Environmental Protection Agency

Category archives for Environmental Protection Agency

Following the deadly April 17, 2013 explosion at the West, Texas fertilizer plant – and a series of other catastrophic incidents involving hazardous materials – President Obama directed federal agencies to improve chemical facility security and safety. Their report makes recommendations but does not mandate any immediate action. Meanwhile, dangerous chemical releases occur at workplaces around the US almost daily.

California’s workforce has grown by about 22 percent in the last 20 years but the number of safety inspectors for the 17 million people employed in the state’s 1.34 million workplaces has decreased by about 11 percent. This leaves California’s workforce – the largest of any US state – with the lowest number of inspectors per workers of any state with its own occupational safety and health plan for private-sector workers. California has so few workplace safety inspectors that it would take 173 years to inspect each workplace in the state just once.

Conditions on Florida tomato farms improve thanks to the Fair Food Program; federal officials are developing a protective inhalation screening level for the West Virginia chemical spill region; and a Government Accountability Project expert testifies on whistleblower protections in observance of Workers Memorial Day.

While the Senate is pressing the EPA to prevent future chemical disasters, legislation has been introduced in Congress that would, if enacted, make it harder for the public to obtain information about chemical hazards, either in industrial storage tanks or consumer products. While state and local governments – and many manufacturers – are responding to growing public is demand for safer chemicals and more information about chemicals used in products – industry trade associations are promoting legislation that appears to counter that progress.

“For us it’s personal,” said Jeannie Economos, Farmworker Association of Florida Pesticide Safety and Environmental Health Project Coordinator. “It’s a daily issue for us. Every day with a weaker protection standard is another day a worker is exposed to pesticides,” she said. On February 20th the EPA proposed revisions to its Worker Protection Standard for agricultural pesticides. Farm worker advocates are welcoming the proposal – the first update since 1992 – but see both improvements and what some are calling “steps backward.”

More than a month after the Freedom Industries chemical spill in West Virginia, it remains unclear if Charleston’s water is truly safe to drink and what the health consequences of exposure to these chemicals may be. Legislation has been introduced that calls for more inspections, better tank construction, overflow containment and emergency response. But why not go beyond and also call for safer chemistry?

Let’s not call it a “spill,” thousands of gallons of MCHM in water supply of 300,000 West Virginians

This is probably too much to hope: the water contamination emergency in WV be recognized as the latest example of the inadequacies in our nation’s policies on toxic chemicals.

Obama Administration scraps plans for chemical right-to-know

The Obama Administration, at the urging of chemical manufacturers, withdrew two EPA actions proposed under the Toxic Substance Control Act. The measures would have provided the public more information about the hazards associated with certain chemical substances.

Pushing back against anti-regulatory forces, safety and environmental protections long overdue

The newly created Senate Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on Oversight, Federal Rights and Agency Action held today its first hearing. Witnesses described the toll on public health and safety when the regulatory process is paralyzed by powerful interests and required analyses with no proven benefits.

On July 15 and 16, about two dozen farmworkers paid an unprecedented visit to Capitol Hill to ask Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the White House to support increased protection from exposure to pesticides. Farmworkers have lobbied Congress before, but this is the first time such a visit focused entirely on pesticide exposure…