Trade policy is amounting to be an increasinly contentious topic as the Trump administration has clearly showed its intentions to keep major TPP provisions in NAFTA. Corporations are working with the Department of Commerce to eliminate the few but significant labor and environmental protections the government enforces while members of Congress begin to campaign around trade. 2018 promises to put trade policy at the forefront as presidential elections in Mexico and mid-terms in the United States could determine the fate of North American trade agreements to come.
By John Zangas for DC Media Group. The March for Science was deemed by organizers as a non partisan, non political event but based on the wording of many signs political viewpoints were evident everywhere. By the hundreds they carried various hand made signs spelling out topics of concern over recent policy changes which they believe if enacted will adversely affect people and planet. Some signs were technical references to science facts, while others were plain and direct. “There is no Planet B” read one sign, “Science is not right or left”, and “The Oceans are rising and so are we” read others. “I see a lot of good science has done for my patients and I feel like it’s vital that we continue to support it,” said Erika McKee, a nurse from Washington DC, marching with friends who are doctors and scientists working at the NIH.
By Michael Cox for Crosscut – Dear Administrator Pruitt, My name is Michael Cox. Today is my last day after working at EPA for over 25 years. I am writing this note because I, along with many EPA staff, are becoming increasing alarmed about the direction of EPA under your leadership. I understand there are people in the country who distrust EPA, and think we are overreaching our mission. I believe we need to listen to those voices and try to make changes where warranted. However, I, and many staff, firmly believe the policies this Administration is advancing are contrary to what the majority of the American people, who pay our salaries, want EPA to accomplish, which are to ensure the air their children breath is safe
By John H. Cushman Jr. for Inside Climate Change – A coalition of states, cities and environmental groups filed twin briefs on Wednesday accusing the Environmental Protection Agency of trying to “perpetually dodge” court decisions that could keep alive the Clean Power Plan, which the Trump Administration wants to dismantle. They urged the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to reject the administration’s new petition to put the Clean Power Plan, the centerpiece of the Obama Administration’s climate policies, into an indefinite state of limbo, while the EPA sends the rule back to the drawing board. The appeals court heard oral arguments in the case months ago and should be ready to rule at any time.
By Andrew Freedman for Mashable – EPA head Scott Pruitt may have broken integrity rules by denying global warming. A pile of future carbon dioxide emissions, also known as coal. Well, this is a new one. Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is under investigation by his own agency for misstating the basic scientific consensus on human-caused global warming. Turns out that providing misguiding scientific information to the public isn’t a cool thing to do, after all — even in the Trump administration. EPA administrator Scott Pruitt is fast becoming one of the most controversial of President Donald Trump’s cabinet picks. He is leading the push to unravel the Obama administration’s landmark climate change policies while overseeing a historic downsizing of the agency he runs.
By Katherine Paul for Organic Consumers Association – I have cancer, and I don’t want these serious issues in HED [EPA’s Health Effects Division] to go unaddressed before I go to my grave. I have done my duty.” It’s been four years since Marion Copley, a 30-year EPA toxicologist, wrote those words to her then-colleague, Jess Rowland, accusing him of conniving with Monsanto to bury the agency’s own hard scientific evidence that it is “essentially certain” that glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller, causes cancer. Copley has since died. But her letter suggesting that EPA officials colluded with Monsanto to hide the truth about Monsanto’s flagship weedkiller has been given new life.
By Ronnie Cummins for Organic Consumers Organization – We’re calling on Congress to launch an official investigation into how EPA officials colluded with Monsanto. Can you help us raise $200,000 by midnight, March 31 to meet our quarterly online fundraising goal. You can donate online, by mail or by phone, details here. According to the New York Times, newly unsealed court documents reveal that former EPA official Jess Rowland let Monsanto ghostwriters write the toxicology reports that would form the basis for a government investigation into whether or not Roundup causes cancer. “If I can kill this I should get a medal,” Rowland reportedly told a Monsanto executive, who shared the comment in an email.
By Allen Cone for United Press International – Monsanto ghostwrote studies on the herbicide Roundup for the Environmental Protection Agency, documents unsealed in a federal court case seem to show. Farmers and others are suing chemical company Monsanto, alleging that the company failed to warn them that its glyphosate-based week killer can cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In company emails made public Tuesday in federal court in San Francisco, Monsanto executives discuss ghostwriting research papers on Roundup, the company’s best-selling product, that would be signed by scientists. Two papers on Roundup were eventually published, one in 2000 and one in 2013.
By Phil McKenna for Inside Climate News – The head of the environmental justice program at the Environmental Protection Agency has stepped down, departing the government with a lengthy letter to Scott Pruitt, the EPA’s new administrator, urging him not to kill the agency’s programs. Mustafa Ali, a senior adviser and assistant associate administrator at the agency, worked to alleviate the impact of air, water and industrial pollution on poverty-stricken towns and neighborhoods during nearly a quarter century with the EPA. He helped found the environmental justice office, then the environmental equity office, in 1992, during the presidency of President George H.W. Bush.
By Diane Wilson for Common Dreams – On January 17, 2017, a congressional hearing to confirm Scott Pruitt, Donald Trump’s chosen appointee to head the Environmental Protection Agency, was held in Washington, D.C. Now, anybody who knows anything about fracking or oil well drilling knows that wherever there’s a roomful of well-dressed executives, oil probably ain’t far behind. So, I figured there was going to be a lot of oil in that room just listening to themselves talking to each other. I also thought they needed a little education from someone who also knows a lot about oil but from a somewhat different perspective. Namely, me.
By Lorraine Chow for Nation of Change – An EPA scientist says that Rowland and another official “intimidated staff” into changing reports related to the glyphosate findings. Former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official Jess Rowland may have to testify over claims that he covered up evidence that glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto‘s top-selling herbicide Roundup, could cause cancer. A federal judge said at a hearing in San Francisco on Monday that he is likely to grant the deposition of Rowland, a key figure named in multi-district cancer lawsuits alleging that Monsanto failed to warn about the cancer risks associated with exposure to glyphosate.
By Steve Horn for Desmog Blog – The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) has published thousands of emails obtained from the office of former Oklahoma Attorney General, Scott Pruitt, who was recently sworn in as the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the Trump Administration. Housed online in searchable form by CMD, the emails cover Pruitt’s time spent as the Sooner State’s lead legal advocate, and in particular show a “close and friendly relationship between Scott Pruitt’s office and the fossil fuel industry,” CMD said in a press release. CMD was forced to go to court in Oklahoma to secure the release of the emails, which had sat in a queue for two years after the organization had filed an open records request. Among other things, the emails show extensive communication with hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) giant Devon Energy, with Pruitt’s office not only involved in discussions with Devon about energy-related issues like proposed U.S. Bureau of Land Management fracking rules…
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.