EJToday: Top Headlines
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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.
"In case there was any doubt, the White House on Tuesday issued a formal statement opposing a bill now before the House that would bar the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases for the purpose of combating climate change." The House could pass it as soon as Wednesday, April 6.
"A Virginia state lawmaker caused a stir in February when he admitted that his resolution declaring U.S. EPA's effort to curb greenhouse gas emissions a 'regulatory train wreck' was written by the coal industry."
"Echoing her housing commissioner, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said Monday that Baltimore's public housing authority has decided 'it is not possible' to pay lead-poisoning judgments that could one day exceed $800 million because the money is needed to improve living conditions for thousands of poor families."
"Will the next Farm Bill, scheduled for passage in 2012, put public policy in service of a food system that works for farmers, eaters, and the environment?" Under the GOP's slash-and-burn budget assault, it is not currently looking that way.
"The Government Accountability Office is preparing to issue a report that rebukes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for saying in 2004 that elevated levels of lead in the District’s tap water did not pose a public health threat and for failing to quickly clarify its findings as complaints mounted."
"In an unprecedented policy shift, inspectors in Pennsylvania have been ordered to stop issuing violations against drillers without prior approval from Gov. Corbett's new environmental chief."
"As Japan wrestles with its nuclear crisis, the U.S. nuclear industry is seeing a partial meltdown in public support as Americans wonder whether such tragedy could strike here."
"A conservative research group in Michigan has issued a far-reaching public records request to the labor studies departments at three public universities in the state, seeking any e-mails involving the Wisconsin labor turmoil." Among the professors under assault by the secretive conservatives is William Cronon, one of the foremost environmental historians in the United States.
"Erin Brockovich, a U.S. consumer health advocate whose life story was the basis for an Academy Award-winning film, urged senators Tuesday to pass a law to document disease clusters in the United States."
"WASHINGTON — With gasoline prices rising, oil supplies from the Middle East pinched by political upheaval and growing calls in Congress for expanded domestic oil and gas production, President Obama on Wednesday will set a goal of a one-third reduction in oil imports over the next decade, aides said Tuesday."