Tag Archives: regulations

Moms’ Group Sounds Alarm Over Worst GOP Bill “You’ve Never Heard Of”

“From car safety to clean air and water, Congress is threatening these lifesaving standards.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-21-2017

The RAA and REINS Act could impact federal agencies’ ability to impose regulations affecting food safety, among other issues that affect Americans. (Photo: Oregon Department of Agriculture/Flickr/cc)

The environmental group Clean Air Moms Action released a new ad campaign Monday urging voters to fight back against two pending  Republican anti-regulation laws.

The ad is being run in five states where Democratic incumbent senators will be up for re-election in highly-anticipated races in 2018. It features car safety advocate Janette Fennell, who shares a personal story of how an automobile regulation saved her life—the kind of regulation that could be at risk if Congress passes the Regulatory Accountability Act (RAA) and the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act. Continue reading

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“It’s Crap”: The Trump Administration’s Budget Is a Highway to Privatization

Former Goldman Sachs executive Gary Cohn, director of the National Economic Council, is leading the White House’s effort

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-24-2017

President Donald Trump wants to privatize “some public assets such as airports, bridges, highway rest stops, and other facilities” while his budget calls for cutting the Highway Trust Fund along with other programs. (Photo: Tiberiu Ana/flickr/cc)

“Private companies should fund, build, and run more of the basic infrastructure of American life.”

That’s how the Washington Post sums up a key tenet of the Trump administration’s thinking on infrastructure, in an article Wednesday that outlines the White House’s push to privatize “some public assets such as airports, bridges, highway rest stops, and other facilities.”

President Donald Trump’s budget proposal, released Tuesday, calls for spending roughly $200 billion over 10 years to spur at least $800 billion in state, local, and private infrastructure investment. Continue reading

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New Film on Indian Point Explores ‘Nuclear Power in the Age of Fukushima’

Film alleges former nuke commission chair was ousted by pro-industry forces who thought he was being ‘too aggressive’ in his efforts to protect the public.

Indian Point sits on the east bank of the Hudson River in Buchanan, New York, just south of Peekskill. (Photo: Indian Point Film)

Written by Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams, published April 16, 2015

A new documentary, premiering Friday at the Tribeca Film Festival, provides a glimpse inside the aging nuclear plant known as Indian Point—as well as a slew of new arguments against nuclear power.

The 94-minute film, titled Indian Point and directed by Ivy Meeropol, features unprecedented footage of the three-unit nuclear power plant station, which was designed in the 1950s and sits in Buchanan, New York, just 35 miles up the Hudson River from Times Square.
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How Not To Cover Your Tracks

Sometime today, the Frank Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (S.697) will be introduced at a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing. This bill, if enacted into law, would be the first update in 39 years to the federal regulations dealing with toxic chemicals and substances such as asbestos and formaldehyde along with hundreds of other chemicals.

Asbestos cleanup by volunteers, Detroit. Photo by Friend_in_Detroit (mcs asbestos debris) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Asbestos cleanup by volunteers, Detroit. Photo by Friend_in_Detroit (mcs asbestos debris) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The bill has received significant positive press from a diverse group of organizations such as the Environmental Defense Fund and the Technology Sciences Group, It has bipartisan sponsorship; Senators David Vitter (R-LA) and Tom Udall (D-NM). It has many co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle. It is supposed to be the result of two years of negotiation and collaboration between the sponsors, the chemical industry and environmental groups. In other words, something we don’t see very often these days. So, what could possibly be wrong with it? Continue reading

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Neutrality: The Only Option

By GNOME icon artists (GNOME SVN / GNOME FTP) [GPL (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

By GNOME icon artists (GNOME SVN / GNOME FTP) [GPL (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

On  January 14, the DC Court of Appeals struck down key parts of the Open Internet Order, the means by which the FCC defines net neutrality rules. To understand the implications of this, we need to review what the term “net neutrality” means.

Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites. A simple example from the commercial side would be that if AT&T is your ISP, it cannot block or slow down streaming content from Hulu, which is owned by Comcast – a direct competitor.

Without these rules in place, service providers could legally limit or slow down your access to sites not associated with the service provider, or block access entirely. If this sounds like more corporate control of speech to you, you’re right- it is. It’s also a slap in the face to smaller service providers, as the larger players in the game could put in place restrictive licensing fees, slow down out of network online activities or block access to the content that they host, thus creating a tiered service model. It doesn’t take a paranoid mindset to imagine a future scenario where political or social commentary outside what the powers that be deem acceptable wouldn’t be able to be expressed online.

However, with all the doom and gloom postulated in the above paragraphs and various blogs/articles I’ve read on the ruling, all’s not lost. The Court of Appeals overturned the provisions on a technical ground saying that the FCC hadn’t clearly defined their common carrier rules; not on the constitutionality of such a law. This leaves a clear path forward for the FCC to define what common carrier means as far as internet usage goes, as they did with cell phones (it’s why you have roaming with a cell phone out of its normal network instead of no reception at all). And, the service providers are still required to disclose their activities as far as blocking content, etc. goes; something the large service providers wanted struck down.

What can you do? Call or write your Congressthing. Call or write your service provider.  Sign Al Franken’s net neutrality petition. Make your voice heard!

Gigaom has a good series of articles about the ruling, starting with this one. Follow their links in the related stories sidebar for other takes on the subject. Ars Technica also has a good piece. For the MSM spin on the whole thing, try the Wall Street Journal.

Net neutrality isn’t dead – it just smells funny.

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