Tag Archives: Air Pollution

Looming US Supreme Court Climate Decision Could ‘Doom’ Hope for Livable Future

“The immediate issue is the limits of the EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases,” said one scientist. “The broader issue is the ability of federal agencies to regulate anything at all.”

By Jessica Corbett  Published 6-27-2022 by Common Dreams

A coal fired power plant on the Ohio River just West of Cincinnati, Photo © 2013 Robert S. Donovan Licensable under the Creative Commons license.

Amid widespread outrage over recent rulings, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue another decision this week that legal experts and activists warn could imperil the Biden administration’s climate goals and thus, the planet itself.

West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—one of the few remaining cases from this term—is “the most consequential climate case in decades,” Sierra Club said Monday. Continue reading

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In World-Historic First, Microplastics Detected in Human Blood

“We’ve choked this planet with plastic, from the highest mountains to the deepest oceans—and we’ve no idea at all about costs for public health,” said a British lawmaker.

By Kenny Stancil.  Pubished 3-24-2022 by Common Dreams

Microplastics from the Patapsco River are pictured at the laboratory of Dr. Lance Yonkos in the Department of Environmental Science & Technology at the University of Maryland in College Park, Md., on Feb. 6, 2015. Photo: Chesapeake Bay Program/flickr/CC

A team of toxicologists found microplastics in nearly 80% of the healthy adult blood samples it analyzed, marking the first time that tiny polymer fragments—measuring less than 5mm in size—have been detected in human blood, The Guardian reported Thursday.

Using techniques that allowed them to detect particles as small as 0.0007mm, the scientists, whose research was published in the peer-reviewed journal Environment International, examined blood samples provided by 22 anonymous donors in good health and discovered microplastics in 17 of them. Continue reading

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The Supreme Court could hamstring federal agencies’ regulatory power in a high-profile air pollution case

Coal piles outside of PacifiCorp’s Hunter power plant in Castle Dale, Utah.
George Frey, AFP, via Getty Images

Albert C. Lin, University of California, Davis

On Feb. 28, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in West Virginia v. EPA, a case that centers on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions that drive climate change. How the court decides the case could have broad ramifications, not just for climate change but for federal regulation in many areas.

This case stems from actions over the past decade to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, a centerpiece of U.S. climate change policy. In 2016, the Supreme Court blocked the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, which was designed to reduce these emissions. The Trump administration repealed the Clean Power Plan and replaced it with the far less stringent Affordable Clean Energy Rule. Various parties challenged that measure, and a federal court invalidated it a day before Trump left office. Continue reading

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Heavily Polluted Louisiana Community Asks EPA to Step In

“Louisiana has failed to protect fenceline communities, including St. John residents, from the harms of highly polluting facilities,” said one local advocate.

By Kenny Stancil.  Published 1-20-2022 by Common Dreams

A pair of local advocacy groups in St. John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana, submitted a civil rights complaint to the U.S. EPA on Thursday, accusing two state agencies of failing to protect residents of the low-income and predominantly Black jurisdiction from toxic air.

According to the complaint—filed by Earthjustice and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law on behalf of Concerned Citizens of St. John (CCSJ) and the Sierra Club—the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) and the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) have violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits entities receiving federal financial assistance from engaging in activities that subject individuals to discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin. Continue reading

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‘No Safe Amount’: Environmentalists Sound Alarm Over Texas Refineries’ Release of Hundreds of Thousands of Pounds of Pollutants During Storm

337,000 pounds of benzene, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, and sulfur dioxide were flared, as well as an indeterminate amount of methane.

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-22-2021

Flaring at Shell Deer Park Refinery, Deer Park TX. Photo: Roy Luck/flickr/CC

Texas oil refineries released hundreds of thousands of pounds of pollutants including benzene, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, and sulfur dioxide into the air as they scrambled to shut down during last week’s deadly winter storm, Reuters reported Sunday.

Winter storm Uri, which killed dozens of people and cut off power to over four million Texans at its peak, also disrupted supplies needed to keep the state’s refineries and petrochemical plants operating. As they shut down, refineries flared—or burned off—gases in order to prevent damage to their processing units. Continue reading

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Critics Say Deregulatory Rush Shows Even If Defeated the Trump White House Willing to ‘Scorch the Earth Before They Go’

From bomb trains to biometrics to workers’ rights, the administration is pushing for last-minute rollbacks that could prove hard for its successor to overturn.

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-17-2020

President Donald Trump signs an executive order in the White House. Photo: White House/flickr

With President Donald Trump’s re-election very much in doubt, his administration is rushing to ram through regulatory rollbacks that could adversely affect millions of Americans, the environment, and the ability of Joe Biden—should he win—to pursue his agenda or even undo the damage done over the past four years.

Reporting by the New York Times details how the administration is cutting corners as it scrambles to enact as much of its agenda as possible before ceding power on January 20 if Trump loses the election. Required public comment periods and detailed analyses, according to the Times, are being eschewed in favor of streamlined approval processes that have left even staunch deregulation defenders sounding the alarm. Continue reading

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Oregon Can’t Fight Wildfires Because Its Helicopters Were Sent To Afghanistan

Many of Oregon’s largest firefighting aircraft are not available because the Department of Defense has sent them to Afghanistan to fight in the 20-year-old war.

By Alan Macleod. Published 9-11-2020 by MintPress News

Screenshot: KGW8

More than half a million Oregonians have been forced to flee their homes, as wildfires continue to ravage the West Coast of the United States. Amid record-breaking temperatures, the wildfires, which have charred one million acres of land, have caused the sky to turn a terrifying shade of red, with many comparing it to Mars, hell, or the apocalypse. Air quality in Portland, the state’s largest city, is currently the lowest in the world, below even that of infamously polluted cities like Delhi and Beijing.

Continue reading

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New Investigation Reveals How Fossil Fuel Giants Are Amplifying Militarized Police Forces

“This report sheds a harsh and needed light on the ways police violence and systemic racism intersect with the climate crisis.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-27-2020

Saint Paul, Minnesota police officers covered in riot gear march and line up during the 2008 Republican National Convention (RNC) at the Xcel Energy Center.. Photo: Tony Webster/Wikimedia Commons/CC

The same industries fueling the climate crisis and disproportionately polluting Black and brown communities across the U.S are bankrolling police foundations, groups which can help militarize local police departments.

That’s according to a new investigation from transparency group Public Accountability Initiative and its LittleSis project. Continue reading

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Deregulation’s Deadly Consequences: Report Details How Trump’s Assault on Government Exacerbated Pandemic

“These rollbacks have put all of us—especially low-income communities, Black people and people of color, and essential workers—at higher risk of contracting and dying from Covid-19.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-14-2020

Photo: World News/Twitter

President Donald Trump’s ongoing efforts to roll back regulations designed to protect the environment, workers, and public health likely played a significant role in the spread of Covid-19 in the United States.

That’s according to a new report released Tuesday by New York University School of Law’s Institute for Policy Integrity (IPI), a nonpartisan policy think tank. Continue reading

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Ex-EPA Officials Mark 50th Earth Day With Scathing Snapshot of How Trump ‘Is Hurting People and the Natural World’

“Critical public health and worker protections are being rolled back solely to maximize corporate profits.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-22-2020

Demonstrators at an Earth Day 2017 event carry signs promoting science and challenging President Donald Trump’s agenda. (Photo: Takver/flickr/cc)

An organization launched in 2017 by former staffers of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency marked the 50th annual Earth Day Wednesday by releasing a report about the efforts of President Donald Trump’s administration to gut regulations enacted under his predecessors to preserve public health and the planet.

“The actions by the Trump administration to undermine environmental and public health protections are not acceptable,” Michelle Roos, executive director of the Environmental Protection Network (EPN), said in a statement. “Fortunately, EPN members, EPA alumni with decades of expertise and experience, have volunteered their time to detail how this administration is hurting people and the natural world on which we all depend.” Continue reading

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