EPA’s Methane Estimates For Oil And Gas Sector Under Investigation

The oil and gas sector is the leading source of human-caused emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas that is about 84 times more potent over a 20-year period than carbon dioxide. Credit: David McNew/AFP/Getty Images

By Phil Mckenna for Inside Climate News – The Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Inspector General will investigate how the agency estimates methane emissions from the oil and gas sector after an environmental group alleged that its emission estimates and regulations are based, in part, on faulty studies. The evaluation, announced Wednesday, will focus on a pair of studies conducted jointly by the University of Texas–Austin and the Environmental Defense Fund in 2013-2014 that found methane emissions to be lower than EPA estimates. The studies, which were done in cooperation with a number of oil and gas companies, were subsequently challenged for allegedly using faulty equipment and underestimating emissions. “This evaluation’s objectives are examining the results of and concerns/problems with the 2013 and 2014 emission studies conducted by the Environmental Defense Fund and the University of Texas-Austin,” EPA OIG spokesperson Jennifer Kaplan said in an email. The oil and gas sector is the leading source of human-derived methane emissions in the U.S., emitting more than either the agricultural sector or landfills, according to EPA estimates. Regulation of the powerful greenhouse gas has been in dispute since the Trump administration arrived and began rolling back President Barack Obama’s efforts to rein in emissions.

Monsanto’s Mess–Four Signs Consumers Are Winning

A sign at Wednesday morning's rally in front of the U.S. Capitol building. (Photo: Occupy Monsanto/@gmo917/Twitter)

By Katherine Paul for Organic Consumers Association – Next month will mark one year since Congress obliterated Vermont’s GMO labeling law and replaced it with its own faux-labeling measure. The DARK Act was an outright attack on consumer and states’ rights. Still, then-President Obama refused to veto it. We lost the right to labels on GMO foods. But we never lost our determination to expose Monsanto’s corrupt manipulation of government agencies, or the truth about just how harmful Roundup herbicide is to humans and the environment. Fast forward to today. Monsanto is facing down scores of lawsuits by people, or their families, who were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma after being exposed to Roundup. Those lawsuits have led to revelations about possible collusion between Monsanto employees and former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials to bury evidence of Roundup’s carcinogenicity. Meanwhile the EPA, perhaps fearing consumer backlash, refuses to rule on whether to renew the license for glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup), even though we’re now nearly two years past the deadline.

Former EPA Employees Worried About Trump’s Plans, Formed Own Alt-EPA

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President Donald Trump listens to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt after announcing his decision that the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, June 1, 2017

By Alexander C. Kaufman for The Huffington Post – This week, Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt is slated to defend drastic cuts to his agency’s budget, including axing 25 percent of its staff and zeroing out climate change programs. In response, former EPA employees have formed a new bipartisan group called the Environmental Protection Network to help reporters, activists and policymakers penetrate an administration they accuse of waging an “ideologically driven” battle to cripple core functions of the agency. On Monday, the group hosted a call to brief reporters on what slashing 31 percent of the EPA’s budget would mean for the agency. The scientists, lawyers, economists and engineers in the network submitted detailed comments to the EPA cautioning officials against scrapping regulations just because industry deems them onerous. The organization, which does not yet have a website, also helped reporters phrase Freedom of Information Act requests to make them as specific as possible. “There are a variety of ways our experience and our unique institutional memory can help the work we can do,” Ruth Greenspan Bell, who worked for the EPA’s general counsel under President Bill Clinton, said on Monday’s call.

EPA Spreads Misinformation About Coal, Climate & Paris Agreement

Some of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's most misleading statements had to do with the Paris climate agreement. Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

By Marianne Lavelle for Inside Climate News – EPA administrator Scott Pruitt has spread a lot of misinformation in defending President Trump’s plan to exit the Paris climate agreement. Here’s a reality check. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has thrown around plenty of figures in his spirited defense of President Donald Trump’s decision to exit the Paris climate agreement. But many of them are just plain wrong. An EPA spokesperson did admit that Pruitt “misspoke” in his claim, repeated multiple times, that 50,000 coal jobs had been created since the fourth quarter of 2016, after the number was debunked by The Washington Post, USA Today, Politifact and others. Coal mining currently only has about 50,000 jobs, total, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But some of Pruitt’s most misleading statements had to do with the Paris agreement itself. Here are just a few:

Corporate Siege and Trade in the 2018 Elections

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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.

March For Science Fact Checks Administration On Earth Day

Science March Some signs played science facts against snarky messages. Photo by John Zangas

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.

Dear Scott Pruitt, You’re Making A Mockery Of EPA

A February march in Washington, D.C. Credit: Lorrie Shaull

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

EPA Should Not Be Allowed To Dodge Clean Power Plan Ruling

The Trump Administration is seeking to dismantle the Clean Power Plan, the centerpiece of the Obama Administration's climate policies. Credit: Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images

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.

Scott Pruitt’s EPA Investigating Him For Climate Denial

A pile of future carbon dioxide emissions, also known as coal. ZHOU JIANPING - IMAGINECHINA

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.

Congress Must Investigate Collusion Between Monsanto and the EPA, Now

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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.

EPA Official Bragged About Hiding Monsanto’s Cancerous Truth

ModernFarmer.com

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.

Emails Show Monsanto Helped Write Cancer Studies On Roundup

Roundup herbicide produced by Monsanto. (photo: Charles Platiau)

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.

Chief Environmental Justice Official At EPA Resigns

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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.

EPA’s Scott Pruitt: The Great Disruptor

A CodePink protester is removed by Capitol Police during testimony from Scott Pruitt during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on January 18, 2017. (Photo: EFE/Michael Reynolds

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.

Monsanto Cancer Lawsuits Shift Over EPA Official’s ‘Highly Suspicious’ Role

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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.