Obama Dismantles Clean Air Act
By Phil Radford
Corporate polluters don’t have to worry about dismantling the Clean Air Act, it appears that President Obama is doing it for them.
As Americans prepare for the holiday weekend, President Obama has announced that he doesn’t plan on enforcing a law that would have prevented 12,000 deaths every year by protecting Americans from ozone pollution.
The President, along with Big Oil and the other corporate polluters whose interest he is serving with this decision, are hoping you won’t notice.
Too bad. We’re paying attention and the President needs to know that putting thousands of American lives needlessly at risk is a serious political miscalculation.
Senior members from Obama’s Democratic party were swift in their criticism of the President’s decision. In reaction, Congressman Ed Markey who sits on the House Energy and Commerce committee stated:
“I am disappointed that the President chose to further delay important clean air protections that would have helped to prevent respiratory and cardiac disease in thousands of Americans.”
I too am disappointed in the President’s decision to choose to allow industry to continue to use our skies as a dumping ground for toxic pollutants over the health of the American people.
Send the President a letter right now and let him know that you are holding him accountable for his decision not to enforce ozone pollution protections that would save 12,000 American lives.
On the campaign trail the President talked a lot about holding corporations accountable. This decision today is the opposite of that. He’s actually doing their dirty work for them. And as a result all of us are going to suffer.
If we allow this decision to stand we are paving the way for the President to do continue to gut our environmental protections without any consequences. Whether it is the Keystone XL Pipeline from the tar sands in Canada or continuing to let polluters off the hook for smokestack pollution.
What’s this ozone pollution law all about?
The law in question is called Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards, a law designed to protect our health by limiting pollution that causes respiratory and cardiac illness. The current standards, set by the Bush Administration, were designed to satisfy polluter interests. Which means that every day, kids are breathing air that the government says is safe, but scientists say is harmful.
The Obama Administration was tasked, by law, with updating these standards to protect human lives. In response, groups like the American Petroleum Institute and Chamber of Commerce turned on their lobbying machines to protect their bottom line.
The New York Times spells it out:
Leaders of major business groups—including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers, American Petroleum Institute and Business Roundtable—met with Ms. Jackson and with top White House officials earlier this summer seeking to moderate, delay or kill the rule. They told William Daley, the White House chief of staff, that the rule would be very costly to industry and would hurt Mr. Obama’s chances for re-election.
Today, Obama chose to evade his legal and moral responsibility to protect Americans in order to satisfy these corporate interests.
It is not too late. A swift and massive outcry from everyday Americans like you can convince the President to change his mind and choose the health of the people over the bottom line of the nation’s polluting industries.
For more information, visit click here.
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Jean-Marc Neveu and Olivier Civil never expected to find themselves battling against disposable mask pollution.
When they founded their recycling start-up Plaxtil in 2017, it was textile waste they set their sights on. The project developed a process that turned fabrics into a new recyclable material they describe as "ecological plastic."
Mounting Piles of Waste<p>It is not only the streets of Chatellerault where pandemic pollution is piling-up, but also the world's beaches and oceans. Once there, they can take up to 450 years to degrade and disappear.</p><p>Esther Röling, co-organizer of the annual Adventure Clean Up Challenge held on Hong Kong Island, has seen this waste firsthand. In October the sports challenge pitted teams against one another in a competition to remove trash from 13 hard-to-reach coastal areas around the city.</p><p>They find tons of both disposable and reusable masks, said Röling. "You wonder how it ended up there. Was it just thrown on the ground? Or was it in a garbage bag that broke open?"</p><p>Almost 10,000 kilometers away in Antibes on the sunny French Riviera, it's a similar picture. For the past few months, divers and clean-up volunteers working with an ocean clean-up non-profit called Operation Mer Propre have been collecting an increasing number of masks found on land and in the sea.</p><p>"Since the beginning of the lockdown when we started to count, we've reached 800, 900, [and now in total] 1000 masks," said co-founder Joko Peltier. </p><p>According to <a href="https://unctad.org/news/growing-plastic-pollution-wake-covid-19-how-trade-policy-can-help" target="_blank">UN estimates</a>, up to 75% of all coronavirus-related plastic could end up as waste in oceans and landfills.</p>
The Limits of Recycling<p>Yet not all are convinced the recycling of this waste is possible on a global scale. </p><p>"What those citizen groups are doing is really beneficial but once they collect it, it should just go to a landfill or an incinerator. They shouldn't necessarily expect it to get recycled," said Jonathan Krones, an industrial ecologist and visiting assistant professor of environmental studies at Boston College.</p><p>That's because mask recycling programs like Plaxtil are few and far between and most don't have the benefit of a readily adaptable production process. </p><p>Even in countries with solid recycling infrastructure, he says, the system is designed to separate out specific types of waste like bottles or cardboard.</p><p>"I imagine that it would be technically feasible to develop a separation process to filter out masks, but there simply aren't enough of them to make that economical," he said.</p><p>Collection is a big hurdle, he adds. Since each mask only weighs a fraction of a gram and they're scattered on roads or mixed with other trash, it is difficult and costly. </p><p>"You need a lot of raw material of the right quality to make investing in the recycling technology and the recycling system worthwhile," he said.<span></span><br></p>
Hemp, Sugar Cane and Sustainable Alternatives<p>Some projects are instead addressing the material used to make masks.</p><p>French company Geochanvre have created a mask made primarily from hemp, while in Australia, researchers at the Queensland University of Technology are experimenting with a disposable product made from agricultural waste. </p><p>Biodegradable options are exciting alternatives to reduce the fossil fuels needed for the creation of plastic-based masks, said Krones, but they don't absolve the wearer from the responsibility of what happens afterwards. </p><p>Bio-based masks often need their own composing solutions, he explains, because in landfill they can produce high amounts of the greenhouse gas methane when anaerobic bacteria feeds on the organic material. Methane is known to be significantly more potent than carbon dioxide.</p><p>"I think as long as we have in our mind that we want to have disposability, we're going to have to wrestle with a variety of different sorts of environmental tradeoffs," he said, adding that reusable, fabric masks are the best option available to most people.</p><p>Precimask is developing a clear face covering with an optional visor made from hard plastic, designed to be long-lasting.<br></p><p>Air enters either side of the cheeks through a technology normally found in pool filters and car exhaust systems, said company spokeswoman Juliette Chambet.</p><p>"We wanted to make ceramic-based filters that would be washable and cleanable, which would allow them to be reused as many times as desired without having to buy a new consumable or produce waste," she said. </p><p>Ultimately, encouraging mask wearers to think about the entire lifecycle of a mask is key, explains Neveu. </p><p>"We want people who put on the masks to realize that they are also responsible for the waste, he said. "It's not inevitable that this [pandemic] will become an environmental catastrophe.</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from </em><em><a href="https://www.dw.com/en/covid-19-recycling-pollution-trash-pandemic/a-55707817" target="_blank">Deutsche Welle</a>.</em><a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/r/entryeditor/2649032193#/" target="_self"></a></p>
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