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
Nov 13, 2015 by Brian Gumm
One year ago, a toxic chemical leak at a DuPont plant in La Porte, Texas killed four workers, including grandmother Crystle Wise. A massive leak of 23,000 pounds of methyl mercaptan erupted in the plant’s pesticide manufacturing building in the early morning hours of Nov. 15, 2014, and Wise and other co-workers died when they were overcome trying to stop the leak.read in full
Nov 9, 2015 by Jessica Schieder
Voters in Maine, Ohio, and Seattle approved statewide pro-democracy ballot initiatives last week. The successes of these ballot initiatives echo an increasing public interest in the negative role big money and influence can play in politics across the country.
Each state’s initiative took a different approach to protecting our democracy.read in full
Nov 6, 2015 by Brian Gumm
In a major victory for public health and the environment, President Obama took final action on the Keystone XL pipeline and rejected the risky project on Nov. 6. The move comes after pipeline company TransCanada tried to game the system earlier in the week by asking the Obama administration to suspend the company's permit application. The administration denied that request, which was seen as an attempt to delay a final decision on Keystone XL until after Obama was out of office.read in full
Nov 5, 2015 by Brian Gumm
After years of pressure by public health and environmental advocates, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is finally proposing to greatly restrict a dangerous, neurotoxic pesticide called chlorpyrifos. This chemical causes a variety of developmental problems and lowers IQs. The pesticide is especially dangerous to children and developing fetuses.read in full
Oct 29, 2015 by Ronald White
This month marks the 39th anniversary of the passage of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), our nation’s outdated and ineffective law for protecting the American public from toxic chemicals. Due to legislative hurdles in the law, of the 84,000 chemicals registered for use in the U.S., EPA has only been able to ban or restrict nine toxic chemicals since the law was passed in 1976.read in full
Oct 29, 2015 by Amanda Starbuck
Natural gas processing plants – which convert raw natural gas into useable fuel – have long avoided reporting their toxic pollution releases to federal agencies. This may soon change following a civil suit brought by the Center for Effective Government (CEG) and other public interest and environmental organizations.read in full
Oct 27, 2015 by Ronald White
EPA’s final rules establishing limits on carbon dioxide emissions from new and existing coal and oil-fired power plants were published on Oct. 23 in the Federal Register. The rules become effective as of December 22, 2015. The Clean Power Plant rules are the cornerstone of U.S. efforts to address climate change by reducing carbon dioxide from power plants, the nation’s largest source of carbon dioxide pollution.read in full
Oct 23, 2015 by Amanda Starbuck
UPDATE (Oct. 23, 2015): Earlier this week was “Back to the Future Day,” the exact day and year that Marty McFly time travels to in the iconic 1980s movie trilogy. The film makers celebrated human innovation by imagining a world where people embraced new technology (some that actually did evolve).
But in the real 2015, we have life-saving technology at our disposal that the railroad industry is refusing to adopt. By December 31, 2015, all railroads carrying passengers or hazardous materials were supposed to adopt Positive Train Control (PTC), a system that responds when conductors fail to observe speed limits or other signals. PTC could have prevented the horrific train derailment in Philadelphia this spring that killed 8 passengers and injured over 200 more.
But more than five years after rules requiring these safeguards were issued by the Federal Railroad Administration, railroad companies have petitioned for an extension, complaining about the high cost of installation. Congress added a three-year extension to adopt PTC to the highway funding bill, which would allow companies to apply for an additional two years to install the technology. Given the industry’s already sluggish pace, it may take at least another five years before PTC is installed on the majority of train routes.
In the meantime, railroad profits have skyrocketed due to the increase in oil-by-rail, meaning the industry clearly has available funding to implement the technology. Simultaneously, fiery oil train derailments have increased, providing even greater urgency to adopt PTC. It’s time for the railroad industry to join the future and adopt technology that will save lives.
Original post from 3-24-2015
Last month, we wrote about the rise in crude oil train accidents and the need to approve federal crude-by-rail safeguards as quickly as possible. These rules, currently under review by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, would require thicker walls on oil tankards and impose speed limits on oil trains.read in full
Oct 23, 2015 by Amanda Starbuck
This month, an Ohio woman won a $1.6 million settlement against DuPont for toxic exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), also known as C8. The woman had developed kidney cancer (one of many diseases linked to PFOA exposure) after living near a DuPont manufacturing facility. For decades, DuPont had knowingly polluted nearby water sources.
What is PFOA, and what are the health concerns?read in full