"Andrew Wheeler met with a range of companies and trade groups with interests before EPA after he took charge at the agency."
Economy & Business
The vast and widely used PFAS family of chemicals is causing serious worries across the country, as it turns up in more and more drinking water systems. Pressure to regulate it is also growing, but with mixed results. This week’s TipSheet offers a detailed look-ahead on this big, developing story, with a walk-through of the context, what the EPA is (and isn’t) doing, and why states are stepping up.
"U.S. taxpayers have spent billions of dollars subsidizing chemically treated refined coal, but a Reuters analysis of EPA data shows that the power plants burning it often pump out more smog, not less."
"While the U.S. put off funding new icebreakers year after year, Russia built a fleet of more than 40 now at the ready as a melting Arctic opens new frontiers."
"One of Poland’s leading coal companies has become the first official sponsor of the UN climate talks, which start in the southern city of Katowice next week."
"The Trump administration’s policy of encouraging more oil and gas drilling combined with a loophole in federal rules has been a boon for investors with a taste for gambling — and has drawn criticism that it is a bad deal for taxpayers."
"A bribery scandal over contamination cleanup exposes corrupt behavior from trusted leaders. Will the high-level trial and charges bring the neglected community long overdue environmental justice? "
"President Trump had a clear message Monday when asked about the core conclusion of a scientific report issued by his own administration: that climate change will batter the nation’s economy. “I don’t believe it,” he said."
A freelancer’s coverage of the international wildlife trade won one of the Society of Environmental Journalists’ top journalism awards this year for its combination of “fearless reporting and graceful writing.” SEJournal Online talks with award-winner Rachel Nuwer about the series, the benefits of field reporting and the project’s challenges, such as securing funding, all in the latest Inside Story Q&A. And good news for Inside Story fans — the quarterly feature is now upping its frequency to bi-monthly!
With flooding from hurricanes and other climate disasters becoming the new normal, badly needed flood insurance reform continues to founder in the halls of Congress. The National Flood Insurance Program is billions of dollars in debt, and aid packages are doing little to get people out of flood-prone areas. Congress watchers will keep an eye on new House leadership for insurance solutions, although politically unpalatable rate hikes swamped the big reform. This week’s TipSheet has more on the story, with leads on what to watch in 2019.