Archives for posts with tag: capture

From The Associated Press:

The Republican-controlled House passed the first of two bills Thursday to delay rules to cut toxic air pollution and mercury from cement plants, solid waste incinerators and industrial boilers.

House Republicans repeatedly have targeted Environmental Protection Agency regulations that they view as job killers. The latest bills probably will stall in the Democratic-run Senate, even if some Democrats vote for them, and the White House has threatened to veto both measures.

The first bill, which the House passed by a 262-161 vote, would force the EPA to rewrite regulations designed to reduce pollution at about 150 cement plants nationwide. The measure also would extend by years the time that companies have to comply with the new regulations.

Of the plants covered by the rule, 103 are in Republican districts, according to an Associated Press analysis of EPA data. All but one of the chief sponsors of the bill has cement plants in his or her district.

Two of the sponsors, GOP Rep. Joe Barton of Texas and Democratic Rep. Dan Boren of Oklahoma, are in a three-way tie for the most cement plants in a district with six apiece.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said in statement that the bill’s passage was a common-sense action to delay “EPA regulations that stand in the way of investment and growth.” He said the legislation would make it easier for cement companies, already struggling because of reduced demand, “to succeed and create jobs again.”

The House plans to vote Tuesday on legislation to force the EPA to revise regulations aimed at curbing hazardous pollution, including mercury, from industrial boilers. That legislation is also expected to pass.

President Barack Obama challenged the Republicans’ attacks on EPA as a job killer.

“They’ve said, ‘We’ll roll back regulations that make sure we’ve got clean air and clean water, eliminate the EPA’,” Obama said at a news conference. “Does anybody really think that that is going to create jobs right now and meet the challenges of a global economy … that is weakening, with all these forces coming into play?”

More.

Advertisements

From :

Editor Sandy Johnson speaks with reporter Jack Farrell about the his story on the Koch Industries’ lobbying.

 

Link to related  iWatch article.

From :

Editor Sandy Johnson interviews reporter Jack Farrell about the latest story by the Center for Public Integrity’s iWatch News’ latest piece on Koch Industries: how the refinery giant has been spending money lobbying against federal regulations for securing chemical plants.

Link to related  iWatch article.

Center for Public Integrity: EPA chemical health hazards program has 55-year backlog of work, report says.

Eighteen months after the Environmental Protection Agency announced reforms to its controversial process for evaluating health hazards posed by dangerous chemicals, significant problems continue to hamper the program and leave the public at risk, according to a new report by a nonprofit research group.The agency has fallen years behind in meeting its statutory requirements to profile at least 255 chemicals and assess their potential links to cancer, birth defects, and other health problems. That delay has effectively halted numerous regulatory actions that would protect the public, according to the report by the Center for Progressive Reform, a public health and environmental protection group. “[The Obama administration has] been so busy reacting to the right wing and fighting off crisis after crisis that it’s been difficult for them to see this pattern of regulatory failure,” said Rena Steinzor, president of the center and a University of Maryland law professor.

The Government Accountability Office, Congressional committees, and other experts have criticized the EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) in recent years. Under President George W. Bush’s administration, critics say, the agency’s chemical assessment efforts ground to a near halt because of interference by other federal agencies, unwarranted delays, and a lack of transparency.

The GAO warned in a 2008 report that the IRISdatabase “is at serious risk of becoming obsolete.” In January 2009, the GAO added the EPA’s method for assessing and managing chemical risks to its list of“high-risk” areas requiring attention.

More . . .

From CBS News: Gas drilling is linked to contamination in people’s drinking water and it’s dividing rural landowners. Armen Keteyian reports.

In May of 2008, Newsweek Science writer and author Sharon Begley reviewed the book “Doubt Is Their Product: How Industry’s Assault on Science Threatens Your Health.”

* * *

That science can be bought is hardly news to anyone who knows about tobacco “scientists.” But how pervasive, effective and stealthy this science-for-hire is—as masterfully documented by David Michaels of George Washington University in his new book, “Doubt Is Their Product: How Industry’s Assault on Science Threatens Your Health”—will shock anyone who still believes that “science” and “integrity” are soulmates. In studies of how toxic chemicals affect human health, Michaels told me, “It’s quite easy to take a positive result [showing harmful effects] and turn it falsely negative. This epidemiological alchemy is used widely.”

The alchemy is all in how you design your study and massage the data. Want to show that chemical x does not raise the risk of cancer? Then follow the exposed population for only a few years, since the cancers that most chemicals cause take 20 or 30 years to show up. Since workers are healthier than the general population, they start with a lower death rate; only by comparing rates of something the chemical is specifically suspected of causing—a particular lung disease, perhaps—can you detect a problem. Or, combine data on groups who got a lot of the suspect chemical, such as factory workers, with those who got little or none, perhaps their white-collar bosses. The low disease rates in the latter will dilute the high rates in the former, making it seem that x isn’t that toxic. All these ruses have been used, delaying government action on chemicals including benzene, vinyl chloride, asbestos, chromium, beryllium and a long list of others that cause cancer in humans. “Any competent epidemiologist can employ particular tricks of the trade when certain results are desired,” Michaels writes.

* * *

This is all very big business. “Product-defense firms” have sprung up to spin the science and manufacture doubt—proudly. . . .

Make no mistake: raising doubt has run up the body count. By the early 1980s, for instance, studies had shown that children who took aspirin when they had a viral infection such as chickenpox were at greater risk of developing Reye’s syndrome, which damages the brain and liver and is fatal in about one case in three. Desperate to protect their market, aspirin makers claimed the science was flawed, called for more research (a constant refrain), and ran public-service announcements assuring parents, “We do know that no medication has been proven to cause Reye’s.” The campaign delayed by years the requirement that aspirin carry a warning label about children and Reye’s. In the interim, thousands of kids developed Reye’s. Hundreds died.

* * *

More.

Video of David Michaels authors@Google presentation.

Jennifer Loren put together an outstanding story (including a series of videos) about a battle between the coal industry and some local residents in Oklahoma over whether and how fly ash should be regulated.

From NewsOn6.com, here are a few excerpts:

Right now, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is trying to decide if it should regulate an industrial byproduct called Fly Ash. It’s a battle that pits environmentalists against the $66 billion US coal industry. A group of small-town Oklahomans have inserted themselves into the middle of the battle because they say fly ash is killing them, literally.

Trains ship billions of tons of coal into Oklahoma every year to be burned at coal-fired electric power plants. The byproduct of burned coal is a powdery substance called Coal Combustion Waste, more commonly called fly ash. . . .

There are at least 12 fly ash sites scattered across Oklahoma, but none bigger than the one in Bokoshe. It’s an old mine that’s being “reclaimed” with the fly ash, but it’s 55 feet tall and covers more than 20 acres. It’s about a mile from the center of Bokoshe.

The lone cafe in town, Sassy’s, has become headquarters for the people of Bokoshe, fighting in the battle of their lives. It’s a battle against big coal, power companies and it turns out, the very state agencies put in place to protect them.

“They thought that they could come into a town of about 450 people and they could do pretty much what they wanted to do and that we would sit back and allow them to do so, but they underestimated their opponent,” said Sharon Tanksley, Bokoshe Resident.

It took seven years living in a haze of fly ash, but small town Oklahoma won their first battle against the state last year. They proved to the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality that the ash was being dumped illegally and blanketing their town in harmful chemicals. DEQ now requires that water is mixed with the ash to keep it from contaminating the air.

* * *

Lifelong resident, Charles Tackett, said he believes their victory came too late.

“We have had a very bad rash of cancers and respiratory problems,” Tackett said.

Tackett said people in 14 of the 20 families living closest to the dump have died from or are living with cancer.

In the local sixth grade classroom, fly ash is often a topic of discussion. The children have learned the environmental effects of the dust they breathed for so many years. They said they’re living with the health effects.

“Would you raise your hands please if you have respiratory problems?” asked the teacher. Half the class raised their hands. Nine out of the 17 sixth graders have asthma. That’s six times the national average.

Bokoshe residents cannot prove their health problems are caused by the fly ash, but fly ash contains dozens of chemicals proven to be harmful. EPA documents show the local power plant dumped fly ash containing more than 56,000 pounds of arsenic compounds, 1,100 hundred pounds of mercury and 1,000 pounds of lead at the site in 2007 alone.

* * *

The entire story and a series of videos here.   Image source here.

From Alliance for Justice, here is a 17-minute video that “examines the ongoing search for justice among the victims of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.”

Vodpod videos no longer available.

From Alliance for Justice:

Shot on location in Louisiana, this film explores the damage done by this unimaginable environmental calamity to the lives and livelihoods of the people who depend on the waters of the Gulf of Mexico for their income, their food, and the continuation of their culture. Titled Crude Justice, the 17-minute documentary looks at the difficulties ordinary people face in finding fair compensation and a secure future for their families in the face of corporate domination of the courts, statutes favoring big business, judges with ties to the oil and gas industries, and the uncertainties that accompany an incident where the long-term effects may not be known for years. Crude Justice tells the story of damaged lives, but also of the fighting spirit and resilience of people who understand that what’s threatened is not just justice for the victims of the spill, but the integrity of the American judicial system itself.

 

%d bloggers like this: