EJToday: Top Headlines
EJToday is SEJ's selection of new and outstanding stories on environmental topics in print and on the air, updated every weekday. SEJ also offers a free e-mailed digest of the day's EJToday postings, called SEJ-beat. SEJ members are subscribed automatically, but may opt out here. Non-members may subscribe here. EJToday is also available via RSS feed. Please see Editorial Guidelines for EJToday content.
"Over the past two years, cap-and-trade advocates used the threat of U.S. EPA climate regulations as a key driver in the push for climate legislation on Capitol Hill. Now, Democratic leaders face the challenge of renewed bipartisan interest in handcuffing EPA before it takes action."
"Fish caught in a wide area of the gulf near Florida are safe to eat, said federal officials Thursday as they allowed commercial and recreational fishing boats back into part of the Gulf of Mexico that had been off-limits due to the massive BP oil spill."
"Just got confirmation from several Senate offices about what is actually going to be in the package Democrats put forward next week. In a nutshell, this is going to be a very tiny package, with little in the way of energy measures. I'm not even sure you can call it an energy package at this point."
"The ethanol industry is feverishly lobbying lawmakers in an effort to hang onto billions of dollars in subsidies that are set to expire — although there appears to be some discord on the message front."
"A major U.S. government agency has thrown up a new political roadblock for a $12-billion TransCanada Pipelines project by questioning the need for a new pipeline to carry bitumen from Alberta's oilsands to American refineries."
"Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship is certainly making the rounds today, in support of his company’s latest PR campaign — this one an all-out effort to convince the public that the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster was an unavoidable act of God."
"A proposal to ban lobster fishing over a vast stretch of the East Coast was killed Thursday after lobstermen said it would do 'almost biblical' damage to the industry."
"The effort to advance a major climate change bill through the Senate this summer collapsed Thursday ... Bowing to political reality, Senator Harry Reid, the Nevada Democrat and majority leader, said the Senate would not take up legislation intended to reduce carbon emissions blamed as a cause of climate change, but would instead pursue a more limited measure focused on responding to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and tightening energy efficiency standards."
"In the first few days after BP's Deepwater Horizon wellhead exploded, spewing crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico, cleanup workers could be seen on Louisiana beaches wearing scarlet pants and white t-shirts with the words "Inmate Labor" printed in large red block letters. Coastal residents, many of whom had just seen their livelihoods disappear, expressed outrage at community meetings; why should BP be using cheap or free prison labor when so many people were desperate for work? The outfits disappeared overnight."
"With Tropical Storm Bonnie heading into the Gulf of Mexico and expected to kick up high waves and winds near the Deepwater Horizon oil spill site this weekend, crews on Thursday began disconnecting the rigs drilling two relief wells in the Gulf, effectively delaying the effort to permanently plug the blown-out Macondo well by nearly two weeks. Late Thursday, the federal government ordered dozens of ships to evacuate the spill site."
"Two environmental groups sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday, demanding that the federal government decide whether to ban a widely used pesticide that has been linked to illnesses, including asthma and developmental problems such as attention deficit disorder."
"A federal judge on Wednesday stopped companies from developing oil and gas wells on billions of dollars in leases off Alaska's northwest coast, saying the federal government failed to follow environmental law before it sold the drilling rights."
While federal rules have drastically cut use of asbestos in the U.S., the legacy of decades of use is still killing Americans. As many as 10,000 die of asbestos-related illness each year. Are scientists being paid to bring fraudulent science into court by companies who hope to limit their liability?
"Three out of every four lobbyists who represent oil and gas companies previously worked in the federal government, a proportion that far exceeds the usual revolving-door standards on Capitol Hill, a Washington Post analysis shows."
"A confidential survey of workers on the Deepwater Horizon in the weeks before the oil rig exploded showed that many of them were concerned about safety practices and feared reprisals if they reported mistakes or other problems." Key equipment, such as the failed blowout preventer, had not been inspected in nearly a decade.