The new Senate climate and energy bill includes several provisions calling for transparent and participatory policies, especially relating to measures that would create new financial markets for buying and selling the right to pollute. How well such transparency would be implemented is a major question.
An AP investigation suggests "pollution from petrochemical plants is at least 10 times greater than what is reported to the government and the public." The formulas and equipment EPA and facilities use to track emissions are old and unreliable.
Despite the availability of better, less toxic alternatives, the NY Times reports that BP is sticking with dumping hundreds of thousands of gallons of toxic "dispersants" on the company's catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Plus, we still do not know what exactly is in the dispersants.
"Perfumes commonly list 'fragrance' as an ingredient, rather than naming the specific chemicals involved, withholding information that could cause allergic reactions and other health effects, a report released Wednesday asserts."
EWG's updated Farm Subsidy Database chronicles where federal farm subsidy dollars have gone, revealing the true impact of farm programs and who benefits from the billions in farm subsidies. The data confirm that current farm programs are "a taxpayer giveaway to big and already profitable farming businesses. Moreover, these payments are likely exacerbating, rather than solving, the problems of rural communities."
A new bill before the Louisiana Senate would bar university law clinics from filing suits against government agencies, suits seeking monetary damages, or suits that raise state constitutional challenges. A key target of the bill is the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic (TELC), which has litigated dozens of suits against industrial polluters and other environmental offenders on behalf of Louisiana citizens.
According to the President's Cancer Panel, Americans are facing "grievous harm" from chemicals in the air, food and water that have largely gone unregulated and ignored. "With the growing body of evidence linking environmental exposures to cancer, the public is becoming increasingly aware of the unacceptable burden of cancer resulting from environmental and occupational exposures that could have been prevented through appropriate national action."
BP refuses to disclose the identities of the chemical "dispersants" it is dumping onto its oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The chemical identities are considered trade secrets. Without knowing the chemical identities, we may never know what additional insults BP has left us to clean up for years to come.
"Sustainable fisheries management in the 21st century requires timely, reliable fisheries data and effective monitoring of fisheries in order to make informed, responsible decisions," but according to this new report, more funding is needed to increase the number of observers monitoring fishing vessels.
"Federal agencies are employing their Web sites and social media tools to release emergency response and health information about the leak from BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig off the coast of New Orleans." Tools include an EPA webpage, a NOAA website, a Facebook page, and Twitter.
"Environmental Protection Agency staffers have been forced to ignore relevant science, have lacked key monitoring data on human health and environmental impacts, and have worked without crucial information needed to protect the public, according to the preliminary findings of a scientific advisory board."
The EPA will be conducting a webinar to instruct the public on how to use the pollution information in the agency's Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) to support environmental justice efforts. In addition to teaching the basics about TRI, the webinar will feature real life examples of how communities have used TRI to address environmental justice concerns.
A new EPA report, "Climate Change Indicators in the United States," looks at 24 key indicators that show how climate change impacts the health and environment of the nation’s citizens. The information included in this report will help inform future policy decisions and will help evaluate the success of climate change efforts.
EPA is calling for abstracts for presentations at the National Training Conference on the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) and Environmental Conditions in Communities, November 1–4, 2010, in Washington, DC.
The EPA has released its plan for improving the agency's transparency as part of the Obama administration's Open Government Directive. The agency's new Open Government Plan documents numerous ongoing and future actions that should continue the agency's advance toward transparency and accountability.