Illinois environmentalists testified before the Environmental Protection Agency this week, urging officials not to roll back an Obama-era regulation limiting discharge into waterways from steam powered electric plants.
Advocates say an Indiana utility’s plan to delay the installation of new wastewater pollution controls at its largest coal plant is among the first clear effects of President Trump’s aggressive rollback of environmental regulations.
Critics say an Ohio court decision last week underscores the urgency of a pending bill to address unfairness under current law, while opening the door to more efforts by utilities to shift the economic burdens for past pollution to today’s customers.
As Minnesota lawmakers seek more oversight over how $47 million in Volkswagen settlement funds are spent, advocates warn bills in the legislature could cause the state to lose the money altogether. Attorney Leili Fatehi, owner and principal of the public benefit corporation Apparatus, says the consent decree requires that states follow a certain process in distributing money from the settlement and several proposed bills could negate the settlement. “It’s pretty reckless legislation,” said Fatehi, who would like to see some of the money spent on environmental justice initiatives to help clean up disadvantaged neighborhoods. The debate over who gets to hold the purse strings of the settlement money pits the governor’s office and executive branch against legislators who firmly believe they should – and will – have a say in which projects receive money. Fatehi said the tussle is being watched closely by the Great Plains Institute, Fresh Energy (which publishes Midwest Energy News) and other organizations in the energy field.
At a hearing in Chicago last week, activists called on the EPA to use a little-known provision of the Clean Power Plan to advance environmental justice.
Dr. Abdul El-Sayed breaks down the public health impacts of the “over-reliance on fossil fuels,” balancing industry and health concerns and how clean energy can play a role in Detroit’s future.
Advocates who live near the BP refinery outside Chicago say recent fines for pollution violations are “less than a drop in the bucket” for the company.
In the context of Flint, Michigan’s ongoing lead-tainted water crisis, regional environmental groups are calling on Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette to stop his fight against federal rules for mercury emissions from power plants.
An aging coal plant north of Chicago was a hot topic at a hearing yesterday exploring whether ongoing industrial pollution in minority neighborhoods amounts to civil rights violations.
The longer Ohio waits to cut air emissions from power plants, the more adverse illnesses it can expect for its citizens, say health and environmental advocates.