By Andrew Revkin and Jesse Eisinger for Pro Publica – The Trump administration has imposed a freeze on grants and contracts by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Trump administration has imposed a freeze on grants and contracts by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a move that could affect a significant part of the agency’s budget allocations and even threaten to disrupt core operations ranging from toxic cleanups to water quality testing, according to records and interviews. In one email exchange obtained by ProPublica on Monday, an EPA contracting officer concluded a note to a storm water management employee this way: “Right now we are in a holding pattern.
By Alexis Baden-Mayer for Organic Consumers Association – A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advisory panel is meeting this week (December 13-16) to determine the fate of glyphosate, the main active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. Will the panel heed the warnings of independent scientists? Or will it give more credence to the testimony (propaganda) delivered by Monsanto, the company that annually sells nearly $5 billion worth of its flagship herbicide, Roundup, grossing nearly $2 billion in profits. You can listen to the EPA meeting on glyphosate and cancer December 13-16.
By Neela Banerjee for Inside Climate News – In a significant reversal, the Environmental Protection Agency struck from a major 2015 report its conclusion that fracking has not caused “widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water” in the United States. The agency cited the lack of data and evidence to support the finding. The change was made after an EPA panel of independent scientists recommended in August that the agency revise the statement, which had minimized the potential hazards posed to drinking water. The panel, known as the Science Advisory Board (SAB), spent a year analyzing the draft version of the study. In a call with reporters, Thomas A. Burke, the EPA’s deputy assistant administrator and science adviser, said the SAB’s analysis was central to the change.
By Steve Horn for Desmog Blog – Asked for his take on President-elect Donald Trump’s appointment of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), multi-billionaire investor and Trump business partner Carl Icahn told Bloomberg that Pruitt is “going to really be a breath of fresh air.” Given Icahn’s business ties, that statement is steeped in accidental irony. Icahn, owner of the holding company Icahn Enterprises and a major donor to Trump’s presidential campaign, was instrumental in choosing Pruitt — a man who as state prosecutor actively opposed most federal environmental regulations and denied the science of climate change
By Eleanor Goldfield for ActOut! Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Trump thinks climate change is a Chinese hoax. So in light of recent reports from NASA climate scientists, which for example reveal a gigantic rift in the Antarctic’s Larsen ice sheet, Trump is gutting their research and plans to put climate change deniers at the helm of the EPA. Once the ice sheet is set adrift, it will be equal to the size of Delaware. An ice shelf on the West side of the Antarctic is breaking up from the inside, which is highly unusual. Temperatures in the Arctic are record-breaking. All of this adds up to warmer ocean temperatures and higher predicted sea levels. Scientists are calling this a climate emergency. There is only one thing standing in the way of continued climate destruction…
By Lorraine Chow for Eco Watch – Donald Trump has appointed Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The conservative Republican has close ties to the fossil fuel industry and has waged numerous legal wars against the EPA and President Obama’s environmental regulations, including the president’s signature Clean Power Plan. Pruitt, who was elected as Oklahoma’s top legal officer in November 2010, states on his own LinkedIn page that he “has led the charge with repeated notices and subsequent lawsuits against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for their leadership’s activist agenda and refusal to follow the law.”
By Whitney Webb for Mint Press News – Before Dakota Access, many Americans were unaware of the excessive damage and exploitation that Native Americans have endured and continue to suffer from massive corporations. However, last year, one of the worst environmental catastrophes was not caused by a corporation, but by the government itself. More specifically, the disaster was caused by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the very part of the federal government tasked with protecting the environment from such events. In August of 2015, a group of contractors hired by the EPA spilled massive amounts of waste from an abandoned gold mine into the Animas river and its tributaries.
By Sharon Lerner for The Intercept – ON A MUGGY Thursday morning in June, I drove through the gates of the Federal Correctional Institute in Tallahassee to meet a convicted criminal who, as far as I can tell, is the only person connected to two huge environmental contamination cases in Mississippi to ever serve prison time. Yet, strangely, the convicted felon I was on my way to meet wasn’t a polluter. On the contrary, Tennie White, who was prosecuted by a joint team made up of attorneys from the Environmental Protection Agency and the environmental crimes division of the Justice Department, had spent her professional life exposing contamination.
By Sharon Kelly for Desmog – Just before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released its high profile study on fracking, the agency planned to announce that the draft “study shows potential vulnerabilities to drinking water from hydraulic fracturing process.” But that wasn’t the message the public heard the next day. Instead, the EPA’s press release highlighted a statement that the $29 million “[a]ssessment shows hydraulic fracturing activities have not led to widespread, systemic impacts to drinking water resources…” That reassuring phrase was widely repeated in news headlines online, in print and on television, and touted by the drilling industry as evidence that despite spending millions of dollars
By Katherine Paul for Organic Consumers Association. If ever conditions were ripe for revolution, that time is now—especially for anyone who cares about their health, and the health of planet earth. President-Elect Donald Trump’s short lists for his environment and agriculture cabinet appointments are dominated by entrenched D.C. insiders, career politicians and industry lobbyists. Not one of these proposed “leaders” supports policies that would lead to healthier food, a cleaner environment or a cooler planet. So much for “draining the swamp.” And so much for an easy road to forward progress on food, ag and climate policy under our future fast-food leader. At the federal policy level, consumers will have little or no say over matters that have a dramatic—sometimes devastating—impact on our health and the environment. That means we’ll need to take our battle to the marketplace.
By Zahra Hirji for Inside Climate News – A new report by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights charges the Environmental Protection Agency with doing too little about environmental discrimination against low-income and minority communities, with one commissioner calling the agency “practically toothless” in dealing with the issue. The Commission on Civil Rights, an independent, bipartisan agency, focused on the EPA in its annual statutory enforcement report that is sent to Congress and the White House.
By Melissa Troutman and Joshua Pribanic for Public Herald. Pittsburgh, PA – Investigative news nonprofit Public Herald and more than 50 organizations and individuals (including Green Party Candidate for President, Jill Stein) are calling for a federal criminal investigation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) “for failing to act on drinking water contamination related to shale hydrocarbon development, a.k.a. fracking, and placing public health at risk.” An open letter and petition calling for the federal investigation has been published at Change.org and is currently receiving signatures. The request cites evidence from a 30-month investigation by Public Herald which found “nine ways DEP systematically keeps water contamination cases ‘off the books.’”
By Staff of Eco Watch – A truck full of dead bees made its final stop at a rally outside the headquarters of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Wednesday, culminating a coast-to-coast tour to raise awareness about recent massive declines in pollinators. While the millions of dead bees stayed in the truck, advocates and beekeepers delivered more than 4 million signatures urging an immediate ban on bee-killing pesticides.
By Jim Warren for NC Warn – Durham, NC – Today NC WARN sent the Inspector General of the US EPA a statement signed by 130 diverse organizations calling for an investigation into ourJune 8 complaint that scientific fraud and cover-up by agency officials has already wasted crucial years in slowing the climate crisis and has enhanced hazards for gas facility workers and neighbors. Today’s joint statement coincides with the release of data by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showing the hottest May on record for average global temperature.
By Candace Bernd for TruthOut. Activists from Kentucky and across the US met in Washington, DC, this week to highlight the intersections between environmental justice issues and the prison-industrial complex, and to protest plans for the construction of a new federal prison at a mountaintop-removal coal mining site that they say will impact the health of incarcerated people and endangered species. The Bureau of Prisons (BOP) plans to allocate $444 million in federal money to construct a new maximum-security prison at a 700-acre site in Roxana, in the Appalachian Mountains of eastern Kentucky. The location is the site of a former mountaintop-removal coal mine and constitutes habitat for scores of endangered species. Mountaintop-removal mining involves exploding and flattening the tops of mountains to expose underlying coal seams, and has long polluted regional waterways.