“If you’ve got a problem with radioactive waste, you could clean it up, a costly and onerous process, or you could just change the definition of it. Guess which one the Trump administration has decided to do?”
The Savannah River Site in South Carolina is one of three Defense Reprocessing Waste Inventories where the Department of Energy will be reclassifying nuclear waste as safer than it has for decades, allowing the government to dispose of the waste more easily and potentially posing a risk for the surrounding environment. (Photo: Savannah River Site/Flickr/cc)
In a move that will roll back safety standards that have been observed for decades, the Trump administration reportedly has plans to reclassify nuclear waste previously listed as “high-level” radioactive to a lower level, in the interest of saving money and time when disposing of the material.
The Department of Energy (DOE) plans to observe a new interpretation of which nuclear waste qualifies as “high-level waste,” which must be disposed of deep underground to avoid contaminating the surrounding environment. Under the new standards, radioactive materials at three nuclear sites will be classified as low-risk, enabling officials to dispose of the waste in shallow pits. Continue reading →
A newly-leaked audio recording reveals that oil and gas executives in a private meeting were “giddy” with laughter in the summer of 2017 as they rejoiced over the “unprecedented access” they were being given to the highest levels of the Trump administration, boasting about their ability to have closed-door meetings with top officials and the ascendance of their own industry colleagues to some of the most powerful seats of government.
Among the topics in the recording, reportsReveal at the Center for Investigative Reporting—which was provided the audio—the oil and gas executives who belong to the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) “are heard discussing David Bernhardt, now deputy secretary of the Interior and a former industry lobbyist.” Notably, Bernhardt—described by the executives in the recording as a close friend and industry operative—has now been nominated by President Trump to be the next Secretary of Interior, with his confirmation hearings scheduled for next week. Continue reading →
Independent watchdogs are raising alarm about the nuclear power industry’s ongoing efforts to convince federal regulators to scale back safety inspections and limit what “lower-level” issues are reported to the public.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)—an agency dominated by President Donald Trump’s appointees—is currently reviewing its enforcement policies and is set to put forth recommendations for updating the nationwide rules in June. As part of that process, it sought input from plant operators and industry groups. Continue reading →
A coalition of progressive groups has launched a week of action to demand a progressive Green New Deal from federal lawmakers. (Photo: Friends of the Earth/Twitter)
Building on the grassroots momentum that has thrust the Green New Deal onto a national stage, a coalition of progressive groups on Monday launched a week of action to demand climate leadership from federal lawmakers, calling for a plan to fully phase out fossil fuels and rapidly reform industries that produce massive amounts of planet-warming emissions while also promoting economic justice.
“To take action on climate change at the scale of the crisis, we need a Green New Deal,” declared May Boeve, executive director of 350.org. “It’s time for all progressive lawmakers to take real climate action and support a massive federal investment to bring health, safety, and justice to people and the planet.” Continue reading →
The Supreme Court will decide in 2019 whether a Virginia law that bans uranium mining is preempted by the Atomic Energy Act, the U.S. law governing the processing and enrichment of nuclear material.
The case, Virginia Uranium, Inc. v. Warren, will require the court to interpret laws governing nuclear fuel production. But its most significant, long-term impact might be the glimpse it provides into the court’s view of the proper balance between federal regulatory power and the rights of states in setting their own policies. Continue reading →
Outgoing Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in 2016, when he served as a congressman for Montana. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr/cc)
Amid the chaos of the ongoing government shutdown and winter holidays, critics on Monday are calling out the Trump administration for quietly moving to make it harder for the public to find out what goes on behind closed doors at the U.S. Department of the Interior.
A proposed new rule (pdf) filed to the Federal Register on Friday would enable the department—which, along with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has been responsible for pushing through President Donald Trump’s widely condemned regulatory rollbacks—to ignore public records requests that officials deem too “unreasonably burdensome.” Continue reading →
Environmentalists on Monday slammed President Donald Trump’s replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), with Food & Water Watch executive director Wenonah Hauter warning that it “would enshrine and globalize Trump’s deregulatory zealotry into a trade pact that would outlast the administration and imperil future efforts to protect consumers, workers, and the environment.”
Presented as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), many have noted that Trump’s trade deal, as Bloombergput it, “looks more like a rebranding than a revolution,” despite Trump’s vows when he was a presidential candidate that he would negotiate a new deal that’s dramatically better for American workers. As experts and campaigners comb through the details of the agreement, environmental activists are homing in on provisions they warn would endanger people and the planet. Continue reading →