Toxic Substances

Risk Subsidies and the Future of Nuclear Power in the U.S.

Should We Take Into Account Government Subsidies that Reduce the Risks Borne by the Nuclear Industry as We Consider Our Energy Future?

As I’ve written about before, U.S. law massively subsidizes the nuclear power industry.  In particular, a law called the Price-Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act dramatically skews the incentives to develop nuclear plants, and to site them in places where there is a lot of risk, because it requires the public to bear much of the […]

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Public Prosecutors Zero In on SoCal Gas, Porter Ranch Disaster

Aliso Canyon

California Attorney General, L.A. District Attorney File New Enforcement Prosecutions

The massive leak from Southern California Gas Company’s Aliso Canyon natural gas field in northwestern Los Angeles County was discovered on October 23rd of last year and, more than three months later, shows no sign of abating.  Public prosecutors have pretty clearly lost patience with SoCal gas and its ineffective remediation efforts to date.  This […]

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The Flint Lead Crisis

Lead ad

Three Interesting Notes About Lead Regulation and Exposure

At this point, you would need to be a hermit to have missed the news coverage of elevated levels of lead in the drinking water in Flint, MI. (Although even that might not be a valid excuse given an ancient, anonymous Roman hermit described lead poisoning). The short version is: in April 2014 a cash […]

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Newsflash: Senate Passes TSCA Reform

Photo credit: Jeffrey Dunn for Boston Lyric Opera © 2010

A New Chapter In the Effort To Reform Federal Chemical Regulation For the First Time in 40 Years

In a striking turn of events, last night the Senate passed a newly revised version of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, which would reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) for the first time in four decades. A summary of the bill’s provisions and analysis of the differences between […]

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The Ninth Circuit Takes EPA to Task (Twice)

Monsanto pesticide to be sprayed on food crops.

EPA’s pesticide registration efforts trigger forceful response

Judge McKeown of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals recently wrote of the EPA, “Although filibustering may be a venerable tradition in the United States Senate, it is frowned upon in administrative agencies tasked with protecting human health.”  Yikes.  What did the EPA do to elicit such a reaction from a federal judge? The short […]

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DuPont Found Liable In First of 3,500 Lawsuits

220px-Happy_Pan_Poster

Chemical Used in Teflon Linked to Numerous Health Problems, but its Use is Still Legal Under TSCA

Yesterday, a jury in the Southern District of Ohio found DuPont liable for a woman’s kidney cancer in the first of 3,500 suits the company faces. The cases all stem from DuPont’s use and disposal of perflourooctanoic acid (PFOA) or C8. The chemical is used to make Teflon, among other things, and the most recent […]

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Interpreting Michigan v. EPA

Four Corners Coal Plant

The opinion seems likely to have very limited repercussions.

In bringing the mercury rule to the Supreme Court, industry was hoping for a ruling that EPA had to balance costs and benefits (and could only include benefits relating to mercury).  What they got was far less than that.  Here, I’d like to address some key questions about the opinion. 1.  When does EPA have […]

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Mercury Rising: The Court Reverses EPA’s Regulation

supreme-court

This was not a great decision for EPA, but it could have been much worse.

The Court has just now decided the Michigan case, involving EPA’s mercury regulation.  As Ann Carlson explained in an earlier post, a lot was at stake in the case.  The Court ruled 5-4 against EPA.  This passage seems to be key to the Court’s reasoning: One would not say that it is even rational, never mind […]

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Flame Retardants, Furniture, and Polar Bears

couch on fire

One woman’s search for a toxics-free couch in California

A year and a half ago, I found myself in a position that has caused so many people to rethink the world around them: impending parenthood. One of the many changes I decided to make in advance of welcoming our little bundle of joy was to procure a couch without flame retardants. Flame retardants have […]

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The Unreasonable Risk of TSCA Reform

Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place

The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act is no doubt generating significant conflict, including claims of undue industry influence, competing bills from prominent members of the same party, consternation among states, and divisions among health and environmental groups.  And it may also be the closest we have gotten to TSCA reform—ever.  […]

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