Planet Trump

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News from Ground Control: Planet Trump (April 14)

Friday, April 14, 2017

This week, Washington lawmakers returned to their home districts for the spring recess. Unsurprisingly, many came home to furious constituents, pushing back against the all-out assault President Trump and his allies are waging on our environment.

Just like these concerned Americans, EWG is continuing our fight against harmful decisions and policies coming out of the Trump administration.

On Wednesday, EWG and the government watchdog group American Oversight filed a Freedom of Information Act request to try to get to the bottom of Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s cozy relationship with the pesticide industry. This comes in the face of the recent EPA decision to roll back a scheduled ban of the nerve-altering pesticide chlorpyrifos.

Here are several of the past week’s deep dives on this and other developments.

The Chicago Tribune, Michael Hawthorne (April 12, 2017) Chromium spill near Lake Michigan brings new attention to cancer-causing pollutant

While federal environmental officials scrambled to protect Lake Michigan from a cancer-causing metal spilled into a northwest Indiana tributary, their political bosses in President Donald Trump's administration are pushing a new budget that would scuttle efforts to crack down on the pollutant nationwide.

Chicago began quarterly testing for hexavalent chromium in drinking water about six years ago after the nonprofit Environmental Working Group reported finding the metal in the city's tap water and in drinking water from more than two dozen other cities.

"Even a single gallon of hexavalent chromium could contaminate billions of gallons of drinking water," said David Andrews, senior scientist at the Environmental Working Group. "The lack of a drinking water standard ... is just one more example of our failed drinking water regulations."

The Hill, Lydia Wheeler (April 11, 2017) Groups Ask Big Food to Reject Bill to Weaken Rulemaking Power

Consumer and environmental groups are pushing the nation’s major food companies to oppose a GOP-backed regulatory reform package aimed at weakening the rulemaking power of federal agencies.  

In an open letter six groups, including the Environmental Working Group and Consumer Union, asked the Campbell Soup Company, Domino’s Pizza and nine other companies not to support a Senate version of the Regulatory Accountability Act.

Common Dreams, Andrea Germanos (April 12, 2017) Groups to Probe Why Pruitt Put ''Pesticide Industry Profits Ahead of Children's Health"

Watchdog group American Oversight and advocacy organization Environmental Working Group (EWG) want to know, and are ready to sue to get to the bottom of the matter.

Pruitt's March 29 decision to deny a 10-year-old petition brought forth by Pesticide Action Network and the Natural Resources Defense Council sparked outrage from public health advocates and environmentalists who say the move—which is what the chemical's maker, Dow, had wanted—was unacceptable in the face of studies linking the nerve agent to numerous adverse effects, from contaminating water to harming children's brain development.

"Public health experts, pediatricians, and EPA scientists all agree that chlorpyrifos is unsafe for children at any level," said EWG senior vice president for government affairs Scott Faber.

"That overwhelming and uniform agreement among experts should have been all the information Administrator Pruitt needed to protect kids from this notorious neurotoxin," Faber said.

The Washington Post, Glenn Kessler (April 14, 2017) EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s Claim That China and India Have ‘No Obligations’ Until 2030 Under the Paris Accord

“It [the Paris Accord] was an America second, third, or fourth kind of approach. China and India had no obligations under the agreement until 2030.”
— Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, interview on “Fox and Friends,” April 13, 2017

Despite our queries, we did not get an explanation for Pruitt’s remarks from the EPA, but we have good news for him. If that’s his biggest problem, it’s solved! His objection is based on a misunderstanding of the agreement: China and India are already hard at work at meeting goals set for 2030.

Goop (April 13, 2017) The Organic Trade Deficit Is Hurting Farmers—Here’s What You Need to Know

With all the news coming out of Washington right now, there’s one critical piece of legislation we’re betting you haven’t heard much buzz about: the farm bill. The trillion-dollar bill (which gets updated every five years) shapes the way we grow and consume food in America, and it’s on the table for amendments again this fall. Colin O’Neil, agriculture policy director at the Environmental Working Group (EWG), says this year’s bill needs to address a major problem in the growing organic market—a growing trade deficit caused, in large part, by unnecessary barriers American farmers face when trying to convert to organic. 

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