EJToday: Top Headlines
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Wisconsin GOP Gov. Scott Walker's payback to the billionaire Koch brothers who helped elect him went beyond crushing unions to deregulating pollution. According to the liberal blog Think Progress, Walker and state Supreme Court Judge David Prosser worked quietly behind the scenes to allow Koch's Georgia Pacific paper plants to keep dumping thousands of pounds of phosphorus into the Fox River near Green Bay.
"We're one week away from the first anniversary of the worst oil spill in the nation's history, and to commemorate it, House Republicans spent Wednesday marking up a trio of bills that would dramatically increase drilling in the US."
"Pennsylvania environmental regulators say they spend as little as 35 minutes reviewing each of the thousands of applications for natural gas well permits they get each year from drillers intent on tapping the state's lucrative and vast Marcellus Shale reserves."
"In negotiating the budget deal that averted a government shutdown, Democrats and the White House claimed a big victory in preventing Republicans from blocking a set of environmental regulations. But as details of the compromise became known Tuesday, it was clear Republicans had won deep reductions in spending at the Environmental Protection Agency."
"Dozens of large-scale clean energy projects could be derailed if a measure to defund a federal loan guarantee program becomes part of a final Congressional budget deal."
"New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is re-evaluating the state's participation in a regional carbon trading program and could opt to withdraw within a few weeks. Observers say the move is expected in response to pressure from GOP legislators and campaigns mounted by groups funded by billionaires Charles G. and David H. Koch."
"U.S. EPA's long-awaited study of formaldehyde's toxicity got panned today by a National Academy of Sciences' panel that sharply disagreed with the agency's conclusions and declared the effort in need of 'substantial revision.'"
Air pollution is worsened in Chicago by the Fisk coal-burning power plant built in 1903. It is grandfathered against Clean Air Act requirements for modern pollution controls. Will EPA cave in to Republican pressure to let its pollution keep harming health of Chicagoans?
"A shutdown would cut short a key NASA field campaign to survey Arctic land and sea ice, and a larger project it is part of. The measure now funding federal operations expires on April 8."
"The House of Representatives passed legislation on Thursday that would stop the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating emissions of gases blamed for warming the planet, a day after the Senate rejected similar legislation."
"The Maine House of Representatives on Thursday overwhelmingly endorsed banning the chemical bisphenol-A from children's products such as sippy cups and baby bottles."
It looks like political pressure from the coal industry and Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV) has caused the Obama White House Office of Management and Budget to intervene to stop the Obama EPA's efforts to limit environmental damage from mountaintop removal mining.
On a 50-50 vote, the Senate Wednesday night rejected an effort to strip EPA of its legal authority to regulate greenhouse gases, as well as several weaker alternatives. The efforts were supported by Republicans and some coal-state Democrats. The House may act on similar legislation today.
"A long-term Republican budget plan released this week by Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin calls for drastic cuts in federal spending on energy research and development and for the outright elimination of subsidies and tax breaks for wind, solar power and other alternative energy technologies."
Five top executives at Transocean, the company that owned the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig that exploded and sank in the Gulf of Mexico, gave up some $250,000 of the $898,282 in bonuses they received this month. The firm had been criticized for claiming a "best year" in safety of operations after 11 people died on the rig. One quarter of the bonus amount was explicitly tied to safety.