Category: Politics & Public Policy

national policy, media democracy, justice, civil rights, climate policy, legislation

Feds Let BP Off Probation Despite Pending Safety Violations

by Abrahm Lustgarten, ProPublica, March 12, 2012, 5:20 p.m. BP’s refining subsidiary was released today from criminal probation related to a 2005 explosion in Texas City that killed 15 workers. The company has addressed the most serious safety deficiencies exposed by the accident and satisfied the terms of a felony plea agreement to settle charges…

BP Settlement Leaves Most Complex Claims Unresolved

by Abrahm Lustgarten, ProPublica, March 3, 2012, 4:53 p.m. BP’s announcement that it will pay $7.8 billion to compensate thousands of Gulf Coast residents harmed in the Deepwater Horizon disaster ends one chapter of legal wrangling over the 2010 oil spill, but leaves other, potentially far more expensive, issues unresolved. The tentative deal, announced late…

Act 13 A Valentine to Gas Industry, XOXO PA Gov Corbett

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, a great friend of the natural gas and oil lobby in the state, today signed into law Act 13, legislation that rewrites regulation over the industry. Certainly it’s a sweetheart deal for drillers in the Marcellus Shale. The legislation was ramrodded through both houses of the Republican-controlled state General Assembly over…

Spillionaires Revisited: Gov’t Official’s Associates Got Big Contracts After the BP Oil Spill

by Kim Barker, ProPublica, July 18, 2011, 11:06 a.m. Last month, Craig Taffaro Jr., the president of Louisiana’s St. Bernard Parish, lambasted a ProPublica story while testifying before a congressional committee. The story, published in April, described how some local powerbrokers and others, aided in part by Taffaro, cashed in after the BP oil spill,…

NJ Senator Lautenberg Introduces Safe Chemicals Act of 2011

The Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 would reform the thirty-plus year old Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA), which is woefully inadequate and has allowed tens of thousands of industrial chemicals to be introduced into the marketplace without rigorous testing for safety to human health.

Some of the health issues traceable to environmental toxins include growing rates of asthma, diabetes, infertility, learning and developmental disorders like autism and certain cancers.

The original TSCA grandfathered in 62,000 industrial chemicals that were in use in 1976. Their safety has never been reviewed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Because the law requires the EPA to prove the harmfulness of a toxic substance, the EPA has only been able to successfully restrict the use of a handful of substances known to be toxic to human health. There is currently no burden on companies to prove that the chemicals they use in their products are safe. In fact, the exact chemical ingredients of many products are kept secret from consumers.

The Safe Chemicals Act would change that. It would require manufacturers to prove that the chemicals they use are not harmful. It would give the EPA more power to restrict unsafe uses. And it would provide the public with much more information about the chemicals in their lives. One significant provision is that the Act would require limiting exposure to some of the worst chemicals- chemicals that are persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBTs).

Going Green in Detroit

Matt Naimi kicked off Detroit’s Recycle Here program, and, with partner Steve Harworth have started Michigan Green Safe, which works with Detroit businesses to provide recycled products.

The BP Oil Spill Saga: Where Things Stand Now

by Marian Wang, ProPublica, Dec. 28, 2010, 1:11 p.m. The BP oil spill in the Gulf killed 11 workers in April, released nearly 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico and triggered multiple government investigations and an overhaul of the nation’s offshore drilling regulatory agency. Federal scientists estimated in August that between…

San Francisco Zero Waste by 2020

GreenMarketingTV talks with San Francisco Department of the Environment’s Jared Blumenfeld about the ambitious sustainability goals for the city, which include:

  • Zero Waste by 2020
  • A Ban on Plastic Bags
  • Elimination of Worst Pesticides
  • All Buildings Follow LEED-Gold Standard
  • Renewable Energy Tax Credits for Homeowners
  • Affordable Energy Audits for Business
  • Citywide Composting and Recycling

Natural Gas Politics

by Abrahm Lustgarten – originally published at ProPublica 5-26-09 – Four years after Vice President Dick Cheney spearheaded a massive energy bill that exempted natural gas drilling from federal clean water laws, Congress is having second thoughts about the environmental dangers posed by the burgeoning industry. With growing evidence that the drilling can damage water…