Trump Plan to Protect Kids From Lead Falls Far Short
The long-awaited plan by the Trump administration to "wage a war against lead" and protect children from exposure to the potent neurotoxin is a woefully unacceptable response to this public health crisis, said Environmental Working Group.
The administration's Lead Action Plan—announced Wednesday by Andrew Wheeler, acting administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—is nothing but a series of broad and lofty goals, including reducing children's exposure to lead sources and communicating more effectively with stakeholders. It provides no details, enforcement deadlines or additional resources with which to achieve them.
"The goals laid out in the Trump administration's plan aren't worth the paper they're printed on," said EWG President Ken Cook. "If you're going to claim to be waging war against lead exposure among children, it will require a serious investment of money, enforcement and leadership from the top at both the White House and the EPA. Everything we know about where children's environmental health falls on the priority list of Andrew Wheeler and President Trump indicates it's near the bottom."
Earlier this year, Wheeler abruptly and with no reason dismissed the official at the agency in charge of children's health.
Dr. Ruth Etzel, a leader in children's environmental health for 30 years, was tapped in 2015 by President Obama to run the Office of Children's Health Protection, whose stated goal is to "ensure that all EPA actions and programs address the unique vulnerabilities of children."
In his first budget proposal, in 2017, President Trump pushed to cut $16.6 million and at least 70 staff from two EPA programs put in place to tackle lead exposure, including eliminating more than $14 million in grants to help states eradicate lead-based paint hazards in housing.
England's Somerset county can now boast its first beaver dam in more than 400 years.
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By Alex McInturff, Christine Wilkinson and Wenjing Xu
What is the most common form of human infrastructure in the world? It may well be the fence. Recent estimates suggest that the total length of all fencing around the globe is 10 times greater than the total length of roads. If our planet's fences were stretched end to end, they would likely bridge the distance from Earth to the Sun multiple times.
Early advertisement for barbed wire fencing, 1880-1889. The advent of barbed wire dramatically changed ranching and land use in the American West by ending the open range system. Kansas Historical Society / CC BY-ND
The authors assembled a conservative data set of potential fence lines across the U.S. West. They calculated the nearest distance to any given fence to be less than 31 miles (50 kilometers), with a mean of about 2 miles (3.1 kilometers). McInturff et al,. 2020 / CC BY-ND
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