Policy

Obama’s 80% “Clean” Energy Goal: Ambitious or Inevitable?

In a recent post on Grist, Keith Schneider found President Obama’s 80% “clean” energy goal rather incredible: Arguably the central provision of President Obama’s State of the Union address last night was the proposal to generate 80 percent of the nation’s electricity from clean energy sources by 2035 — including nuclear energy and “carbon capture and …

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Pesticides, Science and Politics

Those three can make for a toxic environment, literally and figuratively.  Take the case of methyl iodide, a material so obviously toxic that scientists use it to induce cancer in laboratory experiments.  Arysta LifeScience Corporation has obtained a federal pesticide registration from EPA for use as a fumigant, despite a letter from 50 scientists, including five …

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What’s in Your Toothpaste?

A new UCLA study raises health concerns about a nanomaterial found in a broad range of consumer products.  Nanoscale titanium dioxide, which is used in toothpaste, sunscreen, paint, cosmetics, vitamins, food coloring, and nutritional supplements, has not been extensively studied for its toxicological properties.  A team lead by Robert Schiestl, a professor of pathology, radiation oncology …

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Jackson Comes Out Swinging on TSCA, But Pulls Some Critical Punches

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson delivered a one-two combination in chemical policy on Tuesday, announcing principles for legislative reform of TSCA while directing the agency to publicize administrative “enhancements” to the existing program.  At a speech in San Francisco, the Administrator presented the Obama Administration’s “Essential Principles for Reform of Chemicals Management Legislation,” a set of …

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One Step Backward, One Nano Step Forward. . . Maybe

The action on nanomaterials continued at the federal level in August, advancing forward in one area (tentatively) and faltering in another (perhaps temporarily).  First, on August 4, the Interagency Testing Committee (ITC) issued its 64th report.  (The ITC is an independent advisory committee charged with identifying potentially toxic chemicals for which there is inadequate testing …

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National Conversation Starts on Public Health and Chemical Exposure

The CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry recently kicked off their National Conversation on Public Health and Chemical Exposure with a day-long meeting on June 26, 2009 in Washington, DC.  The National Conversation is a stakeholder and public involvement initiative intended to develop an action agenda …

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Holding Our Breath for a Test Rule for Carbon Nanotubes

Researchers recently reported new findings regarding potential occupational hazards associated with carbon nanotubes.  These nano-scale cylinders have a variety of forms (single-walled and multi-walled, coated and uncoated, and so on.)  They are widely available and used in a variety of manufacturing, medical and electronic applications.  Previously, much attention was focused on whether when inhaled, nanotubes …

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Disaster Law

Disaster issues have several links to environmental law.  Perhaps the most obvious is that climate change is likely to cause a sharp increase in the number of extreme weather events such as floods and heat waves.  Less obviously, disaster law is the flip side of environmental law, concerned with how nature impacts us rather than …

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Cleaning Up the Bush EPA’s Dry Cleaning Rule

The Washington Post reported that EPA “is reconsidering whether to compel dry cleaners to phase out a cancer-causing chemical used in tens of thousands of operations nationwide.”  In 2006, the Bush Administration issued an air toxics rule for professional dry cleaners using perchloroethylene in which it tightened technology requirements, but refused to phase out use …

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An Invitation to Explore the Connections Between Constitutional & Environmental Law

These days, more and more of the most important environmental law disputes arise in the crucible of constitutional law.  Preemption, the Dormant Commerce Clause, the foreign powers doctrine, constitutional principles of standing to sue and the separation of powers doctrine are all doctrines of constitutional law that have been invoked in much of the most …

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