever [...]

‘Responsibly sourced’ gas grows despite green washing claims

May 12th, 2021|Comments Off on ‘Responsibly sourced’ gas grows despite green washing claims

Some of the biggest natural gas companies are moving to brand their product as low-emissions — a plan that could transform the industry even as it spurs accusations of green washing. The gas producers and exporters are turning to third-party companies to prove their products release less methane and other pollutants than competitors, partly in an effort to stand out in a market that prioritizes environmentally conscious investments. Environmentalists say, though, that certifying a portion of the industry's production won't solve the overall problem of methane pollution from oil and gas activity. And new research shows that cutting methane, a [...]

Environmental issues play a part in layers of systemic and structural racism

May 11th, 2021|Comments Off on Environmental issues play a part in layers of systemic and structural racism

A recent study confirms what community members and environmental justice advocates have been saying for years: people of color in the United States suffer greater harm from air pollution than White people. The study, from the online journal Science Advances, found that communities of color are disproportionately exposed to higher amounts of a fatal air pollutant. “Systemic disparity exists at all income levels. Consistent with a large body of evidence, we find that racial disparities are not simply a proxy for economic-based disparities. POC (people of color) at every income level are disproportionately exposed by the majority of sources,” according to the [...]

General Iron Chicago: Mayor Lightfoot delays scrapyard permitting at EPA request

May 10th, 2021|Comments Off on General Iron Chicago: Mayor Lightfoot delays scrapyard permitting at EPA request

The complaint urges federal officials to withhold lucrative grants until the city overhauls its land-use policies. Zoning and planning ordinances protect industries in certain parts of Chicago without considering the health and well-being of people who live nearby, many of whom are Black and Latino. “Racist policies are killing our neighborhood by making it a dumping ground for the dirtiest and most dangerous polluters,” said Peggy Salazar, director of the Southeast Environmental Task Force, one of three nonprofit groups that petitioned for federal intervention. Read More... Photo Credit: Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune

Brunswick Residents Living Next To A Superfund Site Worry About Cleanup 40 Years Later

May 7th, 2021|Comments Off on Brunswick Residents Living Next To A Superfund Site Worry About Cleanup 40 Years Later

Jasmin Buggs reeled in her line and looked with dismay at the bare metal hook. The shrimp bait was gone — again. Likely it was yanked off by a stealthy stingray or nabbed by a passing whiting. Buggs and her boyfriend regularly fish in Mackay River off the edge of an old bridge that once connected Brunswick and St. Simons Island. Though both live locally, neither were aware of any pollution or fish advisory notices on the Back River, the next bridge over, due to suspected pollution from the old Hercules industrial plant. The 152-acre industrial site, marked by the [...]

‘Climate Change Is Not a Subjective Thing.’

May 6th, 2021|Comments Off on ‘Climate Change Is Not a Subjective Thing.’

The United States has a schizophrenic relationship with the environment. It boasts a spectacular system of more than 400 national park sites; a robust environmental lobby; and strong federal environmental law, including the landmark Endangered Species Act, which is credited with saving the bald eagle and the grizzly bear from extinction. Yet it also harbors a dark side, including an insatiable appetite for fossil fuels; a longstanding romance with behemoth, gas-guzzling vehicles; and perhaps the highest per capita generation of plastic waste in the world. Read More... Photo Credit: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo

The Corpus Christi Water Wars

May 5th, 2021|Comments Off on The Corpus Christi Water Wars

A skyline of smokestacks appears on the horizon before the rest of Corpus Christi does. Approaching Texas’ “Sparkling City by the Sea” on I-37, a palm-tree-lined highway running from San Antonio to the Gulf Coast, it’s tough to tell where the billowing exhaust from oil refineries ends and the rain clouds begin. Massive storage domes, tangles of pipes, and burning flares reach into the sky, and a potpourri of gasoline, sulfur, and unidentified chemical-burning smells fill the air. In Texas, it’s normal to see an oil refinery or a petrochemical plant as big as a football stadium, with another one behind [...]

Judge says Columbus police ran ‘amok’ against protesters, restricts use of force

May 4th, 2021|Comments Off on Judge says Columbus police ran ‘amok’ against protesters, restricts use of force

A federal judge has ordered police in Columbus, Ohio, to stop using force including tear gas, pepper spray and rubber bullets against nonviolent protesters, ruling that officers ran "amok" during last summer's protests over the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Judge Algenon Marbley of the Southern District of Ohio described the actions of the Columbus police as "the sad tale of officers, clothed with the awesome power of the state, run amok." Read More... Photo Credit: Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images

Why the air quality in Philly might be worse than we know

May 3rd, 2021|Comments Off on Why the air quality in Philly might be worse than we know

A recent report by the American Lung Association ranked the Philadelphia-Reading-Camden metro area among the top 25 most polluted in the United States in terms of two of the most common, and dangerous, ambient air pollutants measured nationally. But experts say the ranking doesn’t tell the whole story of how air quality affects those in the region. The Lung Association’s 22nd annual “State of the Air” report, released in mid-April, is based on data gathered from 2017 to 2019 and focuses on two of the six major air pollutants originally identified by the Clean Air Act of 1970. The four-state, 16-county Philadelphia [...]

“Staggering”: 25,000 barrels found at toxic dump site in Pacific Ocean off Los Angeles coast

April 30th, 2021|Comments Off on “Staggering”: 25,000 barrels found at toxic dump site in Pacific Ocean off Los Angeles coast

Marine scientists say they have found what they believe to be as many as 25,000 barrels that possibly contain DDT dumped off the Southern California coast near Catalina Island, where a massive underwater toxic waste site dating back to World War II has long been suspected. The 27,345 "barrel-like" images were captured by researchers at the University of California San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography. They mapped more than 36,000 acres of seafloor between Santa Catalina Island and the Los Angeles coast in a region previously found to contain high levels of the toxic chemical in sediments and in the ecosystem. Read [...]

‘Treated like sacrifices’: Families breathe toxic fumes from California’s warehouse hub

April 29th, 2021|Comments Off on ‘Treated like sacrifices’: Families breathe toxic fumes from California’s warehouse hub

On a recent weekend, when Ana Gonzalez was driving through Rialto, California, where she has lived for 23 years, she saw a disturbing and increasingly familiar sight. Dozens of 18-wheel diesel trucks idled outside an Amazon warehouse, spewing fumes not far from a high school and homes. It made Gonzalez so angry that she took out her phone to broadcast the scene to her Facebook page. Gonzalez's frustration with the high concentration of warehouses and the truck traffic they bring was spurred two years ago when she took one of her two kids, Jose, then 12, to the doctor because he [...]

Refineries to pay $5.5M for Lake Charles-area contamination

April 28th, 2021|Comments Off on Refineries to pay $5.5M for Lake Charles-area contamination

LAKE CHARLES, LA. — Nine oil refineries and chemical companies in the Lake Charles area have agreed to pay the federal government $5.5 million for their contamination of parts of the northern Calcasieu River estuary. The settlement was announced this month by the U.S. Justice Department, according to The Times-Picayune / The New Orleans Advocate. The latest in a series of federal and state legal actions against more than a dozen industrial plants for polluting the river basin with toxic chemicals and heavy metals, including dioxin and mercury, it covers less than half of the Environmental Protection Agency's $13 million response [...]

Can Biden’s Infrastructure Plan Save the Superfund Program?

April 28th, 2021|Comments Off on Can Biden’s Infrastructure Plan Save the Superfund Program?

As Biden deliberated where to unveil the American Jobs Plan in late March, Pittsburgh was an obvious choice. A former manufacturing mainstay, it was where Biden launched his presidential campaign two years ago, in a sign that he wanted to revitalize the Rust Belt. Now, he returned to reaffirm his commitment to the region by making it the spot to announce over $2 trillion in infrastructure spending. Yet Pittsburgh was an apt choice for another reason. The surrounding county is home to four of Pennsylvania’s most toxic Superfund sites. (The state is saddled with 91 sites in total.) Although Biden [...]

The Gowanus rezoning makes us sick

April 27th, 2021|Comments Off on The Gowanus rezoning makes us sick

The battle over the massive Gowanus rezoning plan roiling Brooklyn involves urgent environmental issues that we ignore at our physical and moral peril. The latest news is the discovery by a longtime Gowanus blogger that lethal coal tar poisoning land next to the canal had, as early as 2005, migrated beyond that land and slithered underneath existing buildings to the north, the canal itself and beyond to the east and Smith St. to the west. Katia Kelly dug into official archives maintained by National Grid, which is responsible for the site cleanup, and found proof of the migration. Neither the utility [...]

Plastics plant is a tough sell in Louisiana

April 26th, 2021|Comments Off on Plastics plant is a tough sell in Louisiana

The 5th District of Louisiana's St. James Parish was never exactly a bustling community -- but it was still a community. Then the landmarks began to disappear. Woodrow's grocery closed down. The St. James sugar co-op ground to a halt. And the cleaners and post office shut their doors for lack of business. Heavy manufacturing moved in. Duck's Grocery sold out to a rail-car and crude-oil storage facility. The high school football field was overrun by subsidiaries of a Chinese company and the Koch family's corporate empire, which teamed up to build a huge petrochemical plant. Buena Vista Baptist Church [...]

CHEMICAL INDUSTRY LOBBYIST IN TRUMP EPA SUPPRESSED EVIDENCE OF CANCER RISK

April 23rd, 2021|Comments Off on CHEMICAL INDUSTRY LOBBYIST IN TRUMP EPA SUPPRESSED EVIDENCE OF CANCER RISK

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS withheld information about carcinogenic pollution from Illinois communities, according to a report released yesterday by the Environmental Protection Agency’s inspector general. Bill Wehrum, who served as assistant administrator of the office of Air and Radiation until 2019, kept information from residents of Willowbrook, Illinois, about results of air monitoring that showed they had an elevated risk of cancer due to ethylene oxide from a local sterilizing plant, according to the report, “EPA Delayed Risk Communication and Issued Instructions Hindering Region 5’s Ability to Address Ethylene Oxide Emissions,” which was produced in response to a request from Congress. Read More... Photo [...]

N.J. has the most Superfund sites. Tax industry to clean them up, top Democrat says.

April 22nd, 2021|Comments Off on N.J. has the most Superfund sites. Tax industry to clean them up, top Democrat says.

Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. on Tuesday introduced legislation to renew a federal tax on the oil and chemical industries to fund the cleanup of Superfund sites, of which New Jersey has more than any other state. “Superfund sites threaten public and environmental health in New Jersey and across the country, and those sites could be cleaned up faster with adequate funding,” said Pallone, D-6th Dist., who outlined his plan during a Zoom press conference. Pallone, who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee with jurisdiction over the issue, said he was proposing the legislation in response to President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion [...]

Blumenauer Introduces Legislation to Reinstate Superfund Taxes; End 25-Year Polluter Tax Holiday That Slowed Toxic Cleanup

April 22nd, 2021|Comments Off on Blumenauer Introduces Legislation to Reinstate Superfund Taxes; End 25-Year Polluter Tax Holiday That Slowed Toxic Cleanup

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee, introduced the Superfund Reinvestment Act to require polluters to pay for the cleanup of toxic and hazardous waste sites throughout the United States. For nearly three decades, petrochemical industry polluters have enjoyed environmental liability protections without paying into the Superfund Trust Fund, which has depleted the fund, unfairly shifted costs to taxpayers, and brought some Superfund cleanup efforts to a near stop. The legislation introduced by Blumenauer would reinstate this tax, something that President Biden identified as a top priority as part of a major infrastructure package. [...]

Where Are the Lead Pipes? Finding Them May Prove Tough for EPA

April 21st, 2021|Comments Off on Where Are the Lead Pipes? Finding Them May Prove Tough for EPA

Newly appointed Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland has pledged to address the concerns of U.S. communities that have disproportionately suffered from pollution and environmental degradation. In her role as the primary steward of America’s public lands, Haaland promised last week to incorporate diverse perspectives and prioritize environmental justice across the agencies of the Department of the Interior. In a secretarial order announced on Friday, the secretary said that these approaches would be integral to the department’s renewed focus on climate change. Read More... Photo Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Live Near a ‘Superfund’ Site? Your Life Span Might Be Shorter

April 20th, 2021|Comments Off on Live Near a ‘Superfund’ Site? Your Life Span Might Be Shorter

MONDAY, April 19, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Living near a Superfund hazardous waste site may shorten your life, new research suggests. There are thousands of Superfund sites across the United States and they include manufacturing facilities, processing plants, landfills and mines where hazardous waste was dumped, left out in the open or poorly managed, posing a risk to the environment and human health. In this study, researchers analyzed 2018 U.S. Census data and found that overall, life expectancy for people who live near Superfund sites is about two months shorter than normal. Read More... Photo Credit: Patrick Bloodgood/US Army

For 25 Years, Taxpayers Picked Up Polluters’ Superfund Bill. That May Finally Change.

April 16th, 2021|Comments Off on For 25 Years, Taxpayers Picked Up Polluters’ Superfund Bill. That May Finally Change.

For 15 years, the industries responsible for the nation’s worst toxic pollution helped pay into a federal trust for cleaning up waste sites through special taxes on petroleum, chemical components and corporate income. That program became known as “Superfund.” But in 1995, the Republican-led Congress allowed those taxes to expire. They have never been reinstated, and the money for fixing many of the most noxious public health hazards in the U.S. has come entirely from taxpayers. That funding has dwindled, creating a lengthy cleanup backlog and leaving poor communities and fragile ecosystems exposed to deadly pollutants. Read More... Photo Credit: [...]

‘There’s No Memory of the Joy.’ Why 40 Years of Superfund Work Hasn’t Saved Tar Creek

April 16th, 2021|Comments Off on ‘There’s No Memory of the Joy.’ Why 40 Years of Superfund Work Hasn’t Saved Tar Creek

One of the first Superfund sites in the United States remains one of the most polluted. From the late 1800s through the 1960s, miners extracted lead and zinc from the ground beneath the Tar Creek area in northeastern Oklahoma. But 50 years after the mine was shuttered, the region’s toxic legacy still seeps from boreholes into the water and drifts in the wind from tailings piles. Even now, the unstable ground threatens to swallow up homes. Neighboring residents — including those of the Quapaw Nation and Ottawa County’s other eight tribes — have paid a heavy toll. The mounting environmental [...]

Fossil Fuel Racism

April 15th, 2021|Comments Off on Fossil Fuel Racism

Fossil fuels — coal, oil, and gas — lie at the heart of the crises we face, including public health, racial injustice, and climate change. This report synthesizes existing research and provides new analysis that finds that the fossil fuel industry contributes to public health harms that kill hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. each year and disproportionately endanger Black, Brown, Indigenous, and poor communities. President Joe Biden and the 117th Congress have a historic opportunity to improve public health, tackle the climate crisis, and confront systemic racism at the same time by phasing out fossil fuel production [...]

‘This is environmental racism’ How a protest in a North Carolina farming town sparked a national movement

April 14th, 2021|Comments Off on ‘This is environmental racism’ How a protest in a North Carolina farming town sparked a national movement

Ben Chavis was driving on a lonely road through rolling tobacco fields when he looked in his rearview mirror and saw the state trooper. Chavis knew he was a marked man. Protests had erupted over North Carolina’s decision to dump 40,000 cubic yards of soil contaminated with cancer-causing chemicals in a poor Black farming community in Warren County, and Chavis was a leader of the revolt. The trooper pulled him over. “What did I do, officer?” Chavis asked that day in 1982. The answer shocked him. “He told me that I was driving too slow.” Chavis was arrested and thrown in jail. [...]

Can a wildlife refuge help a community’s fight for environmental justice?

April 13th, 2021|Comments Off on Can a wildlife refuge help a community’s fight for environmental justice?

Albuquerque’s South Valley was once a thriving oasis of food production watered by a network of historic irrigation canals, or acequias. Today it’s home to several historic neighborhoods along the Rio Grande including Mountain View. After much of the area was rezoned in the 1960s, the residents, who are mainly Chicanos as well as recent immigrants, came under siege by the structural forces of environmental racism that dictate who lives near polluters and who doesn’t. Mountain View was soon enveloped by industry — auto recyclers, Albuquerque’s sewage plant, paint facilities, and fertilizer suppliers — that left a legacy of contaminated groundwater, [...]

Environmental Protection Agency launches crackdown on pollution that disproportionately affects people of color

April 9th, 2021|Comments Off on Environmental Protection Agency launches crackdown on pollution that disproportionately affects people of color

Michael Regan, head of the US Environmental Protection Agency, has sought to revive the effort to confront environmental racism by ordering the agency to crack down on the pollution that disproportionately blights people of color. On Wednesday, Regan issued a directive to EPA staff to “infuse equity and environmental justice principles and priorities into all EPA practices, policies, and programs”. The memo demands the agency use the “full array of policy and legal tools at our disposal” to ensure vulnerable communities are front of mind when issuing permits for polluting facilities or cleaning up following disasters. Read More... Photo Credit: Bryan [...]

How people of color are targeted in ‘sacrifice zones’

April 8th, 2021|Comments Off on How people of color are targeted in ‘sacrifice zones’

The Black Lives Matter movement and the COVID-19 pandemic have highlighted how systemic racism disproportionately places danger and harm on low-income and minority populations. One harsh reality of this systemic racism is the existence of "sacrifice zones," which are communities located near pollution hot spots that have been permanently impaired by intensive and concentrated industrial activity, such as factories, chemical plants, power plants, oil and gas refineries, landfills and factory farms. Read More... Photo Credit: J. David Ake/AP Photo

Kick the Fracking Industry Out of Indian Country

April 7th, 2021|Comments Off on Kick the Fracking Industry Out of Indian Country

On Sunday, The Guardian published a comprehensive report on the environmental, health, and legal issues raised by fracking in the Eastern Agency of the Navajo Nation. In particular, the outlet highlighted instances in which fracking wells owned by Denver-based gas and oil company Enduring Resources had either exploded or malfunctioned, contaminating nearby water sources. In one case from 2019, a fracking well leak brought on by a valve failure pushed 1,400 barrels of slurry off the well pad and into the surrounding snow; by the time the company moved to contain the contaminated area, the snow had melted and the toxins had been washed [...]

Targeting federal spending to help EPA promote environmental justice

April 6th, 2021|Comments Off on Targeting federal spending to help EPA promote environmental justice

Given all that we know about racial injustice and its devastating effects on the health of people and the planet, it is shocking how few resources the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has devoted to promoting environmental justice. In 2019, the EPA budget was 1,500 times the size of its environmental justice budget, just one staff position in 650 was devoted to this issue and a mere $1 of every $2,000 in the EPA’s grants budget was earmarked for environmental justice. The Biden administration is moving aggressively to remedy this. Read More... Photo Credit: Pablo Martinez Monsivais

One researcher’s quest to quantify the environmental cost of abandoned oil wells

April 6th, 2021|Comments Off on One researcher’s quest to quantify the environmental cost of abandoned oil wells

Amy Townsend-Small has been chasing methane her entire professional life. The quest has taken her from Southern California freeways to sewage plants to animal feedlots. Sniffing out the potent greenhouse gas, which traps 86 times as much heat as carbon dioxide after it’s emitted into the atmosphere, has required her to breathalyze cows and take chemical measurements at large manure lagoons. When fracking took off around 2010, Townsend-Small shifted her focus to a new and growing problem: methane leaks from oil and gas activity. Read More... Photo Credit: Christopher Collins

Fossil fuels get too many government handouts. Biden wants to cut them off.

April 5th, 2021|Comments Off on Fossil fuels get too many government handouts. Biden wants to cut them off.

One of the great ironies of climate politics is that America continues to subsidize — to the tune of billions of dollars a year — the very industries that are most responsible for the warming of the planet. Biden wants to put an end to that. His American Jobs Plan, released last week, recognizes that if the US wants to hit decarbonization targets, and get climate change under control, cutting off government support for fossil fuels is a logical first step. The proposal takes aim at tax preferences, loopholes, and laws that allow fossil fuel companies to dodge costs and avoid cleaning up their [...]

Amid wastewater overflow threat, Florida officials urge residents to heed evacuation orders

April 5th, 2021|Comments Off on Amid wastewater overflow threat, Florida officials urge residents to heed evacuation orders

Florida officials are urging residents in the surrounding areas of a wastewater storage pond to heed evacuation orders ahead of a potential overflow of polluted water. On Friday, the Manatee County Public Safety Department warned of an "imminent threat" of an uncontrolled release of wastewater from the former Piney Point phosphate processing plant in Palmetto after a breach was detected in one of the walls of the southern reservoir, which holds about 800 million gallons of water containing phosphorus and nitrogen. Read More... Photo Credit: Drone Base via Reuters

Biden’s $2 Trillion Proposal Could Boost Ohio Valley Infrastructure And Clean Up Energy Sector

April 2nd, 2021|Comments Off on Biden’s $2 Trillion Proposal Could Boost Ohio Valley Infrastructure And Clean Up Energy Sector

President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan contains tens of billions of dollars to address environmental and economic issues throughout the Ohio Valley region, according to details released Wednesday by the White House. Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, had promised a major infrastructure initiative, but one never got traction during his four years in office. Speaking in Pittsburgh Wednesday, Biden called his plan the largest jobs investment since World War II. Read More... Photo Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Toxic chemical ‘Hall of Shame’ calls out major retailers for failing to act

April 2nd, 2021|Comments Off on Toxic chemical ‘Hall of Shame’ calls out major retailers for failing to act

(CNN)A dozen major companies earned an F for failing to publicly address the growing problem of toxic chemicals that may be in the products they sell to consumers, according to the 2021 Who's Minding the Store? A Report Card on Retailer Actions to Eliminate Toxic Chemicals. The report is a collaboration of nonprofit partner organizations, including the environmental advocacy groups Toxic-Free Future, WE ACT for Environmental Justice and Defend Our Health. Read More... Photo Credit: Adam Gault/Getty Images

Research finds EPA underestimates methane emissions from oil and gas production

April 1st, 2021|Comments Off on Research finds EPA underestimates methane emissions from oil and gas production

March 26, 2021 – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is underestimating methane emissions from oil and gas production in its annual Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks, according to new research from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). The research team found 90 percent higher emissions from oil production and 50 percent higher emissions for natural gas production than EPA estimated in its latest inventory. Read More... Photo Credit: SEAS

When an Oil Company Profits From a Pipeline Running Beneath Tribal Land Without Consent, What’s Fair Compensation?

March 31st, 2021|Comments Off on When an Oil Company Profits From a Pipeline Running Beneath Tribal Land Without Consent, What’s Fair Compensation?

Tribal landowners tried for years to get fair compensation for an oil pipeline that cuts across the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota, only to see officials and the courts dismiss their concerns. But now, thanks to new leadership at the Department of Interior, the federal government is taking a fresh look at their claims. Some see it as a sign that, not only might their voices finally be heard in this case but also that a turnaround has begun in the nation’s long history of injustices toward Indigenous people. Read More... Photo Credit: Jodi Spotted Bear/Buffalo's Fire

Federal Judge Blocks Further Oil And Gas Extraction on Ohio’s Only National Forest

March 30th, 2021|Comments Off on Federal Judge Blocks Further Oil And Gas Extraction on Ohio’s Only National Forest

A federal judge blocked new oil and gas leasing and fracking in Ohio’s Wayne National Forest, a popular destination for outdoor recreation and the only National Forest located in the vast state. The ruling rebuked the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for failing to consider threats to public health, endangered species, and watersheds before opening more than 40,000 acres of the forest to fracking last year. Read More... Photo Credit: Taylor McKinnon/Center for Biological Diversityfos

Red tape or climate protections? Infrastructure bill puts new spotlight on federal permitting

March 29th, 2021|Comments Off on Red tape or climate protections? Infrastructure bill puts new spotlight on federal permitting

WASHINGTON — As Congress begins to assemble a once-in-a-century federal investment in infrastructure, the Biden administration is taking steps to redefine the process for permitting such projects. It’s a quieter set of actions that could amount to sweeping changes to how the money, once authorized by lawmakers, is directed across the Pittsburgh region and the country. Biden officials are studying a 50-year-old environmental permitting law, widening the scope of reviews and restoring provisions rolled back by the Trump administration last year. The changes could advance President Joe Biden’s climate agenda by funneling federal dollars to specific projects, like those powered by clean energy, [...]

THE U.S. CHEMICAL SAFETY BOARD WAS SLASHED BY TRUMP. ITS BACKLOG IS PILING UP.

March 26th, 2021|Comments Off on THE U.S. CHEMICAL SAFETY BOARD WAS SLASHED BY TRUMP. ITS BACKLOG IS PILING UP.

Before sunrise on a June morning in 2019, a section of pipe nearly five decades old ruptured at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery, spewing a cloud of flammable vapor that hung to the ground like a spectral fog. Within minutes, according to a surveillance video, a series of explosions in the refinery’s alkylation unit rained huge pieces of shrapnel across the refinery and released 5,239 pounds of hydrofluoric acid (HF), a chemical so toxic that worker-safety advocates have called for its banishment from use in refining. Read More... Photo Credit: Jessica Griffin/The Philadelphia Enquirer

Environmental Racism in Chicago Will be Made Worse by General Iron Facility

March 26th, 2021|Comments Off on Environmental Racism in Chicago Will be Made Worse by General Iron Facility

We grew up believing that everyone had to deal with asthma. Everyone had to use a nebulizer just to breathe, or had a history of lung disease in their family, right? But as we got older, we realized these things were not normal. This is the harsh reality nearly every child in Chicago’s predominantly Black and Latino Southeast Side has to face. We are raised believing factories are a part of everyday life, harsh smells are unavoidable, and having toxic metals in your backyard soil is typical. The Southeast Side is a community where polluting industries are more common than playgrounds, and the [...]

Do You Live Near Toxic Waste? See 1,317 of the Most Polluted Spots in the U.S.

March 25th, 2021|Comments Off on Do You Live Near Toxic Waste? See 1,317 of the Most Polluted Spots in the U.S.

Hazardous waste sites are scattered all across the country, from a Brooklyn canal once surrounded by chemical plants to a shuttered garbage incineration facility in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. There are more than 1,300 of these spots in all — dubbed “Superfund sites” by the federal government — where toxic chemicals from factories and landfills were dumped for decades, polluting the surrounding soil, water and air. Read More... Photo Credit: EPA

Governor Wolf: 50% of state government’s energy to come from solar power by 2023

March 24th, 2021|Comments Off on Governor Wolf: 50% of state government’s energy to come from solar power by 2023

On Monday, Governor Tom Wolf announced a major clean energy initiative that will produce nearly 50 percent of electricity for Pennsylvania's state government by the year 2023. According to the governor, the energy will be produced through seven new solar energy arrays totaling 191-megawatts, which will be build at several locations across the commonwealth. Part of the governor’s GreenGov initiative, Pennsylvania PULSE (Project to Utilize Light and Solar Energy) will go into operation on January 1, 2023. The project is the largest solar commitment by any government in the U.S. announced to date. Read More... Photo Credit: WHP Harrisburg

Eugene youth protest targets natural gas provider; 2 arrested

March 23rd, 2021|Comments Off on Eugene youth protest targets natural gas provider; 2 arrested

A youth-led protest against fossil fuels biked from Eugene's Skinner Butte Park to the Northwest Natural office, where demonstrators made speeches condemning the natural gas provider and performed a die-in protest on its lawn Friday. Two protesters, ages 19 and 21, were arrested for allegedly climbing over the Northwest Natural fence and were charged with trespassing, according to Eugene Police. Read More... Photo Credit: Ryan Brennecke/The Bulletin

Pennsylvania lawmakers urge Gov. Wolf to protect residents following EHN fracking investigation

March 22nd, 2021|Comments Off on Pennsylvania lawmakers urge Gov. Wolf to protect residents following EHN fracking investigation

On the heels of an Environmental Health News (EHN) study, 35 members of the Pennsylvania House and Senate have issued a public letter calling on state Governor Tom Wolf to take "immediate action in response to the ongoing harm" from fracking. The letter, led by State Senator Katie Muth and State Representatives Sara Innamorato, points to a study recently published by EHN that found evidence of exposure to harmful chemicals in families living near fracking wells. Read More... Photo Credit: Senator Katie Muth via Twitter

TRACKING THE INVISIBLE KILLER

March 19th, 2021|Comments Off on TRACKING THE INVISIBLE KILLER

MILLIE CORDER DIDN’T know why there was so much cancer in her family. Her daughter, Cheryl, was only 27 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer and 34 when the disease killed her in 2002. By that time, Millie’s husband, Chuck, had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. He recovered, only to develop skin cancer in 2005. The next year, Millie herself was diagnosed with colon cancer and, two years after that, with breast cancer. Those years were a blur as she shuttled back and forth between her office, her home, and doctors’ appointments. While she was recovering, Chuck died of his cancer. Two [...]

‘Environmental racism’? Tenn. pipeline sparks uproar

March 19th, 2021|Comments Off on ‘Environmental racism’? Tenn. pipeline sparks uproar

The Memphis City Council yesterday stepped into the path of a proposed oil pipeline through the Tennessee city, casting its opposition as a fight against "environmental racism." The council's 13 members unanimously passed a resolution opposing the Byhalia Connection pipeline, a joint project of Plains All American Pipeline LP and Valero Energy Corp. Members also gave unanimous initial approval to a proposed ordinance that would require City Council approval for new oil pipelines within city limits and set strict conditions. Several miles of the 49-mile pipeline would run through low-income, predominantly Black neighborhoods in South Memphis. Opponents say the area [...]

In Test for Environmental Justice, Grijalva and McEachin Urge Biden to Revoke Permits for Proposed Plastics Plant in Louisiana’s Cancer Alley

March 18th, 2021|Comments Off on In Test for Environmental Justice, Grijalva and McEachin Urge Biden to Revoke Permits for Proposed Plastics Plant in Louisiana’s Cancer Alley

Washington, D.C. March 17, 2021 – Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Rep. A. Donald McEachin (D-Va.), authors of the landmark Environmental Justice for All Act, wrote to President Biden today urging him to revoke Army Corps of Engineers permits for the proposed Formosa Plastics petrochemical complex located in St. James Parish. The site is in the heart of Louisiana’s Cancer Alley corridor, one of the most heavily polluted regions of the United States, and the community residents have expressly asked the federal government to protect them from further heavy industrial contamination. Read More... Photo Credit: Giles Clarke/Getty

Reproductive Problems in Both Men and Women Are Rising at an Alarming Rate

March 18th, 2021|Comments Off on Reproductive Problems in Both Men and Women Are Rising at an Alarming Rate

When you see or hear a reference to “the 1 percent,” most people think of socioeconomic status—the people with the top 1 percent of wealth or income in the United States, which is how the term is commonly used in our culture. Not us, though. What we think of is the fact that the whole spectrum of reproductive problems in males are increasing by about 1 percent per year in Western countries. This “1 percent effect” includes the rates of declining sperm counts, decreasing testosterone levels and increasing rates of testicular cancer, as well as a rise in the prevalence of erectile dysfunction. On the [...]

Environmental Justice Plays a Key Role in Biden’s Covid-19 Stimulus Package

March 17th, 2021|Comments Off on Environmental Justice Plays a Key Role in Biden’s Covid-19 Stimulus Package

President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid relief package includes a downpayment on his ambitious climate plan, including $100 million to address harmful air quality and environmental health risks in minority and low-income communities. The provisions begin to make good on Biden’s pledge to address environmental injustice as an integral part of his drive to put the nation on track to net zero carbon emissions by mid-century. And they constitute the U.S. government’s first response to the growing scientific evidence—at least 17 peer-reviewed studies so far—showing that areas with high levels of air pollution have higher coronavirus death rates or more severe outbreaks. Some studies [...]

Michael Regan and the Reconstruction of the U.S. EPA

March 16th, 2021|Comments Off on Michael Regan and the Reconstruction of the U.S. EPA

Many agencies of our national government suffered from neglect during the four years of Donald Trump’s anti-governmental reign as president, but EPA was already damaged when Trump arrived. Writing on this issue a year ago, I noted that EPA reduced: “…staff during the Obama years from 17,049 in 2009 to 14,777 in 2016 and was further reduced [under Trump] to 14,172 in 2019. Funding has been reduced from a peak of $10.3 billion in FY 2010 to $8.8 billion in FY 2019. These data do not account for inflation so the reductions over the past decade are underplayed by these figures.” Read [...]

Deb Haaland confirmed as first Native American Cabinet secretary

March 16th, 2021|Comments Off on Deb Haaland confirmed as first Native American Cabinet secretary

The Senate on Monday voted to confirm Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M., as President Joe Biden’s secretary of the Department of the Interior, making the second-term Democrat the first Native American Cabinet secretary in U.S. history. The vote was 51-40, with four Republicans joining Democrats in favor. Haaland, an enrolled member of the Laguna Pueblo, earned bipartisan support to run the Interior department, which has a staff of 70,000 employees and is charged with overseeing the country’s natural resources. The agency manages nearly 500 million acres of land, or one-fifth of the surface area of the United States. Read More... Photo Credit: Sarah [...]

Senate confirms Michael Regan to lead EPA

March 12th, 2021|Comments Off on Senate confirms Michael Regan to lead EPA

The Senate confirmed Michael Regan to lead the Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday, putting the North Carolina regulator in charge of restoring the climate and water pollution regulations that the Trump administration had weakened. Regan spent four years as secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, where his record of fixing environmental problems faced by low-income residents and communities of color drew national attention. It also propelled him to the Cabinet-level position above more prominent state regulators, such as California's Mary Nichols. Read More... Photo Credit: Caroline Brehman-Pool/Getty Images

EJSCREEN: The Environmental Litigation Tool of the Future?

March 11th, 2021|Comments Off on EJSCREEN: The Environmental Litigation Tool of the Future?

President Joseph Biden Jr. has committed to making major improvements in environmental justice communities (EJCs) by pledging to invest 40% of his $2 trillion clean energy plan into these communities. The question for industry is what this will look like and how it will impact business. A judicial order in a Louisiana district court case late last year could provide some clues. The EPA’s EJSCREEN mapping tool, used to identify pollution risks in minority and low-income communities, provided pivotal information for the judge. Read More... Photo Credit: Petrmalinak/Shutterstock.com

ANALYSIS: State Laws Are Codifying Environmental Justice

March 10th, 2021|Comments Off on ANALYSIS: State Laws Are Codifying Environmental Justice

A growing number of states are adopting laws that promote environmental justice (EJ), which is the equitable treatment and involvement of all people, regardless of demographic, in the development and application of environmental laws and policies. These laws are giving regulators and communities new tools to mitigate negative environmental impacts that have historically and disproportionately affected minority and low-income communities. Read More... Photo Credit: Bloomberg Law and Bloomberg Government

Living in a contaminated land: Navajo EPA’s assistant director says history of uranium contamination has gone on long enough

March 10th, 2021|Comments Off on Living in a contaminated land: Navajo EPA’s assistant director says history of uranium contamination has gone on long enough

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — Dariel Yazzie, Environmental Assistant Director for the Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) takes a deep breath when asked about why the cleanup of uranium mines on the Navajo Nation is important to him. “It’s personal,” he said. Yazzie shares that it has impacted his health and many of his family members’ health. Yazzie grew up in Cane Valley, southeast of Monument Valley, and said his maternal grandfather Luke Yazzie Sr. found uranium mill tailings less than a mile from their homestead. Their home was demolished in 2009 because of the contamination. Read More... Photo Credit: [...]

Hundreds of toxic sites at risk for flooding, which could endanger surrounding communities

March 9th, 2021|Comments Off on Hundreds of toxic sites at risk for flooding, which could endanger surrounding communities

NAVASSA, N.C. (SBG) — Millions of Americans live near Superfund sites, areas the federal government considers contaminated as a result of hazardous waste that was dumped, mismanaged or otherwise left out in the open. Many of those sites are still awaiting cleanup. And with climate change triggering sea-level rise, experts are ringing the alarm bell about the threat of flooding at Superfund sites, which could put the communities that surround them at risk. Read More... Photo Credit: Alex Brauer Volume 90%

Pollution is so bad in this Chicago neighborhood, people are on hunger strike to stop it

March 8th, 2021|Comments Off on Pollution is so bad in this Chicago neighborhood, people are on hunger strike to stop it

Oscar Sanchez’s fight against a scrapyard set to be relocated to his Southeast Chicago neighborhood has taken quite the physical toll. He’s lost about 20 pounds in the past month. He is increasingly unable to sleep, speak, or think clearly. Sometimes it’s so bad he can’t remember what he said even five minutes ago. Sanchez knows exactly why his mind and body are deteriorating: He is one of more than 100 Chicagoans participating in a hunger strike to force the city to rethink the scrapyard’s proposed location. The metal recycling plant used to be in a wealthy, mostly white neighborhood, but its [...]

In call for environmental justice, Biden’s climate agenda reaches into neighborhoods

March 8th, 2021|Comments Off on In call for environmental justice, Biden’s climate agenda reaches into neighborhoods

WASHINGTON — The census tracts span much of Pittsburgh, along with the suburban North Hills and South Hills. They snake along the banks of the regions rivers, encompassing small towns like Connellsville and Kittanning, rural swaths of Indiana County and the woods of the Allegheny National Forest. State officials have deemed the tracts as environmental justice zones: areas with high poverty rates or high rates of “non-white minorities,” or both, and that often contend with industrial development or pollution issues. Read More... Photo Credit: Andrew Rush/Post-Gazette

Texas cold snap froze cleanup efforts at some Superfund sites

March 5th, 2021|Comments Off on Texas cold snap froze cleanup efforts at some Superfund sites

Texas’ deep freeze was the latest warning that extreme weather events threaten to derail efforts to clean up the most toxic sites in the US. In a worst-case scenario, a natural disaster can unleash buried toxic substances. But even minimal damage or the mere threat of a storm can stop or slow cleanup efforts. That vulnerability could become a bigger problem as climate change brings about more weather-related disasters. For years, experts have pushed the Environmental Protection Agency to prepare for the onslaught. Read More... Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Environmental racism in Louisiana’s ‘Cancer Alley’, must end, say UN human rights experts

March 4th, 2021|Comments Off on Environmental racism in Louisiana’s ‘Cancer Alley’, must end, say UN human rights experts

Originally dubbed “Plantation Country”, Cancer Alley, which is located in the southern state of Louisiana along the lower Mississippi River where enslaved Africans were forced to labour, serves as an industrial hub, with nearly 150 oil refineries, plastics plants and chemical facilities. The ever-widening corridor of petrochemical plants has not only polluted the surrounding water and air, but also subjected the mostly African American residents in St. James Parish to cancer, respiratory diseases and other health problems. “This form of environmental racism poses serious and disproportionate threats to the enjoyment of several human rights of its largely African American residents, [...]

Fractured: The stress of being surrounded

March 3rd, 2021|Comments Off on Fractured: The stress of being surrounded

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Pa.—In the spring of 2019, after years worrying about exposures from a fracking well about a half mile from her grandkids' school, Jane Worthington decided to move them to another school district. Her granddaughter Lexy* had been sick on and off for years with mysterious symptoms, and Jane believed air pollution from the fracking well was to blame. She was embroiled in a legal battle aimed at stopping another well from being drilled near the school. She felt speaking out had turned the community against them. Read More... Photo Credit: Connor Mulvaney/Environmental Health News

A Recent Survey Casts New Light On America’s Racial Divide In Clean Tap Water Access

March 2nd, 2021|Comments Off on A Recent Survey Casts New Light On America’s Racial Divide In Clean Tap Water Access

Analysis of the 44 million Americans being served by water systems with recent health-based Safe Drinking Water Act violations, reveals overwhelming evidence of a clear racial divide in the provision of clean tap water in the United States. Not surprisingly, a new survey published by SOURCE Global PBC reveals a significant racial disparity in Americans’ trust in the quality of their domestic water supply. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data from 2016-2019 reveals that public water systems that constantly violate the Safe Drinking Water Act are 40% more likely to serve people of color, and take longer to come back into compliance among communities of color. Read More... Photo [...]

Huge, Global Study of Plastic Toys Finds Over 100 Substances That May Harm Children

March 2nd, 2021|Comments Off on Huge, Global Study of Plastic Toys Finds Over 100 Substances That May Harm Children

The potential health risks of chemicals used in plastic toys have had scientists concerned for years, but new research reveals just how widespread the risk of harm to children remains. In an international study, researchers assessed the chemical compositions of toys and estimated levels of human exposure to the substances, ultimately finding over 100 "Chemicals of Concern" in plastic toy materials that could pose a non-negligible health risk to children. "Out of 419 chemicals found in hard, soft, and foam plastic materials used in children toys, we identified 126 substances that can potentially harm children's health either via cancer or non-cancer effects, including 31 plasticisers, 18 [...]

EPA changes stand, sides with ethanol industry in court case

February 25th, 2021|Comments Off on EPA changes stand, sides with ethanol industry in court case

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The federal government announced Monday that it will support the ethanol industry in a lawsuit over biofuel waivers granted to oil refineries under President Donald Trump’s administration. The Environmental Protection Agency said it is reversing course and will support a January 2020 decision by the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a lawsuit filed by the Renewable Fuels Association and farm groups. The lawsuit is headed to arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court this spring. Read More... Photo Credit: M. Spencer Green/AP Photo, File

EPA takes action to address PFAS in drinking water

February 25th, 2021|Comments Off on EPA takes action to address PFAS in drinking water

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued two actions to protect public health by addressing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water, highlighting the agency’s commitment to address these long-lasting “forever chemicals” that can enter drinking water supplies and impact communities across the United States. The Biden-Harris administration is committed to addressing PFAS in the nation’s drinking water and will build on these actions by advancing science and using the agency’s authorities to protect public health and the environment. Read More... Photo Credit: Sora Shimazaki/Pexels

High concentrations of thallium, a heavy metal toxic to humans, detected on Wausau property

February 24th, 2021|Comments Off on High concentrations of thallium, a heavy metal toxic to humans, detected on Wausau property

Soil samples collected at a city-owned property targeted for potential redevelopment show high concentrations of metals including thallium, a substance now banned in the U.S. due to its extreme toxicity to humans. The test results are part of a Phase II environmental study performed by GEI Consultants and released in January that also noted levels of potentially cancer-causing contaminants as much as four times the industrial standard in some areas of the property at 1300 Cleveland Avenue. The roughly 7-acre property is south of Thomas Street and is surrounded largely by residential homes. Read More... Photo Credit: Geographic Information Systems

Texas freeze led to release of tons of air pollutants as refineries shut

February 24th, 2021|Comments Off on Texas freeze led to release of tons of air pollutants as refineries shut

NEW YORK/HOUSTON (Reuters) - The largest U.S. oil refiners released tons of air pollutants into the skies over Texas this past week, according to figures provided to the state, as refineries and petrochemical plants in the region scrambled to shut production during frigid weather. An arctic air mass that spread into an area unused to such low temperatures killed at least two dozen people in Texas and knocked out power to more than 4 million at its peak. It also hit natural gas and electric generation, cutting supplies needed to run the plants along the U.S. Gulf Coast. Shutdowns led [...]

Lawyers Are Working to Put ‘Ecocide’ on Par with War Crimes. Could an International Law Hold Major Polluters to Account?

February 23rd, 2021|Comments Off on Lawyers Are Working to Put ‘Ecocide’ on Par with War Crimes. Could an International Law Hold Major Polluters to Account?

When a Nigerian judge ruled in 2005 that Shell’s practice of gas flaring in the Niger Delta was a violation of citizens’ constitutional rights to life and dignity, Nnummo Bassey, a local environmental activist, was thrilled. Bassey’s organization, Friends of the Earth, had helped communities in the Niger Delta sue Shell for gas flaring, a highly polluting practice that caused mass disruption to communities in the region, polluting water and crops. Researchers had found that those disruptions were associated with increased rates of cancer, blood disorders, skin diseases, acid rain, and birth defects—leading to a life expectancy of 41 in the region, 13 years [...]

The Superfund program turns 40. And it’s a mess.

February 22nd, 2021|Comments Off on The Superfund program turns 40. And it’s a mess.

History will record that Abraham Browning first christened New Jersey "The Garden State" in 1876. But if such hokey nicknames had been distributed at any point in the last 40 years, my ancestral home might be The Superfund State. With roughly 150 toxic waste sites and only 35 deemed adequately cleaned up, Jersey is outpacing larger, more populous states like California and New York. Read More... Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

NJ to spend $100M on green energy, environmental justice

February 19th, 2021|Comments Off on NJ to spend $100M on green energy, environmental justice

Gov. Phil Murphy vowed to spend $100 million on clean transportation projects, much of which would be targeted to reducing unhealthy air quality in urban areas with communities that are already overburdened with pollution problems. The projects announced Tuesday include a range of initiatives aimed at electrifying the transportation sector. That would mean funding for projects to transition to electric buses and electrifying garbage and delivery trucks. It also includes money to switch from fossil fuel used by medium- and heavy-duty equipment in cargo handling operations at ports and funding to aid industrial areas in so-called environmental-justice communities. Read More... [...]

Watchdog says HUD failures resulted in lead poisoning at one housing development: report

February 19th, 2021|Comments Off on Watchdog says HUD failures resulted in lead poisoning at one housing development: report

The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) failures to enforce its environmental standards resulted in lead poisoning at a housing development in East Chicago, Ind., according to a report from the agency’s watchdog. The department’s Office of Inspector General reviewed the agency’s efforts to mitigate risks to residents of public housing near toxic waste dumps after the West Calumet Housing Complex was deemed uninhabitable in 2016. Read More... Photo Credit: Getty Images

Environmental Activists in Louisiana Call on Senator Cassidy to ‘Do No Harm’

February 18th, 2021|Comments Off on Environmental Activists in Louisiana Call on Senator Cassidy to ‘Do No Harm’

“It took courage for Senator Cassidy to vote against Trump,” Sharon Lavigne, the founder of the faith-based grassroots organization RISE St. James, said about the Louisiana Republican after the impeachment hearing of the former president. “He voted with his conscience, not his party. Now he has to find the courage to honor his oath as a doctor and stop more petrochemical plants from being built in fenceline communities.” Read More... Photo Credit: Julie Dermansky

MORE OHIOANS WANT SOME SAY IN SITING DRILLING WASTE INJECTION WELLS

February 17th, 2021|Comments Off on MORE OHIOANS WANT SOME SAY IN SITING DRILLING WASTE INJECTION WELLS

Each well drilled using hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for oil and gas production creates tens of millions of gallons of wastewater, called produced water or brine. In Ohio, much of that wastewater is disposed of in underground injection wells, including waste from Pennsylvania and West Virginia. As the number of injection wells grows in Ohio, local communities want some control over where these wells are located. In Belmont County, Ohio, Judy Burger’s husband is getting ready to retire. After 25 years, their peaceful home near the highway is quickly changing, “I’m a nervous wreck, I’m on blood pressure medicine,” she [...]

A Look at Environmental Justice Communities and Regulations

February 16th, 2021|Comments Off on A Look at Environmental Justice Communities and Regulations

President Joseph Biden Jr. has promised to up the ante for environmental justice (EJ) communities by “rooting out the systemic racism in our laws, policies, institutions, and hearts.” Although a complete rollout of Biden’s plan has not yet been revealed, his campaign plans and initial actions allow for some educated analysis as to what industry can expect for future regulations and enforcement actions. To reach an understanding of likely industry impacts, it’s important to look at the evolution of EJ regulations to date. Read More... Photo Credit: Lightspring/Shutterstock.com

Funding shortfall drastically impedes Superfund cleanup, leaving millions of Americans in the toxic lurch: report

February 12th, 2021|Comments Off on Funding shortfall drastically impedes Superfund cleanup, leaving millions of Americans in the toxic lurch: report

In the report, Superfund Underfunded: How taxpayers have been left with a toxic financial burden, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group analyzed data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to generate a report on the state of cleanup since the initial funding mechanism, the Polluter Pays Tax on culpable corporations, expired in 1995. “Millions of Americans live near these sites, which have chemicals either proven to cause — or suspected of causing — major health problems,” report author Jillian Gordner, who works on the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund’s campaigns against toxic substances, said in a statement. “Congress’s failure to [...]

SUPERFUND UNDERFUNDED

February 12th, 2021|Comments Off on SUPERFUND UNDERFUNDED

In 1980, Congress passed the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), informally called Superfund. The Superfund program was given the authority and funds to hold polluters responsible for cleaning up contaminated waste sites or clean up the sites themselves if no responsible party can be found or afford the cleanup. These toxic waste sites house some of the most “hazardous chemicals known to humankind.” The Superfund toxic waste program protects people from these contaminants and the serious health problems associated with them. The program was originally funded by a tax on the chemical and petroleum industries, but that tax [...]

Biden EPA dumps PFAS assessment over ‘political interference’

February 11th, 2021|Comments Off on Biden EPA dumps PFAS assessment over ‘political interference’

WASHINGTON, DC — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under President Joe Biden has yanked back the health assessment of a notable “forever chemical,” alleging the document was compromised by “political interference” in the final days of the Trump administration. The EPA announced Feb. 9 that it was removing from its website the toxicity assessment for PFBS, or perfluorobutanesulfonic acid, a PFAS compound that’s one of seven similar chemicals regulated by state law in Michigan public drinking water under rules passed last year. Read More... Photo Credit: Garret Ellison/MLive

Biden’s promise for justice tested in tribal coal fields

February 10th, 2021|Comments Off on Biden’s promise for justice tested in tribal coal fields

When three 775-foot-tall smoke stacks at the Navajo Generating Station came tumbling down in December, sending plumes of dust into the sky and thundering reverberations off the mesas of the Arizona high desert, it marked the end of an era. The federal government was instrumental in engineering the rise of the 2,250-megawatt coal plant 45 years ago, one of the country's largest prior to its closure in 2019. Now, President Biden faces questions about how to replace it, marking an early test of his promises to weave environmental and social justice into his climate agenda. Read More... Photo Credit: Jamie [...]

‘This Is How We Defend Ourselves’ — Harris County Residents Install DIY Pollution Monitoring Network

February 10th, 2021|Comments Off on ‘This Is How We Defend Ourselves’ — Harris County Residents Install DIY Pollution Monitoring Network

When a massive fire broke out at the Intercontinental Terminals Company in 2019, a thick plume of smoke blanketed parts of east Harris County for several days. Hospital admissions for asthma increased by about 65% compared to the same time in 2018, according to county data. A Deer Park 911 dispatcher named Brandy fielded calls as residents' phones began to buzz and beep with shelter-in-place notifications on the first morning of the fire. "All we can tell you is that the city manager’s office and the emergency management office have requested a shelter in place," she told one caller. "Yeah, [...]

‘A big promise’: Biden’s climate spending pledge faces early test

February 9th, 2021|Comments Off on ‘A big promise’: Biden’s climate spending pledge faces early test

President Joe Biden has promised 40 percent of the benefits from the $2 trillion he's aiming to spend on climate change will go to disadvantaged communities that have suffered the most from pollution. But figuring out how to spend that potential mountain of cash may vex the places vying for it and the lawmakers tasked with doling it out. People at the highest levels of Biden’s administration are huddling to try to meet the 120-day deadline Biden set out in his sprawling executive order on climate change to issue recommendations for spending that money. And figuring out the details while avoiding the blunders [...]

Ohio Fracked Gas Well Has Been Spilling For Over a Week

February 5th, 2021|Comments Off on Ohio Fracked Gas Well Has Been Spilling For Over a Week

NOBLE COUNTY, OH -- The Allegheny Front is reporting that a Noble County, Ohio fracked gas well has been spilling toxic radioactive oil and gas waste for over a week, with the fluid entering waterways and killing fish. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) was notified on Sunday, January 24 of the spill, but was not able to contain the spewing fluid until Wednesday, January 27. Per federal law, a spill should have to be reported to the national response center, but as of today no such report appears to have been made. It is not yet clear if state authorities ever [...]

UNUSED GAS WELL SPEWS WHAT’S SUSPECTED TO BE FRACK WASTE, KILLING FISH

February 5th, 2021|Comments Off on UNUSED GAS WELL SPEWS WHAT’S SUSPECTED TO BE FRACK WASTE, KILLING FISH

Ohio regulators are working at a gas well that started spewing what’s believed to be brine water from fracking into the environment more than a week ago. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, which regulates the oil and gas industry, said in an email that it was notified on Sunday, January 24 that fluid, what the agency called “produced brine,” was spraying out of an oil and gas well in the Crooked Tree area near Dexter City in Noble County. Read More... Photo Credit: Amber Deem via Facebook

Marathon to fund projects in southwest Detroit to settle refinery emissions violations

February 5th, 2021|Comments Off on Marathon to fund projects in southwest Detroit to settle refinery emissions violations

Detroit – Marathon Petroleum Co. will invest more than $ 500,000 in community projects and will pay the state nearly $ 82,000 in fines under an emissions agreement signed this week to resolve emissions violations. State Department of the Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy on Wednesday released the final terms of their agreement with the southwest Detroit refinery that includes an expected $ 539,000 investment in environmental protection for the neighborhood at 48217. Read More... Photo Credit: Paul Sancya/AP

COVID Amplifies Environmental Injustice in Chicago

February 4th, 2021|Comments Off on COVID Amplifies Environmental Injustice in Chicago

Southwest Chicago's Little Village neighborhood is one of the city's most polluted neighborhoods and has also been ravaged by the novel coronavirus, Grist reports, yet another stark instance in which the pandemic has illuminated and exacerbated existing environmental injustices. The immigrant-rich neighborhood has been pummeled by COVID-19. At one point last November, one in nine Little Village residents had a confirmed case of COVID-19 and residents in two of its ZIP codes were 15 times more likely to die from it than those living in the overwhelmingly white Near Northside neighborhood just over half-a-dozen miles away. Read More... Photo Credit: Max Herman/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The US ignored Louisiana’s ‘cancer alley’ for decades. Will Biden finally take action?

February 3rd, 2021|Comments Off on The US ignored Louisiana’s ‘cancer alley’ for decades. Will Biden finally take action?

For five years I have fought against the polluters who have poisoned our community in Louisiana’s “cancer alley”, or as we call it now, “death alley”. And for decades our fight has been ignored by the US government. This makes President Joe Biden’s decision to reference “cancer alley” earlier last week, as he signed new climate and environmental justice orders, a meaningful and great moment. But for me the distance between seeing Mr Biden address our problems directly, and anything actually coming to fruition, is a long gap. And I will have to wait to see some direct results. Read [...]

Two Biden Priorities, Climate and Inequality, Meet on Black-Owned Farms

February 2nd, 2021|Comments Off on Two Biden Priorities, Climate and Inequality, Meet on Black-Owned Farms

Sedrick Rowe was a running back for Georgia’s Fort Valley State University when he stumbled on an unexpected oasis: an organic farm on the grounds of the historically Black school. He now grows organic peanuts on two tiny plots in southwest Georgia, one of few African-American farmers in a state that has lost more than 98 percent of its Black farmers over the past century. “It weighs on my mind,” he said of the history of discrimination, and violence, that drove so many of his predecessors from their farms. “Growing our own food feels like the first step in getting [...]

Michigan approves Great Lakes oil pipeline tunnel permits

February 1st, 2021|Comments Off on Michigan approves Great Lakes oil pipeline tunnel permits

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s environmental agency said Friday it has approved construction of an underground tunnel to house a replacement for a controversial oil pipeline in a channel linking two of the Great Lakes. The decision, a victory for Enbridge Inc., comes as the Canadian company resists Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s demand to shut down its 68-year-old line in the Straits of Mackinac. Enbridge disputes her claim — echoed by environmentalists and native tribes — that the pipeline segment crossing the 4-mile-wide (6.4-kilometer-wide) waterway is unsafe. But Enbridge had earlier sought to ease public concern by striking a deal with Whitmer’s predecessor, [...]

Biden climate plan: Environmental justice ‘writ large’

February 1st, 2021|Comments Off on Biden climate plan: Environmental justice ‘writ large’

With the stroke of a pen, President Biden brought nearly half a century of environmental justice activism to its culmination yesterday. Biden signed an executive order that promises a governmentwide approach to the disproportionate pollution burdens faced by many communities of color. But many advocates say Biden's success on confronting environmental justice will be judged on how the order is implemented. Read More... Photo Credit: Anna Moneymaker/picture alliance/Consolidated News Photos/Newscom

Court rules against fast-track of Trump EPA’s ‘secret science’ rule

January 29th, 2021|Comments Off on Court rules against fast-track of Trump EPA’s ‘secret science’ rule

A federal judge in Montana late Wednesday ruled against the Trump administration’s attempt to fast-track a controversial rule about how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers scientific evidence, endangering its future under the Biden administration. The Trump EPA had characterized the rule, which would restrict the use of studies that don’t make their underlying data publicly available, as procedural, allowing it to go into effect immediately. Judge Brian Morris, an Obama appointee, disagreed, determining that the rule was substantive and ordering that it can’t go into effect until Feb. 5. Read More... Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Asbestos At The Mill And In The Black Neighborhood Around It

January 27th, 2021|Comments Off on Asbestos At The Mill And In The Black Neighborhood Around It

An estimated 2,200 tons of asbestos are buried in a mound behind the five-acre former Carolina Asbestos Company in downtown Davidson. It's the leftover byproduct of the company that made shingles, automotive brake linings and other asbestos products from 1930 to about 1970. While the factory was up and running, sometimes asbestos floated in the air into surrounding yards. Over the years, it also ran onto neighborhood streets and into a stream downhill from the factory. And some was moved around town intentionally — carried from the mill to fill in people's yards and driveways. Longtime resident Marvin Brandon knows [...]

Newark and New Jersey officials reach settlement in yearslong lawsuit over lead contamination of city drinking water

January 27th, 2021|Comments Off on Newark and New Jersey officials reach settlement in yearslong lawsuit over lead contamination of city drinking water

The city of Newark, New Jersey, resolved yearslong litigation Tuesday in connection to its water crisis, in which city drinking water was contaminated with illegally high levels of lead. Officials from the city and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) reached an agreement with the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Newark Education Workers Caucus, which sued city and state officials in June 2018 for ongoing violations of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, including their failure to address the lead crisis on a timely basis. A New Jersey federal judge signed an order Tuesday approving the settlement. [...]

Biden to place environmental justice at center of sweeping climate plan

January 27th, 2021|Comments Off on Biden to place environmental justice at center of sweeping climate plan

President Biden made tackling America’s persistent racial and economic disparities a central part of his plan to combat climate change Wednesday, prioritizing environmental justice for the first time in a generation. As part of an unprecedented push to cut the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions and create new jobs as the United States shifts toward cleaner energy, Biden directed agencies across the federal government to invest in low-income and minority communities that have traditionally borne the brunt of pollution. “Lifting up these communities makes us all stronger as a nation and increases the health of everybody,” Biden said. Biden signed an [...]

Southwest Memphis landowners mount legal defense against oil pipeline’s use of eminent domain

January 26th, 2021|Comments Off on Southwest Memphis landowners mount legal defense against oil pipeline’s use of eminent domain

A lawyer for two Southwest Memphis landowners is challenging eminent domain lawsuits filed by Byhalia Pipeline against his clients, asserting in court filings that the building of an oil pipeline through residential properties does not serve residents and is a threat to the water supply. “There is no public purpose here for the citizens of Memphis,” said attorney Scott Crosby. “It is crude oil being taken from a plant across people’s yards, across people’s homes, across people’s property they’ve had for generations into Mississippi and connecting with another part of their pipeline. At no time is the crude oil going [...]

How an environmental justice controversy sparked in Upper Darby

January 26th, 2021|Comments Off on How an environmental justice controversy sparked in Upper Darby

Although Betty Byrd Smith has been retired from disability advocacy since 2007, she will not let perceived injustices happen on her watch — even after a recent hip replacement. Smith, who has lived in Lansdowne for more than 30 years, had created flyers and had led door-to-door petitioning, though not for quite some time. However, a recent moment of “serendipity” during a walk to buy a newspaper at a local market changed all that: Smith saw a sign about at a special exception being sought for a solid waste management facility at 41 S. Union Ave. in Upper Darby Township [...]

Hundreds Challenge Open Burning of PFAS by U.S. Army

January 25th, 2021|Comments Off on Hundreds Challenge Open Burning of PFAS by U.S. Army

Nearly 300 people - including representatives of 72 civic, environmental, veterans and health organizations from around the nation - have issued a joint statement <https://cswab.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Public-comment-to-EPA-TDEC-opposing-open-burning-of-PFAS-by-U.S.-Army-FINAL-SIGNED-16-Jan-2021.pdf>  calling on state and federal regulators to prohibit open air burning of PFAS and other toxic chemicals at the Holston Army Ammunition Plant in Tennessee. The burning, which has been going on for decades, produces toxic smoke that often envelops neighboring homes in the city of Kingsport. The letter follows a recent announcement <https://cswab.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Holston-Clean-Air-Act-Title-V-Modifications-and-Public-Notice-Dec-2020.pdf>  that U.S. EPA Region 4 and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation intend to re-issue a Title V (Clean Air [...]

One-third of US rivers have changed color in recent decades, research finds

January 22nd, 2021|Comments Off on One-third of US rivers have changed color in recent decades, research finds

Rivers may seem like immutable features of the landscape but they are in fact changing color over time, a new study has found. Researchers compiled a database of satellite images of major rivers in the United States from 1984 to 2018 and learned that about a third have significantly changed color in less than 40 years. The overall significance of the changes are unclear and could reflect various ways in which humans are impacting the environment, said lead author John Gardner, an assistant professor of geology and environmental science at the University of Pittsburgh. Read More... Photo Credit: USGS/NASA Landsat

South Dakota tribes applaud cancellation of Keystone XL Pipeline, Thune decries ‘bad decision’

January 21st, 2021|Comments Off on South Dakota tribes applaud cancellation of Keystone XL Pipeline, Thune decries ‘bad decision’

Tribal leaders in South Dakota are applauding President Joe Biden's day one move to halt the Keystone XL Pipeline at the country's northern border, calling the action a willingness to listen to Native American voices. Tribes in South Dakota have been opposed to and protesting the pipeline's construction for more than a decade. Biden canceled its permit as part of a number of promises to address climate change. Read More... Photo Credit: Sue Ogrocki/AP

Biden Rejoins Paris Climate Agreement, Halts Arctic Oil Leasing

January 21st, 2021|Comments Off on Biden Rejoins Paris Climate Agreement, Halts Arctic Oil Leasing

President Joe Biden signed sweeping actions to combat climate change just hours after taking the oath of office, moving to rejoin the Paris accord and imposing a moratorium on oil leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Environmentalists said Biden’s actions -- some of which could take years to be implemented -- renew the U.S. commitment to safeguarding the environment and signal to the world that America has returned to the global fight against climate change. Read More... Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

EPA Takes Action to Investigate PFAS Contamination

January 19th, 2021|Comments Off on EPA Takes Action to Investigate PFAS Contamination

WASHINGTON (January 14, 2021) — As part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) extensive efforts to address PFAS, today the agency is making new information available about EPA testing that shows PFAS contamination from fluorinated containers. Through a coordinated effort with both the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and a pesticide manufacturer, the agency has determined that fluorinated high-density polyethylene (HDPE) containers that are used to store and transport a mosquito control pesticide product contain PFAS compounds that are leaching into the pesticide product. While the agency is early in its investigation and assessment of potential impacts on health or the environment, the affected pesticide manufacturer has voluntarily stopped shipment of any products in fluorinated HDPE containers and is conducting its own testing to confirm EPA results and product stability in un-fluorinated containers. In addition, EPA [...]

Watchdog Agency: Energy Sector Needs to Decrease Methane Emissions

January 19th, 2021|Comments Off on Watchdog Agency: Energy Sector Needs to Decrease Methane Emissions

Oil and gas companies are not doing enough to decrease the release of methane gases, a main source of planet-heating emissions, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in a new report released Monday. In 2020, the fuel industries emitted about 5% of all global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions, the IEA report said. The energy sector is the second-largest emitter of methane worldwide, following agriculture, according to the IEA’s Methane Tracker. The agency noted that methane emissions have decreased by 10% in the past year, but added it is mostly because of a decrease in economic activity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read More... [...]

Trump leaves murky Superfund legacy

January 16th, 2021|Comments Off on Trump leaves murky Superfund legacy

Environmental advocates have largely been critical of President Trump, but some still offer praise for the Trump EPA's attention to toxic sites. The Trump administration has also touted its successes in deleting Superfund sites, which allows those areas to begin revitalization efforts and apply for grants to bolster economic growth. Under the leadership of former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and current chief Andrew Wheeler, the agency prioritized Superfund delistings as well as partial delistings. Pruitt, in particular, said Superfund cleanups would be a focus of his EPA when he took the reins in 2017. After Pruitt's departure in July 2018, [...]

Op-ed: A push for answers about the environmental causes of child cancer

January 15th, 2021|Comments Off on Op-ed: A push for answers about the environmental causes of child cancer

"Prevention is the cure for child/teen cancer." This is the welcoming statement on a website called 'TheReasonsWhy.Us', where families affected by childhood cancers can sign up for a landmark new study into the potential environmental causes. The study is a joint project between Texas Children's Hospital, part of the world's largest medical center, and The Oliver Foundation, founded by the parents of a 12-year-old boy who died 36 hours after he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, one week after the onset of headaches. Read more...  

Hazardous Homes | Thousands of U.S. Public Housing Residents Live in the Country’s Most Polluted Places

January 15th, 2021|Comments Off on Hazardous Homes | Thousands of U.S. Public Housing Residents Live in the Country’s Most Polluted Places

IN SOME WAYS, they couldn’t be more different. Gerica Cammack is a Black woman from Alabama; Floyd Kimball is a white man from rural Idaho. Yet they’re facing a similar ordeal. They’re both single parents, forced by difficult circumstances to live in government-subsidized housing surrounded by pollution that is, or could be, poisoning their children. Like tens of thousands of people across the country, they live near, or on, some of the most toxic places in the nation. And the government has failed to protect them. Read more... Photo credit: Andi Rice for The Intercept

Trump’s EPA team overrules career scientists on toxic chemical

January 14th, 2021|Comments Off on Trump’s EPA team overrules career scientists on toxic chemical

Political officials at EPA have overruled the agency’s career scientists to weaken a major health assessment for a toxic chemical contaminating the drinking water of an estimated 860,000 Americans, according to four sources with knowledge of the changes. The changes to the safety assessment for the chemical PFBS, part of a class of "forever chemicals" called PFAS, is the latest example of the Trump administration's tailoring of science to align with its political agenda, and another in a series of eleventh-hour steps the administration has taken to hamstring President-elect Joe Biden's ability to support aggressive environmental regulations. Read more... Photo Credit: [...]

Ex-Governor of Michigan Charged With Neglect in Flint Water Crisis

January 14th, 2021|Comments Off on Ex-Governor of Michigan Charged With Neglect in Flint Water Crisis

Rick Snyder, the former governor of Michigan who oversaw the state when a water crisis devastated the city of Flint, has been charged with two counts of willful neglect of duty, according to court records. The charges are misdemeanors punishable by imprisonment of up to one year or a maximum fine of $1,000. Prosecutors in Michigan will report their findings in a wide-ranging investigation into the water crisis on Thursday, officials said, a long-awaited announcement that is also expected to include charges against several other officials and top advisers to Mr. Snyder. Read more... Photo credit: Brittany Greeson for The [...]

U.S. Communities Unequally Exposed To Arsenic in Drinking Water, Study Finds

January 14th, 2021|Comments Off on U.S. Communities Unequally Exposed To Arsenic in Drinking Water, Study Finds

Despite efforts to reduce the amount of arsenic in drinking water systems across the U.S., not all communities have benefited from these efforts equally. A study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives earlier this month describes the regions in which arsenic remained prevalent in public drinking water supplies after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) adjusted its regulations in 2006.1 Researchers found that smaller communities in the Southwest, places reliant on groundwater systems, and Hispanic communities were more likely to have continued high levels of arsenic contamination. Read more... Photo credit: Westend61 / Getty Images

Ex-Michigan governor Rick Snyder to be charged in Flint water scandal – report

January 13th, 2021|Comments Off on Ex-Michigan governor Rick Snyder to be charged in Flint water scandal – report

Former Michigan governor Rick Snyder, his health director and other ex-officials have been told they’re being charged after a new investigation of the Flint water scandal, which devastated the majority Black city with lead-contaminated water and was blamed for a deadly outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in 2014-15, the Associated Press has learned. Two people with knowledge of the planned prosecution told the AP on Tuesday that the attorney general’s office has informed defense lawyers about indictments in Flint and told them to expect initial court appearances soon. They spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because they were not [...]

EPA rule exempts many polluting industries from future air regulations

January 13th, 2021|Comments Off on EPA rule exempts many polluting industries from future air regulations

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Tuesday finalized a rule that would allow future greenhouse gas limits only on power plants, sidestepping oversight over the oil and gas industry, iron and steel manufacturers and other polluting industries. The new rule from the EPA argues that only sectors whose pollution accounts for more than 3 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions are “considered to contribute significantly to dangerous air pollution.” The rule is a direct response to a 2017 executive order from President Trump that asked agencies to “immediately review existing regulations that potentially burden the development or use of domestically [...]

Environmental groups sue in bid to block EPA ‘secret science’ rule

January 12th, 2021|Comments Off on Environmental groups sue in bid to block EPA ‘secret science’ rule

Green groups on Monday filed a lawsuit in an attempt to prevent a new rule limiting the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) use of certain studies from taking effect. The lawsuit takes aim at the EPA’s Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science rule, also known as the "secret science" rule, which restricts the use of studies that don’t make their underlying data public. The agency has billed the rule as a transparency measure, though its opponents argue that it will prevent consideration of important public health studies that can’t publish their data for reasons such as privacy. Read more... Photo credit: istock

Years After Flint Water Crisis, Lead Lingers in School Buildings

January 11th, 2021|Comments Off on Years After Flint Water Crisis, Lead Lingers in School Buildings

he federal appropriations bill for the 2021 fiscal year, signed into law this week, included $26.5 million to test for lead in schools and child care centers, a nod to the legacy of the Flint water crisis, which lifted the issue of lead in drinking water into the national spotlight. The bill was signed a week after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency introduced new requirements for water utilities to test water in elementary schools and day cares for lead. The Flint crisis spurred a national conversation on the dangers of exposing children to lead. “It really alters the entire life-course [...]

Trump administration pollution rule strikes final blow against environment

January 7th, 2021|Comments Off on Trump administration pollution rule strikes final blow against environment

The Environmental Protection Agency has completed one of its last major rollbacks under the Trump administration, changing how it considers evidence of harm from pollutants in a way that opponents say could cripple future public-health regulation. The EPA administrator, Andrew Wheeler, formally announced the completion of what he calls the “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science” rule in a Zoom appearance before Competitive Enterprise Institute, a conservative thinktank on Tuesday. The EPA completed the final rule last week. Read more... Photo credit: Alex Brandon/AP

Enjoying New Clout, Environmental Justice Groups May Press Biden

January 6th, 2021|Comments Off on Enjoying New Clout, Environmental Justice Groups May Press Biden

Though it may have been eclipsed in headlines and worrying by the coronavirus pandemic, the climate crisis has not gone away. As new President Joe Biden tries to implement policies with the goal of redirecting economic development toward greenhouse gas reduction, he'll have to contend with pressure not only from groups on the right who oppose environmental regulations, but with those on the left who may see Biden's plans as too timid. Read more... Photo credit: (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Oil Chem owner accused of dumping nearly 50 million gallons of landfill liquid into Flint sewers

January 6th, 2021|Comments Off on Oil Chem owner accused of dumping nearly 50 million gallons of landfill liquid into Flint sewers

FLINT, MI - Federal prosecutors accuse the owner and president of a Flint chemical company with dumping nearly 50 million gallons of untreated liquid drained from eight different landfills into the city’s sewer system. Robert J. Massey, the president and owner of Oil Chem Inc., 711 W. 12th St., is charged in a U.S. District Court indictment with a felony of knowing violation of the Clean Water Act. Massey is charged with directing “his employees to dispose of the landfill leachate through a hose from a tank to a sanitary sewer drain located at the Oil Chem facility, without treatment [...]

Environmental groups allege Texas rubber-stamped industrial plants’ pollution — and that the EPA looked the other way

January 5th, 2021|Comments Off on Environmental groups allege Texas rubber-stamped industrial plants’ pollution — and that the EPA looked the other way

A group of Texas environmental groups say the federal Environmental Protection Agency looked the other way when Texas didn’t require tough enough rules on air pollution for several refineries, gas plants and chemical plants. The Environmental Integrity Project, along with other Texas environmental groups, filed a lawsuit against EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler on Monday after he did not respond to a petition by the groups to correct what they say is a violation of federal law in Texas. Read more... Photo credit: REUTERS/Loren Elliott

Environmental justice advocate dies at 65

January 4th, 2021|Comments Off on Environmental justice advocate dies at 65

SPOKANE — Deb Abrahamson, whose fight for environmental justice made her a major figure in the push to clean up the legacy of uranium mining on the Spokane Indian Reservation, died at sunrise on New Year’s Day. She was 65. The cause of Abrahamson’s death was cancer that she attributed to the very pollution she devoted so much of her life to fighting. Read more... Photo credit: Tyler Tjomsland/Spokesman-Review

How a Charlottesville podcast brings environmental justice issues to light

December 31st, 2020|Comments Off on How a Charlottesville podcast brings environmental justice issues to light

“Broken Ground,” a podcast that discusses environmental stories in the southern United States, has recently come out with a new season that focuses on citizens — specifically in Norfolk and Charleston, S.C. — dealing with sea level rise and all the flooding that comes with it. The podcast is produced in the Charlottesville office of the Southern Environmental Law Center. Read more... Photo credit: Carolyn Lane | The Cavalier Daily

The environmental justice issue no one wants to talk about

December 30th, 2020|Comments Off on The environmental justice issue no one wants to talk about

Environmental justice is having a moment. The term, which encompasses the many ways by which low-income people and communities of color suffer an unequal burden from pollution, contamination, and climate change, has seen a surge in use, largely due to the recent American political campaign. Democratic primary candidates frequently mentioned environmental justice (or environmental racism) in their stump speeches, campaign pledges, and in debates — an indication that ideas that were not in the political discourse a decade ago, may shape some future climate policies. Environmental justice came up frequently enough in the primary that the first-ever Presidential Environmental Justice [...]

Activists Eye a Superfund Reboot Under Biden With a Focus on Environmental Justice and Climate Change

December 29th, 2020|Comments Off on Activists Eye a Superfund Reboot Under Biden With a Focus on Environmental Justice and Climate Change

The uber challenge facing the incoming Biden administration’s Environmental Protection Agency in its oversight of 1,570 hazard waste sites is best summed in a name that’s become synonymous with the daunting task: Superfund. The “Superfund” started out as a trust fund created by Congress in 1980 to finance cleanups, paid for by billions of dollars in taxes on the chemical and petroleum industries. Congress allowed the tax to expire 25 years ago. Now, with the trust fund empty, Superfund has become the name of a drastically underfunded federal program responsible for ensuring the industries responsible for these toxic sites do [...]

Warehouses create lower-paying jobs and environmental pollution in Fontana

December 23rd, 2020|Comments Off on Warehouses create lower-paying jobs and environmental pollution in Fontana

Mayor Acquanetta Warren responded to an outpour of opposition to ongoing warehouse development in a letter to the editor on Nov. 27, 2020. Unsurprisingly, she failed to meaningfully respond to residents' growing concerns about building warehouses next to our homes and our children's schools, as well as the harmful environmental impacts that are exacerbating in the city of Fontana, surrounding communities, and damaging our children's health. In her response, Mayor Warren affirmed to the community that she has opted for a "status-quo" approach to economic investment and advancement opportunities, even though residents want and have demanded better. Read more...  

Another PFAS detected in wells near Coakley Landfill

December 23rd, 2020|Comments Off on Another PFAS detected in wells near Coakley Landfill

NORTH HAMPTON – Former state Rep. Mindi Messmer believes residents who live near the Coakley Landfill Superfund site should be concerned by detections of another PFAS contaminant in private wells. “It is concerning because once again we have people exposed to a chemical that we have no enforceable standards for,” Messmer said after perfluorooctanesulfonamide (PFOSA) was found in private wells near the landfill. “Other states are taking steps to regulate PFOSA and New Hampshire needs to do the same.” Read more... Photo credit: Ioanna Raptis/Seacoastonline

Biden taps Michael Regan to lead EPA, Deb Haaland for interior secretary

December 22nd, 2020|Comments Off on Biden taps Michael Regan to lead EPA, Deb Haaland for interior secretary

President-elect Joseph R. Biden tapped North Carolina environmental regulator Michael Regan to lead the Environmental Protection Agency and named Rep. Deb Haaland of New Mexico as his pick for interior secretary, as he moved Thursday to fill out the team tasked with implementing a far-reaching climate agenda. Mr. Regan, a veteran of the EPA during the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, is currently the secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. If confirmed, he would be the first Black man to serve as EPA Administrator. Read more... Photo credit: The Washington Times

BIDEN LINKS CLIMATE CHANGE, JOBS AND ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE

December 22nd, 2020|Comments Off on BIDEN LINKS CLIMATE CHANGE, JOBS AND ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE

Introducing his climate team, President-elect Biden said his administration would respond to the existential threat of climate change “by building a modern, climate-resilient infrastructure and a clean energy future” that would put millions of Americans to work. “And we are committed to facing climate change by delivering environmental justice.” Read more... Photo credit: Angelia Weiss, Getty Images contributor

Coalition presses for environmental justice in climate bill

December 21st, 2020|Comments Off on Coalition presses for environmental justice in climate bill

BOSTON (SHNS) – A coalition of more than 40 groups that includes long-standing environmental organizations, big players in the state’s financial world, tech companies, and more sent a letter Friday to the lawmakers trying to hammer out a climate bill highlighting the importance of including environmental justice provisions in the final product. Read more... Photo credit: Massachusetts State House

“If Only I Would’ve Known” Oil & Gas Whistleblowers Speak Out About Exposure to Radioactivity on Fracking Jobs

December 15th, 2020|Comments Off on “If Only I Would’ve Known” Oil & Gas Whistleblowers Speak Out About Exposure to Radioactivity on Fracking Jobs

The year is 2014, and the sleepy mining and agricultural towns of Northern Appalachia have transformed into gold-rush towns. But this is a new type of gold – Shale gas. These towns sit above an underground formation called the Marcellus Shale that could help make America the world’s greatest producer of natural gas – and in 2014 the Marcellus region is booming. The restaurants are buzzing, bars packed, hotels full for the first time since many people can remember. Each generation of this area has seen the boom and the bust of other major industries – timber, coal, steel – [...]

Naval Power Plant Proposal Tests Virginia On Environmental Justice

December 14th, 2020|Comments Off on Naval Power Plant Proposal Tests Virginia On Environmental Justice

In the first major test of Virginia's historic environmental justice law, the state's air board Dec. 3 approved a U.S. Navy proposal to build a power plant near a predominately Black community with higher-than-normal rates of respiratory illnesses. Environmental and health advocates were dismayed by the State Air Pollution Control Board's 5–1 decision, saying it shows that the state still hasn't fully embraced equity and justice at the regulatory level. Board members, meanwhile, pointed out that the Navy plans to install technologies that will ensure the plant produces few emissions. Read more... Photo credit: Don S. Montgomery, USN (Ret.)

Claims of ‘Bleak’ Environmental Justice Record Appear to Fell a Biden Favorite

December 14th, 2020|Comments Off on Claims of ‘Bleak’ Environmental Justice Record Appear to Fell a Biden Favorite

WASHINGTON — When Joseph R. Biden, Jr. won the presidential election, his top candidate to lead the nation’s most powerful environmental agency appeared clear: Mary D. Nichols, California’s clean air regulator and arguably the country’s most experienced climate change official, was seen as a lock to run the Environmental Protection Agency. Now Mr. Biden’s team is scrambling to find someone else, according to several people who have spoken with the presidential transition team. The chief reason: This month, a group of more than 70 environmental justice groups wrote to the Biden transition charging that Ms. Nichols has a “bleak track [...]

Environmental Justice Leaders Look for a Focus on Disproportionately Impacted Communities of Color

December 14th, 2020|Comments Off on Environmental Justice Leaders Look for a Focus on Disproportionately Impacted Communities of Color

For environmental justice advocates who have spent decades fighting to protect communities from polluters, the new year cannot come too soon. After four years of the Trump administration shredding the Environmental Protection Agency into “little tidbits,” as President Donald Trump put it during his first campaign, change is in the air. President-elect Joe Biden has vowed to make the climate crisis and environmental justice guiding principles of his administration from day one, Jan. 20. It’s a huge promise—and a tall order. Read more... Photo credit: Spike Johnson

Looking back: How dioxin and flooding wiped Times Beach off the map

December 11th, 2020|Comments Off on Looking back: How dioxin and flooding wiped Times Beach off the map

On Dec. 5, 1982, about a month after residents learned of dangerous dioxin levels in Times Beach, the town along the Meramec River was ravaged by a record-breaking flood. The flood damaged or destroyed most homes in the town. Read more... Photo credit: St Louis Post-Dispatch Staff photographer

Biden can’t move the needle on environmental justice without these 2 things

December 8th, 2020|Comments Off on Biden can’t move the needle on environmental justice without these 2 things

President-elect Joe Biden campaigned on the most ambitious environmental justice plan ever offered by the nominee of a major political party. His Build Back Better agenda included a commitment to invest 40 percent of his $2 trillion clean energy plan into communities living on the front lines of poverty and pollution. At the same time, his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, co-authored the Climate Equity Act with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), outlining ways the next administration can operationalize environmental justice across the agencies. After a summer of historic protests that saw some 15 million to 26 million people [...]

Xavier Becerra Brings Environmental Justice to Forefront

December 8th, 2020|Comments Off on Xavier Becerra Brings Environmental Justice to Forefront

Martha Romero felt that she had to send her daughters to safety. She had seen air pollution grow worse in recent years as the truck traffic near her San Bernardino neighborhood increased so she made the difficult decision to send her three daughters to live with her mother, whose home is farther from the worst of the fumes and dust from the unending parade of trucks moving to and from nearby warehouses. “Unfortunately, we cannot keep them in an air bubble,” she said. A coalition of local organizations is leading the fight against the expansion of the San Bernardino International [...]

Trump Administration Declines to Tighten Soot Rules, Despite Link to Covid Deaths

December 8th, 2020|Comments Off on Trump Administration Declines to Tighten Soot Rules, Despite Link to Covid Deaths

The Trump administration on Monday declined to tighten controls on industrial soot emissions, disregarding an emerging scientific link between dirty air and Covid-19 death rates. In one of the final policy moves of an administration that has spent the past four years weakening or rolling back more than 100 environmental regulations, the Environmental Protection Agency completed a regulation that keeps in place the current rules on tiny, lung-damaging industrial particles, known as PM 2.5, instead of strengthening them, even though the agency’s own scientists have warned of the links between the pollutants and respiratory illness. In April, researchers at Harvard [...]

New Interim Strategy Will Address PFAS Through Certain EPA-Issued Wastewater Permits

December 1st, 2020|Comments Off on New Interim Strategy Will Address PFAS Through Certain EPA-Issued Wastewater Permits

WASHINGTON (November 30, 2020) — Aggressively addressing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the environment continues to be an active and ongoing priority for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Today, the agency is announcing two important steps to address PFAS. First, EPA issued a memorandum detailing an interim National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting strategy for addressing PFAS in EPA-issued wastewater permits. Second, EPA released information on progress in developing new analytical methods to test for PFAS compounds in wastewater and other environmental media. Together, these actions help ensure that federally enforceable wastewater monitoring for PFAS can begin as soon as validated [...]

Biden shortlist for White House key environmental post shows focus on environmental justice

December 1st, 2020|Comments Off on Biden shortlist for White House key environmental post shows focus on environmental justice

President-elect Joe Biden is vetting three environmental justice leaders to head up the White House agency that will take the lead in coordinating efforts to safeguard communities disproportionately affected by pollution, according to sources familiar with the process. The shortlist for head of the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) signals a focus by the incoming Biden administration on environmental policies that aim to ensure improved clean air and water for poor and minority communities that have historically taken the brunt of industrial pollution. The Biden transition team is considering Mustafa Santiago Ali, Cecilia Martinez and Brenda Mallory to [...]

In Georgia, 16 Superfund Sites Are Threatened by Extreme Weather Linked to Climate Change

December 1st, 2020|Comments Off on In Georgia, 16 Superfund Sites Are Threatened by Extreme Weather Linked to Climate Change

From a distance, the inland marsh a few miles from the Atlantic Ocean in Brunswick, Georgia, looks like a broad, green mat broken by silvery threads of meandering rivers and creeks. There's cordgrass four feet tall, and sea daisies that add a splash of starburst color. The marsh is home to shrimp, blue crab and sea trout, and it's the nesting site of Great Egrets. Bottlenose dolphins inhabit the nearby Turtle/Brunswick River Estuary in Glynn County. But looks can be deceiving. Beneath the bucolic green expanse, the water and sediment contain toxic mercury and PCBs from the now closed LCP [...]

Six Environmental Heroes Awarded Goldman Prize for ‘Taking a Stand, Risking Their Lives and Livelihoods, and Inspiring Us’

November 30th, 2020|Comments Off on Six Environmental Heroes Awarded Goldman Prize for ‘Taking a Stand, Risking Their Lives and Livelihoods, and Inspiring Us’

After a long year of environmental disasters across the globe and in the midst of a public health crisis that has killed well over a million people, six "environmental heroes" were announced on Monday as winners of the 2020 Goldman Environmental Prize, an annual honor that recognizes grassroots activists from each of the world's inhabited continental regions. "These six environmental champions reflect the powerful impact that one person can have on many," John Goldman, president of the Goldman Environmental Foundation, said in a statement. "In today's world, we witness the effects of an imbalance with nature: a global pandemic, climate [...]

William Sanjour: Battle Hardened, Never Beaten

November 24th, 2020|Comments Off on William Sanjour: Battle Hardened, Never Beaten

Read the story of William Sanjour, who blew the whistle on the EPA and throughout his career. How long does it take to fight the good fight? How long can one stand in the arena and continue the battle? For some whistleblowers, it can be decades, and William Sanjour is a case in point. For half his life, he has been a whistleblower and a whistleblower advocate. He was the point man in a court case that reverberates to this day, and he outsmarted many people who tried desperately to silence him. Read more...

7 Ways Biden Can Fight Climate Change Without Any Help from Congress

November 24th, 2020|Comments Off on 7 Ways Biden Can Fight Climate Change Without Any Help from Congress

When Joe Biden delivered his first speech as president-elect two weeks ago, he focused on his mandate to “marshal the forces of science and the forces of hope in the great battles of our time.” Climate change was high on that list. After another year of unprecedented climate disasters, Biden will enter office with the most ambitious plans of any incoming president to wean our country off fossil fuels. To deliver on his promises of “getting climate under control,” Biden will need to follow the prevailing science that suggests the United States achieve about a 45 percent reduction in its greenhouse [...]

Commentary: Stop shifting polluters around the city and develop an environmental justice plan

November 23rd, 2020|Comments Off on Commentary: Stop shifting polluters around the city and develop an environmental justice plan

When it comes to letting Reserve Management Group close its General Iron plant on the North Side and move the metal-shredding operations to the Southeast Side, we understand that Mayor Lori Lightfoot has a problem. She has to worry about keeping businesses in the city. Jobs and tax revenues are at stake. But because this is Chicago, and because General Iron has shown its operations continue to pollute the city’s air, she also has to take environmental justice into account when considering this move. Though not confined to Chicago, environmental injustice has been endemic here. Systemic racism, in the form [...]

A destructive legacy: Trump bids for final hack at environmental protections

November 23rd, 2020|Comments Off on A destructive legacy: Trump bids for final hack at environmental protections

Donald Trump is using the dying embers of his US presidency to hastily push through a procession of environmental protection rollbacks that critics claim will cement his legacy as an unusually destructive force against the natural world. Trump has yet to acknowledge his election loss to president-elect Joe Biden but his administration has been busily finishing off a cavalcade of regulatory moves to lock in more oil and gas drilling, loosened protections for wildlife and lax air pollution standards before the Democrat enters the White House on 20 January. Read more... Photo credit: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

Under Biden, Environmental Justice Advisers See Path for Action Via Infrastructure Investments

November 19th, 2020|Comments Off on Under Biden, Environmental Justice Advisers See Path for Action Via Infrastructure Investments

Environmental justice has found its way into President-elect Joe Biden’s transition plan as a “key consideration” for policy-making, and advocates are cautiously optimistic. And though a divided Congress is likely, they suspect an infrastructure bill — long promised but never delivered under the Trump administration — is a potential avenue for investing in communities that have borne the brunt of pollution and environmental racism. These “frontline” communities, whose populations are predominantly Black or other people of color, are those that experience the first and worst consequences of climate change and other environmental problems. The new administration’s ability to allocate 40 [...]

Jeff Bezos is now the biggest climate activism donor—and that’s a problem

November 18th, 2020|Comments Off on Jeff Bezos is now the biggest climate activism donor—and that’s a problem

On Nov. 16, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced the first round of grantees from his “Earth Fund,” which has committed to ultimately channel $10 billion to climate change-related causes and groups. In this first crop, 16 organizations will receive a total of $791 million, making Bezos the world’s biggest backer of climate activism. In one day, he single-handedly boosted the total amount of climate-related philanthropic funding available in the US by around 11%. But the list of recipients is raising some objections—both because of its potential to greenwash Amazon’s own climate accountability, and because it significantly favors well-funded Beltway institutions [...]

U.S. EPA Announces $200,000 Environmental Justice Grant to California Office of Planning & Research

November 17th, 2020|Comments Off on U.S. EPA Announces $200,000 Environmental Justice Grant to California Office of Planning & Research

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the selection of the California Office of Planning and Research’s Strategic Growth Council to receive $200,000 for trainings to communities to address air quality and COVID-19 – the respiratory disease shown to disproportionately impact individuals exposed to higher levels of air pollution. “EPA is working to improve the environment and public health conditions of low-income and minority communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the COVD-19 pandemic,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator John Busterud. This grant assistance will provide meaningful tools for those Californians in the greatest of need.” Read more...  

The 2020 Hurricane Season in Rewind

November 17th, 2020|Comments Off on The 2020 Hurricane Season in Rewind

The 2020 hurricane season, which brought destructive storms from Central America to the Gulf Coast of the United States and beyond, has proved to be one for the record books. The storms began before the hurricane season officially kicked off, with the formation of Tropical Storm Albert in mid-May, two weeks before the official start of the Atlantic season on June 1. In August, midway through the six-month season, scientists upgraded their outlook to say 2020 would be “one of the most active seasons,” and said they expected up to 25 named storms by the time it was over. By [...]

Trump Administration, in Late Push, Moves to Sell Oil Rights in Arctic Refuge

November 17th, 2020|Comments Off on Trump Administration, in Late Push, Moves to Sell Oil Rights in Arctic Refuge

The Trump administration on Monday announced that it would begin the formal process of selling leases to oil companies in a last-minute push to achieve its long-sought goal of allowing oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. That sets up a potential sale of leases just before Jan. 20, Inauguration Day, leaving the new administration of Joseph R. Biden Jr., who has opposed drilling in the refuge, to try to reverse them after the fact. Read more... Photo credit: Christopher Miller for The New York Times

Biden to Emphasize Chemicals Concerns of ‘Frontline’ Communities

November 11th, 2020|Comments Off on Biden to Emphasize Chemicals Concerns of ‘Frontline’ Communities

President-elect Joe Biden’s administration will pay more attention than the Trump administration to the concerns of people with higher-than-average chemical exposures as it decides whether those chemicals should be regulated, attorneys said. In last month’s final presidential debate, Biden described the health fears faced by “frontline” communities—generally those in poor areas with a predominantly minority population that live near oil refineries and chemical manufacturers. “It matters how you keep them safe,” he said. “You impose restrictions on the pollution.” Read more... Photo credit: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Biden suspects toxic exposure in Iraq killed Beau. He has a plan for ill veterans

November 11th, 2020|Comments Off on Biden suspects toxic exposure in Iraq killed Beau. He has a plan for ill veterans

Joe Biden, like many other families of service members diagnosed with illnesses from overseas deployments, suspects toxic exposure may have been behind his son Beau’s brain cancer. Beau Biden boarded a military aircraft for Iraq on Nov. 19, 2008, just days after his father became vice president-elect. He deployed with the Delaware Army National Guard to Balad Air Base, where the U.S. military burned an estimated 140 tons of waste a day in open air burn pits. Read more... Photo credit: BY SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION

Cuomo Pushes to Weaken Ban on Toxic Foam Burning

November 10th, 2020|Comments Off on Cuomo Pushes to Weaken Ban on Toxic Foam Burning

A bill to stop the burning of toxic foam has become a flashpoint between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and its sponsors, as the governor’s office pushes to retain the authority to greenlight the practice in the future. Residents of Cohoes, a small city in Albany County, learned in February that a hazardous waste incinerator owned by Norlite LLC, an industrial materials manufacturer, had been burning shipments of toxic firefighting foam. In response to public concern about the health risks and national press attention, a bill banning the incineration of the foam in Cohoes passed the Senate and Assembly unanimously in June. Lawmakers and advocates familiar [...]

9 Things the Biden Administration Could Do Quickly on the Environment

November 9th, 2020|Comments Off on 9 Things the Biden Administration Could Do Quickly on the Environment

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. campaigned on the most ambitious climate platform of any presidential candidate in history, promising to spend $2 trillion over four years to draw down planet-warming fossil fuel emissions and convert much of the nation to clean energy. The possibility that the Senate could remain under the control of Republicans, who have generally opposed climate legislation, puts a damper on some of his biggest-ticket plans. But with or without Democratic control of the Senate, the first 100 days of the Biden administration are likely to see a flurry of executive actions addressing climate change, as well [...]

Tiny air pollution rise linked to 11% more Covid-19 deaths – study

November 6th, 2020|Comments Off on Tiny air pollution rise linked to 11% more Covid-19 deaths – study

A small rise in people’s long-term exposure to air pollution is associated with an 11% increase in deaths from Covid-19, research has found. Another recent study suggests that 15% of all Covid-19 deaths around the world are attributable to dirty air. The available data only allows correlations to be established and further work is needed to confirm the connections, but the researchers said the evidence was now strong enough that levels of dirty air must be considered a key factor in handling coronavirus outbreaks. The new analysis is based on research reported by the Guardian in April, which has now been reviewed [...]

U.S. formally exits Paris climate change pact amid election uncertainty

November 5th, 2020|Comments Off on U.S. formally exits Paris climate change pact amid election uncertainty

BERLIN — The United States on Wednesday formally left the Paris Agreement, a global pact forged five years ago to avert the threat of catastrophic climate change. The move, long threatened by President Donald Trump and triggered by his administration a year ago, further isolates the U.S in the world but has no immediate impact on international efforts to curb global warming. Some 189 countries remain committed to the 2015 Paris accord, which aims to keep the increase in average temperatures worldwide “well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), ideally no more than 1.5C (2.7 F), compared to pre-industrial levels. A further six countries have signed, [...]

No We Still Aren’t Done. Honestly, I can’t wait for 2020 to be done.

November 5th, 2020|Comments Off on No We Still Aren’t Done. Honestly, I can’t wait for 2020 to be done.

This year has been one of the most challenging since I fought along side my neighbors in Love Canal. For those not familiar, Love Canal is a dumpsite full of 20,000 tons of toxic chemicals, located in Niagara Falls, NY. I bought a puppy. I needed something to help cope that wouldn't destroy my health. Like fighting to obtain relief from the Love Canal leaking dumpsite this year has been one crisis after another. One friend, ally, family member after another feeling sick, worried about COVID or passing away - - alone. Our work at CHEJ had to be totally [...]

‘Crossroads of the climate crisis’: swing state Arizona grapples with deadly heat

November 4th, 2020|Comments Off on ‘Crossroads of the climate crisis’: swing state Arizona grapples with deadly heat

Even now, Ivan Moore can’t think why his father didn’t didn’t tell anyone that the air conditioning in their house was busted. “I honestly don’t know what was going through his mind,” he said. That week three years ago, temperatures in Phoenix, Arizona were forecasted to top 115F (46C). Moore, his wife and two children went to the mountains for a camping trip, and his dad Gene, stayed behind. A few days later, Gene died. The air conditioning had been blowing hot air. “He’d opened a window but it was too hot,” Moore said. “My dad’s heart basically gave out [...]

People of color more likely to live without piped water in richest US cities

November 4th, 2020|Comments Off on People of color more likely to live without piped water in richest US cities

People of color in some of America’s wealthiest cities are significantly more likely to live in houses without indoor plumbing essential for running water, new research reveals. Clean, safe, affordable water is essential for human health and economic survival. Yet access to running water is not universal in the United States, ostensibly the richest country in the world. Nationwide, almost half a million homes do not have piped water, with the majority – 73% – located in urban areas. In fact, almost half the houses without plumbing are located in the country’s top 50 cities. Read more... Photo credit: Christin [...]

Pipeline Company Agrees to Pay $800,000 in Fines, Road Fixes

November 3rd, 2020|Comments Off on Pipeline Company Agrees to Pay $800,000 in Fines, Road Fixes

A natural gas pipeline company and one of its contractors has agreed to pay $300,000 to settle allegations that they violated Massachusetts environmental protection laws during the construction of a natural gas pipeline in 2017, and another $500,000 to repair a stretch of road damaged during the project, the state attorney general's office said. Kinder Morgan subsidiary Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. damaged a vernal pool and other protected wetland resources areas, degraded water quality in a cold water fishery, and discharged 15,000 gallons of contaminated pipeline test water directly onto the ground during construction of the pipeline through Sandisfield and Otis State Forest, according [...]

Americans May Add Five Times More Plastic to the Oceans Than Thought

November 3rd, 2020|Comments Off on Americans May Add Five Times More Plastic to the Oceans Than Thought

The United States contribution to coastal plastic pollution worldwide is significantly larger than previously thought, possibly by as much as five times, according to a study published Friday. The research, published in Science Advances, is the sequel to a 2015 paper by the same authors. Two factors contributed to the sharp increase: Americans are using more plastic than ever and the current study included pollution generated by United States exports of plastic waste, while the earlier one did not. Read more... Photo credit: Francisco Robles/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

What Voters in Battleground States Think About Climate Change

November 3rd, 2020|Comments Off on What Voters in Battleground States Think About Climate Change

Climate change has emerged as a major issue for voters this year, both nationally and in crucial battleground states like Arizona and Florida, new polls from The New York Times and Siena College suggest. Nationwide, 58 percent of Americans said they were either “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” about their communities being harmed by climate change, according to a survey conducted in mid-October, with 39 percent saying they were “not too concerned” or “not at all concerned.” Read more... Photo credit: The New York Times/Sienna College Poll

Trump’s EPA rewrote the rules on air, water energy. Now voters face a choice on climate change issues

October 30th, 2020|Comments Off on Trump’s EPA rewrote the rules on air, water energy. Now voters face a choice on climate change issues

Cherise Harris noticed a change in her eldest daughter soon after the family moved a block away from a 132-year-old coal-fired power plant in Painesville, Ohio. The teen’s asthma attacks occurred more frequently, Harris said, and she started carrying an inhaler with her at all times. The family didn’t know it at the time, but Painesville’s municipal-owned plant emits nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide – two pollutants that the American Lung Association says inflames air passages, causing shortness of breath, chest tightness, pain and wheezing.   Read more... Photo credit: Getty Images

Duke study finds high PFAS levels in Pittsboro residents’ blood

October 30th, 2020|Comments Off on Duke study finds high PFAS levels in Pittsboro residents’ blood

A new Duke University study has found that the concentrations of some potentially cancerous per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances — or PFAS — are two to four times higher in the blood of Pittsboro residents than the U.S. population as a whole. The study also found that some types of PFAS chemicals found in Pittsboro residents’ blood are “strikingly similar” to those found in the blood of Wilmington residents during an earlier study conducted by N.C. State and East Carolina universities. Read more... Photo credit: Pxfuel, Creative Commons

The $16 Million Was Supposed to Clean Up Old Oil Wells; Instead, It’s Going to Frack New Ones

October 30th, 2020|Comments Off on The $16 Million Was Supposed to Clean Up Old Oil Wells; Instead, It’s Going to Frack New Ones

North Dakota's top oil and gas regulator had a problem. With winter bearing down, his department had yet to spend $16 million in federal coronavirus relief funds earmarked for cleaning up abandoned oil and gas well sites across the state, and the arrival of cold weather would halt the work.  If the money wasn't spent by the end of the year, the state would lose it. So Lynn Helms, director of the state's Department of Mineral Resources, proposed a different use for the funds: paying oil companies to hydraulically fracture new wells. Read more... Photo credit: William Campbell/Corbis via Getty [...]

In Deep Red Tennessee, Senate Candidate Marquita Bradshaw Talks Environmental Justice

October 29th, 2020|Comments Off on In Deep Red Tennessee, Senate Candidate Marquita Bradshaw Talks Environmental Justice

Tennessee’s Republican movers and shakers probably weren’t expecting pollution to be a major issue in this year’s Senate race. Since Al Gore vacated his Senate seat in 1993 to serve as Bill Clinton’s vice president, Tennesseans have elected only Republicans to the chamber and the GOP has become nearly synonymous with environmental deregulation. But Marquita Bradshaw’s surprise win in the state’s Democratic primary in August has made environmental justice one of the race’s signature issues.  The question now is whether, after 27 years, Tennesseans will spring a surprise and elect a Democrat to replace retiring three-term Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander — [...]

Buckingham’s next environmental justice fight? Maybe gold mining

October 29th, 2020|Comments Off on Buckingham’s next environmental justice fight? Maybe gold mining

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is dead. So what’s next for Buckingham County? Gold, apparently. This month, plans by a Canadian gold mining company to extract the valuable commodity from thousands of acres in Buckingham surfaced, setting off a wave of alarm in a community that fought five years to keep a natural gas pipeline from being built through their corner of Central Virginia. Read more... Photo credit: Daily Progress File

EPA Releases Updated 2019 TRI Data

October 29th, 2020|Comments Off on EPA Releases Updated 2019 TRI Data

For Release: October 27, 2020 Today, EPA is releasing updated 2019 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data, continuing the agency’s commitment to providing the public with important data and information about chemicals in their communities. This dataset builds upon the preliminary data released in July, including revised submissions and additional data quality checks, and will be used to develop the 2019 TRI National Analysis. The 2019 data set contains data about chemical releases and other waste management practices and pollution prevention activities that took place during 2019 at more than 21,000 federal and industrial facilities across the country. You can use these [...]

Climate justice is at the center of the Biden-Harris plan for tribal nations

October 28th, 2020|Comments Off on Climate justice is at the center of the Biden-Harris plan for tribal nations

The abuse and neglect experienced by tribal nations throughout U.S. history has had far-reaching consequences. A wide range of health metrics for Indigenous people fall far short of those of other Americans, as does their access to preventative health care (and even, in some cases, their access to running water). Now, unsurprisingly, COVID-19 is having an outsized impact on Indigenous communities. In hopes of combating these disparities, earlier this month the Biden presidential campaign released the “Biden-Harris Plan for Tribal Nations,” which outlines how the Democratic nominee’s administration would support better health outcomes for Indigenous communities.   Read more... Photo [...]

Another Reason We Can’t Breathe

October 28th, 2020|Comments Off on Another Reason We Can’t Breathe

Dr. Robert Bullard had trouble selling a book in the late Eighties about what he knew to be true. He had written about a subject on which he’d long sounded the alarm: racism involving a sort of discrimination that is much more silent, a violence that doesn’t come via a policeman’s gun or baton. It doesn’t carry the dramatics of a cross burning on the lawn, nor make as many headlines as the racial disparities in America’s economic or medical systems. Bullard was trying to tell the world about the kind of racism that could come through our water taps, [...]

First U.S. Small Nuclear Reactor Design Is Approved

October 26th, 2020|Comments Off on First U.S. Small Nuclear Reactor Design Is Approved

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has approved the design of a new kind of reactor, known as a small modular reactor (SMR). The design, from the Portland, Ore.–based company NuScale Power, is intended to speed construction, lower cost and improve safety over traditional nuclear reactors, which are typically many times larger. Supporters of SMRs have long touted them as a way to help revive the country’s nuclear industry and widen the spread of low-carbon electricity. But some experts have expressed concerns over the potential expense and remaining safety issues that the industry would have to address before any such [...]

INEOS tank collapse rattles region

October 26th, 2020|Comments Off on INEOS tank collapse rattles region

A tank collapse at Lima’s INEOS plant shook parts of the region Sunday night, but authorities assured residents there was no threat to the community. The Shawnee Township Fire Department responded to INEOS at 1900 Fort Amanda Road, Lima, at 7:59 p.m. Sunday, according to John Norris, platoon chief and public information officer for the Shawnee Township Fire Department. They found a tank had collapsed. There were no injuries, and crews remained on scene for several hours. Read more...  

Her Town Depended on the Mill. Was It Also Making the Residents Sick?

October 21st, 2020|Comments Off on Her Town Depended on the Mill. Was It Also Making the Residents Sick?

In 1981, a doctor in a small mill town in Maine read a study suggesting that prostate and colon cancers in his community were nearly double the national average. Spooked, he brought the research to the board of directors at the local hospital; they ignored it. A few years later, a survey conducted by the Maine Department of Health suggested that the town, Rumford, had an especially high incidence of cancer, aplastic anemia and lung disease. The state epidemiologist insisted that the data were inconclusive. In 1991, a TV news series christened the area “Cancer Valley” because of the number [...]

Black Americans in ‘Cancer Alley’ disproportionately exposed to toxic pollution

October 19th, 2020|Comments Off on Black Americans in ‘Cancer Alley’ disproportionately exposed to toxic pollution

In St. James Parish, Louisiana, residents face some of the highest cancer risks in the country due to air pollution from the nearby 85-mile industrial corridor. Taiwanese plastics company Formosa plans to build a 2,400 acre site that could double the toxic emissions in the parish.  Read more... Photo credit: NBC News

The Trump Administration Is Reversing Nearly 100 Environmental Rules. Here’s the Full List.

October 19th, 2020|Comments Off on The Trump Administration Is Reversing Nearly 100 Environmental Rules. Here’s the Full List.

Over four years in office, the Trump administration has dismantled major climate policies and rolled back many more rules governing clean air, water, wildlife and toxic chemicals. While other administrations have emphasized cutting regulations, calling them burdensome to industries like coal, oil and gas, the scope of actions under Mr. Trump is “fundamentally different,” said Hana V. Vizcarra, a staff attorney at Harvard Law School’s Environmental and Energy Law Program. In all, a New York Times analysis, based on research from Harvard Law School, Columbia Law School and other sources, counts more than 70 environmental rules and regulations officially reversed, [...]

Inside the climate battle quietly raging about US homes

October 15th, 2020|Comments Off on Inside the climate battle quietly raging about US homes

Some challenges to US climate action are obvious – like when Donald Trump boasts about leaving the international Paris agreement and rolling back pollution rules. But many more play out behind the scenes. One of those is the battle over efforts to make America’s new homes and buildings more energy-efficient.  On one side are the city and state officials trying to go greener, and on the other are real estate developers and the natural gas industry. Read more... Photo credit: Justin Lane/EPA

Florida Sees Signals of a Climate-Driven Housing Crisis

October 14th, 2020|Comments Off on Florida Sees Signals of a Climate-Driven Housing Crisis

If rising seas cause America’s coastal housing market to dive — or, as many economists warn, when — the beginning might look a little like what’s happening in the tiny town of Bal Harbour, a glittering community on the northernmost tip of Miami Beach. With single-family homes selling for an average of $3.6 million, Bal Harbour epitomizes high-end Florida waterfront property. But around 2013, something started to change: The annual number of homes sales began to drop — tumbling by half by 2018 — a sign that fewer people wanted to buy. Read more... Photo credit: Rose Marie Cromwell for The [...]

Under Trump, Criminal Prosecutions for Pollution Dropped Sharply

October 13th, 2020|Comments Off on Under Trump, Criminal Prosecutions for Pollution Dropped Sharply

Prosecutions of environmental crimes have “plummeted” during the Trump administration, according to a new report. The first two years of the Trump administration had a 70 percent decrease in criminal prosecutions under the Clean Water Act and a decrease of more than 50 percent under the Clean Air Act, the Environmental Crimes Project at the University of Michigan law school found. Read more... Photo credit: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

Tighter Border Policies Leave Migrants Vulnerable to Effects of Climate Change

October 13th, 2020|Comments Off on Tighter Border Policies Leave Migrants Vulnerable to Effects of Climate Change

As the planet continues to warm, people living in the world’s most vulnerable regions — like arid or low-lying nations — must contend with the decision to stay in a place where livability is decreasing or leave for countries with more stable climate and economic conditions. Read more... Photo credit: ENN

Claiming Major Superfund ‘Success,’ Trump EPA Focused on Completing Cleanups – But Climate Change Dangers Went Unaddressed

October 9th, 2020|Comments Off on Claiming Major Superfund ‘Success,’ Trump EPA Focused on Completing Cleanups – But Climate Change Dangers Went Unaddressed

For the last two years of the Obama administration, Jacob Carter built data models at the Environmental Protection Agency that showed how extreme weather events amplified by climate change threatened hundreds of the nation's worst toxic waste dumps, known as Superfund sites. President Barack Obama had made combating climate change the EPA's No. 1 priority, and Carter was a true believer, working on plans the agency's regional administrators could use to safeguard those sites. But when President Donald Trump took office in 2017, everything changed at the EPA. Trump was a climate change denier, and soon the words "climate change" [...]

As Shell’s construction moves into final stage, citizens organize environmental self-defense classes

October 9th, 2020|Comments Off on As Shell’s construction moves into final stage, citizens organize environmental self-defense classes

To date, what we know about the petrochemical plant under construction in Beaver County has come from its owner, Shell Chemical Co. That won’t always be the case. When the plant starts producing its plastic pellets sometime in the next few years, it will put information into the world, through air and water emissions. A number of local environmental and citizen groups are mobilizing to scoop up that data and shift the information and, they hope, the power dynamic between the multinational company and its Beaver County neighbors. Read more... Photo credit: Andrew Rush / Post-Gazette

Air pollution particles in young brains linked to Alzheimer’s damage

October 7th, 2020|Comments Off on Air pollution particles in young brains linked to Alzheimer’s damage

Tiny air pollution particles have been revealed in the brain stems of young people and are intimately associated with molecular damage linked to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. If the groundbreaking discovery is confirmed by future research, it would have worldwide implications because 90% of the global population live with unsafe air. Medical experts are cautious about the findings and said that while the nanoparticles are a likely cause of the damage, whether this leads to disease later in life remains to be seen. Read more... Photo credit: Nick Ansell/PA

Lead cleanup near water source prompts federal indictment of NC city official

October 6th, 2020|Comments Off on Lead cleanup near water source prompts federal indictment of NC city official

A federal indictment filed last month in Asheville’s U.S. District Court names only Brevard Public Works Director David S. Lutz in the mishandling of lead-laden soil from the city’s abandoned Police Department firing range. He is singled out for ignoring a consultant’s warning that the soil’s lead concentration was 129 milligrams per liter — more than 25 times higher than the federal hazardous waste threshold. He’s the one who faces federal charges for ordering workers in May 2016 to transport 20 truckloads of the toxic dirt, without the legally required documents, to a city public works operations center not permitted [...]

EPA Grants Oklahoma Control Over Tribal Lands

October 6th, 2020|Comments Off on EPA Grants Oklahoma Control Over Tribal Lands

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has granted the state of Oklahoma regulatory control over environmental issues on nearly all tribal lands there, TYT has learned. This strips from 38 tribes in Oklahoma their sovereignty over environmental issues. It also establishes a legal and administrative pathway to potential environmental abuses on tribal land, including dumping hazardous chemicals like carcinogenic PCBs and petroleum spills, with no legal recourse by the tribes, according to a former high-level official of the EPA. Read more... Photo credit: Pool photo by Al Drago via Getty Images

Environmental agencies are violating civil rights laws — and the EPA is letting them

October 6th, 2020|Comments Off on Environmental agencies are violating civil rights laws — and the EPA is letting them

In the early 1990s, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality held a series of public hearings to consider whether or not to grant a permit to the Genesee Power Station, a wood-burning facility that was to be built in a low-income, predominantly Black neighborhood in Flint. The hearings were supposed to be an opportunity for the community to weigh in on the effects that the resulting pollution would have on their neighborhood, but the agency held the hearings 65 miles away, had armed guards present when speakers testified, and prioritized white attendees over Black attendees. The permit was approved, and [...]

Governor Murphy Directs That State Agency Decisions Be Guided by Environmental Justice Principles

October 5th, 2020|Comments Off on Governor Murphy Directs That State Agency Decisions Be Guided by Environmental Justice Principles

Today, the Department of Environmental Protection issued guidance according to Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 23 that will assist all state government agencies in furthering the promise of environmental justice, DEP Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe announced. As Governor Phil Murphy noted upon signing the nation’s most empowering environmental justice law on September 18, when the whole of government works to fulfill the promise of environmental justice, all New Jersey communities can thrive together. Read more... Photo credit: Official Site of the State of New Jersey

800 million children still exposed to lead

October 5th, 2020|Comments Off on 800 million children still exposed to lead

As many as 800 million children have dangerously high lead values in their blood. The neurotoxin can cause permanent brain damage. The huge international numbers come from a new report from Pure Earth and UNICEF. Pure Earth works to solve pollution problems that can be harmful to humans. "A child's earliest years of life are characterized by rapid growth and brain development. This makes children particularly vulnerable to harmful substances in the environment," says Kam Sripada, a postdoc at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) who has contributed to the report. Read more... Photo credit: Association of Medical [...]

Drilling Permits Cancelled For Underground Natural Gas Storage Project

October 5th, 2020|Comments Off on Drilling Permits Cancelled For Underground Natural Gas Storage Project

Ohio environmental regulators have canceled key permits needed for an underground natural gas liquids storage facility proposed along the Ohio River. According to an order from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, permits to drill three three Class III solution mining wells in Monroe County, Ohio were cancelled on Sept. 21. Cancellation was requested by Powhatan Salt Company LCC. The proposed wells are associated with the Mountaineer NGL Storage project, a multi-million dollar underground natural gas liquids storage project.   Read more... Photo credit: Benny Becker

EPA finalizes rule allowing some major polluters to follow weaker emissions standards

October 2nd, 2020|Comments Off on EPA finalizes rule allowing some major polluters to follow weaker emissions standards

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Thursday finalized a rule that could reclassify many "major" sources of pollution as minor ones, allowing facilities to abide by less-stringent emissions standards for dangerous substances such as mercury, lead and arsenic. The reclassification changes a 1995 rule that for decades has held major emitters to tighter standards even if their operators have taken actions to reduce their pollution - a policy known as "once in, always in." Read more... Photo credit: Getty Images

Why Biodegradable Isn’t What You Think

October 2nd, 2020|Comments Off on Why Biodegradable Isn’t What You Think

You care about the planet, and would like to avoid bottles and other goods made of single-use plastic. But it’s complicated. Choosing products with packaging that claims to be “biodegradable” or “compostable” might mean that they degrade only under special conditions, and could complicate recycling efforts, said Jason Locklin, the director of the New Materials Institute at the University of Georgia. “It’s tremendously confusing, not just to the consumer, but even to many scientists,” he said. Read more... Photo credit: Big Green Smile

A Satellite Lets Scientists See Antarctica’s Melting Like Never Before

October 1st, 2020|Comments Off on A Satellite Lets Scientists See Antarctica’s Melting Like Never Before

New data from space is providing the most precise picture yet of Antarctica’s ice, where it is accumulating most quickly and disappearing at the fastest rate, and how the changes could contribute to rising sea levels. Read more... Photo credit: NASA ICESat and ICESat-2

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/9/30/toxins-in-plastics-blamed-for-health-environment-hazards

October 1st, 2020|Comments Off on https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/9/30/toxins-in-plastics-blamed-for-health-environment-hazards

Evidence suggests several chemical additives in plastic products and packaging are poisoning consumers, harming the environment and undermining recycling initiatives, according to a new study, which calls for the development of safer alternatives. Read more... Photo credit: Ricardo Franco | EPA

Another toxic EPA cookbook

September 30th, 2020|Comments Off on Another toxic EPA cookbook

President Donald Trump and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s environmental agenda — massive cuts to the EPA budget, short-circuited environmental reviews, reduced enforcement, weaker rules and scores of rollbacks of environmental protections — is shamelessly out of step with overwhelming public support for protecting the environment. The main strategy for selling this toxic stew has been to highlight its “benefits” and downplay its harms. Not content with that, the Trump administration is also working on new tricks to cook the books and hide the benefits of environmental protections. Read more... Photo credit: Getty Images

Trump Administration Releases Plan to Open Tongass Forest to Logging

September 29th, 2020|Comments Off on Trump Administration Releases Plan to Open Tongass Forest to Logging

The Trump administration on Friday finalized its plan to open about nine million acres of the pristine woodlands of Alaska’s Tongass National Forest to logging and road construction. The administration’s effort to open the Tongass, the nation’s largest national forest, has been in the works for about two years, and the final steps to complete the process have been widely expected for months. They come after years of prodding by successive Alaska governors and congressional delegations, which have pushed the federal government to exempt the Tongass from a Clinton-era policy known as the roadless rule, which banned logging and road [...]

8 Texas cities were alerted to a brain-eating amoeba found in water supply

September 28th, 2020|Comments Off on 8 Texas cities were alerted to a brain-eating amoeba found in water supply

Residents of eight cities have been alerted that a brain-eating amoeba was found in a southeast Texas water supply, leading one of the towns to issue a disaster declaration. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality issued a water advisory to residents served by the Brazosport Water Authority warning customers not to use any water due to the presence of Naegleria fowleri, a brain-eating amoeba, found in the water supply on Friday evening. "The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality at the direction of the Governor's Office is working with Brazosport Water Authority to resolve the issue as quickly as possible," the [...]

California Gov. signs order banning sale of gasoline-powered cars by 2035

September 25th, 2020|Comments Off on California Gov. signs order banning sale of gasoline-powered cars by 2035

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order Wednesday to end the sale of gasoline-powered cars in the state by 2035. The order aims to phase out cars with internal combustion engines within 15 years by requiring that all new passenger cars and trucks sold in the Golden State in 2035 be zero-emission vehicles.  Newsom said the move, which comes as California is battling some of the worst wildfires in the state’s recent history, will help California reduce carbon pollution in the transportation sector, which contributes to more than half of the state’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Read more... Photo [...]

Climate change poses a growing threat to hundreds of hazardous waste Superfund sites

September 24th, 2020|Comments Off on Climate change poses a growing threat to hundreds of hazardous waste Superfund sites

Hurricanes, floods and wildfires imperil hundreds of hazardous waste sites. But the Trump administration won't talk about the rising risks. Read more... Photo credit: Spike Johnson

Stop the revolving door — Americans don’t support fossil fuel industry leaders running climate policy

September 23rd, 2020|Comments Off on Stop the revolving door — Americans don’t support fossil fuel industry leaders running climate policy

There are many ways in which Americans are united. Across party lines Americans reject the so-called revolving door. People in government and industry move back and forth working for companies when they are out of government and supposedly overseeing them when they are in government. Since the industry employers invariably pay more, which master do they serve while they are in government? Read more... Photo credit: Carolyn Kaster, STF / Associated Press

Arctic sea-ice shrinks to near record low extent

September 22nd, 2020|Comments Off on Arctic sea-ice shrinks to near record low extent

This summer's Arctic sea-ice shrank to its second lowest ever extent in the era of satellite observation. The floes withdrew to just under 3.74 million sq km (1.44 million sq miles) last week, preliminary data indicates. The only time this minimum has been beaten in the 42-year spacecraft record was 2012 when the pack ice was reduced to 3.41 million sq km. Shorter autumn days and encroaching cold mean the floes are now starting to regrow. Read more... Photo credit: MOSAIC/AWI/STEFFEN GRAUPNER

Environmental Group Threatens California Governor Over Oil Drilling Permits

September 22nd, 2020|Comments Off on Environmental Group Threatens California Governor Over Oil Drilling Permits

A national environmental organization on Monday threatened to sue Gov. Gavin Newsom to halt all new permits for gas and oil wells in the state, saying the governor has failed to protect Californians and the environment from hazards and pollutants released by the state’s billion-dollar petroleum industry. In a letter sent to Newsom on Monday, the Center for Biological Diversity accused his administration of being friendly to California’s oil industry and issuing new permits without proper environmental reviews. The organization plans to take legal action unless the Democratic governor “promptly direct[s] your regulators to halt permitting.”   Read more... Photo [...]

Dr. Marion Moses, Top Aide to Cesar Chavez, Dies at 84

September 21st, 2020|Comments Off on Dr. Marion Moses, Top Aide to Cesar Chavez, Dies at 84

She tended to the health of poor workers and was at the forefront of a 1950s national grape boycott that brought his agricultural union triumph. Marion Moses, who as a trusted aide to the farm workers’ leader Cesar Chavez promoted a nationwide boycott of table grapes and helped create a health care system for impoverished grape pickers, died on Aug. 28 in San Francisco. She was 84. Read more... Photo credit: Bob Fitch | Stanford University

Ginsburg left a long environmental legacy

September 21st, 2020|Comments Off on Ginsburg left a long environmental legacy

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday at age 87, helped establish critical Supreme Court precedent that empowered EPA to address the greenhouse gas emissions driving climate change. The landmark ruling she joined in 2007 that affirmed EPA’s power set up the Obama administration to issue rules limiting carbon pollution from cars, power plants and other sources — and set up a contentious legal battle over the extent of federal authority still being waged today.   Read more... Photo credit: Nicholas Kamm |AFP | Getty Images

How America’s air pollution might be spiking COVID-19 deaths

September 21st, 2020|Comments Off on How America’s air pollution might be spiking COVID-19 deaths

COVID-19 can make the air more deadly. So can industrial emissions. Combined, they’re likely a recipe for disaster. According to a new study published last week in the Journal of Environmental Research Letters, regions with a certain kind of industrial emission can make COVID-19 increasingly fatal. Read more... Photo credit: V. Kreinacke

Gas Companies Are Abandoning Their Wells, Leaving Them to Leak Methane Forever

September 21st, 2020|Comments Off on Gas Companies Are Abandoning Their Wells, Leaving Them to Leak Methane Forever

Just one orphaned site in California could have emitted more than 30 tons of methane. There are millions more like it. The story of gas well No. 095-20708 begins on Nov. 10, 1984, when a drill bit broke the Earth’s surface 4 miles north of Rio Vista, Calif. Wells don’t have birthdays, so this was its “spud date.” The drill chewed through the dirt at a rate of 80 ½ feet per hour, reaching 846 feet below ground that first day. By Thanksgiving it had gotten a mile down, finally stopping 49 days later, having laid 2.2 miles of steel pipe and [...]

EPA postpones environmental justice training after White House memo

September 18th, 2020|Comments Off on EPA postpones environmental justice training after White House memo

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will postpone training on environmental inequity faced by communities of color and low-income communities following a White House order calling for agencies to stop training involving what it described as "anti-American propaganda." Read more... Photo credit: Getty Images

We Work in Climate Justice. Our Office Burned Down, Thanks to Climate Change

September 17th, 2020|Comments Off on We Work in Climate Justice. Our Office Burned Down, Thanks to Climate Change

Our office burned down last Tuesday. The little green and white rented bungalow along Route 99 was filled with art, houseplants, laughter, and sometimes tears. It was a meeting place for Latinx youth to have coffee and organize climate justice events in their community. We built folding desks so we could fill the space with volunteers while campaigning against the fracked gas pipeline a Canadian company is trying to ram through Oregon’s forests. Now those walls and desks are all rubble, still hot to the touch. Read More... Photo credit: Rob Schumacher | AFP | Getty Images

Communities of color are dumping grounds for toxic waste in Michigan

September 16th, 2020|Comments Off on Communities of color are dumping grounds for toxic waste in Michigan

The dust and stench of rotten eggs and chemicals are so nauseating that Pamela McWilliams often dons a mask and shuts the windows of her home on Detroit's east side. The asthmatic 57-year-old has trouble sleeping at night because of heavy truck traffic coming to and from nearby industrial plants. She and other neighbors say they're sometimes aroused awake by explosions and vibrations that have shaken the shingles off McWilliams' roof and cracked her windows. The value of her home has plummeted, and her brother moved away because "he couldn't take it anymore," she tells Metro Times. Read more... Photo [...]

How Climate Migration Will Reshape America

September 15th, 2020|Comments Off on How Climate Migration Will Reshape America

Millions will be displaced. Where will they go? August besieged California with a heat unseen in generations. A surge in air-conditioning broke the state's electrical grid, leaving a population already ravaged by the coronavirus to work remotely by the dim light of their cellphones. By mid month, the state had recorded possibly the hottest temperatures ever recorded on Earth - 130 degrees in Death Valley - and an otherworldly storm of lightning had cracked open the sky. Read more... Photo credit: Meridith Kohut | The New York Times

Northern hemisphere breaks record for hottest ever summer

September 14th, 2020|Comments Off on Northern hemisphere breaks record for hottest ever summer

This summer was the hottest ever recorded in the northern hemisphere, according to US government scientists. The new record surpassed the summers of 2016 and 2019. Last month was also the second-hottest August ever recorded for the globe. The numbers put 2020 on track to be one of the five warmest years, according to Noaa. Read more... Photo credit: Kimimasa Mayama | EPA

A Climate Reckoning in Wildfire-Stricken California

September 11th, 2020|Comments Off on A Climate Reckoning in Wildfire-Stricken California

Multiple mega fires burning more than three million acres. Millions of residents smothered in toxic air. Rolling blackouts and triple-digit heat waves. Climate change, in the words of one scientist, is smacking California in the face. The crisis in the nation’s most populous state is more than just an accumulation of individual catastrophes. It is also an example of something climate experts have long worried about, but which few expected to see so soon: a cascade effect, in which a series of disasters overlap, triggering or amplifying each other. Read more...  Photo credit: Jim Wilson | The New York Times

Report Links Racial, Environmental Justice

September 11th, 2020|Comments Off on Report Links Racial, Environmental Justice

The Center for American Progress, or CAP, a progressive think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C., released the report, “Building a Just Climate Future for North Carolina,” Wednesday. It also looks at how the COVID-19 pandemic has “highlighted the interconnection between systemic racism and injustice and environmental, public health, and economic disparities.” Read More Story by Jennifer Allen      

Trump administration rolls back Obama-era rule aimed at limiting toxic wastewater from coal plants

September 10th, 2020|Comments Off on Trump administration rolls back Obama-era rule aimed at limiting toxic wastewater from coal plants

The Trump administration weakened a 2015 regulation that would have forced coal plants to treat wastewater with more modern, effective methods in order to curb toxic metals such as arsenic and mercury from contaminating lakes, rivers and streams near their facilities. “The Trump administration is once again jeopardizing people’s health to give coal power industry lobbyists what they want,” Thom Cmar, an attorney with the environmental advocacy group Earthjustice, said in a statement. Read more here. Photo credit: J. David Ake | AP

Federal Report Warns of Financial Havoc From Climate Change

September 9th, 2020|Comments Off on Federal Report Warns of Financial Havoc From Climate Change

A report commissioned by federal regulators overseeing the nation’s commodities markets has concluded that climate change threatens U.S. financial markets, as the costs of wildfires, storms, droughts and floods spread through insurance and mortgage markets, pension funds and other financial institutions. Read more... Photo credit: Cindy Yamanaka | The Orange County Register  

As Earth overheats, asphalt is releasing harmful air pollutants in cities

September 8th, 2020|Comments Off on As Earth overheats, asphalt is releasing harmful air pollutants in cities

As the world heats up, cities with heat-trapping asphalt and little tree cover have left residents sweltering and breathing in more air pollution. Asphalt is releasing hazardous air pollutants into communities, especially when hit with extreme heat and sunlight, according to research published in the journal Science Advances on Wednesday. Researchers found that asphalt in California’s South Coast Air Basin emitted more secondary organic aerosols in the summer than gas and diesel motor vehicles combined. Read More Photo credit David Becker | Reuters

The One Incredibly Green Thing Donald Trump Has Done

September 8th, 2020|Comments Off on The One Incredibly Green Thing Donald Trump Has Done

People who live near the most toxic sites in America say they saw a level of attention they hadn't seen in decades under Trump. But what happens now? Read more. Photo by M. Scott Mahaskey / POLITICO

A chance to fix poor ventilation in classrooms, protect children and teachers, and create jobs

September 4th, 2020|Comments Off on A chance to fix poor ventilation in classrooms, protect children and teachers, and create jobs

Fixing poor ventilation in classrooms may slow the spread of COVID-19 when children and teachers return, and create new job opportunities. AB 841, introduced by Assmblymember Phil Ting, a Democrat from San Francisco, is unique in that it focuses on those most in need of these critical upgrades and jobs. The bill will address schools in low-income areas first, which have long been underfunded, under-resourced and have the highest need for improvements. These efficiency improvements will save schools money, allowing more funds to go toward supplies for students instead of utility bills. Read more. Photo via iStock

EPA to add toxic Gloucester County metal finishing company site to Superfund list

September 3rd, 2020|Comments Off on EPA to add toxic Gloucester County metal finishing company site to Superfund list

The EPA wants to add Pioneer Metal Finishing Inc. in Franklin Township, Gloucester County, to the Superfund list because soil or sediment near the facility and a neighboring wetland is contaminated with chromium, copper, and nickel at levels that pose a threat to human health and the environment. Read more. Photo from Google

A Texas Town Refuses Fracking Expansion

September 2nd, 2020|Comments Off on A Texas Town Refuses Fracking Expansion

The City Council of Arlington, Texas has taken a historic stand by refusing to expand a fracking complex located next to a preschool that serves primarily Black and Latino children. Ranjana Bhandari, founder of the environmental advocacy group Liveable Arlington, joins Host Steve Curwood to talk about the city council's groundbreaking decision. Read more. Photo from Tammie Carson

DAQ Denies Permits for Proposed Carolina Sunrock Facilities in Caswell County; Public Hearing Canceled

September 1st, 2020|Comments Off on DAQ Denies Permits for Proposed Carolina Sunrock Facilities in Caswell County; Public Hearing Canceled

The North.Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Air Quality (DAQ) has denied two permit applications for Carolina Sunrock, LLC in Caswell County and is canceling the public hearing scheduled for September 10. Read more. Photo by Lisa Sorg

Clouds of Smoke are Blowing Misery Across the West

September 1st, 2020|Comments Off on Clouds of Smoke are Blowing Misery Across the West

Wildfires are burning from California to Minnesota, leaving millions of people to cough and wheeze through the toxic air. Gathering indoors brings the risk of coronavirus. Is there no respite? Read more. Photo by Max Whittaker for The New York Times

A Texas Town Takes on Fracking as a Racial Justice Issue

August 31st, 2020|Comments Off on A Texas Town Takes on Fracking as a Racial Justice Issue

Just after passing resolutions to elevate the needs of Black and Hispanic residents, the Arlington City Council took an unusual stand on drilling. Read more. Photo by J. G. Domke

The Battle for Decatur – PFAS Contamination Divides an Alabama Town

August 27th, 2020|Comments Off on The Battle for Decatur – PFAS Contamination Divides an Alabama Town

While residents have just recently learned of the chemicals, 3M has known about the hazards they pose and their presence in local soil and water for decades. Read more. Photo by Johnathon Kelso for The Intercept

Chemical fire in Lake Charles area prompts shelter-in-place advisory from state

August 27th, 2020|Comments Off on Chemical fire in Lake Charles area prompts shelter-in-place advisory from state

LAKE CHARLES - A chemical leak has apparently been reported in Lake Charles, according to reporters in the city covering the aftermath of Laura. Read more. Photo from WBRZ News

Michigan to Pay $600 Million to Victims of Flint Water Crisis

August 26th, 2020|Comments Off on Michigan to Pay $600 Million to Victims of Flint Water Crisis

The state of Michigan is expected to pay about $600 million to victims of the Flint water crisis, according to two people with knowledge of a major settlement that is set to be announced this week. The money would largely be designated for children in Flint who were poisoned by lead-tainted tap water after officials changed the city’s water supply six years ago, setting off a crisis that drew national attention and remains a worry for many residents. Read more. Photo by Brittany Greeson for The New York Times

Toledo’s water-plant waste can’t be put in Benton Township quarry

August 26th, 2020|Comments Off on Toledo’s water-plant waste can’t be put in Benton Township quarry

GRAYTOWN, Ohio — A trial judge’s 2019 decision to block Rocky Ridge Development LLC from using an abandoned Ottawa County quarry to bury spent lime and chemical residue from Toledo’s Collins Park Water Treatment Plant has been upheld by the 6th District Court of Appeals. Read more. Photo from The Blade

EPA cleanup of San Jacinto Waste Pits draws criticism

August 25th, 2020|Comments Off on EPA cleanup of San Jacinto Waste Pits draws criticism

HARRIS COUNTY - The ongoing EPA-ordered cleanup of the massive Dioxin dump known as the San Jacinto Waste Pits is drawing sharp criticism from environmental activists. “I would hate for one of the most high profile sites in our country to be done half-ass,” said Jackie Young-Medcalf, leader of the Texas Health & Environment Alliance. Read more. Photo: Fox 26 Houston

2020 hindsight brings corrupted radiation testing into focus at the EPA

August 24th, 2020|Comments Off on 2020 hindsight brings corrupted radiation testing into focus at the EPA

Tetra Tech was part of a team of contractors hired by the EPA to clean up a toxic radioactive dump in Ohio but evidence suggests EPA implemented a cover-up instead of a cleanup, creating a playbook for institutionalizing corrupted science across the nation. When Tetra Tech got busted years later for fraud at another radioactive site, in San Francisco, the EPA’s failure to demand best scientific practices was exposed again with dire ramifications for public health. Read more. Photo from SF Bay View

‘Right to Breathe’ event to be held to highlight intersections of systemic racism

August 21st, 2020|Comments Off on ‘Right to Breathe’ event to be held to highlight intersections of systemic racism

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT)– A coalition of organizations, community activists, and allies are coordinating the “Right to Breathe Caravan” event through the 35th Avenue Superfund Site Saturday from 9 to 11 a.m. The event is a nonviolent protest of environmental racism, joining the global uprisings against systemic racism and oppression. The caravan was organized by People Against Neighborhood Industrial Contamination (P.A.N.I.C.) and Gasp in partnership with Black Lives Matter-Birmingham, SWEET Alabama, the Birmingham Earth Coalition, and the Arm in Arm movement. Read more. Photo from CBS 42

High BPA levels linked to 49% greater risk of death within 10 years, study says

August 20th, 2020|Comments Off on High BPA levels linked to 49% greater risk of death within 10 years, study says

Look into your pantry -- have you packed it with canned foods since the start of the pandemic?  Or are you a receipt hoarder -- who keeps all your paper sales receipts for taxes or refunds? Metal food and beverage cans are lined with an epoxy resin coating made from a family of chemicals called bisphenols.  That group includes the infamous bisphenol A that was used to create baby bottles, sippy cups and infant formula containers until frightened parents boycotted those products a decade ago. The chemical compound BPA is an endocrine disruptor, affecting the hormones in the body, and fetuses [...]

Fossil Fuel Industry Pollutes Black & Brown Communities While Propping Up Racist Policing

August 19th, 2020|Comments Off on Fossil Fuel Industry Pollutes Black & Brown Communities While Propping Up Racist Policing

As movements for racial and environmental justice escalate across the US, these struggles – which, as groups like the National Black Environmental Justice Network point out, must be seen as one – have a common foe: the fossil fuel industry. The same companies that drive environmental racism in Black and Brown communities through toxic and climate-changing pollution also fund police power in cities that stretch from Houston and Detroit to New Orleans and Salt Lake City. Read more. Creative Commons Photos: Shell Gas Station (Mike Mozart); Chase (longislandwins); Chevron (Roo Reynolds); Wells Fargo (Mike Mozart); BlackRock (Thomas Hawk)

Marquita Bradshaw on Her Tennessee Primary Victory: ‘I Could See the Momentum’

August 18th, 2020|Comments Off on Marquita Bradshaw on Her Tennessee Primary Victory: ‘I Could See the Momentum’

Ms. Bradshaw, an environmental justice advocate, is the first Black woman to be nominated for the Senate by a major party in Tennessee. “Working people showed that my viability was different,” she said. Read more. Photo from Associated Press

2019 TRI Preliminary Dataset Now Available

August 17th, 2020|Comments Off on 2019 TRI Preliminary Dataset Now Available

The 2019 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) preliminary dataset contains data about chemical releases, waste management and pollution prevention activities that took place during 2019 at more than 20,000 federal and industrial facilities across the country. Read more. Photo: EPA

Liberty Utilities Drops Plans For Major Gas Pipeline In N.H.

August 14th, 2020|Comments Off on Liberty Utilities Drops Plans For Major Gas Pipeline In N.H.

"Liberty Utilities says it will not build the proposed Granite Bridge natural gas pipeline in Southern New Hampshire, after finding a cheaper way to serve new customers by using existing infrastructure." Read more. Photo credit: 350 NEW HAMPSHIRE

Chevron Is Trying to Crush a Prominent Climate Lawyer – and Maybe the World

August 14th, 2020|Comments Off on Chevron Is Trying to Crush a Prominent Climate Lawyer – and Maybe the World

“The fossil fuel industry has really dug in and is using its enormous financial clout and its influence in the federal courts to resist and openly attack this citizens’ movement and the advocates and lawyers who are on the frontlines.” Read more. Photo: Amazon Watch

What Racism Smells Like

August 11th, 2020|Comments Off on What Racism Smells Like

“People are realizing that there is intentional siting of these massive industrial edifices in communities that are predominantly Black and brown and an intentional disregard for community needs wrapped up in the tax exemptions.” Read more. Photo: Brian W. Fraser for The Intercept

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak proclaims racism a public health crisis

August 10th, 2020|Comments Off on Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak proclaims racism a public health crisis

"The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified the challenges caused by racial disparities within Nevada’s communities, especially in the form of virus and environmental exposure risks, and through all major stages of health care." Read more. Photo courtesy of the Governor's Office

Remembering the bombing at Hiroshima Japan – 75th Anniversary

August 6th, 2020|Comments Off on Remembering the bombing at Hiroshima Japan – 75th Anniversary

Survivors of the world’s first atomic bombing gathered in diminished numbers near an iconic, blasted dome Thursday to mark the attack’s 75th anniversary, many of them urging the world, and their own government, to do more to ban nuclear weapons. Read more.

Michigan’s drinking water standards for these chemicals now among toughest in nation

August 5th, 2020|Comments Off on Michigan’s drinking water standards for these chemicals now among toughest in nation

Michigan officials were frustrated waiting on the federal government to adopt health-protecting standards for the nonstick, so-called "forever chemicals" that have become a leading emerging contaminant in the state and across the country. So they made their own.  Michigan's new standards for seven per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) compounds in drinking water — some of the toughest, most comprehensive standards on the chemicals anywhere in the country — took effect Monday.  The new rules "are practical, science-driven and, most importantly, protective of public health." Read more. Photo by: Ryan Garza, Detroit Free Press

Environmental Justice Grassroots Groups Fight Back Against Pollution

July 31st, 2020|Comments Off on Environmental Justice Grassroots Groups Fight Back Against Pollution

Pollution is disproportionately killing Black Americans. Hazardous waste facilities are 75% more likely to be in close proximity to the homes of African-Americans than other racial groups. Grassroots environmental justice groups are taking a stand against these issues of pollution and environmental racism and are making a huge impact. Read More Photo by: Matt Rourke—AP

Toxic Tuesday: Dioxin

July 28th, 2020|Comments Off on Toxic Tuesday: Dioxin

By Julie Silverman, CHEJ Communications Intern Dioxins are a group of toxic compounds that share similar and distinct chemical structures. They are mainly byproducts of industrial processes, such as waste incineration. In 1979, the EPA banned products containing Polychlorinated Bihphenyls (PCBs), which is a chemical included under the term dioxin. However, dioxins were a major issue before the US began implementing regulations. Since dioxins break down extremely slowly, toxins that were released long ago are still being released into the environment. Today, most people are exposed to dioxins through consuming animal products that have accumulated dioxins over time. Exposure to [...]

Polluters Are Winning Big on COVID-19 Recovery Efforts

July 27th, 2020|Comments Off on Polluters Are Winning Big on COVID-19 Recovery Efforts

Polluting industries, such as coal power plants, mining, and oil and gas corporations are receiving financial and regulatory relief across the globe, but specifically in the US, as governments aim to provide relief during the pandemic. These moves threaten progress that has made to combat polluters over the years and puts the globe at risk for rapid deterioration caused by climate change. Read More Photo by Mike Marrah on Unsplash

VA Power Plant Delayed Due to Environmental Justice Concerns

July 24th, 2020|Comments Off on VA Power Plant Delayed Due to Environmental Justice Concerns

A $350 million gas project in Virginia has been delayed due to rising concerns that environmental justice groups have presented from the surrounding communities. Virginia’s State Corporation Commission recently deferred action on Southern Co.’s Virginia Natural Gas project due to the lack of details regarding environmental justice issues and financing. Read More. Photo: NOVI Energy

Biden Releases Environmental Plan in Bid for Progressive Vote

July 22nd, 2020|Comments Off on Biden Releases Environmental Plan in Bid for Progressive Vote

By Paolo Padova, Science Intern Last week the presumptive Democratic nominee, Joe Biden, released his climate and energy plan. Biden’s plan puts an emphasis on environmental justice and its intersection with racial inequality. The plan commits to creating a new Environmental and Climate Justice Division within the Department of Justice to hold contaminating corporations accountable. Building on the EPA’s EJSCREEN tool, Biden will “create a data-driven Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool to identify communities threatened by the cumulative impacts of the multiple stresses of climate change, economic and racial inequality, and multi-source environmental pollution.” The plan includes several aggressive [...]

Monsanto to Pay D.C. $52 million Toward Chemical Contamination Cleanup in Local Waterways

July 20th, 2020|Comments Off on Monsanto to Pay D.C. $52 million Toward Chemical Contamination Cleanup in Local Waterways

For over 50 years during the 20th century, Monsanto produced and sold products that contained polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) which have been known to cause severe health problems in humans such as cancer and liver damage and kill wildlife. After many decades of polluting into local waterways and communities, Monsanto will be held accountable by paying the city of D.C. $52 million in order to help clean up chemical contamination that they caused. The majority of the money will go towards cleaning up polluted waterways with high PCB concentrations, specifically in the Potomac and Anacostia rivers. Read More Photo by Desmond [...]

Babies Born Near Natural Gas Flaring Sites are 50% More Likely to be Premature

July 15th, 2020|Comments Off on Babies Born Near Natural Gas Flaring Sites are 50% More Likely to be Premature

Recent studies have linked air pollution from the burning of excess natural gas to increased birth rate of premature babies. Many mothers that live near natural gas flaring sites are from low-income and minority communities, signally the environmental injustices linked deeply to these issues. In addition, there are few health-protective regulations that help control the high level of flaring that takes place across the country. Read More Photo Credit: Trudy E. Bell

Toxic Tuesday: Creosote

July 14th, 2020|Comments Off on Toxic Tuesday: Creosote

Creosote is a large mixture of chemicals that is used as a wood preservative in the United States, as well as for roofing, aluminum smelting, and road paving. Houston’s Fifth Ward has been pinpointed as a Cancer Cluster: an area that has a “greater than expected number of cancer cases,” largely due to the community’s exposure to creosote from the Union Pacific railroad site in Houston’s 5th Ward. Creosote is released into soil and water systems and may take many years to break down. Due to groundwater contamination, creosote can make its way into drinking water systems, putting entire communities [...]

Environmental Groups Win Over New Coke Oven Regulation

July 13th, 2020|Comments Off on Environmental Groups Win Over New Coke Oven Regulation

Coke is a type of fuel that is converted from coal and made to produce steel. Environmental non-profits, including PennFuture filed a lawsuit against the EPA, claiming that they were not doing enough to regulate coke ovens under the Clean Air Act. Recently, the EPA admitted that they failed to properly regulate parts of the coke production process through the use of coke ovens. Read More. Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash

60+ Environmental Justice Groups Call for Action and Equity in ‘Sacrifice Zones’

July 8th, 2020|Comments Off on 60+ Environmental Justice Groups Call for Action and Equity in ‘Sacrifice Zones’

60+ environmental justice leaders and organizations are calling for action and equity for their ‘Sacrifice Zone’ communities. They released an open letter calling for “an immediate and sustained response to inequities causing Covid-19 to infect and kill a disproportionate number of people subjected to systemic racism and the denial of self-determination throughout the United States." COVID-19 has exacerbated the equities throughout society, including unequal accessibility to health care and the industry and pollution that impacts mostly low-income and minority communities. Read More Photo: Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

Atlantic Coast Pipeline Canceled

July 7th, 2020|Comments Off on Atlantic Coast Pipeline Canceled

WE DID IT. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is CANCELED.  It was the grassroots effort from North Carolina to West Virginia that brought the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to a screeching halt.   CHEJ worked with the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL) and a network of environmental activists and longtime African American residents who joined forces to stop the pipeline and the compressor station in several historically Black communities. One historically Black community of Union Hill, VA can trace their lineage to slave ancestors and freedmen who settled there after the Civil War. In this community CHEJ and others held a United Nations Human Rights Tribunal to [...]

New Report Indicates that Most US Federally Funded Housing is in Close Proximity to Hazardous Waste Sites

July 2nd, 2020|Comments Off on New Report Indicates that Most US Federally Funded Housing is in Close Proximity to Hazardous Waste Sites

A new report released by Earthjustice, the Shriver Center on Poverty Law, and faculty at the University of Chicago’s Abrams Environmental Law Clinic and Columbia University’s Health Justice Advocacy Clinic estimated that 77,000 people living in federally assisted housing in the US are at risk of being poisoned by toxic contamination. The report, Poisonous Homes: The Fight for Environmental Justice in Federally Assisted Housing comes as the Trump administration continues rolling back many environmental regulations involving the environmental impact analysis of large-scale industrial projects. Read More Photo by: Scott Olson, Getty Images

$550M Settlement with Monsanto Includes the Cleanup of Contaminated Baltimore Waters

June 30th, 2020|Comments Off on $550M Settlement with Monsanto Includes the Cleanup of Contaminated Baltimore Waters

Bayer, the current parent company and owner of Monsanto, has reached a $550 million settlement with 13 governmental entities in order to clean up contaminated Baltimore waterways. Bayer officials claim that Monsanto legally manufactured PCBs until 1977. PCBs were widely used in paints, lubricants, and electrical equipment until they were banned in the US in 1979. Waterways in the Baltimore area have been greatly polluted by past PCB contamination. The national class-action settlement aims to make Bayer pay for the pollution caused by Monsanto’s use of PCBs. Similar Monsanto-related settlements involving PCB pollution have been reached in New Mexico, Washington, [...]

Louisiana Environmental Activists Charged For Nonviolent Actions Targeting Plastics Giant

June 26th, 2020|Comments Off on Louisiana Environmental Activists Charged For Nonviolent Actions Targeting Plastics Giant

Two leaders from the long-time environmental justice community known as "Cancer Alley" in Louisiana were arrested on June 25th for peacefully protesting against the Taiwanese petrochemical company, Formosa Plastics. The company plans to build a plastics manufacturing facility in the backyard of a predominately Black Louisiana community that has already experienced large health detriments from polluting industries in their community. Read More Photo by: Ron Moyi/Louisiana Bucket Brigade

Trump Administration Narrows Water Protections: Increases Risks of Drinking Water Contamination

June 24th, 2020|Comments Off on Trump Administration Narrows Water Protections: Increases Risks of Drinking Water Contamination

The EPA redefined protections of water through its new navigable waters rule on June 22, one that largely cuts out storm water runoff from being regulated by the EPA. This change could have a large detrimental impact on drinking water quality in areas and could therefore result in greater human health risks. Thus far, the new rule went into effect in all states except Colorado, where a federal judge in Colorado was able to block the Trump administration’s narrowing definition of water protections. Read More Photo by Suhel Nadaf on Unsplash

Climate Change Tied to Pregnancy Risks, Affecting Black Mothers Most

June 22nd, 2020|Comments Off on Climate Change Tied to Pregnancy Risks, Affecting Black Mothers Most

Air pollution and increased temperatures are not only tied to climate change but have also been tied to the increased likelihood of having premature, underweight, and stillborn babies. Given that many low-income and minority communities are disproportionately impacted by industrial pollution and many can’t afford air conditioning in their homes, they are at a much higher risk for pregnancy risks. Black mothers have been specifically impacted by these risks. In addition to the risks of increasing temperatures and air pollution exposures, minority mothers tend to have less access to medical care and unequal levels of treatment when getting care. In [...]

120 Million Plastic Bottles Worth of Microplastics Rain Down on 11 US Protected Areas Per Year

June 19th, 2020|Comments Off on 120 Million Plastic Bottles Worth of Microplastics Rain Down on 11 US Protected Areas Per Year

Recent discoveries have found that large amounts of microplastics are coming down from the sky with rain. Researchers in the Western US were able to estimate the amount of microplastics in rainfall and found that approximately 120 million plastic bottles worth of microplastics in rain is pouring down on 11 protected areas in the US every year. Although the health detriments involved with inhaling or consuming microplastics is relatively unknown, the human impacts are likely highly detrimental. Plastics degrade into smaller and smaller pieces over time and release chemicals, making it likely that they will have consequential human and ecological [...]

Five Communities in the US Searching for Environmental Justice

June 17th, 2020|Comments Off on Five Communities in the US Searching for Environmental Justice

Environmental degradation and pollution have dominated low-income and minority communities, both historically and in the present day. These populations are known as environmental justice communities and often struggle disproportionately with health issues such as respiratory illnesses and cancers due to pollution. The five stories in the article below are told from the perspectives of five different individuals living in distinct environmental justice communities. Read More Photo credit: Katie G. Nelson

In Support of the Black Lives Matter Movement

June 16th, 2020|Comments Off on In Support of the Black Lives Matter Movement

Yes, we can say their names: George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin and far too many more, people of color who were killed or mistreated by the racist criminal justice system. Black people and people of color experience daily threats to their lives due to institutional racism and exploitation in this country, a reality that is not always evident to someone who hasn’t had that experience. While our country’s long history of racial injustice and violence makes this fact unsurprising, it was and is horrible and it is unacceptable. I have always believed in the power of social [...]

Airborne Microplastics Have Infiltrated Most of Our Planet

June 15th, 2020|Comments Off on Airborne Microplastics Have Infiltrated Most of Our Planet

Many recent studies have involved the effect of microplastics in drinking water on both human and marine health. However, more and more studies have begun investigating the impact that airborne microplastics have on both human and ecological health. Inhaling fragments of microplastics have largely detrimental human health impacts. The most surprising finding is that airborne microplastics have not just been found in highly industrialized and polluted areas, but also ones that we normally see as “pristine,” such as national parks. Microplastics can come from obvious sources such as plastic bottles, but also from waterproof outdoor gear and tents used for [...]

Polluting Companies Turn to State Environmental Regulatory Agencies to Lower Regulations During Covid-19

June 12th, 2020|Comments Off on Polluting Companies Turn to State Environmental Regulatory Agencies to Lower Regulations During Covid-19

While the EPA continues to cut environmental regulations, the country’s most polluting industries are now turning their focus to state environmental regulatory agencies. Many companies have recently asked state regulators to relax or delay pollution monitoring requirements, claiming that Covid-19 has made them unable to comply with laws that protect the public from the health hazards of pollution. The majority of states do not publish any information about companies that say they are struggling to comply with environmental laws, meaning that most Americans that live near large polluting factories, refineries, and farms are unaware whether the pandemic has led to [...]

Louisiana Further Criminalizes Stepping onto Oil and Gas Industry-Owned Lands

June 11th, 2020|Comments Off on Louisiana Further Criminalizes Stepping onto Oil and Gas Industry-Owned Lands

Current legislation in Louisiana makes it a felony to trespass on the lands of oil and gas facilities, which are considered “critical infrastructure”. Louisiana is currently working to expand these laws to make these trespassing charges include those of flood control infrastructure and to stiffen the penalties of jail time from 3 to 15 years if the area is under an emergency order. This legislation criminalizes protests against large oil, gas, and levee infrastructure projects and have made it much more difficult for environmental justice organizations to protest against large and harmful infrastructure projects and sites. Read More

TOXIC TUESDAY: FORMALDEHYDE

June 9th, 2020|Comments Off on TOXIC TUESDAY: FORMALDEHYDE

What is Formaldehyde? Formaldehyde is a dangerous chemical that affects the respiratory system, lungs, eyes, and skin. It is classified as a carcinogen, hazardous substance, and hazardous waste. According to the American Cancer Society, Formaldehyde is a colorless, strong smelling gas used in making building materials and many common household products. It is well known for its preservative and anti-bacterial properties. It is commonly used in building materials such as particle board, pressed wood, insulation, glues and adhesives and more. It is also found in medic2ines, cosmetics, and cleaning products. Formaldehyde is even used in some food products as a [...]

The Intersection of Climate Change, Environmental Injustice and Racism

June 9th, 2020|Comments Off on The Intersection of Climate Change, Environmental Injustice and Racism

The murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor by police and the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on minority communities has largely brought to light the systemic racism that is deeply embedded in our society. The effects of industrial pollution and extreme weather events due to climate change are often also brought specifically upon minority communities. In the attached article, Yale Environment 360 interviews Elizabeth Yeampierre, the co-chair of the Climate Justice Alliance, to further discuss the deep intersection between environmental injustice, climate change, and racism and how we can build a movement to help combat them together. Read [...]

Trump Cuts Environmental Reviews Through Executive Order, Citing an ‘Economic Emergency’

June 8th, 2020|Comments Off on Trump Cuts Environmental Reviews Through Executive Order, Citing an ‘Economic Emergency’

The economic impacts of Covid-19 have allowed the Trump administration to continuously cut US environmental regulations. This week, Trump continued to derail our current environmental regulations by cutting environmental reviews for infrastructure projects. These cuts will not only result in increased rates of pollution and contamination with great public health risks but will likely have a disproportionate impact on low-income and minority communities. It is extremely concerning that the Trump administration aims to rollback so many environmental regulations that will have negative health impacts on our communities, especially while we are currently experiencing a global health crisis. Read More

Superfund and Climate Change Events: A Personal Account of Flooding and the Risk of Toxin Release in Midland, Michigan

June 5th, 2020|Comments Off on Superfund and Climate Change Events: A Personal Account of Flooding and the Risk of Toxin Release in Midland, Michigan

Climate change has resulted in devastating flooding and natural disasters that have overwhelmed and greatly impacted communities. The Edenville dam along the Tittabawassee River in mid-Michigan collapsed due to large amounts of rainfall on May 19th, resulting in the collapse of another nearby dam. The resulting impacts of these events led to extreme flooding and the evacuation of nearly 10,000 residents in the surrounding areas. Communities with Superfund sites are in specific danger due to the potential mass movement of toxins into communities during flooding. Mary McKSchmidt, an author, photographer, and community member in Midland County, Michigan reflects on extreme [...]

New Jersey Increases PFAS Regulations to Help Make Drinking Water Safer

June 4th, 2020|Comments Off on New Jersey Increases PFAS Regulations to Help Make Drinking Water Safer

On Monday, June 1st, New Jersey became one of the few states in the US to regulate two specific types of PFAS—Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluoroalkyl sulfonic acid (PFOS) —that are known to be cancer-causing chemicals that contaminate drinking water. The chemicals are often found in nonstick cookware, waterproof apparel, and firefighting foam and have been tied to cancers and immune system issues. New Hampshire, Vermont, and New Jersey are currently the only states that regulate PFOA and PFOS in drinking water systems. This step to better ensure the environmental safety of drinking water is one that needs to be [...]

Air Pollution Rates Remain Steady in Pittsburgh Despite Less Driving During the Pandemic

June 3rd, 2020|Comments Off on Air Pollution Rates Remain Steady in Pittsburgh Despite Less Driving During the Pandemic

Many people largely associate air pollution with emissions from cars. However, if this was the case wouldn’t fewer cars on the road drastically decrease air pollution? As seen in Pittsburgh, PA, driving has largely decreased due to Covid-19 but air pollution rates have not. In contrast to driving, many industrial activities have continued at similar rates as before the pandemic. NPR and Pittsburgh’s Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP) largely tie steady air pollution rates to the continuation of coal-fired power plants and coke production in Western Pennsylvania. According to a senior scientist at the Clean Air Task Force, John [...]

Environmental Progress Reversed: Plans to Revitalize a Trash-To-Energy Plant in Hartfort, CT Fails Due to Lack of State Funding

June 2nd, 2020|Comments Off on Environmental Progress Reversed: Plans to Revitalize a Trash-To-Energy Plant in Hartfort, CT Fails Due to Lack of State Funding

Since the beginning of the Trump administration, there have been many environmental rollbacks on policy and as a result a reversal of federal environmental progress as a whole, especially since the onset of Covid-19. However, the reversal of environmental progress is beginning to occur more and more at the state level as seen in current events in Hartford, CT. Thirteen years ago, the Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority (MIRA) of Connecticut identified and began planning for the redevelopment of an old trash incineration plant into a regional recycling and trash-to-energy plant in Hartford, CT. Lack of state funding is now [...]

Discrimination in Nature: A Story of a White Woman Calling the Cops on a Black Man Birdwatching in Central Park

June 1st, 2020|Comments Off on Discrimination in Nature: A Story of a White Woman Calling the Cops on a Black Man Birdwatching in Central Park

By law, the access to public parks and lands is currently universal to all people in the United States. However, many black citizens are deterred from visiting parks and enjoying nature due to racism engrained in society and stereotypes involving the demographic of people engaging in many activities involving nature (e.g., hiking and camping). This phenomenon can be disturbingly seen through the recent harassment of Christian Cooper, a black avid birdwatcher in Central Park, by a white woman who called the police on him on May 26th. The story of Christian Cooper further exposes our society for engrained racism and [...]

Trump must do three simple things NOW!

May 29th, 2020|Comments Off on Trump must do three simple things NOW!

Racial and class division has long been one of the tactics used by the rich and powerful to keep working people from organizing. Today it’s so blatant; as we move tragically through the devastating impacts of COVID-19 there’s not even an attempt to hide or disguise the behavior. I’m frustrated, angry and ready to figure out how to move forward, stand together and speak with one voice. We need to demand immediately that the federal government takes the following first three steps. Immediately reduce air pollution by 50% until the pandemic is over.  EPA announced in March that they will [...]

Sacrifice Zones Have Higher Death Rates From COVID-19

May 27th, 2020|Comments Off on Sacrifice Zones Have Higher Death Rates From COVID-19

Sacrifice zones are communities that are unequally overburdened by pollution from industry at the expense of other communities using the industrial end product. Sacrifice zones are typically characterized by having a majority low-income and/or minority population and currently have the highest death rates from COVID-19. Recent studies conducted by Harvard University and the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic have researched the correlation between areas with higher concentrations of particulate matter (PM2.5) and/or toxic air pollutants, and higher death rates from COVID-19. Given the evidence that sacrifice zones are some of the most severely impacted communities from the pandemic, we ask the question why isn't more being done to [...]

Flooding at Dioxin Superfund Site in Midland, Michigan

May 26th, 2020|Comments Off on Flooding at Dioxin Superfund Site in Midland, Michigan

Midland, Michigan is still assessing the damages after torrential rain and dam failure flooded the area. The height of concern was the status of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Saginaw River Dredge Material Disposal Facility that houses dioxin contaminated sediments that could have spread from the storm water. The facility appears to have remained in tact; however, there is still concern that the flood could have spread river sediment already contaminated with dioxin from Dow towards residential properties. It may take some time to fully determine the extent of the damage in Midland as many properties are still under water. Read More.

Virtual Public Comment Forums are Creating Concerns on Oil Expansion Project

May 22nd, 2020|Comments Off on Virtual Public Comment Forums are Creating Concerns on Oil Expansion Project

As social distancing continues, the Trump Administration has organized virtual meetings to receive public comment on the oil and gas drilling expansion efforts on Native lands. Local Native Americans are concerned that Zoom calls will hinder their ability to comment of the project. Many Native American groups do not have easy access to the Internet, in addition to the technical difficulties that can be experienced when using a virtual platform. Many groups and some lawmakers believe that the public comment period should be delayed until everyone can appropriately comment on the drilling expansion. Read More. This story has been reprinted on the CHEJ [...]

Flooding Creates Problems for Dow Superfund Cleanup

May 21st, 2020|Comments Off on Flooding Creates Problems for Dow Superfund Cleanup

Flooding from two breached dams on Wednesday, May 20, has created problems for the Dow chemical plant in Michigan. Downriver from the plastics plant is a Superfund site located on the Tittabawassee River. Allen Burton, a professor at the University of Michigan explains that the flooding water creates concern for the site cleanup because it can stir contaminated sediments with the river water and carry the contamination further downstream. Further concern is raised at how climate change could impact Superfund site cleanup efforts with increases in flooding, severe storms and wildfires. Read More. The following story is reprinted on the CHEJ website from [...]

Finding a Safe Replacement for PFAS

May 20th, 2020|Comments Off on Finding a Safe Replacement for PFAS

PFAS is a forever chemical that is commonly used in flame retardants and fire fighting foams. The toxic chemical is known to cause hormonal changes, decrease fertility, weaken immune systems, and increase risks of cancer. States across the country have worked to ban the use of the chemical that is now found in all major U.S. bodies of water. Companies are working to find suitable replacement for the chemical in fire fighting foams with concern of substituting one hazardous pollutant for another. Read More.

The Complete List of the Trump Administration’s Environmental Rollbacks

May 19th, 2020|Comments Off on The Complete List of the Trump Administration’s Environmental Rollbacks

Over the course of the last three years, the Trump administration has rolled back or is in the progress of rolling back nearly a 100 of the country's top environmental policies. The administration has worked to weaken and revoke many of the Obama-era regulations that were enacted to protect our environment and health. A majority of the rollbacks were aimed at reducing burden for the oil, gas and coal industries, while in effect, potentially increasing greenhouse gas emissions and creating poorer air quality. Read More. The following article has been reprinted on the CHEJ website from the The New York Times and [...]

Minnesota Bans Toxic Chemical TCE

May 18th, 2020|Comments Off on Minnesota Bans Toxic Chemical TCE

Minnesota has become the first state in the country to ban the toxic chemical TCE. The chemical is known to cause cancer and birth defects and has been released from Water Gremlin into the air for nearly 15 years within the White Bear Township. Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed the ban of TCE on Saturday and companies within the state will have until 2022 to find an alternative product to use in its place. Read More.

Renewable Energy Overtaking the Coal Industry

May 15th, 2020|Comments Off on Renewable Energy Overtaking the Coal Industry

During the COVID-19 outbreak, the United States has experienced a record low in coal energy production and use. The decline in fossil fuel energy has opened the door for renewable energy production to pick up the slack. For 90 straight days, America's wind turbines, solar panels, and hydroelectric dams have produced more available energy than the coal industry. Read More. The following article is reposted on our website from the New York Times and written Brad Plumer.   In a First, Renewable Energy Is Poised to Eclipse Coal in U.S. The coronavirus has pushed the coal industry to once-unthinkable lows, and [...]

Environmental Chemicals Can Increase the Severity of Exposure to Viruses

May 13th, 2020|Comments Off on Environmental Chemicals Can Increase the Severity of Exposure to Viruses

Americans are exposed to endocrine-disrupting chemicals on a daily basis through the food we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the household products we bring into the house. Most endocrine disrupting chemicals have the ability to imitate developmental hormones in the body, or if exposed to at an early age, can lead to chronic conditions including diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and asthma. These preexisting conditions can increase the severity of the coronavirus. Although the immediate national concern is to reduce the spread of COVID-19, we should consider what changes can be made to reduce our exposure to disruptive chemicals in the environment [...]

Virtual Protests Against the Keystone XL Pipeline

May 12th, 2020|Comments Off on Virtual Protests Against the Keystone XL Pipeline

A pandemic can't stop people from protesting. As the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline begins, the Indigenous Environmental Network has found a creative way to express their disapproval of the project by posting a "virtual banner" as a video on social media. The banner reads,"Not Today. Not Tomorrow. Not Ever. No KXL. Mni Wiconi." TC Energy began construction on the project, despite orders by a federal judge to halt work after it was determined that the company did not receive a proper permit from the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. The Indigenous Environmental Network continues to find creative ways to fight the [...]

Lawsuits Raised Against New Federal Water Rule

May 11th, 2020|Comments Off on Lawsuits Raised Against New Federal Water Rule

A handful of environmental groups have filed lawsuits against the Trump administration's finalization of a new rule that will weaken waterway protections set in place under the Obama Clean Water rule. Groups including the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and ShoreRivers filed lawsuits in Baltimore on April 27 and the Southern Environmental Law Group, representing numerous other environmental organizations, filed suit on April 29. Most recently, a coalition of 19 states, including Maryland, Virginia, and New York have filed a lawsuit to encourage a new rule that will ensure the protection of the United States' water systems. Read More.

EPA Announces Grants Available for Public Health Projects in New England

May 9th, 2020|Comments Off on EPA Announces Grants Available for Public Health Projects in New England

The Environmental Protection Agency has announced that it will award grants to community project in the New England area. Projects eligible for the grant must be either be located in or working for "areas needing to create community resilience; environmental justice areas of potential concern; or sensitive populations." In the current circumstances, it is important to recognize the important work of groups that continue to fight for the protection of public health and the environment. Read More.

UPDATED: Harvard Study Linking Pollution and COVID-19 Severity

May 6th, 2020|Comments Off on UPDATED: Harvard Study Linking Pollution and COVID-19 Severity

Is air pollution connected to higher coronavirus death rates? Various studies around the world, including one in Italy and one in England, are working to answer this question. In early April, the Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health released findings on a study that found a positive correlation between long term exposure to particulate matter (PM 2.5) and higher death rates from virus. The study seeks to answer if exposure to air pollution leads to more severe outcomes to patients infected with COVID-19. The study has since been updated on April 24 to include updated conditions of the virus and additional variables connected to the [...]

Will New York’s Streets Look the Same After the Virus?

May 5th, 2020|Comments Off on Will New York’s Streets Look the Same After the Virus?

Large events, such as hurricanes, wars, or the mass transmission of disease, have a tendency to reinvent how a city is designed or operates. One example is the construction of fountains and parks in Paris after a cholera outbreak in efforts to eradicate the disease. New York city, one of the loudest cities in the United States from to its busy streets and one of the hardest hit areas for the coronavirus, could see a change in the way the city is structured. Could the city see less cars to accommodate for a more pedestrian lifestyle? It cannot be fully determined how the city might [...]

Carbon Dioxide Emissions the Lowest in Ten Years

May 4th, 2020|Comments Off on Carbon Dioxide Emissions the Lowest in Ten Years

The International Energy Agency has released a report explaining that carbon dioxide emission levels are the lowest the world has seen in the last ten years. The EIA states that global carbon dioxide emissions will drop by 8% this year. Because of the change in economic activity due to the pandemic, the world has seen a decrease in global energy demands and a decrease in coal, oil and gas use. Read More. The following article is reprinted on our webpage from the Washington Post written by Steven Mufson. Coronavirus is driving down global carbon dioxide emissions to levels last seen 10 [...]

Two Colleges In Pennsylvania Reach Carbon Neutral Goals

May 3rd, 2020|Comments Off on Two Colleges In Pennsylvania Reach Carbon Neutral Goals

Two colleges in Pennsylvania, Allegheny College and Dickinson College, have reached their goals to become completely carbon neutral. In 2008, both colleges were emitting nearly 20,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the air of the fifth largest carbon dioxide emitting state in the country. To achieve their carbon neutral goals, each college took to implementing new systems such as planting trees, using renewable energy credits, using student engaged challenges, and more. The two colleges explained that the entirety of their goal was not to become completely carbon neutral, but rather establish an environment that encourages the community to partake in [...]

Could Household Chemicals Increase Dangers to COVID-19?

May 1st, 2020|Comments Off on Could Household Chemicals Increase Dangers to COVID-19?

Many studies have examined the effect of long term exposure to air pollution outside and the impact it could have on COVID-19 severity. While we are all in our homes, it might be time to examine the toxic household products that affect our immune systems. Synthetic chemicals and "forever chemicals" can be found in products around the house that children could be exposed to or enter into drinking water. Although removing these items from the house today will not change our risks to the coronavirus now, it could change how we respond to viruses in the future. Read More. 

Environmental Groups Sue the Trump Administration for Waterway Protections

April 29th, 2020|Comments Off on Environmental Groups Sue the Trump Administration for Waterway Protections

Environmental groups, including the Natural Resource Defense Council and Southern Environmental Law Center, have filed suit against the Trump administration, "challenging a rollback of protections for the nation's waterways." In January 2020, the EPA finalized the Navigable Waters Protection Rule that puts a limit on how much the government can regulate protections for smaller waterways. Environmental groups have argued that by limiting regulations on smaller water systems, more harm will come downstream to the larger bodies of water. Read More.

Millions of Pounds of Produce Go to Waste

April 28th, 2020|Comments Off on Millions of Pounds of Produce Go to Waste

It has been nearly two months since the Trump Administration advised families to work from home and avoid eating at restaurants to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. In effect, the demand for food at food banks is growing, while the supply of produce on farms is decreasing and mostly going to waste. Produce suppliers for restaurants no longer have a place to ship their commodity and the cost of harvesting, storing, and packaging excess food for banks is too much for farmers to take on. Producers have now pointed fingers at the USDA for their slow response in providing [...]

Cancer Alley is Feeling the Weight of Pollution and the Pandemic

April 27th, 2020|Comments Off on Cancer Alley is Feeling the Weight of Pollution and the Pandemic

Earlier this month, Harvard University released a preliminary study that examined a link between long term air pollution exposure and the severity of COVID-19 symptoms. Some of the most polluted areas in the United States are concentrated in regions with low-income and minority populations. As the virus has continued to spread, an alarming trend has been found between the ratio of death rates from the virus in predominately black neighborhoods with higher pollution and toxicity levels compared to predominantly white or less polluted neighborhoods. Read More.

Can Pollution Particles Carry the Coronavirus?

April 24th, 2020|Comments Off on Can Pollution Particles Carry the Coronavirus?

Can the coronavirus travel further distance because of air pollution? Three different research groups have proposed that the virus might be able to spread further distances when attached to pollution particles. Although the theory has not yet been confirmed, the idea that diseases can spread further distances in areas of greater pollution is plausible. Previous studies have shown that pollution could have likely carried viruses causing bird flu, measles, and foot-and-mouth disease. More research is being conducted to determine the correlation of pollution concentration and the spread of dangerous viruses, including COVID-19. Read More.

Staying Home Isn’t Safe When Surrounded by Pollution

April 23rd, 2020|Comments Off on Staying Home Isn’t Safe When Surrounded by Pollution

I look out my window every day and see that plant putting out black smoke, dark clouds of smoke. And now we’ve got this virus going on. I joke we’ve got a double whammy going on, but this is serious. We were in battle over here. We’ve got a war going on. Keisha Bowns interview with Katherine Webb-Hehn a freelance multimedia journalist in the South.  

A Look at the History Behind Earth Day

April 22nd, 2020|Comments Off on A Look at the History Behind Earth Day

The Rolling Stones sits down with Earth Day founder, Denis Hayes, to learn more about the history behind the first Earth Day in 1970 and how the day has changed over the last 50 years. Hayes offers his insights on how renewable energy, climate change, media and the pandemic have changed Earth Day and how the public perceives environmental challenges. Read More. 

Stand Up Fight Back! Protect the most Vulnerable Communities

April 21st, 2020|Comments Off on Stand Up Fight Back! Protect the most Vulnerable Communities

Do you have friends or family members who live in a vulnerability zone? Check out the map below. The first map looks at high risk facilities across the U.S. These high risk communities are especially important now that Trump’s EPA is no longer requiring monitoring and will not take enforcement actions. Across the United States, almost 12,500 high-risk chemical facilities place 39% of the U.S. population, 124 million people, who live within three miles of these facilities at constant risk of chemical disaster. The full vulnerability zones for these industrial and commercial sites can extend up to twenty five miles [...]

Earth Day Live Join Us @ 7pm EST Wed. 22nd

April 21st, 2020|Comments Off on Earth Day Live Join Us @ 7pm EST Wed. 22nd

Earth Day Live is a national livestream with programming for 3 consecutive days of content. From teach-ins to musical performances, actions and more, The US Climate Strike Coalition and Stop the Money Pipeline Coalition are teaming up to launch a massive livestream where millions of people can tune in with activists, celebrities, musicians, and more in an epic celebration of our planet.      Click here and join. Honoring Healthcare Heroes: Lisa Edelstein Interview with Frontline Healthcare Workers (Carol Lightle, Pat Sheran Diaz) Reimagining US: The Fight for a Green New Deal During COVID-19 (Varshini Prakash, Emma Lockridge, Rhiana Gunn-Wright, Lenore [...]

How to Celebrate Earth Day During the Coronavirus

April 20th, 2020|Comments Off on How to Celebrate Earth Day During the Coronavirus

This Wednesday marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Despite the challenges associated with social distancing, there are many ways to still get involved this earth week through virtual and online webinars, film festival and interactive activities. Read More. 

‘Cancer Alley’ Has Some of the Highest Coronavirus Death Rates in the Country

April 17th, 2020|Comments Off on ‘Cancer Alley’ Has Some of the Highest Coronavirus Death Rates in the Country

As predominately Black communities in the polluted areas along the Mississippi from New Orleans to Baton Rouge face heightened risks from COVID-19, the EPA has suspended enforcement of the environmental rules designed to protect them.  Read more. Motherboard, by Sophie Kasakove  

The first southern state with carbon-free energy goals

April 16th, 2020|Comments Off on The first southern state with carbon-free energy goals

Virginia has become the first southern state to establish carbon-free energy goals by the year 2045. Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed into action the Virginia Clean Economy Act that will require such utility powerhouses as Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power to transition to carbon free operations. Read More.   The following article is reprinted on our webpage from the Washington Post written by Gregory S. Schneider.   Virginia becomes the first Southern state with a goal of carbon-free energy By Gregory S. Schneider April 13, 2020 at 9:26 p.m. EDT RICHMOND — The coronavirus is scrambling Virginia's budget and economy, but it didn't prevent [...]

The EPA gave polluters a license to kill

April 15th, 2020|Comments Off on The EPA gave polluters a license to kill

There are tens of thousands more communities where the pollution continues unabated. These are known as “sacrifice zones” — places where the health of residents is permanently sacrificed to industrial contamination. Our government just told polluters they are free to pump deadly chemicals into our air and water. That’s because the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has suspended all enforcement indefinitely, until the COVID-19 crisis is over.  Read more.

Coal Miners and Covid-19

April 14th, 2020|Comments Off on Coal Miners and Covid-19

As a result of economic cutbacks in the fossil fuel industry during the pandemic, coal companies are requesting relief from taxes that contribute funding to retired coal worker health benefits. Nearly 25,000 retired coal miners receive support from the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund. The program is funded by an excise tax on the mining industry and is set per ton of coal extracted. If the excise tax is cut back, more strain could be put on a population that is already vulnerable to serious impacts from the virus. Read More.

How vulnerable is your community to Coronavirus? New maps reveal familiar pattern.

April 13th, 2020|Comments Off on How vulnerable is your community to Coronavirus? New maps reveal familiar pattern.

The predominantly black and low-income communities living near the back-to-back petrochemical refineries of Louisiana’s “cancer alley” have long suffered compromised immune systems and high rates of disease. Now, the state’s fast-growing COVID-19 outbreak is poised to hit them especially hard. <Read more>

Baltimore’s Right to Clean Air and Zero Waste

April 10th, 2020|Comments Off on Baltimore’s Right to Clean Air and Zero Waste

The Baltimore City Council unanimously passed a resolution on Monday, April 6th to adopt Baltimore's Fair Development Plan for zero waste. Residents are now calling for supporter to sign on to encourage Baltimore's Mayor Young to defend the city's right to clean air and zero waste by breaking Baltimore's contract with BRESCO, a trash incineration company. BRESCO is the city's largest polluter, accounting for 55 million dollars in damages each year. Baltimore City Council Resolution Baltimore's Right to Clean Air Petition 

Is Air Pollution Connected to Higher Coronavirus Death Rates?

April 9th, 2020|Comments Off on Is Air Pollution Connected to Higher Coronavirus Death Rates?

Is air pollution connected to higher coronavirus death rates? The Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health released findings on a study that found a positive correlation between long term exposure to particulate matter (PM 2.5) and higher death rates from disease. The study concluded that exposure to air pollution leads to more severe outcomes to patients infected with COVID-19. The study may be important to how health officials allocate virus resources, such as ventilator or respirators, to more vulnerable regions. Read More. Find Harvard University's health study here.

NRC Pushing Regulatory Exemptions During the Pandemic

April 8th, 2020|Comments Off on NRC Pushing Regulatory Exemptions During the Pandemic

Nuclear power plants are among the many other industries that will be receiving regulatory relief during the COVID-19 pandemic. Among some of the proposed changes are longer work days and work weeks for some employees because of shortage in available staff. Some employees may be permitted to work upwards of 12 to 16 hours a day or 86 hours a week. Additionally, repairs, inspections and replacement of equipment might go undone during the pandemic. The NRC has assured that safety and security at facilities will not be compromised; however, with the proposed changes and limited staff, the risk of accident is [...]

Pandemic and Pollution – An Op-Ed By Lois Gibbs

April 7th, 2020|Comments Off on Pandemic and Pollution – An Op-Ed By Lois Gibbs

In response to the COVID-19 virus, the Environmental Protection Agency suspended regulations requiring facilities to monitor and report emissions. CHEJ's very own Lois Gibbs provided commentary on the impact this action could have on individuals living in sacrifice zones, or areas overburden by pollution from industrial facilities. Although the regulation change comes at a time during a global pandemic, it is not the first change to facility requirements. While families are required to stay at home to avoid risk of exposure to the virus, they are "sitting ducks" to the toxic chemicals they are exposed on a daily basis from polluting [...]

Cancer Alley, Louisiana is About to See Even More Pollution

April 6th, 2020|Comments Off on Cancer Alley, Louisiana is About to See Even More Pollution

The St. James Parish, also referred to as Cancer Alley, is home to some of the largest industrial polluting facilities in the country. The industrial sector is expected to grow an additional 2,300 acres as  part of what is known as the Sunshine Project. The project is going to mostly include new plastics plants, including Formosa, a Taiwanese based plastics production company. The expansion is predicted to release 800 additional tons of toxic pollutants and 13.6 million tons of greenhouse gases a year into the air of an already highly polluted region. Read More.

Small Town Win In Battle of Nature vs. Industry

April 3rd, 2020|Comments Off on Small Town Win In Battle of Nature vs. Industry

The small town of Grant Township, Pennsylvania won a seven year battle against an injection well permit in a fight of nature vs. industry. General Energy has been denied the permit on the grounds that injection wells in Grant Township are banned and that nature has rights. The residents of the town fought to block the company, arguing that the well would impede their right to clean air, water and land. Read More.

2019 Report for the Federal Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice

April 2nd, 2020|Comments Off on 2019 Report for the Federal Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice

The Environmental Protection Agency has released its FY 2019 Progress Report for the Federal Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice (EJ IWG). The EJ IWG was established to provide a platform for Federal agencies to work together for the advancement of environmental justice principles. View the 2019 report here. View more information on the EJ IWG here.

Trump administration’s new rule on gas mileage standards

April 1st, 2020|Comments Off on Trump administration’s new rule on gas mileage standards

The Trump administration is set to finalize a rule that will weaken the federal government's gas mileage standards for cars put in place during the Obama Administration. With the new rule, the cost of vehicles will be lowered and fuel prices will rise over the long term. It will also release over 1.5 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles over just five years. The Administration claims that the new rule will decrease the number of car accidents and accident related deaths connected to older, less safe cars. By decreasing the price of cars, more people will be [...]

Equitable and Just Economic Stimulus Spending – Sign on

March 31st, 2020|Comments Off on Equitable and Just Economic Stimulus Spending – Sign on

Recommendations for Equitable and Just Economic Stimulus Spending in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic As Congress considers legislation to address the growing public health and economic crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the principles of justice and equity must be centered in the response. Environmental justice communities, Tribal communities, low income communities and communities of color are hit hardest by economic downturns and must be prioritized. Members of these communities are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 because they are often exposed to disproportionately high levels of pollution and have underlying health conditions, such as asthma, diabetes and cancer. Congress must also [...]

Are Migrant Farmworkers More at Risk to Covid-19?

March 30th, 2020|Comments Off on Are Migrant Farmworkers More at Risk to Covid-19?

Could migrant farmworkers be more susceptible to the coronavirus? In a time where social distancing is encouraged and washing one's hands is important to staying safe from the coronavirus, there is cause for concern for farmworkers that are exposed to less than ideal living and working situations. Most workers live in crowded housing, are transported to farms on crowded buses, have unsanitary working conditions and cannot work from home. If a worker does contract the virus, most farmworkers do not have health insurance and do not have the finances to pay for medication and treatment out of pocket. Some states, [...]

EPA suspends enforcement of environmental laws amid coronavirus

March 27th, 2020|Comments Off on EPA suspends enforcement of environmental laws amid coronavirus

This is essentially a nationwide waiver of environmental rules. Communities around these chemical plants and refineries now have one more threat to their health and well-being. If no one is watching and there is no financial or legal consequences for dumping toxic chemicals into the air, water and land this country has another crisis lurking in the near future. Houston, Texas has at least six major chemical fires since last March, incidents that killed three workers, injured dozens, exposed thousands to pollutants and, in the case of the Watson Grinding blast, may cost dozens of residents their homes. That was [...]

Ten Equity Implications of the Coronavirus in the United States

March 26th, 2020|Comments Off on Ten Equity Implications of the Coronavirus in the United States

Everyday the nation's government and public health officials are making rapid decisions in response to the Coronavirus outbreak. To assist officials in their decision making and response to the virus, the NAACP has provided a resource that highlights 10 major impacts the virus could have on minority or low income communities.  Read More. Full Resource Guide The following considerations and proposals can be found on the NAACP website. 10 Impacts of the Coronavirus COVID-19 Outbreak on Communities of Color Racism and stigmatization have increased, particularly towards the Asian and Asian American populations. Certain populations including immigrants, incarcerated people, people over 60 years old, [...]

Military bases contaminated by “forever chemicals”

March 25th, 2020|Comments Off on Military bases contaminated by “forever chemicals”

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) analyzed the presence of "forever chemicals" in the drinking water on military bases. In a report released in February, the Pentagon revealed that over 600 military sites and surround communities could have drinking water contaminated by a "forever chemical," including PFAS. As a part of the worst sites, the EWG examined the contamination at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, West Point Military Academy in New York and Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona. Although none of the sites exceed the EPA's health advisory level for PFAS at 70 parts per trillion, some sites do exceed the lower [...]

The Oil and Gas Industry is Asking for Relief

March 24th, 2020|Comments Off on The Oil and Gas Industry is Asking for Relief

The American Petroleum Institute (API) has requested temporary regulatory relief for the oil and gas industry. In a letter sent to President Trump, API has asked for a suspension of certain regulatory requirements to assist in operations during a time of decreasing oil and gas prices and decreased staff. Some requirements under question include record keeping, non-essential inspections and audits, and trainings. Read More.

A Decrease in Pollution Levels Across the U.S.

March 23rd, 2020|Comments Off on A Decrease in Pollution Levels Across the U.S.

As the United States continues to respond to the coronavirus outbreak, cities across the country are seeing a general decrease in air pollution. While people are being asked to stay home to avoid exposure to the virus, cities including Los Angeles, Seattle and New York City are seeing fewer cars on the road. The decrease in traffic has led to a decrease in nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide from car emissions and an increase in rush hour speeds. Read More. 

Flint, MI: Did Lead Contamination Damage Kids’ Brains?

March 23rd, 2020|Comments Off on Flint, MI: Did Lead Contamination Damage Kids’ Brains?

Five years ago, the public became aware of the lead water crisis present in Flint, Michigan. Today, the effects of the contamination and of the water cleanup are still being felt by the residents as they live off of bottled water. Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a pediatrician that first concluded that children were being exposed to high levels of lead from the drinking water, has found staggering results for the number of children that will have to have additional learning support. There is no safe level of lead exposure and Dr. Mona claims that nearly 14,000 kids under the age of 6 have been [...]

How Climate Change Could Affect Affordable Housing Options

March 20th, 2020|Comments Off on How Climate Change Could Affect Affordable Housing Options

Residents of a Miami trailer park were shocked when a new landowner decided to increase monthly rent prices by nearly 50%. Residents fought back against the rent spike; however, a new concern is on the horizon. With rising sea levels, homeowners that reside on the coast may move more inland. As the land off the coast becomes more valuable, concerns rise for residents of some of the last remaining affordable housing options. Read More.

Communities Most Vulnerable to the Coronavirus

March 19th, 2020|Comments Off on Communities Most Vulnerable to the Coronavirus

Although the elderly are the most in danger of infection from the virus, those that have developed preexisting conditions due to constant exposure to pollutants cannot be forgotten. Individuals in these communities are commonly low-income and/or minority populations and have to travel great distances in order to receive medical services. Former Army Surgeon General William C. Gorgas explained that it is in times of stress and danger that we need to be our most brave and unselfish to those that are most vulnerable. Read More.

CA’s Air Quality Regulations Make Farms More Productive

March 19th, 2020|Comments Off on CA’s Air Quality Regulations Make Farms More Productive

California has some of the strictest air quality standards in the country. These standards have come to the benefit of farmers when a decrease in ground ozone has resulted in an increase of $600 million in crop production a year. Read More.

Could Air Pollution Make the Effects of the Coronavirus Worse?

March 18th, 2020|Comments Off on Could Air Pollution Make the Effects of the Coronavirus Worse?

Health experts are concerned that pollution may exacerbate the health effects of the coronavirus. Air pollution is known to be linked to lung and heart damage. The coronavirus may have a more serious impact on city dwellers and those that are in closer to proximity to pollution. Read More. 

50th Anniversary of the Clean Air Act

March 17th, 2020|Comments Off on 50th Anniversary of the Clean Air Act

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Clean Air Act, passed by the United States Congress in 1970. After 50 years of amendments, advances in research and technology, and administration changes, the UN Environment Programme takes a look at how the country's air holds up today. Read More.

Trade Tariffs Could Make Fighting the Virus More Difficult

March 16th, 2020|Comments Off on Trade Tariffs Could Make Fighting the Virus More Difficult

The Trump Administration's trade policies with China might hinder the United States' ability to receive medical supplies needed to assist in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Tariffs were imposed on imported products from China including protective gear for doctors and nurses, and monitoring equipment for patients. The administration has announced that it will temporarily reduce the tariffs placed on these products to help treat the virus. Read More.

Environmental Journalism: 30 Years of Reporting

March 12th, 2020|Comments Off on Environmental Journalism: 30 Years of Reporting

Peter Dykstra, journalist for the Environmental Health News, pays tribute to the 30 years of reporting from the Society of Environmental Journalists. Founded in 1990, the SEJ is comprised of over a thousand reporters from various news media across the United States and a number of countries across the world. Every year, the group hosts an annual conference to bring together some of the greatest minds in environmental journalism, research and activism, including CHEJ's own Lois Gibbs. Even through the ups and downs of reporting, journalists continue to report on the pressing issues concerning the environment today. Read More. 

Juliette, Georgia Gets Answers on Water Contamination

March 11th, 2020|Comments Off on Juliette, Georgia Gets Answers on Water Contamination

Residents of Juliette, Georgia have received answers to what has been contaminating their drinking water. A coal ash pond at the Georgia Power's Plant Scherer is contaminated with hexavalent chromium, a cancer causing heavy metal. The pond is partially connected to an aquifer that supplies some of the community's drinking water. Water testing revealed levels of hexavalent chromium in Juliette that is 500 times the health advisory limit in California and 150 times the limit in North Carolina. Georgia does not have limit and the EPA has not yet determined a guideline for the human toxicity limit for hexavalent chromium. Therefore, the contamination and poisoning of [...]

Finally Cleaning Up Portland Harbor After Two Decades

March 10th, 2020|Comments Off on Finally Cleaning Up Portland Harbor After Two Decades

20 years of waiting and finally The Portland Harbor will be cleaned up.  It’s highly contaminated with dozens of pollutants from more than a century of industrial use. Yesterday, EPA announced additional agreements with more than a dozen companies for cleanups of the river. The companies that have signed agreements include NW Natural, Arkema Inc., Bayer Crop Science Inc., General Electric Company, Chevron U.S.A. Inc., Kinder Morgan Liquids Terminals LLC, McCall Oil and Chemical Corporation, Phillips 66 Company, Shell Oil Company, Atlantic Richfield Company, BP Products North America Inc., Brix Maritime Co., Exxon Mobil Corporation, Kinder Morgan Liquids Terminals LLC, Union [...]

Will DuPont have to pay for PFAS cleanup?

March 9th, 2020|Comments Off on Will DuPont have to pay for PFAS cleanup?

DuPont, a large contributor of PFAS production and contamination may have found a loophole to avoid assuming primary liability for PFAS cleanup and damage compensation. Beginning in 2015, the New Jersey company initiated transactions to The Chemours Company, Corteva Inc, and a new DuPont that would transition the responsibility of cleanup. However, these smaller companies do not have the funds to support the tens of billions of dollars needed to cover all damages. Read More. 

Is Climate Change Making Shellfish Toxic?

March 6th, 2020|Comments Off on Is Climate Change Making Shellfish Toxic?

The Alaskan Alutiiq, an indigenous tribe residing on the Alaskan coast, has long relied on shellfish for food. Recent instances have found that some shellfish has become contaminated by a natural occurring poison that can lead to paralytic shellfish poisoning. This reactive condition could become more frequent as water temperatures rise and toxin production increases. Read More. 

An Air Pollution Pandemic

March 5th, 2020|Comments Off on An Air Pollution Pandemic

While the world is increasing its concern for the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, scientists have stated that another pandemic has been plaguing the world for years. The European Society of Cardiology has released a report claiming that air pollution is the cause of an underlying pandemic that causes cardiovascular and respiratory diseases and on average 5.5 million premature deaths a year. Read More.

Report Released on Impacts of Fracking in Appalachian Basin

March 4th, 2020|Comments Off on Report Released on Impacts of Fracking in Appalachian Basin

Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University, Princeton University and Stanford University released a comprehensive study on the impacts of fracking in the Appalachian Basin. The study focused on premature deaths in relation to air quality, regional climate changes and employment opportunities from industry expansion. Read More. 

Women’s History Month: Environmental Activists

March 4th, 2020|Comments Off on Women’s History Month: Environmental Activists

In honor of Women's History Month, NextAvenue highlights the incredible work of Lois Gibbs and Linda Garcia. Both women have won the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize for their work against environmental injustices. Although their fights are decades apart, the work at Love Canal and against the Tesoro Savage oil company demonstrate how environmental activism is still as important today as was in 1978. Read More.

The Unknown Presence of Lead in Wild Game

March 3rd, 2020|Comments Off on The Unknown Presence of Lead in Wild Game

Hunters in the United States commonly use lead based ammunition that can cause lead contamination in meat. Hunters have expressed that they are either unaware of these concerns or are mistrustful of the sources that have presented the research. In either case, public health officials are seeking a line of open communication to warn hunters and their families about the dangers of lead consumption. Read More.

NC Schools Implement New Water Filtration Systems

March 2nd, 2020|Comments Off on NC Schools Implement New Water Filtration Systems

Schools in New Hanover and Brunswick counties in North Carolina have set plans in motion to install a new water filtration system to protect school drinking water from industrial contamination. The plan comes after Brunswick county was determined to have the highest levels of PFAS water contamination in the country. Actor Mark Ruffalo, among others, spoke at a press conference at the North Carolina Legislative Building in Raleigh explaining that more needed to be done to address the water contamination problem and the health of children in schools. Read More.

Fundraising Workshop Training Materials

February 27th, 2020|Comments Off on Fundraising Workshop Training Materials

Check out our resource material on how to fundraise effectively for your organization. The following information was compiled and used at a fundraising workshop with the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League. Fundraising Workshop Training Packet Fundraising Workshop Audio Recording

The EPA is Conducting Criminal Investigations Against Forever Chemicals

February 26th, 2020|Comments Off on The EPA is Conducting Criminal Investigations Against Forever Chemicals

In continuance with its action plan to regulate forever chemicals, including PFAS, the EPA has announced that it will be conduction criminal investigations against the cancer linked chemicals. The EPA has not elaborated on exactly who or what it will be investigating; however, some companies have released that they might be under investigation. Read More. 

States are taking action against PFAS

February 21st, 2020|Comments Off on States are taking action against PFAS

Although the EPA has voiced that matters concerning PFAS, a "forever" chemical, will continue to be a priority in 2020, over half the states in the country have decided to encourage their own regulations. Some states have preexisting rules preventing them from enforcing stricter water regulations above those set by the EPA. Other states, including Michigan and New York have surged forward to set stricter regulations and encourage more contamination cleanup efforts. Read More.     

Mercury Regulation Rollbacks and Industry Opposition

February 20th, 2020|Comments Off on Mercury Regulation Rollbacks and Industry Opposition

The Trump Administration has worked to rollback almost all industry regulations enacted during the Obama Administration to demonstrate how government should not have role in determining how and what a facility can emit. As the EPA organizes to debunk the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) that sets a limit the release of mercury, the industry sector has spoken up in opposition. Industry officials have stated that there is no need to rollback a regulation that industries have already worked to comply with and that could deregulation could lead to more harm than good. Read More.

Butte, MT Babies Have Heavy Metals 1,000 times Higher Than SC Babies

February 15th, 2020|Comments Off on Butte, MT Babies Have Heavy Metals 1,000 times Higher Than SC Babies

Last year, a team of independent researchers collected samples of baby poop from 32 infants born in Butte and Columbia, South Carolina and tested them for heavy metals. The results of the peer-reviewed study dominated local headlines, grabbing the attention of the community and government agencies. Federal officials this week called for the study to be retracted from the academic journal. "I don't think that we should attack scientific data because we don't like the data that came from that scientific study. And I feel like that's what has happened here." Read more.

Report on the health and safety of children

February 14th, 2020|Comments Off on Report on the health and safety of children

The Union of Concerned Scientist has released a report and storybook on the impact of current regulation rollbacks on the health and safety of children. A decrease in science-based research within the legislative process has put children at greater risk from exposure to toxic chemicals, including PFAS, lead, pesticides, asbestos and more. Endangering Children Report Breathe in the Smog, Drink the Lead Storybook Protecting Children's Health and Safety Resource Guide

Philadelphia placing a ban on hydrofluoric acid

February 13th, 2020|Comments Off on Philadelphia placing a ban on hydrofluoric acid

Proposed legislation this week at the Philadelphia City Council intends to ban the use and production of hydrofluoric acid (HF). The city is in favor of the ban after the Philadelphia Energy Solutions facility explosion that resulted in a release of 5,000 pounds of the toxic chemical. At low levels of exposure, HF can cause irritation to the eyes, nose and respiratory system. Exposure to higher levels can lead to more severe health concerns to the heart and lungs. Philadelphia mayor Jim Kenney is encouraging other states and the federal government to enforce similar restrictions on the chemical. Read More. [...]

EPA Releases 2018 Annual Toxics Release Inventory Report

February 12th, 2020|Comments Off on EPA Releases 2018 Annual Toxics Release Inventory Report

The EPA has released the 2018 Annual Toxics Release Inventory Report. Published every year, the report shows TRI reported data from manufacturing, mining, electric utilities and commercial hazardous waste facilities and analyzes trends and interprets that data. The 2018 report revealed a lower than expected release of "TRI-covered chemicals" than expected compared to economic activity and an increase in recycled chemical waste. In addition, the EPA has publish a new tool to assist in understanding the metal mining sector. Read More.

Virginia Passes Major Renewable Energy Legislation

February 12th, 2020|Comments Off on Virginia Passes Major Renewable Energy Legislation

The Virginia House and Senate passed sweeping energy legislation yesterday that would overhaul how Virginia's utilities generate electricity and moves the state to the forefront of renewable energy policy in the United States. The measure, called the Clean Economy Act, lays out a plan to get Virginia to 100% renewable generation. Read more.

Where is the fund in Superfund going?

February 11th, 2020|Comments Off on Where is the fund in Superfund going?

President Trump has asked Congress on Monday to reduce the Environmental Protection Agency's budget on Superfund. The Administration has created the largest backlog of cleanups in over 15 years, and now plans to reduce the Superfund Program's budget by 10%. The Superfund is just one of many environmental programs that could receive budget cuts for the fiscal year 2021. Read More.

A Brief Look at Louisiana’s Relationship with Big Industry

February 10th, 2020|Comments Off on A Brief Look at Louisiana’s Relationship with Big Industry

In 2004, Louisiana passed a bill to criminalize most acts of protest against "critical infrastructure" within the industry sector. Within the last two years, Louisiana has expanded the bill to include the trespassing and protest of pipelines in response to the North Dakota protests of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Over 15 years later, 10 states have adopted their own versions of the bill to make some of the most basic forms of protest a felony charge. Since the new addition to the Louisiana bill, a total of 15 people have been arrested, 14 organized protesters and 1 journalist reporting on the event. Read More. 

2019 Report on the 10 Worst Benzene Emitting Facilities

February 7th, 2020|Comments Off on 2019 Report on the 10 Worst Benzene Emitting Facilities

Benzene is a federal regulated chemical that when exposed can cause blood disorders and cancer. A report released by the Environment Integrity Project examined the excessive release of Benzene from 10 facilities within the United States. The worst offending facilities were found in Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. All states included one facility with benzene emittance greater than the federal regulations, with the exception of Texas with a total of 6 refineries out of compliance. Read More.

Long Island Receives Grant Money to Clean Up Water Contamination

February 6th, 2020|Comments Off on Long Island Receives Grant Money to Clean Up Water Contamination

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that the state's Environmental Facilities Corporation will direct $120 million in grant money towards assisting Long Island and villages' water plans. Included is the Village of Mineola that currently has three major water system projects underway to help meet 1,4-dioxin and PFAS treatment requirements. 23 total grants have been given out to Long Island and villages to assist in water remediation projects. Read More.

Buckeystown, MD vs. C.J. Miller Asphalt Plant

February 5th, 2020|Comments Off on Buckeystown, MD vs. C.J. Miller Asphalt Plant

In June of 2019, the proposed construction of a C.J. Miller asphalt plant in Buckeystown, Maryland was denied by the Frederick County Board of Zoning Appeals. The board denied the plant's plans to build, arguing that it failed too many of the county's required codes. The company is remaining persistent in its plans, despite a strong atmosphere of opposition from local residents, and is now asking a Frederick county judge to reexamine the board's decision. Read More.  Frederick County Planning Committee January 2019 decision Frederick County Board of Zoning Appeals June 2019 decision   

Harris County continues lawsuit against Exxon Mobil

February 5th, 2020|Comments Off on Harris County continues lawsuit against Exxon Mobil

On Friday, January 30, a judge ruled that Harris County can proceed with its lawsuit against Exxon Mobil. The lawsuit was filed on August 1, 2019 after a chemical fire in Baytown, Texas. Harris County itself was taken to court by the state's attorney general's office over the case that Harris County must first receive "explicit approval from county commissioners" before filing a lawsuit. Read More.   Exxon Mobil chemical plant explosion

A Brief Look at Minden, WV

February 4th, 2020|Comments Off on A Brief Look at Minden, WV

Minden, West Virginia has begged for the cleanup of its town from PCB contamination for over thirty years. In 2019, hope was found among community members when the Superfund site was placed on the EPA's NPL list. Yet, movement for either cleanup or relocation remains stagnant. Read more about the background of contamination in Minden and the current status of its residents as they continue to fight for cleanup. Read More.

East Liverpool, Ohio demanding answers to poisonous incinerator

February 3rd, 2020|Comments Off on East Liverpool, Ohio demanding answers to poisonous incinerator

In East Liverpool, Ohio, the organization Save Our County Inc. has been fighting the Heritage Thermal Services incinerator for decades. Several months ago, the group met with the city's Safety and Rules Committee to draft a list of questions to send to the EPA regarding their concerns for the incinerator. The community received a response from the EPA in December and are not satisfied with the answers. More questions were submitted to the EPA for further detail and the committee is awaiting advice on how to proceed. Read More.

Ohio Protests the Anti-Protest Bill

January 31st, 2020|Comments Off on Ohio Protests the Anti-Protest Bill

The Ohio House Public Utilities Committee approved Senate Bill 33 on Thursday, January 29. The government building was packed with state residents ready to speak in opposition of the bill. SB 33 is aimed at protecting oil and gas production infrastructure, while in turn, making many acts of protest against the industry potentially illegal. After the passing of the bill, residents spoke out in frustration by chanting "This is our house." The crowds settled after Ohio state troopers arrived on scene; however, it might foreshadow Ohio's movement towards limiting protesters' freedom of speech. Read More.

14 States Say No To Rollbacks of Safety at Chemical Plants

January 30th, 2020|Comments Off on 14 States Say No To Rollbacks of Safety at Chemical Plants

Attorneys general from 14 states filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the Environmental Protection Agency over its rollback of Obama-era chemical plant safety regulations. “The Trump EPA is gutting critical safeguards against explosions, fires, poisonous gas releases, and other accidents at these facilities, putting New Yorkers in harm’s way," New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement.  Read more.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation Prepares to Sue the EPA

January 29th, 2020|Comments Off on Chesapeake Bay Foundation Prepares to Sue the EPA

On Monday, January 27th, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation announced that it intends to sue the EPA for failing to enforce Clean Water Act pollution limits for the Chesapeake Bay. The Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint was established to created as a goal to restore the bay by 2025 by limiting the amount of nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment pollution within the watershed. The Foundation argues that Pennsylvania's efforts to curb pollution entering into the bay is not on track with the 2025 deadline due to funding limitations and planning shortfalls. Read More.

President Trump Rolls Back Pollution Regulations on Streams and Wetlands

January 27th, 2020|Comments Off on President Trump Rolls Back Pollution Regulations on Streams and Wetlands

On Thursday, January 23rd, the Trump Administration finalized the removal of the "Waters of the United States" regulations set in place during the Obama Administration. The removal of the 2015 rules was highly backed by the coal and farm sectors, that can now dump pollutants such as pesticides and fertilizers directly into waterways. Trump's new water rule, the "Navigable Water Protection Rule," will still protect larger bodies of water, including the Chesapeake Bay and the Mississippi River, but will reduce the protection of smaller water systems that could still sweep pollutants into those larger systems. Read More. 

Rolling Stones: uncovering the story behind brine

January 23rd, 2020|Comments Off on Rolling Stones: uncovering the story behind brine

Rolling Stone has released an article highlighting the dangers of brine, a radioactive naturally occurring byproduct of oil and gas drilling. Workers and communities for decades have been exposed to brine through truck transports, on roads as a de-icer or products in hardware stores without having complete information on its radioactive nature.  Read More.  

Students relocated after Mercury testing on school grounds

January 22nd, 2020|Comments Off on Students relocated after Mercury testing on school grounds

Northport Middle School, in Long Island, NY, has taken action to relocate its students after findings of high levels of Mercury on school grounds. Parents staged a "sick out" rally last week to express concern for the safety of the students. The school will remain closed for the remainder of the year for continued testing and remediation. Read More.

Malaysia: Don’t Dump Your Trash Here

January 21st, 2020|Comments Off on Malaysia: Don’t Dump Your Trash Here

Malaysia has announced that it will no longer be accepting containers of trash from wealthier countries, including France, the United Kingdom and the United States. At a press conference on Monday, Malaysian Prime Minister Yeo Bee Yin stated, "If people want to see us as the rubbish dump of the world, you dream on." The country has put a foot down against the exportation of trash to developing countries and has since returned 150 containers of trash back to their originating countries. Read More.

20 Powerful People Deciding Environmental & Public Health Risks

January 20th, 2020|Comments Off on 20 Powerful People Deciding Environmental & Public Health Risks

“Of 20 key officials across several agencies, 15 came from careers in the oil, gas, coal, chemical or agriculture industries, while another three hail from state governments that have spent years resisting environmental regulations.” Read NYT Story.

Women Marching Agree Climate Change is a Feminist Issue

January 19th, 2020|Comments Off on Women Marching Agree Climate Change is a Feminist Issue

At the New Hampshire Women's March, Naomi Klein took the stage and spoke about why climate change — and many of the natural disasters occurring as a result — is a feminist issue. “We have seen in the aftermath of all of the disasters that I've mentioned, that rates of domestic violence increase — that femicide, the killing of women increases — so of course, all of these issues are interrelated,” she said. She continued, saying that we need to recognize the work that many women do in these situations. “The other thing that we see is that women on the [...]

Judge in North Carolina Says No to Coal Ash Permits

January 17th, 2020|Comments Off on Judge in North Carolina Says No to Coal Ash Permits

Administrative Law Judge reversed earlier decision in a coal ash case, ruling that state environmental officials exceeded their authority when they allowed the ash to be disposed in unexcavated areas of the Brickhaven and Colon mines. Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League organizer Therese Vick praised the decision and admonished the agency for issuing the permits. “DEQ knew what they did was wrong, yet they kept trying to defend the indefensible,” Vick wrote in a press statement. “No community should ever have to go through this again.”  Read more.

National One Health Awareness Month

January 16th, 2020|Comments Off on National One Health Awareness Month

The Senate has passed a resolution claiming January of 2020 as "National One Health Awareness Month." By passing the resolution, Congress is hoping that it will bring awareness to public, animal, and environmental health. Read More.

No One Should Have to Breathe These Chemicals

January 15th, 2020|Comments Off on No One Should Have to Breathe These Chemicals

Opinion NYT   In Texas and across the country, the E.P.A.’s gutting of the Chemical Disaster Rule is a matter of life or death. By Ana Parras   While families across the country celebrated Thanksgiving with their loved ones, more than 50,000 people in Port Neches, Tex., were forced to evacuate from their homes and spend the holiday in makeshift shelters. The reason? Two explosions at the Texas Petroleum Chemical plant sent flames into the sky, injured eight people, and released plumes of butadiene, a carcinogen, into the air. The disaster erupted six days after the Trump administration gutted Obama-era regulations meant to improve safety at 12,000 chemical plants around the [...]

2020: A year for environmental action

January 14th, 2020|Comments Off on 2020: A year for environmental action

The year 2020 is projected to be one of action and change for environmental policy, the climate and communities. The Grist has compiled a collection of some of the top environmental justice stories to follow in the upcoming year that have a focus on protecting communities that have been unfairly impacted by pollution. Environment developments are occurring on both the national and local levels in the form of new policies and regulations, crucial court cases and community projects. Read More.