The GOP-led U.S. Senate today confirmed ex-coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler to run Environmental Protection Agency, in a 52-47 vote mostly along party lines. Read the rest
The Trump administration's plan to bring back asbestos is right in line with Trumpist ideology that any science that interferes with profits is a hoax (Trump claims that the asbestos-cancer link is a conspiracy to help the mafia make money on asbestos removal contracts), and the fact that the leading Russian asbestos company (which has ties to Putin) put Trump's face on their packaging is just an extra too-shitty-to-be-true detail for all of us to ponder as we die of mesothelioma in a few years. Read the rest
President Trump's corrupt EPA chief is out. The resignation letter is nuts, and mentions God's divine providence and other creepy surreal stuff that doesn't belong. Read the rest
Embattled EPA Director Scott Pruitt went on national TV to announce on behalf of the US government that "I would not agree [CO2 is] a primary contributor to the global warming that we see... There’s a tremendous disagreement about the degree of the impact [of] human activity on the climate." Read the rest
The Environmental Defense Fund and the Southern Environmental Law Center sued the EPA to force it to comply with a Freedom of Information Act request for access to emails to and from thinktanks associated with the climate denial industry like the Heartland Institute, Plants Need CO2, The Right Climate Stuff, and Junk Science. Read the rest
When Nixon formed the EPA in 1970, the agency had the prescience to send photographers across America to photograph the kinds of environmental catastrophes that triggered its formation: chemical factories belching smoke; smog over cities; burning barges in the middle of waterways; clearcuts, litter and filthy lakes and rivers. Read the rest
The Environmental Protection Agency's mission is in its name. But it's hard to tell whether or not the EPA is doing its job if the government refuses to release any records of its doing so.
In the summer of 2017, the Center for Biological Diversity – an organization that is passionate about the link between the well-being of humanity and the ongoing safety and diversity of all the creatures bopping around the earth – requested that the EPA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service provide them with public records on the use of a number of pesticides: chlorpyrifos, diazinon and malathion. Their request for information was never acknowledged.
Unwilling to take ghosting for an answer, they filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration, demanding that the thousands of pages of analysis on how the pesticides' use affects wild plants and animals, be released. In a statement released by the organization earlier today, they cited the following:
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The Fish and Wildlife Service had committed to releasing its analysis of that research for public comment by May 2017 and to finalize the documents by December 2017. But last year, shortly after donating $1 million to Trump's inauguration, Dow Chemical asked federal agencies not to finalize the legally required assessments that are crucial to establishing common-sense measures to reduce the pesticides' harm to endangered species.
The EPA’s initial analysis of the three pesticides, released in 2016, found that 97 percent of the more than 1,800 animals and plants protected under the Endangered Species Act are likely to be harmed by malathion and chlorpyrifos.
Five years ago, it looked like big oil and big coal were finally acknowledging the reality of climate change, shifting from the early posture of outright denial and the intermediate strategy of sowing confusion, and moving into an endgame of "clean coal" and monopolizing renewables, but the think tanks they had funneled hundreds of millions in dark money to were not having any of it -- and it's they, not the hydrocarbon barons, who've got the ear of the conspiracy-theorist-in-chief, Donald Trump. Read the rest
America Rising, a GOP oppo research firm, has filed a slew of Freedom of Information requests seeking access to EPA employees' email, targeting employees who criticized Donald Trump, Scott Pruitt, or EPA policies, or who participated in union rallies against cuts; the requests target communications that mention Trump officials or are addressed to Democrats in Congress. Read the rest
The Intercept's Sharon Lerner is Read the rest
The Department of Agriculture's chief scientist oversees more than 1,000 scientists in 100 research facilities: Trump's pick to run the agency is Sam Clovis, a climate-denying talk-radio host who not only lacks any kind of scientific degrees -- he didn't take a single science course at university. Read the rest
Scott Pruitt, the Trump administration’s top environmental official, privately met with the CEO of Dow Chemical just before reversing the EPA's efforts to ban a widely used Dow pesticide. Multiple scientific studies showed chlorpyrifos can damage the brains of children.
Today's Associated Press story is a clear case for why the Environmental Protection Agency and its appointed leader matter to American lives.
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Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s schedule shows he met with Dow CEO Andrew Liveris on March 9 for about a half hour at a Houston hotel. Both men were featured speakers at an energy industry conference.
Twenty days later Pruitt announced his decision to deny a petition to ban Dow’s chlorpyrifos pesticide from being sprayed on food, despite a review by his agency’s scientists that concluded ingesting even minuscule amounts of the chemical can interfere with the brain development of fetuses and infants.
EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman said Tuesday that Pruitt was “briefly introduced” to Liveris at the conference.
“They did not discuss chlorpyrifos,” Bowman said. “During the same trip he also met with the Canadian minister of natural resources, and CEOs and executives from other companies attending the trade show.”
EPA released a copy of Pruitt’s March meeting schedule earlier this month following several Freedom of Information Act requests. Though his schedule for the intervening months has not yet been released, Bowman said Pruitt has had no other meetings with the Dow CEO. There was a larger group meeting that Pruitt attended which also included two other Dow executives, but she said that didn’t involve chlorpyrifos.