Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Former EPA Staffers, State Environmental Professionals, Assail Proposed EPA Budget

(from an analysis by the Environmental Protection Network, a growing bi-partisan network of more than 75 former employees of the Environmental Protection Agency and related federal and state agencies.)


President Trump’s Budget Blueprint takes an ax to EPA, threatening severe damage to health and environmental programs that have protected Americans for decades. State agency funding is also slashed, even though the Trump Administration is proposing to simultaneously shift more responsibility to the states. The budget further calls for elimination of most EPA climate programs even as the earth continues to warm and climate change impacts grow worse. 

There is no evidence that the cuts are based on any real analysis of changing needs. Steep cuts and elimination of many EPA programs seem to reflect ideological views about the role and value of government programs that protect public health and the environment. The Trump Budget Blueprint for EPA appears to be nothing less than a full-throttle attack on the principle underlying all U.S. environmental laws – that protecting the health and environment of all Americans is a national priority. 
The whole analysis is available at analysis of proposed EPA budget

Friday, February 17, 2017

Senate Vote on Pruitt: Unconscionable -- A Bipartisan Triumph of Special Interests

Many people will have much to say about the Senate vote to confirm Scott Pruitt to head the U.S. Environmental Protection  Agency.  Here are a few quick thoughts:

It is unconscionable that the Senate would ram this nomination through without knowing all the relevant facts — facts that may be known within a few days.  It is a bipartisan triumph of special interests over the broader public interest.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

What's Going to Happen to Cheating Companies Under a New EPA? -- a Guest Post

(Clean Air Watch is pleased to present this timely guest post by Gemma Hunt)


While we await a Senate vote on Scott Pruitt's nomination to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, an important question lingers in the air: what will happen to enforcement of clean air and water laws under the Trump team?  Will companies feel they can cheat -- and harm the public -- as Volkswagen did?  

The recent Fiat Chrysler incident could be a test case.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Guest Post: Why Clean Energy Matters More Now Than Ever

(Clean Air Watch is pleased to present this timely guest post by Gemma Hunt)



During the election campaign process, President-elect Donald Trump was very vocal about his desire to repel many of the clean energy policies put in place by President Obama. He has threatened to abolish the Clean Power Plan, completely remove all federal funding for clean energy schemes and solutions, and opening up large areas previously unopened to them for oil, coal and gas markets. This will put significant pressure on individual states to continue to fund green energy schemes, block the arrival of big energy companies in their territories, and continue to fulfil the vision of the Clean Power Plan independently. This is something that many states will have neither the desire nor the budget to do, and is the reason why an individual commitment to the use of clean energy matters now more than ever.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

GUILTY! Volkswagen Pays Massive Fine in Cheater Scandal; Company Officials Indicted



[from the U.S. Department of Justice]



  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Volkswagen AG Agrees to Plead Guilty and Pay $4.3 Billion in Criminal and Civil Penalties; Six Volkswagen Executives and Employees are Indicted in Connection with Conspiracy to Cheat U.S. Emissions Tests


VW to Pay $2.8 Billion Criminal Fine in Guilty Plea and $1.5 Billion Settlement of Civil Environmental, Customs and Financial Violations; Monitor to Be Appointed to Oversee the Parent Company 
Volkswagen AG (VW) has agreed to plead guilty to three criminal felony counts and pay a $2.8 billion criminal penalty as a result of the company’s long-running scheme to sell approximately 590,000 diesel vehicles in the U.S. by using a defeat device to cheat on emissions tests mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB), and lying and obstructing justice to further the scheme, the Justice Department announced today.
In separate civil resolutions of environmental, customs and financial claims, VW has agreed to pay $1.5 billion. This includes EPA’s claim for civil penalties against VW in connection with VW’s importation and sale of these cars, as well as U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) claims for customs fraud. In addition, the EPA agreement requires injunctive relief to prevent future violations. The agreements also resolve alleged violations of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act (FIRREA).