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You may think of the north pole as an affixed point the very “top” of the planet (which would be correct and that’s called the geographic north pole) but since the Earth is essentially a giant magnet the magnetic north pole is where the northern lines of attraction enter the Earth or where a compass needle […]
President Trump issued an Executive Order late last year directing the Secretaries of Agriculture and Interior to increase logging on lands under their agencies’ control by 31% above levels of timber harvest in 2017. The Washington Post reported that the President had been itching to sign this Order — he wanted to do it during his trip to California in mid-November, an inside source told The Post, but it wasn’t ready for his signature. The order only became public earlier this week.
While most of the Interior Department and the Environmental Protection Agency are in a seemingly endless shutdown limbo, the priorities of the Trump Administration go on without a hitch. Two high profile examples came to light over the weekend — the preparation for newly nominated Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s confirmation hearing and the busiest […]
As of the morning, the federal government shutdown has entered into its 24th day, making it the longest shutdown in US history. While 800,000 federal workers are caught in the crosshairs of the shutdown (and most of them missed a paycheck last Friday), countless amounts of scientists and other workers have had their research work frozen as well.
Unlike the other branches, there is one military service whose members are about to miss a paycheck. The U.S. Coast Guard is the only military service that is “deployed” all over the nation every day 24/7. And the brave Coasties who are working without pay are risking their lives to protect us. According to a Coast Guard spokeswoman, they are continuing to provide essential operations “for national security or that protect life and property during partial government shutdowns,” such as search-and-rescue, securing the nation’s ports and coastlines, other law enforcement duties and environmental response. And for that, you are our heroes — this week and every week.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the head of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has spent the better part of the last two days trying to reassure the public that food safety is not at risk during the shutdown. Yesterday and into today, through a series of tweets, Dr. Gottlieb explained (1) that routine food safety inspections are not taking place now; (2) that he is trying to get them re-started by next week – though he is not sure how to do it because FDA guidance requires routine inspections to cease when there is no funding; and that (3) high-risk food safety inspections are continuing. The key fact that most people don’t know is that there are very few food safety inspections in the U.S, which Politico’s Helena Bottemiller Evich pointed out in a story and in a devastating series of tweets.
Why This Matters: The good news is that your food is almost as safe now as it ever was. The bad news is that our safety inspection system is woefully underfunded and inadequate. But we should have already deduced that fact given the two deadly e-coli outbreaks in the last year. The law on food inspections is relatively strong, but not being fully implemented. And lax agricultural practices and health and safety regulations regarding pesticides and use of certain fertilizers create further loopholes that create more risk than most people realize.
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