Complaint alleges continued ‘war on science’ at the EPA

July 9, 2021 by  
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Several scientists working with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have raised concerns over disregard for scientific data by the organization. Through Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), four EPA scientists have  filed a formal complaint  with the organization’s Office of the Inspector General requesting an investigation. The complaint states that high-level employees at the EPA regularly alter vital information or delete it entirely to give a sanitized impression of toxicity and pollution. The group has also written to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform’s Subcommittee on Environment asking lawmakers to investigate the trend. According to PEER, high-level EPA officials modify the language in reports to downplay the adverse effects of chemicals . Some of the words often omitted from reports include toxicity, neurotoxicity, mutagenic and carcinogenic, among others. Further, the complaint alleges that report conclusions are often altered to give a contrary impression to the scientific findings. Related: EPA finalizes rule to make efforts against climate change more difficult During former President Trump’s era, the EPA was also accused of altering scientific findings and exposing citizens to highly toxic substances. Some expected that this issue would improve with President Biden taking over. However, persistent problems are prompting whistleblowers to come out. “These alterations of risk assessments are not just artifacts of the Trump administration; they are continuing on a weekly basis,” said Kyla Bennett, science policy director at PEER and former EPA employee. The Toxic Substances Control Act mandates that the EPA evaluate the risk of existing chemicals and those to be imported. Failure by the agency to follow protocol and prevent the importation or distribution of toxic substances puts millions of Americans at risk. “The resulting Material Safety Data Sheets lack information vital to prevent harmful exposures, such as proper handling procedures, personal protection needed, accidental release measures, first aid, and firefighting measures,” said PEER. The four employees also say that managers at the agency have, in some instances, altered the levels of substances considered safe for consumption in reports. According to  The Hill , managers at the agency increased the recommended level of consumption for a certain chemical by 10,000 times. “All of these altered assessments need to be pulled back and corrected in order to protect both workers handling chemicals and the American public,” said Bennett. “EPA’s lack of accountability for scientific misconduct poses a direct danger to public health . Inside EPA, scientific integrity has become an oxymoron and a cure will require a complete overhaul.” Via Common Dreams Lead image via Pexels

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Complaint alleges continued ‘war on science’ at the EPA

New bill regulating carbon offset market could attract farmers

July 9, 2021 by  
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Some farmers are turning to carbon capture to make cash outside of traditional farming practices. A new Senate bill could help attract even more farmers to these programs. One farmer taking part in carbon capture programs is Kelly Garrett, a western Iowa farmer who runs a 7,000-acre farm. Traditionally, Garrett has farmed corn and soybeans, but he began incorporating carbon-sequestering processes for income last year. Since contacting Nori, a carbon-market broker, Garrett has earned $150,000 through carbon capture in his soil . Although Garrett’s farm was already ripe for carbon harvesting when he started, it’s difficult to estimate the actual amount of carbon stored.  Related: Carbon dioxide levels in atmosphere reach record high Quantifying the amount of carbon absorbed by farmers has been a big challenge since these programs began. After all, as a report by Grist explains, the carbon offset market “is built on the idea that money will persuade someone, somewhere, to remove  additional   carbon dioxid e from the air.” Critics argue that most carbon offset projects do not work and instead allow corporations to pay money to avoid taking responsibility for their pollution.  The first offset scheme started in 1989 when AES Corporation sought to build a carbon-neutral coal -fired power plant north of New London, Connecticut. The company paid about $2 million to small farmers to plant about 50 million trees that were supposed to absorb all CO2 emissions produced by the plant over 40 years. Although the project worked to some extent, most farmers ended up cutting the trees before the 40 years were up. To address the lack of regulation in carbon offset markets, the U.S. Senate passed a bill last month to get the federal government fully involved. The Growing Climate Solutions Act could help hold corporations responsible and provide farmers with the support needed to adopt practices they have been reluctant to try for years. However, this all depends on how the bill is enacted. Again, critics worry that this carbon offset process falls short of actually helping the environment. “The atmosphere might not be winning here,” said Lauren Gifford, a geographer at the University of Arizona who has studied carbon policy. “But these carbon offsets have provided a very fruitful funding source for conservation .” Via Grist Lead image via Pexels

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New bill regulating carbon offset market could attract farmers

Peer+ Unveils Energy Generating Windows With Controllable Opacity

March 30, 2010 by  
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Windows are a two-way street when it comes to efficient green building.

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Peer+ Unveils Energy Generating Windows With Controllable Opacity

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