California utility Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) will plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter for sparking the state’s deadliest wildfire, the company announced Monday.
The announcement comes a little less than a year after an investigation confirmed that power lines owned by the utility sparked the Camp Fire, which burned 153,336 acres, killed 85 people and scorched the town of Paradise.
“We cannot replace all that the fire destroyed, but our hope is that this plea agreement, along with our rebuilding efforts, will help the community move forward from this tragic incident,” PG&E Chief Executive Bill Johnson said in a statement reported by Reuters.
Even as company pharmacists protested, Walmart kept filling suspicious prescriptions, stoking the country’s opioid epidemic. A Republican U.S. Attorney in Texas thought the evidence was damning. Trump’s political appointees? Not so much.
Attorney General William P. Barr, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and FBI Director Christopher Wray. Photo: Department of Justice (Public domain)
On a Tuesday just before Halloween in 2018, a group of federal prosecutors and agents from Texas arrived in Washington. For almost two years, they’d been investigating the opioid dispensing practices of Walmart, the largest company in the world. They had amassed what they viewed as highly damning evidence only to face a major obstacle: top Trump appointees at the Department of Justice.
The prosecution team had come to Washington to try to save its case. Joe Brown, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Texas, led the group, which included Heather Rattan, an over-20-year veteran of the office who had spent much of her career prosecuting members of drug cartels. Continue reading →
A federal judge handed down a major victory for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe of North Dakota on Wednesday, ruling that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers violated the National Environmental Policy Act by approving federal permits for the Dakota Access Pipeline.
The USACE must complete a full environmental impact study of the pipeline, including full consideration of concerns presented by the Standing Rock Tribe, the judge ruled. The tribe has asked the court to ultimately shut the pipeline down. Continue reading →
As healthcare providers across the U.S. desperately attempt to treat a rapidly growing number of patients with the coronavirus, a pharmaceutical company with ties to the Trump administration has been granted exclusive status for a drug it is developing to treat the illness—a potential windfall for the company that could put the medication out of reach for many Americans.
As The Interceptreported Monday, the Food and Drug Administration granted Gilead Sciences “orphan” drug status for remdesivir, one of several drugs being tested as potential treatments for the coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19. The designation is generally reserved for drugs that treat rare illnesses affecting fewer than 200,000 Americans—but companies can be eligible if the designation, as in this case of a rapidly spreading virus, is made before a disease spreads beyond that limit. Continue reading →
Prosecutions of white-collar criminals by the U.S. Justice Department plunged to an all-time low in January, according to a study published just days after President Donald Trump proclaimed his commitment to “safeguarding the American consumer” and “strengthening our efforts to prevent and prosecute fraud.”
The analysis released Tuesday by Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) found that the Justice Department prosecuted just 359 white-collar criminals in January, a decline of 25% from five years ago. TRAC has been recording data on white-collar prosecutions since 1986. Continue reading →
A sign held at the March for Science in San Francisco, California, on April 22, 2017. (Photo: Matthew Roth/flickr/cc)
As most political observers were watching the election results in the Democratic primary from 14 states come in Tuesday evening, the EPA quietly published a proposed change to a rule the Union of Concerned Scientists has called “nonsensical and dangerous“—expanding the agency’s so-called “secret science” rule to further limit the scientific evidence the EPA will consider in its work.
In what Mother Jones environmental reporter Rebecca Leber called “an incredible news dump” in the midst of a contentious election, the EPA “moved forward its most controversial proposal of the Trump administration.” Continue reading →
The Bank Policy Institute, a lobbying group for big banks, drew criticism for a policy memo suggesting financial deregulation as a response to the coronavirus outbreak. (Photo: Phillipp/Flickr/cc)
A lobbying group for big banks in the United States came under fire Tuesday from financial industry experts for pressuring federal officials to push through long-sought regulatory rollbacks in response to the worldwide economic concerns sparked by the global coronavirus outbreak.
The final budget will reflect the input of Congress, including the Democratic House of Representatives, and will look significantly different.
However, budget drafts by presidential administrations are not meaningless pages of paper. They are important policy documents highlighting goals, priorities and visions for the future of the country. Continue reading →
Myron Ebell discusses withdrawing U.S.commitment to the Paris Climate Treaty on a panel on WUSA9 in 2017. Screenshot: YouTube
Watchdog group Western Values Project said Friday that audio it obtained of a June 2019 event at Trump’s Interior Department provides more evidence that public lands are under threat of being privatized by the former reality star and his crew of “anti-public land zealots.”
The event (pdf) in question was the American Agri-Women Symposium entitled “Federal Land Policies: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” which took place at Interior’s Sidney Yates Auditorium. Myron Ebell—the climate crisis-denying former head of President Trump’s EPA transition team who serves as head of environmental and energy policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute—was keynote speaker. Continue reading →
Bush fire at Captain Creek central Queensland Australia. Photo: Lithgowlights/CC
The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere hit a record high Monday, a reading from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that elicited fresh calls from climate activists and scientists for the international community to end planet-heating emissions from fossil fuels and deforestation.
According to NOAA’s Mauna Loa Observatory, an atmospheric baseline station in Hawaii, the daily average of CO2 levels on Feb. 10 was 416.08 parts per million. In recent years, soaring rates of CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere have signaled that the world is not ambitiously addressing the climate crisis. Continue reading →