Tag Archives: EPA

Emulating the CIA, New Rule Would Let Trump’s EPA Disregard FOIA Requests With Near Impunity

“They want to box everyone out of the process who might call their policies into question.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-25-2019

EPA headquarters in Washington. EPA/Flickr

The Trump administration is set to introduce a new rule, without giving the public a chance to weigh in, which will allow officials at the Environmental Protection Agency to deny information requests—similar to how the CIA does so—by falsely claiming requested records are unavailable.

A rule, signed by EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, will expand agency officials’ authority to reject a FOIA request by labeling it as “non-responsive,” meaning the agency has decided to withhold the requested records or has claimed certain exemptions from FOIA. 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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On Earth Day, Remembering the US Military’s Toxic Legacy

The DoD produces more hazardous waste than the five largest U.S. chemical companies combined.

By Whitney Webb. Published 4-22-2019 by MintPress News

Staff Sgt. Lorenzo Hernandez, right, practices attaching and removing a second stage regulator on his mask during practical application exercises as part of a hazardous waste operations and emergency response course at Camp Foster, Okinawa. Photo: Stephen D. Himes/USMC

Media outlets gave minimal attention to recent news that the U.S. Naval station in Virginia Beach spilled an estimated 94,000 gallons of jet fuel into a nearby waterway, less than a mile from the Atlantic Ocean. While the incident was by no means as catastrophic as some other pipeline spills, it underscores an important yet little-known fact – that the U.S. Department of Defense is both the nation’s and the world’s, largest polluter.

Producing more hazardous waste than the five largest U.S. chemical companies combined, the U.S. Department of Defense has left its toxic legacy throughout the world in the form of depleted uranium, oil, jet fuel, pesticides, defoliants like Agent Orange and lead, among others. Continue reading

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‘Finally!’: Court Orders EPA to Stop Stalling Potential Ban on Pesticide Tied to Brain Damage in Kids

“We hope Trump’s EPA finally decides to protect the future of countless children and the health of millions of farmworkers.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-19-2019

American farmers use chlorpyrifos, a pesticide tied to brain and nervous system issues, on crops such as apples, broccoli, corn, and strawberries. (Photo: Stephanie Chapman/Flickr/cc)

In a ruling welcomed by public health advocates, a federal court on Friday ordered the Trump administration to stop stalling a potential ban on a pesticide linked to brain damage in children, giving regulators until mid-July to make a final decision.

Citing unacceptable health risks for children, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ended household use of chlorpyrifos in 2000. However, farmers can still use the pesticide—which is also tied to nervous system problems in people and animals—on crops such as apples, broccoli, corn, and strawberries. Continue reading

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Thawing Permafrost Emitting Higher Levels of Potent Greenhouse Gas Than Previously Thought: Study

Nitrous oxide is nearly 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-16-2019

Point Barrow, the northern-most location in the United States sits between the Chukchi Sea (west) and the Beaufort Sea on the east. (Photo: NASA/GSFC/Jeff Schmaltz/MODIS Land Rapid Response Team/Flickr)

As the Arctic enters an “unprecedented” state of warming, a new study shows that emissions of a potent greenhouse gas from thawing permafrost in the planet’s northernmost region may be 12 times higher than previously thought.

That’s according to a study published this month in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. The paper’s findings add even more weight to scientists’ urgent warnings about the mounting threats of permafrost thaw. Continue reading

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Leaked Audio Exposes Oil & Gas Execs Laughing With Joy Over Cozy Access to Trump Officials

“It’s really a new world for us and very, very helpful,” said powerful fossil fuel lobby group’s CEO during closed-door meeting

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-23-2019

David Bernhardt. Photo: Citizen Truth

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, reports Reveal 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

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Senators Demand Federal Limits for Toxic Chemicals in Drinking Water Amid Reports of ‘Unconscionable’ Inaction by Trump’s EPA

“We now face a serious challenge: aggressively addressing the health and environmental threats connected with PFAS.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-1-2019

Twenty senators are calling for federal limits on a pair of chemicals linked to various cancers and other health issues. (Photo: Peter Werkman/Flickr/cc)

In response to reports this week that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) doesn’t plan to impose drinking water limits on two toxic chemicals linked to various forms of cancer and other health issues, 20 senators on Friday sent a letter to acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler imploring him to craft nationwide restrictions.

The chemicals in question are PFOA and PFOS, which belong to a group called PFASPolitico reported Tuesday that Wheeler had signed off on an unreleased plan that would leave the pair off the list of materials regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Continue reading

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With Corporate Interests at the Helm, EPA Polluter Fines Down 85%, Hitting Lowest Level in 25 Years

“With its scientists censored and a coal lobbyist in charge, its no wonder why EPA’s civil fines for polluters are down 85 percent.”

By Julia Conley , staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-24-2019

A new analysis shows that civil penalties for polluters have declined 85 percent since President Donald Trump took office. (Photo: isciencetimes.com)

With a former coal lobbyist at the helm of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the past six months—and a self-described “advocate” against the agency’s work prior to that—the EPA has drastically reduced the fines it’s levied against pollution-causing industries and companies since President Donald Trump took office.

The Washington Post reported Thursday that under Trump, the agency collected just $72 million in fines last year from automobile, fossil fuel, and other companies that pollute the environment—compared with an average of $500 million, which the EPA annually collected during the two decades prior to the Trump administration. Continue reading

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Under Cover of Shutdown, Trump Admin Quietly Moves to Deprive ‘American People of Their Right to Know What Government Is Doing’

Critics warn proposed changes to how the Interior Department handles FOIA requests “are designed to facilitate more official stonewalling and delays in producing public records.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-31-2018

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.

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

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Report on President’s Environmental Record So Far ‘Reminds Us That Trump Soap Opera Has Dire Real-World Consequences’

“We are sort of powerless,” a Fort Berthold Indian Reservation resident said of Trump’s rollbacks on pollution rules. “This is our reality now.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-27-2018

On Earth Day in 2017, people worldwide participated in the March for Science to demand evidence-based policymaking. This sign was displayed by participants in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Becker1999/Flickr/cc)

New York Times investigative report on President Donald Trump’s nearly two-year environmental record and how his industry-friendly policies are impacting communities nationwide, published in the Thursday paper, “reminds us that the Trump soap opera has dire real-world consequences.”

That’s according to 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben, who added on Twitter that “futures are foreclosed because he’s a tool of dirty energy.” Continue reading

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