If There Have Been No Cuts Then Why Are We Already Bleeding?

Scott SlesingerScott Slesinger’s Blog

If There Have Been No Cuts Then Why Are We Already Bleeding?

Posted January 17, 2013 in Health and the Environment, Moving Beyond Oil, The Media and the Environment, U.S. Law and Policy

The budget process has been exasperating and appears to be never-ending. Although we like to think we avoided the cliff at the end of the year, the cliff was just relocated down the road.  Now the sequester cliff falls on March 1. “Sequester,” for the uninitiated, is a word that means arbitrary, across the board equal cuts, over good and bad programs at a level so devastating that the hope was that Democrats and Republicans would do the right thing to avoid them.  Continue reading “If There Have Been No Cuts Then Why Are We Already Bleeding?”

NRDC: Debt Ceiling Delay Doesn’t Avoid Possible Cuts to Parks, Air, Water

Natural Resources Defense CouncilEnvironmental News: Media Center

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Press contact: Elizabeth Heyd,  202-289-2424 , eheyd@nrdc.org
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NRDC: Debt Ceiling Delay Doesn’t Avoid Possible Cuts to Parks, Air, Water

WASHINGTON (January 31, 2013) – The U.S. Senate today gave final congressional approval to a short-term suspension of the United States’ borrowing limit until May 19.

Scott Slesinger, legislative director of the Natural Resources Defense Council, made the following statement: Continue reading “NRDC: Debt Ceiling Delay Doesn’t Avoid Possible Cuts to Parks, Air, Water”

Chairman Boxer and 15 Senate Colleagues Call for EPA Nominee with a Strong Record on Protecting Public Health

Chairman Boxer and 15 Senate Colleagues Call for EPA Nominee with a Strong Record on Protecting Public Health

January 30, 2013

Washington, D.C. – Senator Barbara Boxer, Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, joined with 15 of her Senate colleagues on a letter to President Obama urging him to nominate a strong leader as the next Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The letter called for an EPA nominee with a “demonstrated record of working to safeguard our children and families” who will “enforce the Clean Air Act and our other landmark environmental laws.” Lisa Jackson, the current EPA Administrator, announced her resignation last month.

The full text of the letter is below: Continue reading “Chairman Boxer and 15 Senate Colleagues Call for EPA Nominee with a Strong Record on Protecting Public Health”

Mercury’s Silent Toll On the World’s Wildlife

Yale environment 36031 Jan 2013: Report

Mercury’s Silent Toll On the World’s Wildlife

Scientists are only beginning to understand the impacts of mercury contamination on birds, fish, and other wildlife populations. But what they are finding is alarming — even low levels can cause harm, and chronic exposure has unexpected and troubling effects.

By Rebecca Kessler

rebecca kessler

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rebecca Kessler is a freelance science and environmental journalist based in Providence, Rhode Island. A former senior editor at Natural History, her work has been published by ClimateCentral.org, Conservation, Discover, Natural History, ScienceNOW, ScienceInsider, and Environmental Health Perspectives. She has previously written for Yale Environment 360 about the fatal impact fishing gear is having on whales in the North Atlantic and about efforts to restore prairies in the U.S. Midwest.
MORE BY THIS AUTHOR

This month, delegates from over 140 countries gathered in Geneva and finalized the first international treaty to reduce emissions of mercury. The treaty — four years in the works and scheduled for signing in October — aims to protect human health from this very serious neurotoxin.

But barely considered during the long deliberations, according to those involved in the treaty process, was the harm that mercury inflicts on wildlife. While mercury doesn’t kill many animals outright, it can put a deep dent in reproduction, says David Evers, chief scientist at the Biodiversity Research Institute (BRI), who serves on a scientific committee informing the process. “It is a bit of a silent threat, where you have to kind of add up what was lost through studies and demographic models.” Continue reading “Mercury’s Silent Toll On the World’s Wildlife”

Boom in Mining Rare Earths Poses Mounting Toxic Risks

Yale environment 36028 Jan 2013: Report

Boom in Mining Rare Earths Poses Mounting Toxic Risks

The mining of rare earth metals, used in everything from smart phones to wind turbines, has long been dominated by China. But as mining of these key elements spreads to countries like Malaysia and Brazil, scientists warn of the dangers of the toxic and radioactive waste generated by the mines and processing plants.

By Mike Ives
mike ives

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mike Ives is a writer based in Hanoi, Vietnam whose work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, Smithsonian Online, and other publications. In Vietnam he reports for the Associated Press. In earlier articles for Yale Environment 360, he reported on efforts to reintroduce native tree species to Vietnam’s war-scarred landscape and how melting glaciers are exacerbating water shortages in northwestern China.
MORE BY THIS AUTHOR

In November, the first shipment of raw “rare earth” minerals arrived at an $800 million processing plant on Malaysia’s east coast near the home of Tan Bun Teet. The plant, run by Australia’s Lynas Corporation, has since begun refining the rare earth metals, essential components in wind turbines, hybrid cars, smart phones, cruise missiles, and other high-tech products. Once fully operational, the plant would become the world’s largest processing facility of rare earths, breaking China’s near-monopoly on producing the prized elements.

But Tan and others in the region are concerned that the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant, known as LAMP, will be plagued by the severe environmental problems that have been the hallmark of rare earths processing plants in China and, more than two decades ago, in Malaysia itself. The plant lies in an industrial zone atop reclaimed swampland, just 12 miles from Kuantan, a city of 600,000. The chief worry is that the rare earth elements are bound up in mineral deposits with the low-level radioactive element thorium, exposure to which has been linked to an increased risk of developing lung, pancreatic, and other cancers. Continue reading “Boom in Mining Rare Earths Poses Mounting Toxic Risks”

EPA’s New Soot Rule Will Save Lives, Health Care Costs, and the Environment

Introduction

In December 2012, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a new national clean air standard for fine particulate matter (PM 2.5), commonly referred to as soot. These microscopic particles are often emitted from diesel engines and power plants. When inhaled, the particles lodge deep inside the lungs and can cause asthma, acute bronchitis, heart attack, stroke, and even premature death, especially in vulnerable populations such as children and the elderly. EPA moved forward to strengthen the standard after new data confirmed that the standard set in 1997 did not adequately protect the public. Continue reading “EPA’s New Soot Rule Will Save Lives, Health Care Costs, and the Environment”

Amount of Toxics Released in the U.S. Increased for the Second Year in 2011

Amount of Toxics Released in the U.S. Increased for the Second Year in 2011

1/29/2013

Total releases of toxic chemicals in the U.S. increased for the second year in a row according to Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data reported to and analyzed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The TRI program, established as a part of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) of 1986, requires the EPA to make information on the release and transfer of toxic chemicals (above a certain threshold) available to the public in order to provide Americans with a better understanding about toxic pollution in their communities.

The regular disclosure of chemical releases generates enormous public pressure on companies to reduce the waste they produce. As a result, the amount of toxic wastes reported has been dropping steadily for years until recently. Continue reading “Amount of Toxics Released in the U.S. Increased for the Second Year in 2011”

Statement by EDF President Fred Krupp on Announcement of a New Bicameral Congressional Task Force on Climate Change

 
January 24, 2013
Contact:
Keith Gaby, 202-572-3336, kgaby@edf.org
Sharyn Stein, 202-572-3396, sstein@edf.org

“I’m very happy to hear that Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressman Henry Waxman are creating a new task force to fight climate change. In his inaugural address, President Obama called on all of us to protect our children and future generations from the dangers of climate change. This task force, along with Senator Barbara Boxer’s recently announced “climate clearinghouse,” are important steps towards putting those words into action and reducing the pollution that endangers us. At EDF, we’re grateful to these lawmakers for their ongoing leadership on this critical issue, and we stand ready to help the task force however we can.”

# # #

Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org), a leading national nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships. Connect with us on Twitter and Facebook.

 

NRDC: Whitehouse-Waxman Task Force Will Help Nation Address Climate Change

Environmental News: Media Center

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Natural Resources Defense Council

Environmental News: Media Center

Press contact: Jake Thompson, 202-289-2387, jthompson@nrdc.org , or Elizabeth Heyd, 202-289-2424, eheyd@nrdc.org

NRDC: Whitehouse-Waxman Task Force Will Help Nation Address Climate Change

 WASHINGTON (January 24, 2013) – Building on President Obama’s  inaugural commitment to address climate change, key congressional leaders today announced a new Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change that will be co-chaired by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA). The goal is to provide a Congressional forum for discussions on solutions and actions to try to solve the climate crisis.

Below is a statement from Franz Matzner, associate director of government affairs for the Natural Resources Defense Council: Continue reading “NRDC: Whitehouse-Waxman Task Force Will Help Nation Address Climate Change”

In Second Inaugural, Obama Makes Climate A Priority

January 22, 2013 5:28 PM
 "We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations," President Obama said Monday during his second inaugural address.

“We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations,” President Obama said Monday during his second inaugural address. John Moore/Getty Images

President Obama pulled out a surprise in his inaugural address on Monday. After barely mentioning climate change in his campaign, he put it on his short list of priorities for his second term.

“We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations,” he said. Today the White House had scant detail on what the president plans to do. Continue reading “In Second Inaugural, Obama Makes Climate A Priority”