EPA Administrator Faces Lawsuit for Exempting Coal Ash Dumps From Regulation

Environmental, civil rights, and community groups are suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Administrator Michael Regan for exempting hundreds of toxic coal ash dumps nationwide from a rule designed to protect the environment and public health. The nonprofit legal group Earthjustice filed the federal lawsuit on Aug. 25 in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The plaintiffs in the case are Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment in Tennessee, the Indiana State Conference and LaPorte County Branch of the NAACP, Hoosier Environmental Council in Indiana, Clean Power Lake County in Illinois, the Sierra Club, and the Environmental Integrity…

Mainstream Press’s Initial Coverage of Climate Bill Was a Lazy Distortion

Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson once compared the behavior of much of the national press corps to a wheeling flock of birds. Each bird follows the other birds in search of The Story, until they all move generally in the same direction. Though it tends to have a deleteriously narrowing effect on how people understand the world, the phenomenon is rarely nefarious. It’s just lazy, and more than a little chickenshit (speaking of birds): No one wants to get too far out front, no one wants to fall too far back, so everyone reports essentially the same thing,…

EPA Proposal to Limit PFAS in Drinking Water May Boost Grassroots Efforts

Rome, Georgia — The intake pumps that once drew 6 million gallons of water a day from the Oostanaula River now sit mostly dormant in this northwestern Georgia city. Local officials contend that years of contamination miles upstream sent toxic perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS, into Rome’s water supply, rendering it potentially dangerous for the city’s roughly 37,000 residents. A water source switch from the Oostanaula and added treatment have reduced the traces of the chemicals running through residents’ taps, but they have not eliminated PFAS from the community’s water supply. Test results that found contamination in Rome…

ExxonMobil Is Counting on Trump-Chosen Judge to Undermine Right to Sue Polluters

A new ruling on Environment Texas v. ExxonMobil is expected this August. In its second appeal, ExxonMobil is asking the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to restrict the rights citizens have to sue polluters in federal court. One presiding judge, Trump-appointed Federalist Society member Andrew Oldham, agrees. The largest American oil company has already lost the 12-year-old Clean Air Act citizen lawsuit twice. In 2010, Environment Texas and Sierra Club sued ExxonMobil on behalf of residents of Baytown, Texas, who suffered respiratory and other illnesses as a result of toxic emissions from the company’s Baytown plant, its largest in the…

Private Law Has Failed to Hold Chemical Facilities Accountable During Disasters

Recently, a group of national security and environmental experts, including former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christine Todd Whitman, former Occupational Safety and Health Administration head David Michaels, and retired United States Army Generals Russel Honoré and Randy Manner, wrote to EPA Administrator Michael Regan. They urged the agency to issue stronger and stricter regulations to protect Americans from chemical accidents that may be caused by natural disasters, among other factors. These natural disasters are more and more frequently the result of climate change, which is escalating decade by decade. As a global phenomenon with frightening environmental implications happening right before…

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