Category Archives: Climate Change & Environmental Issues

‘Important Step’: EPA Finalizes Rule to Clean Up Forever Chemical Contamination

While praising the move, campaigners also said that the agency “must require polluters to pay to clean up the entire class of thousands of toxic PFAS chemicals, and it must ban nonessential uses.”

By Jessica Corbett. Published 4-19-2024 by Common Dreams

Used at military bases ad civilian airports, PFAS in firefighting foam has contaminate drinking water across the country. Photo: Department of Defense/Public domain

Environmental and public health advocates on Friday welcomed the Biden administration’s latest step to tackle “forever chemicals,” a new Superfund rule that “will help ensure that polluters pay to clean up their contamination” across the country.

“It is time for polluters to pay to clean up the toxic soup they’ve dumped into the environment,” declared Erik D. Olson, senior strategic director for health at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “We all learned in kindergarten that if we make a mess, we should clean it up. The Biden administration’s Superfund rule is a big step in the right direction for holding polluters accountable for cleaning up decades of contamination.”

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Youth Lead Global Strike Demanding ‘Climate Justice Now’

“We are many people and youths who want to express our frustration over what decision-makers are doing right now: They don’t care about our future and aren’t doing anything to stop the climate crisis,” one young activist said.

By Olivia Rosane. Published 4-19-2024 by Common Dreams

Climate strikers march in Stockholm, Sweden, on April 19, 2024. (Photo: Albin Haglund via Greta Thunberg/X)

Ahead of Earth Day, young people around the world are participating in a global strike on Friday to demand “climate justice now.”

In Sweden, Greta Thunberg joined hundreds of other demonstrators for a march in Stockholm; in Kenya, participants demanded that their government join the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty; and in the U.S., youth activists are kicking off more than 200 Earth Day protests directed at pressing President Joe Biden to declare a climate emergency.

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US Government Sued Over ‘Unethical Destruction’ of Wolf Population

“The Fish and Wildlife Service is thumbing its nose at the Endangered Species Act and letting wolf-hating states sabotage decades of recovery efforts,” said one conservation leader.

By Jessica Corbett Published 4-8-2024 by Common Dreams

Gray wolf. Photo: USFWS Midwest Region/flickr

A pair of conservation coalitions on Monday made good on their threats to sue the U.S. government over its denial of federal protections for gray wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains, where state killing regimes “put wolves at obvious risk of extinction in the foreseeable future.”

The organizations filed notices of their plans for the lawsuits in early February, after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) determined that Endangered Species Act protections for the region’s wolves were “not warranted.” The Interior Department agency could have prevented the suits in the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana by reversing its decision within 60 days but refused to do so.

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Low-Paid Immigrant Farmworkers Most at Risk From Toxic Weedkiller US Refuses to Ban

Farmworkers “should not be subjected to additional health risks due to the negligent actions of pesticide manufacturers, farm owners, and state regulatory agencies,” said one analyst.

By Julia Conley. Published 3-29-2024 by Common Dreams

Photo: rawpixel/Public domain

Concerns about the safety of paraquat, a highly toxic herbicide, pushed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2021 to ban its use on golf courses—but the weedkiller is still permitted for agricultural use, and a new first-of-its-kind analysis shows how the EPA’s continued approval of the substance has put low-income Latino communities at disproportionate risk for health impacts.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) found in a study released Wednesday that 5.3 million pounds of paraquat were sprayed over a five-year period in California, the only state with readily available figures on the herbicide.

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Federal Court Rules Major Wyoming Oil and Gas Lease Sale Illegal for Ignoring Climate Impacts

“This is a huge victory for the protection of our public lands,” said Friends of the Earth.

By Julia Conley Published 3-25-2024 by Common Dreams

Aerial view showing typical drilling activity in the Pinedale Anticline natural gas field of Wyoming. Photo: SkyTruth/flickr/CC

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management will have to reevaluate the wildlife and public health impacts of a major 2022 oil and gas lease sale in Wyoming after a federal judge ruled Friday that the agency had overlooked “what is widely regarded as the most pressing environmental threat facing the world today” when it moved forward with leasing 120,000 of federal land.

U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper ruled in Washington, D.C. that the BLM did not halt the lease sale even after it acknowledged that oil and gas drilling on the federal lands could result in the same negative environmental and social impacts as the addition of hundreds of thousands of cars to U.S. roads each year.

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Steven Donziger, Lawyer Targeted by Chevron, Appeals to Biden for Pardon

“A pardon would bring a measure of justice to a prosecution that has been widely criticized as a violation of international law… and as a grave threat to free speech,” said 14 attorneys backing the climate justice lawyer’s request.

By Jessica Corbett. Published 3-20-2024 by Common Dreams

Steven Donziger at sentencing hearing in 2021 Photo: Marisam77/Wikimedia Commons/CC

After exhausting his options in the judicial system, American attorney Steven Donziger on Wednesday launched a campaign seeking a pardon from U.S. President Joe Biden for his misdemeanor conviction—the result of a process that experts worldwide have condemned as retaliatory for his climate justice work and an abuse of the nation’s judiciary.

“No matter where one stands on the political spectrum, we should all be able to agree that what happened to me in the United States should not happen to anybody in any country that adheres to the rule of law,” Donziger said in a statement announcing a letter to Biden signed by 14 prominent lawyers and a leader at the advocacy group Amazon Watch.

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Greenpeace Says Ban Deep-Sea Mining, Not Our Right to Protest Against It

“How can Greenpeace’s activists paddling on kayaks be a threat to the environment, but the plundering of the oceans be a solution to the climate catastrophe?”

By Brett Wilkins. Published 3-18-2024 by Common Dreams

Greenpeace kayaktivists hold up a sign reading “stop deep-sea mining” during a November 2023 protest near a Nauru Ocean Resources Inc. exploration ship in the Pacific Ocean. (Photo: Martin Katz/Greenpeace/X)

As the International Seabed Authority kicked off its annual summit in Jamaica on Monday to discuss rules for extracting minerals from the ocean floor, Greenpeace—which could be expelled from the United Nations body over a demonstration targeting a mining company—is urging the ISA to “stop deep-sea mining, not protests.”

Representatives of 167 nations are gathering in Kingston to draft the regulatory framework for deep-sea mining, which ISA member states agreed to work out by July 2025. Although there are no current commercial deep seabed mining operations, the ISA has issued exploration licenses to state-owned companies and agencies in China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, and South Korea, and to private corporations including U.K. Seabed Resources, a subsidiary of U.S. military-industrial complex giant Lockheed Martin.

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‘North Sea Fossil Free’: Activists in 6 Countries Protest ‘Unhinged’ Oil and Gas Development

“Going full steam ahead with new North Sea oil and gas is a sure fire route to the worst climate scenarios,” one campaigner said.

By Olivia Rosane. Published 3-16-2024 by Common Dreams

The “oil slicks” performance artist group demonstrates the impacts of a potential oil spill on Scotland’s Moray Firth as part of a North Sea-wide day of action on March 16, 2024. Photo: Extinction Rebellion Scotland/X

Climate activists in six North Sea countries came together on Saturday to carry out acts of civil disobedience in protest of their governments’ continued fossil fuel development.

Demonstrators in the United KingdomNorway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands blockaded roads, ports, and refineries; dropped banners; and held solidarity concerts as part of the North Sea Fossil Free campaign to demand that their governments align their plans for the shared body of water with the Paris agreement goal of limiting global heating to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels.

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Biden 2025 Budget Would Offer ‘Welcome Relief,’ But Not Enough

One expert said that enacting his reforms “will begin to reverse the 40-year one-way ratchet of falling taxes for the wealthy and corporations and instead invest in workers and families.”

By Jessica Corbett. Published 3-11-2024 by Common Dreams

Photto: U.S. Secretary of Defense/flickr/CC

On the heels of delivering the latest State of the Union speech and signing a package of funding bills, U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday unveiled his budget blueprint for fiscal year 2025, a proposal praised by congressional Democrats and progressive advocates who want him to go even further.

The $7.3 trillion budget comes as the divided Congress is still sorting out funding for the current fiscal year. Given those divisions—and that the Republican House majority is already advancing its own budget resolution for the fiscal year that begins in October—the Democratic president’s plan is widely seen as a statement of priorities going into the November election.

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Florida GOP Passes ‘Vicious’ Bill Banning Mandatory Water Breaks for Workers

“We will see fatalities, because of what Florida Republicans chose to do this week,” said one workers’ rights advocate.

By Julia Conley. Published 3-8-2024 by Common Dreams

Screenshot: VideoHive

Displaying “punitive cruelty” toward Florida residents who work outdoors, the Republican-controlled state House on Friday approved a bill that would ban local governments from requiring that workplaces provide water breaks and other cooling measures.

The state Senate passed the measure on Thursday, with Republicans pushing the bill through as Miami-Dade County was scheduled to vote on local water break protections. If signed into law by the Republican governor, the proposal will preempt the county’s vote.

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