In 1971, the newly-created US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hired a bunch of freelance photographers to collectively document environmental issues around the country. They were given free rein to shoot whatever they wanted, and the project, named Documerica
, lasted through 1977. After 40 years, the EPA is now encouraging photographers to take current versions of the original Documerica photos and are showcasing them on flickr at State of the Environment
. There are location challenges
, and a set has been created with some of the submissions, making side-by-side comparisons
. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Aug 8, 2013 -
Some of My Best Friends Are Germs
It is a striking idea that one of the keys to good health may turn out to involve managing our internal fermentation. Having recently learned to manage several external fermentations — of bread and kimchi and beer — I know a little about the vagaries of that process. You depend on the microbes, and you do your best to align their interests with yours, mainly by feeding them the kinds of things they like to eat — good “substrate.” But absolute control of the process is too much to hope for. It’s a lot more like gardening than governing.
The successful gardener has always known you don’t need to master the science of the soil, which is yet another hotbed of microbial fermentation, in order to nourish and nurture it. You just need to know what it likes to eat — basically, organic matter — and how, in a general way, to align your interests with the interests of the microbes and the plants. The gardener also discovers that, when pathogens or pests appear, chemical interventions “work,” that is, solve the immediate problem, but at a cost to the long-term health of the soil and the whole garden. The drive for absolute control leads to unanticipated forms of disorder. [more inside]
posted by ninjew
on Jun 1, 2013 -
"Places like Picher are why Congress passed the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980—better known as the Superfund bill
." - Wired Magazine on the most toxic town in America, Picher, OK
, and the people who still live there
posted by The Whelk
on Sep 5, 2010 -
was part of a major lead mining area
in the central US until the middle of the last century, when the mines closed down
. It is now the epicenter
of the Tar Creek Superfund site
. Residents live among mountains of mine tailings known
. Heavy metal poisoning is endemic in the area. With fits and starts, things do begin to get done about it, but only very slowly.
To add insult to injury, Picher was struck
by an EF-4 tornado
on May 10th, 2008. The residents are finally suing
over the long in
plan. Shockingly, the buyout plan was put into place with urgency not because of the lead, zinc, and cadmium poisoning,
but because the mines are in danger of caving in
. There is still word on when the mountains of debris
will be removed, or the acid mine drainage stopped. Despite attempts to prevent further contamination in the 1980s and 90s, the waste is still poisoning local creeks
posted by wierdo
on Apr 9, 2009 -
Smoke and Mirrors: The Subversion of the EPA.
"This four-part series details how the Bush administration weakened the EPA
. It installed a pliant agency chief, Stephen L. Johnson. Under him, the EPA created pro-industry regulations later thrown out by the courts. It promoted a flawed voluntary program to fight climate change. It bypassed air pollution recommendations from its own scientists to satisfy the White House." [Via Reality Base]
posted by homunculus
on Dec 11, 2008 -
"It's not just the American dollar that's losing value. The Environmental Protection Agency has decided that an American life isn't worth what it used to be. The value of a statistical life
is $6.9 million in today's dollars, the [EPA] reckoned in May -- a drop of nearly $1 million from just five years ago." [more inside]
posted by ericb
on Jul 10, 2008 -
In a 5-4 opinion [pdf]
, the Supreme Court concluded today that the EPA has the authority to regulate greenhouse gases that may contribute to global warming, and must examine the scientific evidence of a link between those gases contained in the exhausts of new cars and trucks and climate change. Justice Stevens wrote the majority opinion, and Justice Scalia wrote a dissent, joined by Roberts, Thomas, and Alito. ScotusBlog summary here
posted by monju_bosatsu
on Apr 2, 2007 -
Who needs bunnies when you have kids to test on?
"Protections for Subjects in Human Research," a newly proposed EPA rule allows for: for government and industry scientists to treat children as human guinea pigs in chemical experiments in the following situations:
1. Children who "cannot be reasonably consulted," such as those that are mentally handicapped or orphaned newborns may be tested on. With permission from the institution or guardian in charge of the individual, the child may be exposed to chemicals for the sake of research.
2. Parental consent forms are not necessary for testing on children who have been neglected or abused.
3. Chemical studies on any children outside of the U.S. are acceptable.
And don't miss the Q&A section below. Sec. 26.408
of the EPA document is where you'll find the provisions and waivers mentioned (it refers to other sections absent from the document, weirdly).
posted by amberglow
on Nov 21, 2005 -
What a coincidence, huh? (wapo, reg reqd) For the third time, environmental advocates have discovered passages in the Bush administration's proposal for regulating mercury pollution from power plants that mirror almost word for word portions of memos written by a law firm representing coal-fired power plants.
The passages state that the Environmental Protection Agency is not required to regulate other hazardous toxins emitted by power plants, such as lead and arsenic.
The actual proposals and study are here.
posted by amberglow
on Sep 23, 2004 -
Buying Up the Right to Pollute.
"Power companies that release more SO2
than their permits allow must attempt to buy more allowances at the auctions, or purchase them at a premium from companies that have allowances to spare. Those that can't gather enough allowances or that go beyond certain emissions limits in a given year face strict fines from the EPA." (from a 4/7 Wired article)
You may have heard of these "allowances" before, but the Acid Rain Retirement Fund
, a non-profit, is doing something about them: *buying* them and simply letting them expire. Search NetworkForGood
for "ARRF" to make a donation. [via our own CTP
's Recursive Irony
posted by scarabic
on Apr 13, 2004 -
the chemical home
"babies are born with toxic chemicals already contaminating their bodies" - we know we are exposed to these dangerous chemicals everyday, greenpeace puts together a nice site describing what the dangerous ones are how to avoid them. Isn't this the kind of thing our tax dollars going to the EPA
are supposed to provide? [ via computerlove.net
posted by specialk420
on Nov 30, 2003 -
EPA misled public on 9/11 pollution
"In the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center, the White House instructed the Environmental Protection Agency to give the public misleading information, telling New Yorkers it was safe to breathe when reliable information on air quality was not available."
posted by jpoulos
on Aug 23, 2003 -
More environmental data goes down the memory hole...
Another EPA report gets "edited" by the White House to minimize warnings about climate change and the contributing factors of industrial and automotive emissions. Data from a 2001 report on climate by the National Research Council commissioned by
by White House is omitted in favor of research data funded by the American Petroleum Institute. Behold the best government money can buy...
posted by crookdimwit
on Jun 19, 2003 -
Kodak gives more reason to convert to digital photography.
Eastman Kodak's "Kodak Park facility" in Rochester, is #1 in New York for releases of suspected toxicants and neurotoxins to endocrine, gastrointestinal, liver, cardiovascular, kidney, respiratory, and reproductive health. Remember dioxin? The stuff of Agent Orange, used in the Vietnam war that caused so much grief to war vets and Vietnamese, well Kodak released more dioxin into New York's environment in 2000 than any other source. In 1996 they were dumping methylene chloride concentrations as high as 3,600,000 parts per billion into area rivers, when the legal level is five parts per billion. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found Kodak guilty of illegal disposal of hazardous wastes, illegal use of incinerators and waste piles, failing to notify the EPA of groundwater contaminations, making undocumented shipments of hazardous wastes, and for 20 years having leaky underground pipes, among other violations.
posted by giantkicks
on Jun 1, 2003 -
Toxic Chemical Dump report by ZIP code.
The U.S. Public Interest Research Group has organized information from the EPA on toxic chemical releases. You can get maps of different types of chemicals (carcinogens, reproductive toxins, dioxins, etc.) released by state, download Excel spreadsheets by state organized by ZIP code, or download their complete report. I think this is just for the 2000 calendar year. (via The Wall Street Journal
posted by meep
on Jan 23, 2003 -
White House halts asbestos alert
WASHINGTON (AP) - A warning from the Environmental Protection Agency, informing millions of Americans their homes might contain asbestos-contaminated insulation, has not been issued because of White House intervention, a newspaper reports.
The EPA was expected to announce the warning in April, and declare a public health emergency concerning Zonolite insulation, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported in its Sunday editions.
posted by Captain Ligntning
on Dec 29, 2002 -
Toxic Exposure Near Ground Zero
EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman said a week after the attacks: "I am glad to reassure the people of New York...that their air is safe to breathe and their water is safe to drink." Yet now: "Dust taken from an air vent in the apartment building's hallway contained 555 times the suggested acceptable level for asbestos.....Many of those who live or work downtown report strikingly similar symptoms: nosebleeds, sore throats, bronchial infections and an endless racking cough." How long do we need to wait until we see some full blown investigative reporting
posted by Voyageman
on Jan 8, 2002 -
Rising Sea Level Forcing Evacuation of Tuvalu.
"During the twentieth century, sea level rose by 20-30 centimeters (8-12 inches)." The 1,196 tiny islands of the Maldives are "barely 2 meters above sea level". "In 2000 the World Bank published a map showing that a 1-meter rise in sea level would inundate half of Bangladesh's riceland." Here are EPA
sites on the sea level. (NASA? They may be promoting justification to colonize other planets ASAP!)
posted by mmarcos
on Nov 25, 2001 -
Forty-two billion dollars for conservation may soon be headed to the fifty states, if a controversial environmental protection package
passes the Senate. Election-minded lawmakers -- including at least one hundred Republicans -- have piled onto the Conservation and Reinvestment Act, which allows them to bring federal funds to their states while appearing to help the environment.
posted by palegirl
on May 15, 2000 -