Elizabeth Warren: GOP ‘Ringing the Dinner Bell’ for Lobbyists

Sen Harry Reid and Sen. Elizabeth Warren. (photo: Greg Nash/Getty)
Sen Harry Reid and Sen. Elizabeth Warren. (photo: Greg Nash/Getty)


Tim Devaney | The Hill | Reader Supported News | May 18, 2016

en. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and fellow Democrats are vowing to block Republican efforts to roll back controversial regulations.

Warren on Wednesday slammed the GOP for connecting policy riders that would overturn regulations to must-pass government funding bills.

In recent years, Republicans have turned to policy riders in an attempt to cut off regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency, Labor Department and other federal agencies.

“It’s like ringing the dinner bell for lobbyists,” Warren said. “They are swarming this place, because they have all sorts of goodies they want to sneak into” the government spending bills.

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Teflon Toxin Contamination Has Spread Throughout the World

PFOA has spread throughout the world. (photo: The Intercept)
PFOA has spread throughout the world. (photo: The Intercept)


Sharon Lerner | The Intercept | Reader Supported News | April 19, 2016

n recent months, PFOA, the perfluorinated chemical formerly used to make Teflon, has been making news again. Also known as C8, because of its eight-carbon molecule, PFOA has been found in drinking water in Hoosick Falls, New York; Bennington, Vermont; Flint, Michigan; and Warrington, Pennsylvania, among many other places across the United States. Although the chemical was developed and long manufactured in the United States, it’s not just an American problem. PFOA has spread throughout the world.

As in the U.S., PFOA has leached into the water near factories in Dordrecht, Holland, and Shimizu, Japan, both of which were built and operated for many years by DuPont. Last year, the Shimizu facility and part of the Dordrecht plant became the property of DuPont’s spinoff company, Chemours. Just as it did in both New Jersey and West Virginia, DuPont tracked the PFOA levels in its workers’ blood in Holland and Japan for years, according to EPA filings and internal company documents. Many of the blood levels were high, some extremely so. In one case, in Shimizu in 2008, a worker had a blood level of 8,370 parts per billion (ppb). In Dordrecht in 2005, another worker was recorded with 11,387 ppb. The national average in the U.S., in 2004, was about 5 ppb.

Water contamination was also a problem in both locations. In Shimizu, PFOA was detected in 10 wells at the site, with the highest level of contamination measuring 1,540 ppb. Groundwater in Dordrecht, which is about an hour south of Amsterdam, was also contaminated, with 1,374 ppb of PFOA at one spot near the factory in 2014.

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Methane Leaks Erase Climate Benefit of Fracked Gas, Countless Studies Find

Fracking site. (photo: Eric Gay/AP)
Fracking site. (photo: Eric Gay/AP)


Joe Romm | ThinkProgress | Reader Supported News | February 18, 2016


racking is not good for the climate. Or, to put it a tad more scientifically, “By The Time Natural Gas Has A Net Climate Benefit You’ll Likely Be Dead And The Climate Ruined,” as I wrote two years ago.

New satellite data and surface observations analyzed by Harvard researchers confirm previous data and observations: U.S. methane emissions are considerably higher than the official numbers from the EPA. Significantly, the EPA numbers are mostly based on industry-provided estimates, not actual measurements.

While this new study doesn’t attribute a specific source to the remarkable 30 percent increase in U.S. methane emissions from 2002–2014, many other studies have identified the source of those emissions as leakage of methane from the natural gas production and delivery system.

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Rick Snyder Is Done. He’s Toast.

Michigan governor Rick Snyder. (photo: Carlos Osorio/AP)
Michigan governor Rick Snyder. (photo: Carlos Osorio/AP)


Charles Pierce | Esquire | Reader Supported News | January 25, 2016

Rick Snyder is done. He’s toast.


t’s really time for Governor Rick Snyder to go. It’s impossible to imagine him continuing to do his job if the e-mails yet to come about the poisoning of the city of Flint reflect as badly on his administration as today’s batch do. Therein we find negligence, incompetence, buck-passing ,and ass-covering in the extreme. It’s plain that political considerations were paramount when the news of what had happened in Flint first reached Lansing.

In the e-mails, Muchmore wrote that U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint Township, was “engaged in his normal press hound routine” after the congressman issued a press release noting he’d asked the EPA to help the state deal with the crisis. Muchmore added that then-mayor Dayne Walling “went out on a CYA effort due to the election.” They also show doubts about returning Flint to the Detroit system and even questioning if the reports of higher lead levels are accurate. “They can’t reconnect to DWSD even if they wanted to as they sold the connector line,” Muchmore wrote Sept. 26. “And, especially with the new rate increases in Detroit, their citizens would be less able to pay than they already are.  Now we have the anti everything group turning to the lead content which is a concern for everyone, but DEQ and DHHS and EPA can’t find evidence of a major change per Geralyn’s memo below.”

Later, of course, under the expanded emergency-manager law that was a pet project of Snyder’s from the time he was inaugurated, Mayor Walling was replaced by an “emergency manager”—the city has had four of them since Snyder expanded the law—under whom the switch from the DWSD to the Flint River was completed. By the time the crisis was brewing underground, the elected local officials of the city of Flint had virtually no power at all. It’s hard to imagine that this crisis would have come to the point to which it has come if the people responsible for it actually had to face the voters. At the very least, Snyder may have to have a chat with Congress about the whole thing.

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Colorado mine owner accuses the EPA of lying in Capitol hearing


RT America | September 11, 2015

Todd Hennis, the owner of the Gold King Mine, whose cave-in led to the Animus River in Colorado becoming so polluted that it turned bright orange, says that the EPA is more accountable for the spill then they have admitted on Capitol Hill. He speaks with Anya Parampil about how the government has not taken responsibility for the damage done by the leak from the mine.

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Greed Dies Hard in a Poisoned Land

Emersen Sud, 3, crouches along a bank of the Animas River, in Durango, Colo., Aug. 14, 2015. A recent accident that leaked a toxic yellow plume of sludge from the Gold King mine into the Animas River heightened a debate here over the future of this region’s old mines. (Mark Holm/The New York Times)

Emersen Sud crouches along a bank of the Animas River, in Durango, Colorado, August 14, 2015. A recent accident that leaked a toxic yellow plume of sludge from the Gold King mine into the Animas River heightened a debate over the future of this region’s old mines. (Photo: Mark Holm/The New York Times)


William Rivers Pitt | Truthout | August 19, 2015

When Arizona Sen. John McCain met with the Navajo Nation’s tribal government on Saturday at their capital in Window Rock, Arizona, after arriving in a big black SUV, he believed he would be spending the day observing the commemoration of Code Talkers Day. This was not the case. A group of Navajo activists, incensed at the damage done to the Animas River by a toxic chemical spill from an abandoned mine, confronted the senator. Rather than address their concerns, McCain scuttled out a side door, dove into his SUV and sped down the road with the activists sprinting after him shouting, “Get off our land!”

Activists from the Navajo Nation are furious over the Animas River spill, and for good damn reason. The EPA, while attempting to evaluate the toxicity of the long-abandoned Gold King mine, inadvertently released three million gallons of hideously polluted water into the river, turning it a sickly orange color. The lead level of the released water was at least 12,000 times higher than normal, and also contained extremely high levels of beryllium, mercury, cadmium, iron, copper, zinc and arsenic. The people of the Navajo Nation rely on the river for drinking water, farming, livestock and medicine. It is a lifeline, and now it is dangerous to the touch.

The impact of the spill is not just being felt by the people of the Navajo Nation. That three million gallon orange slick of poison wended its way down the Animas River for some 300 miles until it arrived at and entered Lake Powell, a large reservoir that feeds into the Colorado River, and is a source of drinking water for many cities in the Southwest, including Las Vegas. The EPA and other government agencies are desperately deploying a “Be calm, all is well” argument, but a “team” has been formed to monitor the ongoing damage. Cold comfort indeed.

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Million Gallon Wastewater Spill Shuts Down Colorado River

The Animas River in southwestern Colorado. (photo: Jerry McBride/AP)
The Animas River in southwestern Colorado. (photo: Jerry McBride/AP)


Renee Lewis | Al Jazeera America | Reader Supported News | August 10, 2015

EPA regulators mistakenly cause toxic water from local mine to flow into Animas River, resulting in mass contamination


pproximately one million gallons of orange-colored mine tailings wastewater has spilled into the Animas River in southwestern Colorado, forcing several river recreation businesses to close and irrigation companies to suspend water delivery to hundreds of local farmers.

A team of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulators probing contamination at the abandoned Gold King Mine in San Juan County on Thursday accidently released the wastewater into Cement Creek, which flows into the Animas River, EPA spokesman Rich Mylott said.

Most of the wastewater, which contains heavy metals and other toxins that can be harmful to humans and aquatic life, spilled into the creek within an hour, the EPA said in a statement on Friday. Though a lighter flow of contaminated water continues to flow into the creek, the agency has begun diverting it into a settling pond.

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Naomi Klein: Obama Is Beginnign to Sound Like a ‘Climate Leader’; When Will He Act Like One

Naomi Klein. (photo: Christopher Wahl)
Naomi Klein. (photo: Christopher Wahl)


Naomi Klein | Democracy Now! | Reader Supported News | August 4, 2015

http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2015/8/4/naomi_klein_obama_is_beginning_tos scientists warn 2015 is on pace to become the Earth’s hottest year on record, President Obama has unveiled his long-awaited plan to slash carbon emissions from U.S. power plants. Under new Environmental Protection Agency regulations, U.S. power plants will be required to cut emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. In addition, new power plants will be required to be far cleaner, which could effectively prevent any new coal plants from opening. But does the plan go far enough? We speak to Naomi Klein, author of the best-selling book, “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate,” which is out in paperback today.


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: As scientists warn 2015 is on pace to become the Earth’s hottest year on record, President Obama has unveiled his long-awaited plan to slash carbon emissions from U.S. power plants. During a speech at the White House, Obama said no challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than a changing climate.

Environmental Racism Persists, and the EPA Is One Reason Why

The mailbox in front of Mamie Mitchell's former home in University Place, across the street from Baton Rouge's sewer treatment facility. (photo: NBC)
The mailbox in front of Mamie Mitchell’s former home in University Place, across the street from Baton Rouge’s sewer treatment facility. (photo: NBC)


The EPA office tasked with policing alleged civil rights abuses is chronically unresponsive to complaints and has never made a formal finding of discrimination


he invasion of sewer flies moved residents of University Place subdivision to turn to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for help. Darting from a neighboring sewage plant, the flies descended upon the mostly African-American neighborhood in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with such regularity that one resident posted this warning sign: Beware of attack fly.

In 2009, residents grew so sickened by the flies, odors and pollution emanating from the city’s North Wastewater Treatment Plant that they sought out the federal agency that has touted the importance of tackling environmental racism.

“The citizens of University Place Subdivision are still suffering through the dreadful, unhealthy, and downright shameful conditions forced upon this community,” wrote Gregory Mitchell, whose mother, Mamie, erected that attack-fly warning atop her home, in a complaint filed with the EPA’s Office of Civil Rights.

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Secrecy Over Fracking Chemicals Clouds Environmental Risks, Advocates Say

What's in the water being pumped into the ground? Some of it falls under the auspices of confidential business information and therefore is not subject to public release. (photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
What’s in the water being pumped into the ground? Some of it falls under the auspices of confidential business information and therefore is not subject to public release. (photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)


Rose Hackman | Guardian UK | Reader Supported News | July 6, 2015

Despite a report that links practice to contaminated drinking water, list of more than 1,076 chemicals used during fracking process remains unknown to public


he fracking industry must be compelled to provide far more detailed information to regulators if the public is to be accurately informed of any risks to the environment, advocacy groups say.

A report by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last month found that hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas can lead, and has led, to the contamination of drinking water. It was the first time the federal government had admitted such a link.

The study, based on “data sources available to the agency”, found levels of any contamination to be small compared to the number of wells across the country, the EPA said.

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