9 states sue EPA for 'blanket waiver' as nation fights pandemic
Nine states have sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for curtailing enforcement of rules on air and water pollution during the COVID-19 pandemic, saying the pullback puts the public at even greater risk.The states accuse the federal regulator of overstepping its authority when it created a “blanket waiver” in March that they say “gives regulated parties free rein to self-determine when compliance with federal environmental laws is not practical because of COVID-19.”That could tempt companies to stop reporting chemical spills or refrain from tracking emissions of hazardous air polluta...
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
Activists challenge Indonesia deregulation bill that threatens environment
JAKARTA — Activists in Indonesia have filed a legal challenge to stop legislation that would dismantle environmental protections in favor of facilitating business.A coalition of civil society groups filed their lawsuit April 30 with a court in Jakarta in a bid to halt parliamentary deliberations of the so-called omnibus bill, which the government wants parliament to pass this month. The bill contains more than 1,000 proposed amendments to at least 79 existing laws that, among other points, prescribe lighter penaltiesfor environmental violations; scrap a requirementfor environmental impact asse...
Under Trump, the EPA has cut back on enforcement of clean water laws in the Great Lakes region
CHICAGO — Two months after President Donald Trump took office, U.S. Steel dumped a plume of cancer-causing metal into a Lake Michigan tributary 20 miles away from a Chicago drinking water intake.The company reported another spill of hexavalent chromium six months later, around the same time public interest lawyers dug up records documenting scores of other clean water violations at the Northwest Indiana steel mill.Yet Trump appointees at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency declined to punish the company, rebuffing career staff who confirmed U.S. Steel had repeatedly, and illegally, releas...
What coronavirus tells us about climate change on Earth Day's 50th anniversary
SEATTLE — The Seattle Times headline on Seattle’s first Earth Day, on April 22, 1970, was prescient. So much so, it could have been written on this year’s 50th anniversary of Earth Day.“Pollution to Overheat Earth, Says Expert” was the headline stripped across the top of Page One. “The release of increasing quantities of carbon dioxide and thermal pollution into the atmosphere threatens to change global weather and melt the Antarctic ice cap, flooding wide areas,” the story reported.Fifty years later, the pace toward warming predicted in the story by the late climatologist J. Murray Mitchell c...
The Seattle Times
Indonesian lawmakers push to pass deregulation bills as COVID-19 grips country
JAKARTA — Indonesia’s parliament looks set to push through contentious bills that threaten to roll back environmental protections in favor of facilitating business.Activists have denounced the decision to resume deliberations of two so-called omnibus billsand an amended mining billat a time when the government and the public are struggling to deal with the COVID-19 crisis. They call it a deliberate move by parliament to use the cover of physical distancing measures and other social restrictions to pass the bills with minimal oversight or pushback by the public.“Amid a situation like this, how ...
Nation and world news briefs
Ex-USC admissions official to plead guilty to running scam to admit unqualified Chinese studentsLOS ANGELES — In exchange for money, a former admissions official at the University of Southern California helped graduate students from China gain acceptance to the school by submitting doctored transcripts, fraudulent letters of recommendation and bogus personal statements in their applications, according to a plea agreement filed in federal court.Hiu Kit David Chong, an assistant director in USC’s Office of Graduate Admissions from 2008 to 2016, agreed to plead guilty to one count of wire fraud i...
Tribune News Service