Pollution legal in Trump’s USA

This video from the USA says about itself:

As EPA Scandals Mount, Scott Pruitt Is Radically Reshaping Agency to Aid Polluters and Big Business

8 June 2018

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is again facing a slew of ethics and spending scandals amid mounting calls for his resignation. On Thursday, The Washington Post reported Pruitt enlisted members of his $3.5 million security detail to pick up his dry cleaning and search for his favorite skin moisturizing lotion, even though federal rules prohibit public officials from receiving gifts from subordinates, including unpaid services.

Meanwhile, Pruitt is continuing to radically reshape the EPA. The New York Times reports today the EPA has given the chemical industry a big victory by scaling back the way the federal government determines health and safety risks associated with the most dangerous chemicals on the market. Pruitt has also been accused of radically reshaping the EPA rulemaking process and weakening Obama administration efforts to tighten fuel economy standards. We speak to Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen.

By Patrick Martin in the USA:

Trump EPA to shred rules on toxic pollution

9 June 2018

At the direction of the Trump administration, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is radically revising its method for determining health and safety risks associated with toxic chemicals, considering only the impact of exposure in the workplace and direct consumption of the toxins, but not the longer-term impact of the diffusion of such substances into the air, water and land.

A report in the Friday edition of the New York Times characterized the decision as “a big victory for the chemical industry,” which effectively guts enforcement of a law passed in 2016 requiring the EPA to evaluate hundreds of chemicals, many of them in common use, and determine if they should face new restrictions or be withdrawn from the market.

According to the Times, “as it moves forward reviewing the first batch of 10 chemicals, the E.P.A. has in most cases decided to exclude from its calculations any potential exposure caused by the substances’ presence in the air, the ground or water, according to more than 1,500 pages of documents released last week by the agency.”

The agency will consider possible harm caused by workplace exposure—i.e., in the manufacturing of a chemical—and by direct consumption where the chemical is normally used, as with perchloroethylene, a suspected carcinogen widely used in dry-cleaning. But the accumulating runoff of perchloroethylene into rivers and streams, into the air, or into landfills will not be studied, even though 44 states have found the chemical in drinking water.

Two of the senior officials involved in this decision-making come directly from the chemical manufacturing industry. Nancy B. Beck, who oversees the toxic chemical unit of the EPA, was previously an executive at the American Chemistry Council (ACC), an industry lobby. Another official involved is Erik Baptist, a former lawyer for the American Petroleum Institute, which lobbies for the oil and gas companies, many of which have chemical subsidiaries.

According to the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), “the Trump administration is systematically weakening the EPA and seeking to dismantle key new authorities and mandates Congress just gave it under the reformed Toxic Substances Control Act.” Among the actions taken by EPA include an indefinite delay on bans of high-risk uses of three dangerous chemicals: methylene chloride, N-methylpyrrolidone and trichloroethylene.

The EDF warned of capture of the EPA by cronies of the polluting industries, giving Nancy Beck as a prime example of “a senior official at the American Chemistry Council—the chemical industry’s primary lobbying arm. In her new job, she is shaping policy on hazardous chemicals, making decisions that directly affect the financial interests of ACC member companies.”

In some cases, Beck has introduced language written by the ACC directly into EPA mandates, the environmental group charged.

In just its risk analysis for the first 10 chemicals assessed under the TSCA, the EPA will discount the effect of an estimated 68 million pounds a year of emissions, according to an EDF analysis.

The Times added, based on its review of hundreds of EPA documents, that other changes in the interests of polluters “narrow the definitions of certain chemicals, including asbestos. Some asbestos-like fibers will not be included in the risk assessments, one agency staff member said, nor will the 8.8 million pounds a year of asbestos deposited in hazardous landfills or the 13.1 million pounds discarded in routine dump sites.”

All told, more than 70 lawsuits have been filed against EPA regulatory actions, nearly all of them challenging agency actions that were aligned with corporate interests and aimed at increasing the risk to the general population from toxic substances being released into the air and water or dumped into ordinary landfills rather than specially prepared sites.

Also Thursday, the EPA issued an advanced notice of proposed rule-making indicating that it was going to largely scrap any consideration of social costs and social benefits in the formulation of anti-pollution regulations, limiting rules instead to the immediate cost and benefit for the corporations involved.

A few days earlier, on June 1, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced that the agency would no longer evaluate asbestos in homes and businesses as a health risk, even though the death toll from asbestos exposure is estimated at 12,000 to 15,000 people a year in the United States alone.

The EPA has also sought to suppress a study by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that suggested much lower levels of perfluorooctanesulfonic acid and perfluorooctane acid (PFOS and PFOA) for human health and safety than suggested by the EPA. These chemicals are in widely used substances like Teflon.

A coalition of more than 50 public interest groups issued an appeal June 7 for the immediate release of the suppressed HHS study on perfluorinated chemicals in drinking water. In a letter to HHS, the groups wrote that the family of bioaccumulative and persistent chemicals known as PFAS “are potent toxicants linked to cancer, liver and thyroid damage, developmental impacts, and numerous other adverse health effects, including harming our immune systems. The government should be sharing information about these dangers, not hiding it.”

Congressional Democrats have made repeated attacks on EPA administrator Pruitt, but these have largely revolved around his evident personal corruption, including accepting gifts from industry lobbyists and other petty transgressions. There has been little effort to highlight the colossal impact on public health of the “get out of jail free” card issued by the Trump EPA to every major corporate polluter.

EPA CHIEF SCOTT PRUITT RESIGNS Scott Pruitt, whom a Washington Post columnist called the “most corrupt senior official in the federal government,” has resigned as the Environmental Protection Agency administrator following a string of controversies. Here is a review of all the scandals that finally forced him to quit. On hearing the news, a government ethics watchdog posted a one-word tweet that simply read: “good.” Unfortunately for those who care about protecting the environment, Pruitt’s replacement is Andrew Wheeler, a former coal and mining lobbyist as well as a climate change denier. [HuffPost]

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Scott Pruitt resigned July 6, after months of scandal surrounding his behavior. In his resignation letter, Pruitt cited the numerous investigations into his supervision of the environmental agency as “unrelenting attacks”: here.

15 thoughts on “Pollution legal in Trump’s USA

  1. Automakers could be our best line of defense against the Trump administration’s latest environmental attack.

    EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has launched a major assault on families in America by rolling back fuel-efficiency standards. During the Obama administration, Ford executives voiced their support for increasing these clean car standards through 2025. However, after Trump’s inauguration, Ford quickly began lobbying to rollback the critical standards. With this move, Ford is putting its profits over our health, safety, and environment.

    But, here’s the catch: Ford will listen to their consumers. If we can pressure Ford enough to stand up to Trump and to stand WITH their customers, there’s a real chance that we can save clean car standards. But that will only happen if you speak out NOW.

    URGENT: Strong support for clean car standards is our best option for saving this critical environmental policy — contact Ford now »

    Clean car standards are one of the last policies we have in place to combat climate change. But without these standards, we will take a giant step backward in the fight against climate change, and our communities — especially low-income and communities of color — will be subjected to even dirtier air.

    But automakers are currently on track to meet the the original goals laid out by President Obama. Already, America’s clean car standards have saved drivers more than $60 billion at the gas pump and counting. And with cleaner cars comes cleaner air — helping the 25 million Americans who suffer from asthma. We can’t afford to stop this progress now.

    When Trump was inaugurated, many automakers lobbied for the clean car standards to be rolled back. That’s why Trump thinks that he is doing them a favor with this latest environmental assault. But after massive public backlash, automakers like Ford have started to change their tune — they know, unlike our president, that they are beholden to the people of this country.

    Big car companies like Ford rely on consumers and a positive image to stay in business, so we know that that our activism can work. Some automakers have started to distance themselves from the Trump administration, but they haven’t done enough — they need to tell Trump and Pruitt to stop this assault on our clean air completely.

    If we make enough noise now and demand that Ford stick up for clean cars, they’ll have no choice but to go even further. And if we can win them over, they might just be able to sway Trump and Pruitt.

    We know that Trump cares deeply about what industry leaders think. As their consumers, tell Ford to stand up to Trump and Pruitt to save the clean car standards before it’s too late »

    Lola, in the Trump era, we have to get creative with how we save our environmental protections. We can still make progress, but only if we rally together now. Will you join us?

    Thank you,

    Elizabeth Jacob
    Digital Advertising Coordinator
    League of Conservation Voters


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  5. WOW! WOW! WOW! Scott Pruitt just resigned from his post as EPA Administrator. Constant scandals, egregious pandering to polluters, and outrageous attacks on sound environmental protections FINALLY led to his overdue resignation.

    This never would have happened without you. You played a huge role in getting him out. LCV members kept up the pressure — calling on senators to push for Pruitt’s removal, writing letters to the editor in local papers, and directly calling on Pruitt to step down. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

    And now comes the hard part — the confirmation fight over the next EPA Administrator. It’s looking like Trump will nominate Andrew Wheeler — current #2 at EPA, and former coal and uranium lobbyist. We have a short window to sink this nomination — we need to move quickly.

    The EPA Administrator confirmation fight will be massive. Please take a moment and chip in to LCV’s campaign to defeat Trump’s next anti-environment EPA Administrator »

    Wheeler has notoriously opposed environmental safeguards. While serving as an aide to one of the biggest climate change deniers out there, Senator Inhofe, Wheeler worked to pass legislation that would have dangerously delayed critical actions to reduce climate change. And as a lobbyist for some of the biggest polluters in the country, including Murray Energy, we know that he has spent his career working against protections for clean air, clean water, and our precious public lands.

    The stakes couldn’t be higher. Wheeler has all of Trump’s standard qualifications to head the agency:
    ✔ Unfailing loyalty to Donald Trump
    ✔ Contempt for sound environmental policy
    ✔ A cheerleader and go-between for polluting industries

    But this is a fight we know we can win. Not only did we just take down the WORST EPA Administrator in history, but we’ve also stopped other anti-environment nominees. Trump was forced to withdraw his nomination for top environmental advisor, known climate denier Kathleen Hartnett White, because of public pressure and bad publicity. And in December after a large public outcry, Michael Dourson, a shill for the chemical industry, was forced to withdraw from consideration for a top spot regulating chemicals at the EPA. If we start now — we can win.

    We cannot let the Senate make the same mistake it did when it confirmed Pruitt. That will only happen if we have the resources we need to put the pressure on our senators now.

    The clock is ticking, Lola. We forced Pruitt out and if we can stop potential anti-environment nominees like Andrew Wheeler, there is a real chance that we can change the course of this administration’s attacks on the environment and our health. But we can’t let up now.

    Chip in to LCV’s campaign to stop Trump’s next anti-environment nominee for EPA Administrator. Time is running out. Don’t miss this opportunity to have an impact on the fight over future of the EPA »

    Thanks for all you do.

    LCV’s Rapid Response Team


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