Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Senate Republicans Push Attacks on Endangered Species, Clean Water Under Guise of Farming

Politics
Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) is chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. SenateEnergy / Flickr

The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, led by Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), will hold a hearing Wednesday advancing its goals of repealing the Endangered Species Act and gutting the Clean Water Act.

The hearing will highlight testimony from industrial-scale agribusinesses and preview environmental attacks likely to be included in the 2018 Farm Bill, including exempting pesticides from the protections of the Endangered Species Act and Clean Water Act.


"It's really disturbing to see Barrasso and other Senate Republicans bending over backward to please polluters and the pesticide industry," said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity. "The price will be dirtier rivers and streams, and more wildlife on the fast track toward extinction."

The pesticide industry is pushing sweeping legislation on Capitol Hill that would dismantle safeguards to protect endangered wildlife and continues to advance legislation to exempt pesticide users from the requirements of the Clean Water Act.

Meanwhile, at the request of Dow Chemical, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt reversed the recommendation of career scientists to ban the toxic insecticide chlorpyrifos, which is believed to cause birth defects in children. And following a National Marine Fisheries Service analysis that chlorpyrifos is putting 38 species of salmon and sturgeon on both coasts in jeopardy of extinction, Pruitt has announced that the EPA is rejecting recommendations to protect those endangered species.

Last month more than 250 organizations sent a letter to Congress urging them to reject the pesticide industry's attempt to eliminate Endangered Species Act protections from pesticides.

"Senator Barrasso is using this hearing as a smokescreen to eviscerate these vital conservation laws, stoking fears that we'll all starve to death if we don't jettison our environmental safeguards," said Hartl. "This is totally out of step with what the American people want. What a despicable sideshow."

Barrasso is one of the most anti-wildlife members of Congress. He has voted against the Endangered Species Act nearly a dozen times since 2011, and has sponsored nine separate legislative attacks on the Act in the past two years alone. This is despite the fact that nine out of 10 Americans want the Act strengthened or left unchanged by Congress, according to a 2015 poll.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

An aerial view of a crude oil storage facility of Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) in the Krasnodar Territory. Vitaly Timkiv / TASS / Getty Images

Oil rigs around the world keep pulling crude oil out of the ground, but the global pandemic has sent shockwaves into the market. The supply is up, but demand has plummeted now that industry has ground to a halt, highways are empty, and airplanes are parked in hangars.

Read More Show Less
Examples (from left) of a lead pipe, a corroded steel pipe and a lead pipe treated with protective orthophosphate. U.S. EPA Region 5

Under an agreement negotiated by community groups — represented by NRDC and the Pennsylvania Utility Law Project — the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) will remove thousands of lead water pipes by 2026 in order to address the chronically high lead levels in the city's drinking water and protect residents' health.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
ROBYN BECK / AFP / Getty Images

By Dave Cooke

So, they finally went and did it — the Trump administration just finalized a rule to undo requirements on manufacturers to improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new passenger cars and trucks. Even with the economy at the brink of a recession, they went forward with a policy they know is bad for consumers — their own analysis shows that American drivers are going to spend hundreds of dollars more in fuel as a result of this stupid policy — but they went ahead and did it anyway.

Read More Show Less

By Richard Connor

A blood test that screens for more than 50 types of cancer could help doctors treat patients at an earlier stage than previously possible, a new study shows. The method was used to screen for more than 50 types of cancer — including particularly deadly variants such as pancreatic, ovarian, bowel and brain.

Read More Show Less
Ian Sane / Flickr

Preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control showed a larger number of young people coming down with COVID-19 than first expected, with patients under the age of 45 comprising more than a third of all cases, and one in five of those patients requiring hospitalization. That also tends to be the group most likely to use e-cigarettes.

Read More Show Less