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Fines Against Polluters Drop Sharply Under Trump EPA
"A strong enforcement program is essential to achieving positive health and environmental outcomes," Susan Bodine, head of the agency's enforcement division said in a statement.
However, analyses show that the penalties against polluters are significantly lower under President Trump's EPA. According to The Hill, that $1.6 billion figure is roughly a fifth of the $5.7 billion in penalties collected the year before under President Obama's EPA.
In addition to that, the Scott Pruitt-led agency is also taking credit for the previous administration's enforcement efforts. The EPA 2017 enforcement report covers the federal fiscal year from Oct. 1, 2016 to Sept. 30, 2017, meaning the final tally covers three and half months of the Obama administration, "when some of the E.P.A.'s biggest cases were settled," as the New York Times observed.
Steven Chester, the deputy assistant administrator in EPA's compliance office from 2011 to 2014 told The Hill that he is concerned about the drop in litigation and enforcement and its consequences for the environment.
"My big concern is that if there isn't a viable threat of litigation and enforcement, if there aren't an appropriate number of lawsuits or complaints brought, that you lose that deterrent effect—and if you rely too heavily on compliance assistance you are going to end up with more non-compliance," he said.
Chester said that the most noticeable change in the 2017 enforcement report was the drop in the EPA's recommendations to the Justice Department (DOJ) to prosecute polluters, from 152 the year before to 110 now.
"Those numbers tell you what's in the pipeline and what's going to be in the pipeline in future years," Chester said. "Those might not look like big numbers but these are huge numbers because these are cases referred to DOJ, these are cases that DOJ is going to fine."
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By Jared Kaufman
Eating a better diet has been linked with lower levels of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. But unfortunately 821 million people — about 1 in 9 worldwide — face hunger, and roughly 2 billion people worldwide are overweight or obese, according to the U.N. World Health Organization. In addition, food insecurity is associated with even higher health care costs in the U.S., particularly among older people. To help direct worldwide focus toward solving these issues, the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals call for the elimination of hunger, food insecurity and undernutrition by 2030.
mevans / E+ / Getty Images
Calls for Radical Climate Action Grow Louder as NOAA Reports Last Month Was Hottest June Ever Recorded
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For years now conservationists have warned that many of Madagascar's iconic lemur species face the risk of extinction due to rampant deforestation, the illegal pet trade and the emerging market for the primates' meat.
Yes, people eat lemurs, and the reasons they do aren't exactly what we might expect.