Please invest in Our Daily Planet today, by making a one time or monthly contribution.
We do not charge our readers a subscription fee for our content. We want to continue to grow our readership, particularly among millennials and public servants. Voluntary contributions from readers will help us employ interns and freelance journalists, expand our content, and reach a larger audience.
A recent freedom of information request by the Sierra Club and Clean Wisconsin revealed that EPA officials under pressure from President Trump, overruled concerns of career scientists about air pollution and public health in an effort to help Taiwanese technology giant Foxconn secure $4 billion in tax breaks to build a flat-screen factory in Racine County, WI.
The EPA Had Previously Recommended labeling Racine County as violating federal air quality standards for ozone in 2017 but after appeals from then-Governor Scott Walker (R) suddenly ignored evidence and ruled in 2018 that Racine was in compliance with the ground-level smog standard. This meant that Foxconn didn’t have to spend millions to install state-of-the-art pollution controls at its manufacturing plant.
Scientists were completely taken aback by the decision. EPA scientist Lars Perlmutt wrote to his colleagues last April in regard to his agency’s decision to delist Racine to say “My background is in air pollution health effects and more specifically on acute exposures, so for me personally this is hard to digest and support.”
So what now? According to the Chicago Tribune:
“Faced with a legal challenge from environmental groups and a coalition of cities and states, including Chicago and Illinois, federal lawyers are having second thoughts about Pruitt’s controversial decision. In a few densely worded paragraphs buried at the end of a 63-page document, attorneys for the EPA and Justice Department asked a federal appeals court this month for what, in legal terms, amounts to a do-over.”
Why This Matters: As Reuters explained, “Racine County has suffered some of the state’s worst cases of smog, also known as ozone, pollution that causes premature deaths from lung and heart complications.” Foxconn promised to bring 13,000 jobs to Racine and President Trump was looking for the positive PR rather using the power of his office to protect Americans from harmful pollution. Regardless of the fact that the manufacturing surge experienced under Trump seems to be cooling (largely due to his trade war), dirty industries should be pushed to clean up their act, innovate, and not get carte blanche to pollute our air and water. In the long run, are the lives lost due to air pollution (a lethal killer) worth a temporary bump in jobs?
Delegates attending the COP26 conference in Glasgow will get to see a very cool display during their stay. So cool, in fact, that it’s been frozen since 1765. Artist Wayne Binitie and scientists of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) have retrieved an Antarctic time capsule containing the world’s purest air. The pocket of atmosphere was […]
By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer The European Environment Agency (EEA) found that a majority of EU countries broke at least one air pollution limit last year — despite COVID-19 lockdowns. In addition, 17 EU countries failed to stay below ozone pollution targets, which directly influence global warming; and eight EU countries failed to stay […]
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer An Indonesian district court ruled yesterday that Indonesian President Joko Widodo has neglected Jakarta’s residents right to clean air. In a unanimous ruling in favor of the 32 residents who brought the case, the Central Jakarta District Court ordered Widodo, and six other top officials deemed negligent, to improve […]
Our Daily Planet is your daily dose of the stories shaping our world and the ways that you can take action. From the climate crisis to the protection of biodiversity, if these issues matter to you then please subscribe & stay informed!
Your privacy is Important! We promise never to use your email address to send you spam or advertisements.