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Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life
U.S. President Donald Trump (L) is seen during an NBC News town hall event in Miami on October 15, 2020, and President-elect Joe Biden (R) participates in an ABC News town hall event in Philadelphia on October 15, 2020. Brendan Smialowski and Jim Watson / AFP / Getty Images

By Genna Reed

In his first week as president-elect, Joe Biden instituted an advisory board of experts to provide science-based recommendations to respond to COVID-19. This could be a signal that independent science advice under a Biden administration is valued. After four years of watching the norms of science advisory structures eroded and undermined, especially at the EPA, it is hard to visualize the possibilities of a government informed by experts. Once Biden takes office in January, here are the actions I hope his administration will take to shore up the government's fifth arm of external expert advice:

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

An employee sprays toxic pesticides on a corn field. D-Keine / Getty Images

An herbicide commonly used in corn and sorghum fields to kill grasses and weeds is being reviewed by the Environmental Protection Agency as being harmful to endangered species, according to a biological evaluation draft currently open for public comment.

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Like many other plant-based foods and products, CBD oil is one dietary supplement where "organic" labels are very important to consumers. However, there are little to no regulations within the hemp industry when it comes to deeming a product as organic, which makes it increasingly difficult for shoppers to find the best CBD oil products available on the market.

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A K-State weed specialist researches the impact of dicamba drift on non-resistant soybeans in 2018. K-State Research and Extension / YouTube

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the use of products containing the weedkiller dicamba for use on cotton and soybeans Tuesday. The EPA announcement means that two products that contain the herbicide found to cause cancer can be registered for five years. It also extended the use of a third product that also has dicamba in it, according to The Hill.

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The Trump administration has weakened fuel-efficiency requirements for the nation's cars and trucks. Drew Angerer / Getty Images

As the days tick down to next month's presidential election, debate rages over the U.S. government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic with critics of President Donald Trump calling for his ouster due to his failure to protect the American public.

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The 1.4-gigawatt coal-fired Kingston Steam Plant, just outside Kingston, Tennessee on the shore of Watts Bar Lake on March 31, 2019. In 2008, a coal ash pond at the plant collapsed, leading to the largest industrial spill in modern U.S. history and subsequent industry regulations in 2015. Paul Harris / Getty Images

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a rule change on Friday that will allow some coal power plants to ignore a court order to clean up coal ash ponds, which leech toxic materials into soil and groundwater. The rule change will allow some coal ash ponds to stay open for years while others that have no barrier to protect surrounding areas are allowed to stay open indefinitely, according to the AP.

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The UK retailer John Lewis store in Sloane Square, London during Christmas of 2009. William Hook / CC BY-SA 2.0

Glitter may add sparkle to the holiday season, but its afterlife is decidedly less shiny.

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Criminal prosecutions for polluting the environment in violation of the Clean Water Act or the Clean Air Act have dropped to their lowest levels in decades under the Trump administration. Charles Cook / Lonely Planet Images / Getty Images Plus

A new report finds that criminal prosecutions for polluting the environment in violation of the Clean Water Act or the Clean Air Act have dropped to their lowest levels in decades under the Trump administration, as The New York Times reported.

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PFAS are found in clothing, plastic, food packaging, electronics, personal care products, firefighting foams, medical devices and numerous other products. Pxfuel

By Carol Kwiatkowski

Like many inventions, the discovery of Teflon happened by accident. In 1938, chemists from Dupont (now Chemours) were studying refrigerant gases when, much to their surprise, one concoction solidified. Upon investigation, they found it was not only the slipperiest substance they'd ever seen – it was also noncorrosive and extremely stable and had a high melting point.

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A resident of Springdale, Pennsylvania looks out her front window at the smoke stack of the Cheswick coal-fired power plant on Oct. 27, 2017. Robert Nickelsberg / Getty Images

A three judge panel in the Court of Appeals in Washington, DC listened to arguments Thursday on a Trump administration rollback of regulations that limit the emissions that power plants are allowed to spew into the atmosphere, as The New York Times reported.

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The Redwood City Salt Ponds on May 11, 2013. Kenneth Lu / Flickr

A federal judge in a U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California vacated a decision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to dredge and fill salt ponds in Redwood City, a town on the San Francisco Bay, as the AP reported.

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An oil pump is seen in Glenpool, Oklahoma. roy.luck / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 2.0

By Brett Wilkins

In a little-noticed development last week that drew ire after being reported Monday, the Trump administration's EPA granted the state of Oklahoma wide-ranging environmental regulatory control on nearly all tribal lands in the state, stripping dozens of tribes of their sovereignty over critical environmental issues.

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In the U.S., a variety of federal, state and local entities are involved in regulating safe drinking water. PxHere / CC0

By Brett Walton

Who's responsible for making sure the water you drink is safe? Ultimately, you are. But if you live in the U.S., a variety of federal, state and local entities are involved as well.

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