Citizen Health & Safety / Safeguarding Public Health and the Environment
The safety standards on which we rely daily for our food, medicines and cars. The energy and climate policies needed to save our planet. The new financial regulations designed to prevent banks from gambling with our money and creating another crisis. These are policies that should be determined in open, democratic venues where we have a say. But a group of the largest U.S. and European banks and corporations want to rewrite these safeguards behind closed doors. For over a decade, they have pushed for a new U.S. "trade" deal with Europe – the Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA), which corporate proponents have branded the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) – a deal that would roll back consumer protections on both sides of the Atlantic.read in full
Aug 21, 2015 by Brian Gumm
Farmers and scientists intimidated. Groundwater contamination. Human health risks. The decimation of one of America's most iconic wildlife species. These are just some of the problems we've seen thanks to Monsanto, the world's dominant producer of genetically modified crops, and Syngenta, a Swiss chemical company that manufactures controversial agricultural poisons. As an NPR story noted on Aug. 17, Monsanto wants to merge the two companies, a proposal that raises troubling questions about industry influence and impacts on our health and natural resources.read in full
Aug 20, 2015 by Ronald White
While solar energy typically receives the most attention as the “bright future” of renewable energy, there is strong evidence that wind energy will emerge as the “unsung hero” of the renewable clean energy movement.read in full
Aug 20, 2015 by Amanda Frank
UPDATE (Aug. 20, 2015): Earlier this week, the Obama administration announced its proposed rule to cut future methane emissions from oil and gas production. Methane contributes 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions from human activities that are warming the earth, so the rule is a step towards meeting our climate change targets.
However, disappointingly, the rule does not apply to existing wells, pipelines, refineries, and other infrastructure, which together contribute 90 percent of current total methane emissions from the oil and gas industry. The oil and gas industry produces almost a third of all methane emissions, so exempting existing facilities is problematic.
The rule also targets the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that pollute the air and contribute to smog formation, but as with methane, it only cuts them at new and modified oil and gas sources, and a limited number of existing sources.
Last week the, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced plans to reduce methane emissions from landfills, which contribute nearly one-fifth of all U.S. methane emissions.
To date, however, there are only voluntary guidelines for limiting methane from the agriculture industry. Agriculture produces 36 percent of total methane emissions and is the single largest source of methane in the U.S.
On Jan. 14, the Obama administration announced its strategy to reduce oil and gas industry methane emissions by 40-45 percent over the next decade. This is a key element of the administration's Climate Action Plan for reducing greenhouse gases and curbing climate change.read in full
UPDATE: Freedom Industries Executives Plead Guilty to Criminal Charges for West Virginia Chemical Leak
Aug 19, 2015 by Ronald White
Former Freedom Industries President Gary Southern and another former Freedom president and owner Dennis Farrell entered guilty pleas at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia today over their roles in the January 2014 chemical spill. Southern could face up to three years in federal prison and is scheduled to be sentenced in December. In addition to Southern and Farrell, four other former Freedom Industries former owners and senior officials have plead guilty to criminal charges and will also be sentenced in December to up to one year in prison.read in full
Recent Industrial Accidents in China and United States Underscore the Need for Urgent Action on Chemical Facility Safety
Aug 17, 2015 by Ronald White
On Aug. 12, an industrial accident in Tianjin, China killed at least 114 people – including 21 firefighters – and injured roughly 700 more residents. Another 70 people, including 64 firefighters and six policemen, are still listed as “missing.” It is just the most recent example of the catastrophes that can occur when countries don't have adequate safety requirements for industrial facilities.read in full
Senate Bill Would Make It Harder to Protect Lakes and Rivers from Pesticides -- Without Any Hearings
Aug 13, 2015 by Brian Gumm
Before leaving for Congress' traditional August recess, Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee rammed through a bill that would make it harder to protect our lakes, rivers, and streams from pesticide pollution. The committee passed the bill without holding a single public hearing on the issue.read in full
Aug 11, 2015 by Amanda Frank
In a Forbes opinion piece last week Christi Craddick, one of Texas’ three elected members of the Railroad Commission, the public entity responsible for regulating the oil and gas industries, asked that presidential candidates spell out their national energy plan – and suggested that Texas would serve as a good model.read in full
Aug 10, 2015 by Brian Gumm
Earlier this year, the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer dropped a bombshell when it concluded the active ingredient in Roundup, a popular weed killer, probably causes cancer.read in full
Aug 7, 2015 by Ronald White
On Aug. 3 President Obama unveiled the final version of the long-awaited Clean Power Plan calling it “the biggest, most important step we’ve ever taken to combat climate change.” The plan will reduce U.S. carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2032 by 32 percent compared to 2005 levels.read in full