Tag Archives: Air Pollution

In Super Tuesday ‘News Dump,’ EPA Expands Rule Limiting Science the Agency Can Use to Make Public Health Policy Decisions

“Now is not the time to play games with critical medical research that underpins every rule designed to protect us from harmful pollution in our air and in our water.”

By for Common Dreams. Published 3-4-2020

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

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Groups Challenge Louisiana Permits for Formosa Plastics’ Giant Petrochemical Complex in Cancer Alley

“The fight against Formosa’s polluting and unjust petrochemical complex is part of a growing national movement to address the triple threat of climate chaos, plastics pollution, and environmental racism.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-14-2020

Local and national organizations are fighting against a proposed petrochemical complex in St. James Parish, Louisiana. (Photo: Louisiana Bucket Brigade/Twitter)

A coalition of local and national groups on Friday launched a legal challenge to a Louisiana state agency’s decision to approve air permits for a $9.4 billion petrochemical complex that Taiwan-based Formosa Plastics Group plans to build in the region nationally known as “Cancer Alley.”

Louisiana residents and environmental justice advocates have pressured local, state, and federal officials to reject permits for the proposed project in St. James Parish. Critics have raised concerns that the complex would adversely affect public health and the environment by emitting cancer-causing chemicals and producing an estimated 13.6 million tons of planet-heating emissions annually. Continue reading

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Challenging EPA’s New FOIA Rule, Suit Seeks to Stop Trump’s “Shameful Attempt to Keep Americans in the Dark”

“We have a right to know what EPA is trying to hide and which Trump appointee is trying to hide it.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-24-2019

EPA headquarters in Washington. EPA/Flickr

A new lawsuit seeks to kill a recent Trump administration rule that critics say deals a blow to transparency by giving the Environmental Protection Agency broad authority to shoot down public information requests.

The new rule—put in place without public input—was published on the Federal Register June 26 and goes into effect July 26. Continue reading

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Giving ‘Upper Hand to Corporate Polluters,’ EPA Drops Surprise Inspections

The agency “is just chucking aside any flimsy pretense that they care about upholding environmental laws, enforcing against big polluters, or protecting Americans,” says one observer.

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-19-2019

Xcel Energy’s Sherburne County (Sherco) Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant, near Becker, Minnesota. Photo: Tony Webster/Wikimedia/CC

President Donald Trump’s EPA is provoking criticism once again, this time over a new “no surprises” policy stopping unannounced visits to power, chemical, and waste facilities.

“The Trump @EPA is just chucking aside any flimsy pretense that they care about upholding environmental laws, enforcing against big polluters, or protecting Americans,” tweeted John Walke, Clean Air Director and senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Giving a courtesy heads up to suspected *ongoing* lawbreakers is beyond the pale even for the Trump @EPA.” Continue reading

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Ahead of Trump ‘Utter Fantasy’ Speech on Environmental Record, DC Flooding Sparks Warnings on Danger of Climate Inaction

“We don’t have time for more lies. We must address the climate crisis now,” says Sen. Bernie Sanders

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-8-2019

A flash flood emergency in Washington left roads submerged and cars stranded as heavy rains poured over the region. Photo: CNN screenshot

Flooding in Washington, D.C. on Monday prompted calls for climate action as well as renewed scorn for the Trump administration’s abysmal environmental record.

The heavy rains came the morning President Donald Trump gave an afternoon speech in which he boasted of supposed environmental accomplishments. “Is this a joke?” said Ken Kimmell, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists. “It’s like an arsonist talking about how valuable his work is to the fire department.” Continue reading

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‘We Need to Ban Fracking’: New Analysis of 1,500 Scientific Studies Details Threat to Health and Climate

“The data show that fracking impairs the health of people who live nearby, especially pregnant women, and swings a wrecking ball at the climate.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-19-2019

“There is no evidence that fracking can operate without threatening public health directly and without imperiling climate stability upon which public health depends,” according to a new analysis. (Photo: Wendy Shattil/Bob Rozinksi/Creative Commons)

A comprehensive analysis of nearly 1,500 scientific studies, government reports, and media stories on the consequences of fracking released Wednesday found that the evidence overwhelmingly shows the drilling method poses a profound threat to public health and the climate.

The sixth edition of the Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking (the Compendium), published by Physicians for Social Responsibility and Concerned Health Professionals of New York, found that “90.3 percent of all original research studies published from 2016-2018 on the health impacts of fracking found a positive association with harm or potential harm.” Continue reading

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Group Demands to Know: Who at Trump’s EPA Decided to Slash Funds Used to Protect Children From Toxic Poisoning?

“This latest assault on children’s health is the opposite of what millions of Americans want, which is a safe environment for their kids.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-29-2019

The Environmental Working Group is demanding information about the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to no longer for children’s health centers, which have conducted “groundbreaking research.” (Photo: Isabelle Acatauassú Alves Almeida /flickr/cc)

Exactly what led President Donald Trump’s EPA to stop funding research centers tasked with probing environmental health threats to children?

One advocacy organization, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), wants answers.

EWG said in a press statement Wednesday that it filed a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain documents, including electronic records and minutes of meetings, about the decision. Continue reading

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Wildfire smoke is becoming a nationwide health threat

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An image from the International Space Station captures plumes of smoke from California wildfires on August 4, 2018. NASA

Richard E. Peltier, University of Massachusetts Amherst

The impacts of recent forest fires in California reach well beyond the burned areas. Smoke from the Camp Fire created hazardous air quality conditions in San Francisco, more than 170 miles to the southwest – but it didn’t stop there. Cross-country winds carried it across the United States, creating hazy conditions in locations as far east as Philadelphia.

As an air pollution exposure scientist, I worry about the extreme levels of air pollution that rise from these fires and affect many people across great distances. They can create unhealthy conditions in far-flung locations where residents probably never think about wildfires. But since major wildfires are becoming increasingly common, I believe it is important for all Americans to know some basics about smoke hazards. Continue reading

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In a World Made Toxic, Nearly a Quarter of All Human Deaths Caused by Pollution

Contaminated water, polluted air, chemical waste, climate change, and UV radiation kill 12.6 million people annually, says a new report from the WHO

By Nika Knight, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-15-2016

A child scavenges for coal scraps in a slum in Manila. One in four children's deaths around the world are caused by unhealthy environments, the WHO has found. (Photo: Adam Cohn/flickr/cc.)

A child scavenges for coal scraps in a slum in Manila. One in four children’s deaths around the world are caused by unhealthy environments, the WHO has found. (Photo: Adam Cohn/flickr/cc.)

Nearly a quarter of all deaths around the world are caused by living and working in toxic and polluted environments, and the worst affected are children, the poor, and the elderly, a new report (pdf) released on Tuesday by the World Health Organization (WHO) has found.

“If countries do not take actions to make environments where people live and work healthy, millions will continue to become ill and die too young,” said Dr. Margaret Chan, the WHO director-general, according to Business Insider.
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The Great Grief: How To Cope with Losing Our World

In order to respond adequately, first we may need to mourn

Written by Per Espen Stoknes, Published 5-14-15 in CommonDreams.

‘To cope with losing our world,’ writes Stoknes, ‘requires us to descend through the anger into mourning and sadness, not speedily bypass them to jump onto the optimism bandwagon or escape into indifference.’ (Photo: Nikola Jones/flickr/cc)

Climate scientists overwhelmingly say that we will face unprecedented warming in the coming decades. Those same scientists, just like you or I, struggle with the emotions that are evoked by these facts and dire projections. My children—who are now 12 and 16—may live in a world warmer than at any time in the previous 3 million years, and may face challenges that we are only just beginning to contemplate, and in many ways may be deprived of the rich, diverse world we grew up in. How do we relate to – and live – with this sad knowledge?

Across different populations, psychological researchers have documented a long list of mental health consequences of climate change: trauma, shock, stress, anxiety, depression, complicated grief, strains on social relationships, substance abuse, sense of hopelessness, fatalism, resignation, loss of autonomy and sense of control, as well as a loss of personal and occupational identity. Continue reading

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