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The administration has appointed Scott Pruitt, a corrupt Oklahoma oil supporter to be the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). He has a history in his home state of copying and pasting from the letters of oil company executives to legislation that he has submitted. Due to hydrofracturing operations that his office permitted, Oklahoma has become the most tectonically active state in the union. Homes and water sources are being damaged and destroyed.
His interests are not our interests.
But the destruction of the EPA is against the interests of American citizens. And when companies chafe at the restrictions put into place by laws passed on congress, they blame the agency. In truth, companies which put pollutants into the environment are morally and legally obligated to include safe disposal of waste in their budgets. If they cannot remain viable, then they are not competitively practical to begin with. Keeping our air, water, land and people clean and safe is not a restriction. It’s a responsibility.
The EPA was created in 1972 in response to widespread pollution affecting the health and well being of American citizens. Prior to this we had a mass of environmental disasters. In 1969 the Cuyahoga River in Ohio caught fire. The smog in Los Angeles precipitated daily health warnings, and there were reports of women’s pantyhose melting from their legs in the sulfuric acid laden atmosphere. Air pollution in New York City was so bad that the “Fresh Air Fund” program was initiated to send city children to host homes in cleaner Upstate New York for the summer. Acid rain killed hundreds of thousands of trees. Children were exposed pre- and post- natally to deadly chemicals such as poly chlorinated biphenyls (PBCs) and pesticides. America was ravaged by the special interests of chemical companies.
In my own home town in Upstate New York, the Susquehanna River was so polluted that it was unusable. In fact, if one of us fell into it, we were required to obtain tetanus vaccinations. The playground in my neighborhood, I later discovered, was so contaminated with creosote and arsenic it became an EPA superfund cleanup site. Even with regulations in place, my niece suffered concurrent miscarriages due to contaminated well water coming out of her kitchen faucet. Once she moved, she had three healthy children.
The mission of the EPA is “to protect human health and the environment — air, water, and land.” As an arm of the executive branch of the government, the agency enforces the regulations created after congressional acts are passed. The Clean Air Acts of 1963 and 1970 addressed the control of the release of pollutants into the atmosphere and defined acceptable minimums of air quality. On December 2, 1970 the National Environmental Policy Act established the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to implement the requirements of those acts.
In 1972, amendments to the original Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1948 created regulations prohibiting the release of pollutants into navigable waters and setting waste water standards for industry. Some of the other responsibilities of the EPA include the regulation of asbestos in school buildings, public and commercial buildings, and clean-up sites, the identification and control of toxic substances, defining and listing of hazardous materials, and the provision of Safety Data Sheets to employees of companies which use or produce hazardous chemicals.
Companies are allowed a certain amount of pollutant emissions annually. These amounts are tradable, allowing companies that do not emit up to the limit the right to sell or “trade” their pollution allowance to companies who exceed emission limits. This creates higher levels of pollution than normally acceptable from companies who fail to meet compliance standards.
The Endangered Species Protection Program (ESPP) requires the EPA to carry out it’s responsibilities under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). In compliance with the Endangered Species Act (ESA), animal protections are enforced with the goal of not placing unnecessary burden on agriculture and other pesticide users. It is under FIFRA that President Trump recently green lighted the use of the pesticide Chlorpyrifos, an organophosphate that is known to cause pre and post natal inhibition of brain development in humans.
Even with the oversight of EPA, companies still participate in illegal dumping activities. These are difficult to track due to the fact that there are few EPA compliance inspectors, often one to an entire multi-state region. One compliance inspector stated that inspectors are trained in observation and interviewing and are advised to keep moving so that it is more difficult for shooters to take aim. He reported that during one inspection of an illegal dumping site, there were a large number of leaking barrels marked only with the warning, “This shit will kill you.” Not knowing what materials were actually at the site made planning for cleanup even more difficult.
Some locations are so polluted they require a long-term response to clean up hazardous material contaminations. These are designated as Superfund cleanup sites. The EPA is tasked with creating and maintaining a list of such locations, which are then placed on the National Priorities List (NPL). Currently there are 1,322 such sites in the US, with another 53 being proposed for entry on the NPL. The US government under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) is required to fund cleanup of these polluted sites.
Without the Environmental Protection Agency, companies will once again be allowed to pollute unchecked without fear of regulation. The environmental condition of the United States will most likely revert to pre-EPA pollution levels as there will be no regulatory action and no incentives for industrial polluters to self regulate. Our country and our citizens will again suffer the effects of widespread pollution and contamination. We will regress, and in doing so will reduce the levels of health and safety to which American citizens have become accustomed.
And polluters will again thrive unchecked.
Today news agencies are reporting that President Elect Trump has mob ties. Some of these ties are Russian mobsters. In August of 2016, Ben Schreckinger reported in a Politico.com article that Felix Sater, a Russian mobster had a secret meeting with the candidate at Trump Tower. Schreckinger reports:
Sater was convicted for stabbing a man in a bar fight in the early ’90s, and pleaded guilty to racketeering in 1998 for his role in a mob-orchestrated stock fraud, according to The Washington Post.
Sater also donated the more than the maximum amount allowed to the Trump campaign, which was forced to return the overage.
Why are we hearing this from mainstream media just now?
Trump’s campaign was supported and guided by the actions of Russian activity ordered and monitored by Vladimir Putin. Our current president decided this was information should not come out until after the election. Why not expose the corruption?
This is information we needed while we still had a chance to vote.
Democratic National Committee (DNC) reported they knew they were being hacked since the middle of June, 2016. At this time, the DNC reported an intrusion into its computer network. The cyber security firm CrowdStrike released their analysis, stating publicly That Russian hackers were behind the attack. In May of 2016, they released the following update:
CrowdStrike stands fully by its analysis and findings identifying two separate Russian intelligence-affiliated adversaries present in the DNC network in May 2016. On June 15, 2016 a blog post to a WordPress site authored by an individual using the moniker
Guccifer 2.0 claimed credit for breaching the Democratic National Committee. This blog post presents documents alleged to have originated from the DNC.
In a report from 1992, Wayne Barrett, an experienced investigative journalist from the Village Voice wrote, “throughout his adult life, Donald Trump has done business with major organized-crime figures and performed favors for their associates.”
On July 31, 2016, CNN published Barrett’s findings on its website, but the story never got any airtime. Why is that?
Joel Gerstein reported in an October 21st, 2016 in a Politico article entitled “Trump seeks to keep groping claims out of Trump University suit” states:
Trump’s legal team is asking U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel to rule that lawyers and witnesses at the Trump University trial be prohibited from making any reference to “audio and video recordings made or publicized during the campaign” as well as “personal conduct accusations” leveled at Trump.Trump’s attorneys also want to bar discussion of allegations that Trump may have paid no federal income taxes for as long as two decades, his personal charitable foundation, bankruptcies of various companies he owned or managed, and a series of comments he made alleging that Curiel was irredeemably biased because of his Latino background.
Ultimately Trump settled this case for 25 million dollars, but not until after he was elected. Steve Eder, reporter for the New York Times wrote in his article entitled
Donald Trump Agrees to Pay $25 Million in Trump University Settlement:
the position of Mr. Trump and his legal team appeared to soften soon after his election victory on Nov. 8. At a hearing last week, Daniel Petrocelli, a lawyer for Mr. Trump, expressed interest in moving toward a settlement. Meanwhile, Mr. Trump’s lawyers were seeking to delay the trial in one of the California cases until after his inauguration on Jan. 20, while also requesting that he be allowed to testify on video.
As it turns out, the 1995 returns also show it’s possible Trump was able to avoid paying federal income tax for as much as 18 years, legally.
So, were journalists to caught up in the Trump circus to report facts or were they just lazy? No matter which, their lack of due diligence has changed our entire electoral process, and not, I think, for the better.
It’s official. I live in a shithole town in a shithole state in a shithole country. And it’s not about to get any better anytime soon. Do nothing republicans are now in charge of the entire government, led by a narcissistic megalomaniac. People were shot and killed while waiting to vote. And a local priest videotaped himself on an altar in a Catholic church in this town with an aborted fetus on the altar. We are going to lose health care for people struggling along to make ends meet and people with pre-existing conditions are going to lose the right to receive medical treatments in a greedy insurance-based hellhole. Women will continue to lose the right to make decisions that have to do with their bodies.
The Zika virus, which causes microcephaly in vitro (that means children of infected parents have pin heads and undeveloped brains), has been in our country for a while now, and children in Puerto Rico are being born with microcephaly. So when it hits the mainland (already in Florida), who’s going to care for those children women will be forced to bring to term? Health insurance won’t cover a pre-existing condition (if it existed prenatally, they won’t have to cover the expenses of dealing with care and complications).
Who’s going to raise those children? The women the government forced to bring them to term? Of course. Will they get assistance from the government for the expenses of keeping these children alive? No, they will not. According to our new president, our new congress and our new supreme court, women who live in the United States have only themselves to blame for getting pregnant while infected with a virus they don’t know they’ve been exposed to. And microcephaly can occur even when Zika is in the sperm of an infected male. Lucky women! You get to live with a family you don’t want and raise a child with an extreme disability.
And as long as women have no right to make decisions about their own body, tough luck.
Did you vote these bastards in? White men with money are the only group that will be protected and the United States will lose all the progress it’s made in the last 150 years.
Thanks America. Fuck you.
A Great Depression-style dust storm howls outside, blotting out the stars. There is a pall which covers the sky, the ground, the cows, the flowers, the windows, the faces and even gets in the teeth. The air is ionized as fractious dirt strips electrons from the air like drunk cowboys tearing at cathouse gals’ raggedy gowns. At night the faint glow of the streetlights downtown turns the dusty sky a roiling, blowing rose. Up in the nineties this afternoon, the temperature is supposed to drop at least forty five degrees over the next four days. The wind speeds are not.