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FEMA Director Brock Long Is the Latest Trump Official to Resign Amid Spending Scandals
Brock Long, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) director who oversaw the agency's controversial response to Hurricane Maria, announced his resignation Wednesday.
"It has been a great honor to serve our country as @fema Administrator for the past two years. While this has been the opportunity of the lifetime, it is time for me to go home to my family," Long said in a tweet announcing his departure.
His resignation comes as Congressional Democrats, including Elizabeth Warren, have repeatedly called for an investigation into FEMA's Hurricane Maria response in Puerto Rico, where nearly 3,000 people died in the wake of the storm, the Huffington Post reported.
A University of Michigan led study released in January found that the federal response to Hurricane Maria was both slower and less generous than the response to Hurricanes Irma and Harvey in Florida and Texas. Long won praise early in his tenure for his response to Hurricane Harvey, The New York Times reported.
San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, who has been a vocal critic of the Trump administration's Maria response, commented on Long's departure on Twitter.
"Brock Long was Trump's hatchet man in the botched Puerto Rican relief effort after hurricanes Irma and María. He should have been fired and held accountable for the loss of live. Thank you for nothing, next," she wrote.
Puerto Rico's Governor Ricardo Rossello took a softer, but still critical, stance, wishing Long well but calling his departure an "opportunity."
"We hope the battles over the last 18 months, due to unequal treatment can turn into the efficient assistance needed," he wrote.
Long was also under pressure because of a September discovery by the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security that he violated rules by using government vehicles to travel back and forth to his home in North Carolina, as well as while on vacation with his family in Hawaii, The New York Times reported.
"The FEMA administrator is supposed to be focused on preparing for disasters like the devastating hurricanes that killed thousands of Americans in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands—not using government vehicles to shuttle his family around Hawaii at taxpayer expense," then top House Oversight Committee Democrat and Maryland Representative Elijah E. Cummings said at the time, according to The New York Times. "Administrator Long's apparent violations of federal law for his own personal benefit are another example of how senior officials in the Trump administration continue to use American taxpayer money."
Long follows former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt in resigning after a scandal involving misuse of government resources for personal gain.
Long ran FEMA for two years and oversaw more than 220 declared disasters, according to his departure statement. He said he would depart to return to his wife and two sons. Deputy Administrator Peter Gaynor will step into the position of Acting Administrator following his departure.
Long had a background in emergency management before President Donald Trump nominated him to run FEMA, having directed the Alabama Emergency Management Agency from 2008 to 2011, The New York Times reported.
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By Jennifer Molidor
One million species are at risk of extinction from human activity, warns a recent study by scientists with the United Nations. We need to cut greenhouse gas pollution across all sectors to avoid catastrophic climate change — and we need to do it fast, said the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
This research should serve as a rallying cry for polluting industries to make major changes now. Yet the agriculture industry continues to lag behind.
"The Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism wishes to inform the public that following extensive consultations with all stakeholders, the Government of Botswana has taken a decision to lift the hunting suspension," the government announced in a press release shared on social media.
Company Safety Data Sheets on New Chemicals Frequently Lack the Worker Protections EPA Claims They Include
By Richard Denison
Readers of this blog know how concerned EDF is over the Trump EPA's approval of many dozens of new chemicals based on its mere "expectation" that workers across supply chains will always employ personal protective equipment (PPE) just because it is recommended in the manufacturer's non-binding safety data sheet (SDS).
By Grant Smith
From 2009 to 2012, Gregory Jaczko was chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which approves nuclear power plant designs and sets safety standards for plants. But he now says that nuclear power is too dangerous and expensive — and not part of the answer to the climate crisis.
By Brett Walton
When Greg Wetherbee sat in front of the microscope recently, he was looking for fragments of metals or coal, particles that might indicate the source of airborne nitrogen pollution in Rocky Mountain National Park. What caught his eye, though, were the plastics.
In a big victory for animals, Prada has announced that it's ending its use of fur! It joins Coach, Jean Paul Gaultier, Giorgio Armani, Versace, Ralph Lauren, Vivienne Westwood, Michael Kors, Donna Karan and many others PETA has pushed toward a ban.
This is a victory more than a decade in the making. PETA and our international affiliates have crashed Prada's catwalks with anti-fur signs, held eye-catching demonstrations all around the world, and sent the company loads of information about the fur industry. In 2018, actor and animal rights advocate Pamela Anderson sent a letter on PETA's behalf urging Miuccia Prada to commit to leaving fur out of all future collections, and the iconic designer has finally listened.
If people in three European countries want to fight the climate crisis, they need to chill out more.
"The rapid pace of labour-saving technology brings into focus the possibility of a shorter working week for all, if deployed properly," Autonomy Director Will Stronge said, The Guardian reported. "However, while automation shows that less work is technically possible, the urgent pressures on the environment and on our available carbon budget show that reducing the working week is in fact necessary."
The report found that if the economies of Germany, Sweden and the UK maintain their current levels of carbon intensity and productivity, they would need to switch to a six, 12 and nine hour work week respectively if they wanted keep the rise in global temperatures to the below two degrees Celsius promised by the Paris agreement, The Independent reported.
The study based its conclusions on data from the UN and the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) on greenhouse gas emissions per industry in all three countries.
The report comes as the group Momentum called on the UK's Labour Party to endorse a four-day work week.
"We welcome this attempt by Autonomy to grapple with the very real changes society will need to make in order to live within the limits of the planet," Emma Williams of the Four Day Week campaign said in a statement reported by The Independent. "In addition to improved well-being, enhanced gender equality and increased productivity, addressing climate change is another compelling reason we should all be working less."
Supporters of the idea linked it to calls in the U.S. and Europe for a Green New Deal that would decarbonize the economy while promoting equality and well-being.
"This new paper from Autonomy is a thought experiment that should give policymakers, activists and campaigners more ballast to make the case that a Green New Deal is absolutely necessary," Common Wealth think tank Director Mat Lawrence told The Independent. "The link between working time and GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions has been proved by a number of studies. Using OECD data and relating it to our carbon budget, Autonomy have taken the step to show what that link means in terms of our working weeks."
Stronge also linked his report to calls for a Green New Deal.
"Becoming a green, sustainable society will require a number of strategies – a shorter working week being just one of them," he said, according to The Guardian. "This paper and the other nascent research in the field should give us plenty of food for thought when we consider how urgent a Green New Deal is and what it should look like."
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