The Rollback: Trump's Toxic War Benefits Polluters, Endangers the Public
December 9, 2017
Californians for Pesticide Reform & Al Jazeera
Since US President Donald Trump entered the White House, there is one achievement he can't be denied. He has made good on a campaign promise to repeal hundreds of "job-killing" federal rules, often following recommendations from powerful industries. The US pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement -- essentially breaching the promise to curb planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions -- and has begun to roll-back environmental protections designed to reduce toxic emissions from industrial polluters.
Trump and Dow's Cozy Relationship
Led to Reversal of Chlorpyrifos Ban
A damning story of lies and corporate malfeasance
Californians for Pesticide Reform
(December 7, 2017) -- Check out Al Jazeera's report on the Trump Administration's war on the environment, The Rollback: Trump's Toxic War [See report and video below]. The segment on chlorpyrifos begins at 15:56, and features Pesticide Action Network's Paul Towers and Tulare resident Claudia Angulo. Watch to the very end, as Trump hands Dow CEO Andrew Liveris the signing pen he used to roll back a slew of Obama-era environmental protections. It's chilling.
The Rollback: Trump's Toxic War
A look at the Trump administration's
regulations cull and the consequences
for health, safety and the environment
Fault Line / Al Jazeera
(November 22, 2017) -- Since US President Donald Trump entered the White House, there is one achievement he can't be denied. He has made good on a campaign promise to repeal hundreds of "job-killing" federal rules, often following recommendations from powerful industries.
"My administration is putting an end to the war on coal . . . and clean coal, really clean coal. With today's executive action, I'm taking historic steps to lift the restrictions on American energy, to reverse government intrusion and to cancel job-killing regulations," Trump said.
Entitled "A New Foundation for American Greatness", the most notable changes in the first budget under the Trump administration were severe cuts and regulatory rollbacks to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a government body created to protect health and the environment.
EPA's new chief is Scott Pruitt, a climate-denying politician from Oklahoma who is backed by the fossil fuels industry and who -- under the Obama administration -- sued the EPA 14 times on behalf of many of the polluting industries he is now supposed to regulate.
Since under Pruitt's patronage, the EPA has reversed a proposed ban on a pesticide linked to autism and developmental delays in children, reconsidered rules on coal ash disposal, and repealed the Obama administration's signature plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The US has also pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement, essentially breaching the promise to curb planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions.
Betsy Southerland was a senior official at the EPA's Office of Water for 30 years. When the Trump administration decided to roll back regulations on coal waste pollution produced by energy companies, Southerland left the agency.
Within weeks of vacating her position, Scott Pruitt announced he would consider repealing a rule Southerland's team had enforced regarding wastewater discharges from power plants.
Pruitt attributed the repeal to job loss and economic impact.
"I don't know why he said that, because at that point . . . we had never briefed him once on the rule. We could have definitely shown him in great detail that there was not going to be any big job loss or any big economic impact," says Southerland. "[It's] heartbreaking because we know that that rule was so necessary to protect public health."
In this episode of Fault Lines, we look beyond the smoke and the scandals, and travel to North Carolina and California's Central Valley, where communities have cautionary tales about what this rollback could cost.
California Lists Chlorpyrifos as a Prop. 65 Chemical
State scientists strongly endorse the science behind US EPA's recommendation to ban
Californians for Pesticide Reform
(December 7, 2017) -- A significant step was just taken toward building support for a ban of chlorpyrifos in California with the listing by a panel of independent scientists of chlorpyrifos as a developmental toxicant.
After considering the large and growing body of scientific evidence, the Developmental and Reproductive Toxicant Identification Committee (DARTIC) made its decision in front of a standing-room only crowd of residents from California's agricultural frontlines, many of whom testified about their personal experience with the chemical's devastating health consequences.
Setting the stage for a looming showdown within CalEPA, the DARTIC scientists praised as "very well-designed" the Columbia epidemiological study, which linked even low to moderate levels of exposure to chlorpyrifos during pregnancy to long-term, potentially irreversible changes in the brain structure of the child.
The study is a critical piece of evidence in support of eliminating chlorpyrifos from California's fields.
They also described the modeling on which the US EPA based their November 2016 recommendation for a total federal ban as "elegant and showing an astoundingly low dose response." The Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) discounted the Columbia study and ignored the US EPA's 2016 model in their draft risk assessment.
Miriam Rotkin-Ellman, MPH, Natural Resources Defense Council senior scientist, said, "With this decision, California affirms the extensive scientific evidence that chlorpyrifos is harmful, particularly for pregnant women and children. California now has a mandate to ensure that all actions to evaluate and address risk from this pesticide must protect children."
Emily Marquez, PhD, Pesticide Action Network's staff scientist who attended the hearing, said, "The committee made the right decision in light of the scientific evidence. State regulators should follow today's decision by finally taking this chemical off the market."
Raul Garcia, a Porterville resident and outreach coordinator for Tulare County Coalition Advocating Pesticide Safety, said, "Our families have been unfairly exposed to this neurotoxic pesticide for decades. Today's decision affirms the importance for California to follow the science and protect our communities by keeping this chemical out of our fields and bodies."
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