Tag Archives | EPA

EPA Puts Former Senior Administrator Who Supported Whistleblower in Prison

EPAVia Corporate Crime Reporter:

Where are the criminal prosecutions of the major corporations responsible for the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico? Still nowhere to be found. Where are the prosecutors? Where is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)? Not prosecuting major polluters.

Instead, what are they doing? Cracking down on whistleblowers. And those who support whistleblowers. While the corporate crooks are running free.

Next time you think of this disparity of justice, remember these two words: Jon Grand.

For more than twenty years, Grand was a senior administrator at the EPA in Chicago. Never had a run in with the law. Then, he made the mistake of supporting an EPA whistleblower.

In 2000, Grand was talking on the phone with colleagues in Washington. And the EPA people in Washington were making disparaging remarks about Marsha Coleman-Adebayo – a young African-American EPA staffer who was suing the EPA and its administrator – Carol Browner – for race and sex discrimination.

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Monsanto Corn Falls to Illinois Bugs

Tom Philpott writes in Mother Jones:

As the summer growing season draws to a close, 2011 is emerging as the year of the super-insect — the year pests officially developed resistance to Monsanto’s genetically engineered (ostensibly) bug-killing corn.

While the revelation has given rise to alarming headlines, neither Monsanto nor the EPA, which regulates pesticides and pesticide-infused crops, can credibly claim surprise. Scientists have been warning that the EPA’s rules for planting the crop were too lax to prevent resistance since before the agency approved the crop in 2003. And in 2008, research funded by Monsanto itself showed that resistance was an obvious danger.

And now those unheeded warnings are proving prescient. In late July, as I reported recently, scientists in Iowa documented the existence of corn rootworms (a ravenous pest that attacks the roots of corn plants) that can happily devour corn plants that were genetically tweaked specifically to kill them.

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U.S. Bee Deaths Caused By EPA Approved Pesticide

Bees_Collecting_PollenCould this be the answer to the mysterious case of the disappearing bees? It could certainly be one reason for colony collapse. Report from Fast Company:

The world honey bee population has plunged in recent years, worrying beekeepers and farmers who know how critical bee pollination is for many crops. A number of theories have popped up as to why the North American honey bee population has declined–electromagnetic radiation, malnutrition, and climate change have all been pinpointed. Now a leaked EPA document reveals that the agency allowed the widespread use of a bee-toxic pesticide, despite warnings from EPA scientists.

The document, which was leaked to a Colorado beekeeper, shows that the EPA has ignored warnings about the use of clothianidin, a pesticide produced by Bayer that mainly is used to pre-treat corn seeds. The pesticide scooped up $262 million in sales in 2009 by farmers, who also use the substance on canola, soy, sugar beets, sunflowers, and wheat, according to Grist.

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Chemical Dispersants Being Used in Gulf Clean-Up Are Potentially Toxic

Tom Philpott writes for Grist:
BlowUp

We finally know the main two dispersants that BP and the U.S. government are using to treat the ongoing Gulf spill.

Both, by their maker’s own admission, have the “potential to bioconcentrate,” and both have “moderate toxicity to early life stages of fish, crustaceans, and mollusks,” according to a study by Exxon, the company that originally developed them.

Their use may be the least-bad course, given the importance of minimizing oil’s effect on coastal wetlands. But a little digging into the chemical makeup of these two substances, which are being dumped in vast quantities into the Gulf, reveals that they could potentially do far more harm than good, both to the Gulf and to humans who later eat from it.

As ProPublica reported Monday, information about dispersants is “kept secret under competitive trade laws.” I’ve spent the last several days trying to confirm what many in the ocean-ecology and public health worlds seemed to know, but no one would say officially: that two different dispersants sold under the banner of Corexit were being used in vast quantities.

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New EPA Scrutiny for Commonly-Used Herbicide Atrazine

AtrazineJim Morris and M.B. Pell write on the Center for Public Integrity:

After years of fielding complaints about the ubiquitous weed-killer and water pollutant atrazine, the Environmental Protection Agency has decided to take a closer look at the product, used on corn and other crops, mainly in the Midwest. Some of those complaints are documented in a database produced by the Center in 2008 as part as of our perils of the New Pesticides investigation.

Last week, an EPA advisory panel began assessing the latest science on the chemical, frequently found in surface waters and groundwater, and two more meetings of the advisory group are planned for later this year.

The Perils of the New Pesticides project includes a tool that allows the public to search 15 years of previously undisclosed EPA data for reported environmental and health effects of specific products. A search of “atrazine” produces 242 pages of results from 1992 through 2007.

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Nearly 17,000 Chemicals Remain Corporate Secrets – Even The EPA Doesn’t Know What They Are

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By Ethan A. Huff for Natural News:

The 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) requires that manufacturers of products containing potentially toxic chemicals disclose their ingredients to the federal government, however a loophole in the requirement allows manufacturers to arbitrarily withhold information that they deem sensitive to their business. As a result, over 17,000 product chemicals remain secret not only from the public but from government officials.

Each year, over 700 new chemicals are introduced by manufacturers, many of which do not get disclosed either to the public or to government agencies. About 95 percent of new chemical notices submitted to the government request some kind of secrecy. Critics allege that manufacturers are exploiting the original intent of TSCA, abusing it to hide sensitive information about ingredients that are likely toxic and may otherwise get banned.

For the first time in many years, Congress is addressing the issue of disclosure abuse with promises of reforming the regulatory provisions.

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Why Haven’t Fruit & Vegetable Eaters Been Told About This Toxic Waste Overload?

From Dr. Joseph Mercola’s  mercola.com:

The U.S. government is encouraging farmers to spread a chalky waste from coal-fired power plants on their fields to loosen and fertilize soil.

The material is produced by power plant “scrubbers” that remove acid-rain-causing sulfur dioxide from plant emissions.

The substance is a synthetic form of the mineral gypsum, and it also contains mercury, arsenic, lead and other heavy metals.

The Environmental Protection Agency says those toxic metals occur in only tiny amounts. But some environmentalists say too little is known about how the material affects crops, and ultimately human health…

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EPA: Greenhouse Gases Endanger Human Health

From AP:

The Environmental Protection Agency has concluded greenhouse gases are endangering people’s health and must be regulated, signaling that the Obama administration is prepared to contain global warming without congressional action if necessary.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson scheduled a news conference for later Monday to announce the so-called endangerment finding, officials told The Associated Press, speaking privately because the announcement had not been made.

The finding is timed to boost the administration’s arguments at an international climate conference – opening Monday – that the United States is aggressively taking actions to combat global warming, even though Congress has yet to act on climate legislation.

Without a bill, the U.S. was heading into Copenhagen hard-pressed to explain exactly how it would reach the targets President Barack Obama is set to offer.

Under a Supreme Court ruling, the so-called endangerment finding is needed before the EPA can regulate carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases released from automobiles, power plants, and factories under the federal Clean Air Act.

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