The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
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.
- FEMA Chief Says 'We Filtered Out' San Juan Mayor After She Pleads ›
- FEMA Director Brock Long Defends Trump's Puerto Rican Death ... ›
- The Best People: Trump's FEMA Chief Blames “Spousal Abuse” for ... ›
- FEMA official Brock Long investigated by federal prosecutors: report ... ›
- FEMA personnel chief Corey Coleman allegedly harassed women ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Ana Reisdorf, MS, RD
You've probably heard the buzz around collagen supplements and your skin by now. But is the hype really that promising? After all, research has pointed to both the benefits and downsides of collagen supplements — and for many beauty-conscious folk, collagen isn't vegan.
By Marlene Cimons
Neil Pederson's introduction to tree rings came from a "sweet and kindly" college instructor, who nevertheless was "one of the most boring professors I'd ever experienced," Pederson said. "I swore tree rings off then and there." But they kept coming back to haunt him.
By Daisy Brickhill
Each morning, men living in fishing communities along Ghana's coastline push off in search of the day's catch. But when the boats come back to shore, it's the women who take over.
By Sam Nickerson
Links between excess sugar in your diet and disease have been well-documented, but new research by Harvard's School of Public Health might make you even more wary of that next soda: it could increase your risk of an early death.
The study, published this week in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation, found that drinking one or two sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) each day — like sodas or sports drinks — increases risk of an early death by 14 percent.
Tyson Foods Recalls Nearly 70,000 Pounds of Chicken Strips After Customers Find ‘Fragments of Metal’
Tyson Foods is recalling approximately 69,093 pounds of frozen chicken strips because they may have been contaminated with pieces of metal, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced Thursday.
The affected products were fully-cooked "Buffalo Style" and "Crispy" chicken strips with a "use by" date of Nov. 30, 2019 and an establishment number of "P-7221" on the back of the package.
"FSIS is concerned that some product may be in consumers' freezers," the recall notice said. "Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase."
Environmental exposure to pesticides, both before birth and during the first year of life, has been linked to an increased risk of developing autism spectrum disorder, according to the largest epidemiological study to date on the connection.
The study, published Wednesday in BMJ, found that pregnant women who lived within 2,000 meters (approximately 1.2 miles) of a highly-sprayed agricultural area in California had children who were 10 to 16 percent more likely to develop autism and 30 percent more likely to develop severe autism that impacted their intellectual ability. If the children were exposed to pesticides during their first year of life, the risk they would develop autism went up to 50 percent.