A Regulatory Rush by Federal Agencies to Secure Trump’s Legacy

With the president’s re-election in doubt, cabinet departments are scrambling to finish dozens of new rules affecting millions of Americans.

#air-pollution, #dudley-susan-e, #environmental-protection-agency, #executive-orders-and-memorandums, #homeland-security-department, #immigration-and-emigration, #labor-and-jobs, #labor-department-us, #murray-patty, #nessel-dana, #presidential-election-of-2020, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #schaitberger-harold-a, #traffic-accidents-and-safety, #transportation, #transportation-department-us, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government

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Covid-19 and Beyond: How Trump Has Hurt America’s Health

Downplaying the dangers of the pandemic and politicizing public health measures was grossly negligent and cost untold lives.

#appointments-and-executive-changes, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #centers-for-disease-control-and-prevention, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #environmental-protection-agency, #food-and-drug-administration, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #hahn-stephen-m-1960, #new-england-journal-of-medicine, #politics-and-government, #presidential-election-of-2020, #redfield-robert-r, #science-and-technology, #trump-donald-j

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Under Trump, Criminal Prosecutions for Pollution Dropped Sharply

A new report finds an “alarming” drop in prosecutions over violations of the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act, fundamental environmental laws.

#clean-water-act, #environment, #environmental-protection-agency, #fines-penalties, #justice-department, #suits-and-litigation-civil, #united-states-politics-and-government

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‘The Coal Industry Is Back,’ Trump Proclaimed. It Wasn’t.

The demise of coal-fired power plants in Arizona and Kentucky shows how the president, despite promises to restore jobs, failed to counter the forces decimating the industry.

#arizona, #bureau-of-reclamation, #cameron-scott-j, #coal, #craft-joseph-w-iii, #environmental-protection-agency, #gosar-paul-1958, #grand-canyon-ariz, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #interior-department, #jewell-sally, #kentucky, #labor-and-jobs, #layoffs-and-job-reductions, #lazard-llc, #mcconnell-mitch, #mines-and-mining, #murray-energy-corp, #murray-robert-e, #navajo-generating-station, #navajo-indians, #obama-barack, #presidential-election-of-2020, #prine-john, #pruitt-scott, #shutdowns-institutional, #solar-energy, #tennessee-valley-authority, #trump-donald-j, #united-mine-workers-of-america, #united-states-economy, #united-states-politics-and-government, #wehrum-william-l, #wheeler-andrew-r, #zinke-ryan-1961

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E.P.A. to Promote Lead Testing Rule As Trump Tries to Burnish His Record

The E.P.A. will tout a new rule on testing lead in drinking water as President Trump’s latest environmental achievement, but water experts see only modest improvements at best.

#environment, #environmental-protection-agency, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #lead, #presidential-election-of-2020, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government, #water-pollution

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E.P.A. Rejects Its Own Findings That a Pesticide Harms Childrens’ Brains

The agency’s new assessment directly contradicts federal scientists’ conclusions five years ago that chlorpyrifos can stunt brain development in young children.

#babies-and-infants, #children-and-childhood, #chlorpyrifos, #environment, #environmental-protection-agency, #hazardous-and-toxic-substances, #pesticides, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government

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These Everyday Toxins May Be Hurting Pregnant Women and Their Babies

PFAS, industrial chemicals used to waterproof jackets and grease-proof fast-food containers, may disrupt pregnancy with lasting effects.

#babies-and-infants, #breastfeeding, #chemicals, #containers-and-packaging, #diabetes, #dupont-co, #environmental-protection-agency, #european-food-safety-authority, #hazardous-and-toxic-substances, #hoosick-falls-ny, #obesity, #parenting, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #science-and-technology, #teflon, #thyroid-gland, #water-pollution

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Trump Uses E.P.A. Office to Widen ‘Anarchist’ War vs. New York

The president has painted New York as an “anarchist jurisdiction,” but his administration’s threats to withhold funds are being dismissed as a politicized campaign tactic.

#barr-william-p, #environmental-protection-agency, #federal-aid-us, #new-york-city, #presidential-election-of-2020, #relocation-of-business, #trump-donald-j, #wheeler-andrew-r

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The Age of Electric Cars Is Dawning Ahead of Schedule

Battery prices are dropping faster than expected. Analysts are moving up projections of when an electric vehicle won’t need government incentives to be cheaper than a gasoline model.

#automobiles, #baden-wurttemberg-germany, #batteries, #bayerische-motorenwerke-ag, #carnegie-mellon-university, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #energy-department, #environmental-protection-agency, #european-union, #factories-and-manufacturing, #ford-henry, #frankfurt-germany, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #hyundai-motor-co, #karlsruhe-institute-of-technology, #kelley-blue-book-co, #lucid-motors-inc, #musk-elon, #renault-sa, #sweden, #tesla-motors-inc, #volkswagen-ag, #wood-mackenzie-ltd

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Dirty diesel engines will cost Daimler $1.5 billion in DoJ settlement

A 1980s Mercedes-Benz diesel belches exhaust fumes in London. People expected diesel engines of this vintage to be dirty, but we had a right to expect that diesel engines sold over the past decade complied with emissions laws. Turns out, they don't.

Enlarge / A 1980s Mercedes-Benz diesel belches exhaust fumes in London. People expected diesel engines of this vintage to be dirty, but we had a right to expect that diesel engines sold over the past decade complied with emissions laws. Turns out, they don’t. (credit: Richard Oliver/Getty Images)

In 2020 it seems more usual to read about the US Environmental Protection Agency rolling back pollution laws or arguing that big business should be allowed to do what it wants. But apparently the agency does occasionally work as intended. Earlier this week, together with the US Department of Justice and the California Air Resources Board, it held Daimler AG—parent company to Mercedes-Benz—accountable for selling diesel vehicles fitted with emissions defeat devices.

EPA and CARB found that all was not right with the Daimler’s diesel engines in the wake of the 2015 Volkswagen emissions scandal. EPA told Daimler it was going to conduct some additional tests of the company’s four- and six-cylinder diesel engines “using driving cycles and conditions that may reasonably be expected to be encountered in normal operation and use, for the purposes of investigating a potential defeat device.”

In doing so, it discovered several auxiliary emission control devices that were not described in the homologation paperwork submitted by Daimler. In total, about 160,000 Sprinter vans and about 90,000 Mercedes-Benz vehicles are affected, between model years 2009 and 2016.

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#cars, #daimler, #daimlerchrysler, #defeat-device, #department-of-justice, #diesel, #environmental-protection-agency, #epa

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In Visiting a Charred California, Trump Confronts a Scientific Reality He Denies

A president who has mocked climate change and pushed policies that accelerate it is set to be briefed on the scorched earth and ash-filled skies that experts say are the predictable result.

#air-pollution, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #california, #carbon-dioxide, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #disasters-and-emergencies, #environment, #environmental-protection-agency, #fuel-emissions-transportation, #global-warming, #green-new-deal, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #national-oceanic-and-atmospheric-administration, #presidential-election-of-2020, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #science-and-technology, #states-us, #trump-donald-j, #united-nations-framework-convention-on-climate-change, #united-states-economy, #united-states-politics-and-government, #wildfires

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Remembering the Presidency of Donald Trump

I wish it were a fever dream in my Covid-clouded mind. But, no, our president believes empathy, like patriotic sacrifice, is for suckers.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #centers-for-disease-control-and-prevention, #charlottesville-va, #conway-kellyanne, #environmental-protection-agency, #lincoln-abraham, #presidential-election-of-2020, #putin-vladimir-v, #sisi-abdel-fattah-el, #trump-donald-j, #united-states, #woodward-bob

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A Climate Reckoning in Wildfire-Stricken California

If climate change was a somewhat abstract notion a decade ago, today it is all too real for Californians fleeing wildfires and smothered in a blanket of smoke, the worst year of fires on record.

#california, #environmental-protection-agency, #federal-emergency-management-agency, #global-warming, #wildfires

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How to Reverse Course on Trump’s Environmental Damage

The next president can undo some of the recent efforts to weaken environmental protections. But it’ll take work.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #environmental-protection-agency, #executive-orders-and-memorandums, #fuel-efficiency, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #obama-barack, #oil-petroleum-and-gasoline, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government

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Trump admin. finally kills off Obama-era rule limiting methane emissions

A natural gas flare from an offshore oil drilling rig in Cook Inlet, Alaska.

Enlarge / A natural gas flare from an offshore oil drilling rig in Cook Inlet, Alaska. (credit: Paul Souders | Getty Images)

The Environmental Protection Agency this week finalized a rule that kills off Obama-era limitations on how much methane, a potent greenhouse gas, oil and natural gas producers are allowed to emit into the atmosphere—even though industry leaders didn’t want the changes.

The changes to the rules, known as the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS), remove some segments of the industry from being covered under the existing standards at all, and these changes also lift the methane caps on other segments, the EPA announced on Thursday.

The oil and gas industry basically splits into three big buckets of activity: upstream, meaning the actual drilling for oil or gas; midstream, which is the world of storage and pipelines; and downstream, that last mile where products are refined and sold. The current changes apply to the downstream and midstream segments, as the EPA broke down in a graphic (PDF).

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#climate-change, #climate-crisis, #emissions, #energy, #environmental-protection-agency, #epa, #methane, #methane-emissions, #policy, #science

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E.P.A. to Lift Obama-Era Controls on Methane, a Potent Greenhouse Gas

The reversal is the latest move in the Trump administration’s ongoing effort to weaken environmental rules, but it could be quickly undone after the November election.

#environment, #environmental-protection-agency, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #methane, #oil-petroleum-and-gasoline, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government, #wheeler-andrew-r

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Citrus Flavoring Is Weaponized Against Insect-Borne Diseases

The E.P.A. has approved nootkatone, which is found in cedars and grapefruit. It repels ticks, mosquitoes and other dangerous bugs for hours, but is safe enough to eat.

#biomedical-advanced-research-and-development-authority, #centers-for-disease-control-and-prevention, #chemicals, #deet-insect-repellent, #environmental-protection-agency, #evolva-holding-sa, #foreign-aid, #grapefruit, #insects, #inventions-and-patents, #lyme-disease, #malaria, #mosquitoes, #pesticides, #ticks-insects

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E.P.A. Inspector General to Investigate Trump’s Biggest Climate Rollback

The agency’s watchdog office said Monday it would investigate whether the reversal of Obama-era fuel efficiency standards violated government rules.

#environment, #environmental-protection-agency, #fuel-efficiency, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #inspectors-general, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government

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New Emails Show How Energy Industry Moved Fast to Undo Curbs

The messages, made public in a lawsuit, suggest the E.P.A. rescinded a requirement on methane at the behest of an executive just weeks after President Trump took office.

#environment, #environmental-protection-agency, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #methane, #oil-petroleum-and-gasoline, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government

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Despite Coronavirus, Federal Workers Head to the Office

Federal employees are being ushered back to office buildings under inconsistent and conflicting reopening plans, against the wishes of leaders in the nation’s capital.

#american-federation-of-government-employees, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-reopenings, #defense-department, #disease-rates, #energy-department, #environmental-protection-agency, #government-employees, #interior-department, #labor-and-jobs, #maryland, #office-of-personnel-management, #state-department, #states-us, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government, #veterans-affairs-department, #virginia, #washington-dc, #workplace-hazards-and-violations

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Tesla’s big battery event and shareholder meeting tentatively set for September 15

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been hyping a potential battery day for quite a while now, and it looks like we should see it happen within the next few months – Musk said on Twitter that September 15 is the “tentative date” for the “Tesla Shareholder Meeting & Battery Day,” which will include the usual shareholder meeting as well as a tour of the automaker’s cell production system for the batteries that provide the power for its vehicles.

The so-called ‘Battery Day’ has already run into a few delays, after originally being planned for April of this year. It’s been bumped to May, and subsequently June, but Musk’s latest timeline of September seems a lot more realistic given the current state of global affairs due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, as well as Tesla’s own complicated issues with its handling of COVID-19, local government shutdown orders and employee health and safety.

Battery day has been modified from an earlier event planned to also include a powertrain component, but Musk made the switch to keep the focus more narrowly on the work Tesla has been doing to improve its battery performance and output. The Tesla Model S recently because the first and only electric vehicle to achieve a 400 mile plus EPA certification rating for range, and Tesla has reportedly been working on new, lower-cost and long-lived electric battery technology that Reuters reported earlier this year it plans to introduce to its China-made Model 3 vehicles either later this year or early next.

This would be the first significant event Tesla has hosted since its Cybertruck unveiling in 2019. Anything the automaker does with respect to its battery technology will draw a lot of attention, given that it’s likely the company’s most important competitive advantage in terms of continuing to win more customers away from internal combustion fuel vehicles.

#automotive, #battery-technology, #cars, #ceo, #elon-musk, #environmental-protection-agency, #hyperloop, #science, #tc, #tesla, #tesla-model-s, #tesla-model-y, #the-boring-company, #transport, #transportation

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Ford’s 2020 Escape plug-in hybrid takes aim at Toyota RAV4 Prime

The 2020 Ford Escape plug-in hybrid — a first for the SUV — comes with an EPA-estimated 37 miles of all-electric driving range and 100 miles per gallon equivalent, stats that will put the redesigned model into competition with the new Toyota RAV4 Prime.

The Toyota RAV4 Prime has an estimated 42-mile EV range and 94 MPGe. Toyota unveiled the first plug-in hybrid version of the model at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November 2019. The vehicle is expected to hit dealerships in the U.S. this summer.

The Escape beats the Toyota RAV4 Prime on price. The Toyota RAV4 Prime starts at $39,220 (destination charge included, while Ford says the Escape will have a listed base price of $34,285, including destination charge. But Toyota’s plug-in hybrid has more get up and go at 302 horsepower with an ability to do 0-60 mph in a projected 5.7 seconds versus the Escape PHEV’s 209 hp. The RAV4 Prime is actually the most powerful four-door vehicle in Toyota’s portfolio.

The 37 miles of EV-only driving range in the Escape illustrates the progress Ford has made with its hybrid technology. The smaller Ford Fusion Energi plug-in gets 11 miles less than the new Escape PHEV.

“The original Ford Escape was the world’s first hybrid SUV and the all-new Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid represents how far we’ve come in technology and efficiency,” Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s chief product development and purchasing officer, said in a statement.

The Escape PHEV is part of Ford’s $11.5 billion plan to electrify its portfolio.

The Escape PHEV comes with a fourth-generation hybrid propulsion system that includes a 2.5-liter cycle hybrid engine and a 14.4-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery

The Ford Escape PHEV has four modes that will allow drivers to choose how they want to use that electric power. Drivers who don’t want to think about which option is best can opt for Auto EV mode, which lets the vehicle decide whether to run on gas or electric power.  The EV Now mode puts the vehicle on all-electric power, EV Later mode lets drivers switch to full gas-hybrid driving to conserve electric miles for later and EV Charge mode will charge the battery while driving and generate electric-only miles to use later.

This is a plug-in hybrid and so it comes with an AC charging port. Drivers can use a 110-volt Level 1 charger, an option that takes 10 to 11 hours to power up the battery, or use a 240-volt Level 2 charger, which has a shorter, estimated 3.5-hour charging time.

The Escape PHEV comes standard with advanced driver assistance system features such as adaptive cruise control and lane centering, evasive steering assist and a voice-activated navigation system.

The plug-in hybrid system is available on every Escape trim level except S and SE Sport, according to Ford.

#automotive, #electric-vehicles, #environmental-protection-agency, #hybrid-vehicle, #japan, #los-angeles, #plug-in-hybrid, #tc, #toyota, #united-states

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Trump, Citing Pandemic, Moves to Weaken Two Key Environmental Protections

Twin environmental actions set for Thursday underscored the president’s push to roll back regulations as the coronavirus crisis continues.

#clean-air-act, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #environmental-protection-agency, #executive-orders-and-memorandums, #infrastructure-public-works, #presidential-election-of-2020, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government

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Trump, Citing Pandemic, Plans Two Moves to Weaken Key Environmental Protections

Twin environmental actions set for Thursday underscored the president’s push to roll back regulations as the coronavirus crisis continues.

#clean-air-act, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #environmental-protection-agency, #executive-orders-and-memorandums, #infrastructure-public-works, #presidential-election-of-2020, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government

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After the Coronavirus, Don’t Forget the Paramedics

After 9/11, New York left us behind. I fear the same will happen with the coronavirus.

#centers-for-disease-control-and-prevention, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #emergency-medical-service, #emergency-medical-treatment, #environmental-protection-agency, #labor-and-jobs, #masks, #medicine-and-health, #mount-sinai-medical-center, #new-york-city, #protective-clothing-and-gear, #september-11-2001, #shortages, #ventilators-medical, #wages-and-salaries, #workplace-hazards-and-violations, #world-trade-center-manhattan-ny

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The future of flight can be energy-efficient

We are at the dawn of a new era in transportation.

At the turn of the 20th century, cars began to replace horses. Now, a century later, we would like to see mobility move to the sky. Kitty Hawk has built several prototype vehicles that are electrically powered, take off and land vertically and fly in between like a fixed-wing plane. Collectively, these are called eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) aircraft.

eVTOLs — such as the ones built by Project Heaviside — show great potential for everyday transportation. With that as an eventual use case, a common question that comes up is: can eVTOL vehicles be green? Specifically, can eVTOL vehicles be more energy-efficient than cars?

Under the EPA’s standard freeway driving test, a 2020 Nissan Leaf Plus uses about 275 Watt-hours per mile when it averages 50 miles per hour. It can comfortably seat four, but its average occupancy is somewhere around 1.6. Thus, the Leaf’s energy consumption is about 171Wh per passenger mile across all trips.

Our current Heaviside prototype uses about 120Wh per passenger mile, and does so at twice the speed of the Leaf: 100 miles per hour (of course, we can fly much faster, if we choose). We can save another 15% of energy because while roads are not straight, flight paths usually are. All together, Heaviside requires 61% as much energy to go a mile.

Why is Heaviside this efficient — doesn’t it take more energy to go faster? Yes, and it makes the high efficiency we’ve achieved even more dramatic. The answer is that Heaviside can take advantage of slim and low-drag aerodynamic forms that are just not practical on cars.

The difference in drag between a clean, aerodynamic shape like the wing section below, and a bluff body like the cylinder, is vast. So vast in fact that the two shapes drawn will have about the same amount of drag.

                                              The cylinder can be hard to see, it’s over here  ↑ 

What is probably less obvious is that clean shapes like wings must make lift when they are put at an angle to the wind. This is not just observation, but can be mathematically proven.

Car manufacturers put tremendous effort into designing shapes that minimize drag, but will not make lift or side force in wind, which would result in poor and squirrelly handling — remember the last time you drove over a bridge in high winds, or in the opposite direction of a large truck on a narrow country road.

When a car drives by, it takes quite a bit of air along with it.

Image Credits: Kitty Hawk

Project Heaviside, in contrast, leaves a small disturbance in the air it passes through.

So, Heaviside is quite energy-efficient. But what if people choose to travel farther when this option exists? What I find personally surprising about the ranges we have been able to achieve is that Heaviside is a vehicle that, because of the extremely low power consumption, is more efficient than a car traveling for an equal amount of time.

This leaves out the most important element of eVTOL aircraft, which is that they are fully electric, and the cars we would like to see them replace are nearly all gas and diesel-powered. While it may be a hard sell to convince the average consumer to switch to an electric car simply because of emissions, it is likely to be much easier to convince them to use a device that gives them time back.

To put this another way, if your commute is the U.S. average of 16 miles, and if you commuted in a Heaviside-type vehicle, three standard rooftop solar panels would power your commute both ways.

While we have a significant road ahead of us in developing and fielding our aircraft commercially, and we cannot be sure the final products will be as efficient as our prototypes, we are still very excited to demonstrate that efficiency and personal flight need not be at odds.

#aerospace, #column, #electric-car, #environmental-protection-agency, #evtol, #flight, #force, #kitty-hawk, #nissan-leaf, #startups, #transportation, #vtol

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Michigan Dam Disaster Threatens Major Dow Toxic-Chemical Superfund Site

Floodwaters surged toward Midland, Mich., and one of the nation’s most extensive toxic cleanup sites, raising concerns of a wider environmental fallout from the dam disaster.

#environment, #environmental-protection-agency, #floods, #hazardous-and-toxic-substances, #levees-and-dams, #superfund, #tittabawassee-river-mich, #water-pollution

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Volkswagen Settles Emissions Charges Against Two Managers

The German carmaker will pay a relatively modest fine to resolve criminal cases involving the chairman and chief executive. They were accused of not warning shareholders about a looming scandal.

#bayerische-motorenwerke-ag, #diess-herbert, #environmental-protection-agency, #fines-penalties, #frauds-and-swindling, #fuel-emissions-transportation, #germany, #potsch-hans-dieter-1951, #securities-and-commodities-violations, #volkswagen-ag

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E.P.A. Opts Against Limits on Water Contaminant Tied to Fetal Damage

A new E.P.A. policy on perchlorate, which is used in rocket fuel, would revoke a 2011 finding that the chemical should be regulated.

#chemicals, #environment, #environmental-protection-agency, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #hazardous-and-toxic-substances, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government, #water-pollution

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Trump’s Response to Virus Reflects a Long Disregard for Science

The president’s Covid-19 response has extended the administration’s longstanding practice of undermining scientific expertise for political purposes.

#centers-for-disease-control-and-prevention, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #environment, #environmental-protection-agency, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #hydroxychloroquine-drug, #medicine-and-health, #national-institutes-of-health, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #science-and-technology, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government

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Disinfectant Against Coronavirus: How to Make and Use

Here’s a guide to working with sprays, wipes and a bleach-based solution to clean surfaces of the pathogen.

#bathrooms-and-toilets, #centers-for-disease-control-and-prevention, #cleansers-detergents-and-soaps, #clorox-company, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #environmental-protection-agency, #quarantines, #shortages, #water

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Trump: Why Waste a Crisis?

The global pandemic is his latest rationale for enacting longstanding conservative goals.

#atkinson-michael-k-1964, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-aid-relief-and-economic-security-act-2020, #defense-department, #emanuel-rahm, #environmental-protection-agency, #erdogan-recep-tayyip, #executive-orders-and-memorandums, #immigration-and-emigration, #orban-viktor, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government

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Don’t Celebrate Earth Day. Fight for It.

The 1970 gathering ushered in significant achievements in protecting our environment. Now Trump is destroying them.

#air-pollution, #clean-air-act, #coal, #earth-day, #environment, #environmental-protection-agency, #fuel-emissions-transportation, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #mercury-metal, #trump-donald-j, #united-states, #wheeler-andrew-r

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Why Aren’t We Excited About Earth Day Anymore?

Three organizers from the first event in 1970 remind us that we still have a lot of work to do.

#air-pollution, #civil-rights-movement-1954-68, #clean-air-act, #clean-water-act, #colleges-and-universities, #conservation-of-resources, #earth, #earth-day, #education-k-12, #endangered-and-extinct-species, #environment, #environmental-protection-agency, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #hudson-river, #law-and-legislation, #united-automobile-workers, #united-nations, #united-states, #united-states-politics-and-government, #waste-materials-and-disposal, #water-pollution

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E.P.A., Tweaking Its Math, to Weaken Controls on Mercury

The E.P.A. will change the way the benefits of mercury controls are calculated, a move that would effectively loosen the rules on other toxic pollutants. 

#environmental-protection-agency, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #mercury-metal, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #united-states-politics-and-government

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EPA dings epidemiology for “uncertainty,” won’t use it for pollution standards

Image of two men sitting behind a large desk.

Enlarge / WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 27: EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler testifies before the US House Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change. (credit: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) periodically reviews certain pollution standards, considering new science and analysis to see if the previously chosen limit should be updated. The latest of these reviews looked at the standards for particulate-matter pollution—dust and soot categorized by size as PM2.5 (2.5 micrometers across or less) and PM10 (up to 10 micrometers).

On Tuesday, the EPA released its decision to not tighten the standards set in 2012. That’s not really a surprise given current leadership under the Trump administration, but the argument employed to defend the decision is remarkable. At a time when a pandemic has shut down most of the United States, the EPA is essentially arguing that epidemiology isn’t up to the task of guiding policy.

A change in process

EPA’s process for these multi-year reviews, like the process for setting new standards, is ostensibly designed to minimize the influence of politics. EPA analysts do the work of combing through and synthesizing existing scientific research, quantifying best estimates of the health impacts of pollutants at various levels, as well as the economic costs of restricting pollutants to those levels. Those estimates then go through advisory panels of outside scientists and are subject to public comment before the agency decides which standard fulfills its obligations under the law.

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As Coronavirus Rages, Trump Disregards Advice to Tighten Clean Air Rules

Despite an emerging link between air pollution and Covid-19 death rates, the Trump administration will decline to tighten standards on soot emissions.

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