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Showing 65 results

Amanda Cohen Leiter | August 13, 2020

My Growing Understanding of Environmental Justice

Environmental justice problems require a willingness to acknowledge privilege and adopt a more inclusive approach. I hope this post might prompt you to reflect, read, and start an uncomfortable conversation or two. We face existential environmental threats almost everywhere around the world, and we won’t succeed in combating them unless we’re all fighting together, for a healthy environment that everyone can enjoy.

Kim Sudderth, Samuel Boden | August 11, 2020

Toxic Floodwaters and Pipelines in Hampton Roads

On October 20, 1994, rising floodwaters from the San Jacinto River in Houston, Texas, caused a pipeline to break open, allowing gasoline to gush out and the river to catch fire. Such flooding is increasingly likely as the effects of climate change take hold, and yet, in the quarter century since that disaster, the federal government has implemented no new regulations to ensure that oil and gas operators are adequately preparing for the risks from more frequent and intense floods caused by the climate crisis.

Brian Gumm, Matt Shudtz | August 3, 2020

Will Isaias Unleash Toxic Floodwaters along the East Coast?

Based on its current projected path, Tropical Storm Isaias could bring heavy rains up and down the East Coast, from the Carolinas and Virginia to the Delmarva Peninsula, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. Along the way, the storm could swamp industrial facilities, coal ash ponds, concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), and more. From Hurricane Florence to Hurricane Harvey and beyond, in the past 15 years, we've seen numerous tropical storms flood unprepared facilities. This has caused significant infrastructure damage and unleashed toxic floodwaters into nearby communities and waterways, threatening public health and making residents sick.

Darya Minovi | July 13, 2020

The Peril of Ethylene Oxide: Replacing One Public Health Crisis with Another

Nine months ago, residents of the Chicago suburb of Willowbrook, Illinois, scored a major victory in their fight to prevent emissions of a dangerous gas, ethylene oxide, into the air they breathe. In fact, their victory appeared to have ripple effects in other communities. But like so many other aspects of life in the midst of a pandemic, things changed in a hurry.

Darya Minovi | June 9, 2020

It’s Hurricane Season. Will State and Federal Agencies Act to Reduce Public Health Hazards from Toxic Flooding?

June 1 marked the start of hurricane season for the Atlantic Basin. While not welcome, tropical storms, strong winds, and storm surges are an inevitable fact of life for many residents of the Eastern Seaboard and the Gulf Coast. As a new paper from the Center for Progressive Reform explains, with those storms can come preventable toxic flooding with public health consequences that are difficult to predict or control.

Samuel Boden | May 27, 2020

Will Tittabawassee Floodwaters Go Toxic?

On May 19, the National Weather Service advised people living near the Tittabawassee River in Michigan to seek higher ground immediately. The region was in the midst of what meteorologists were calling a “500-year-flood,” resulting in a catastrophic failure of the Edenville Dam. Despite years of warnings from regulators that the dam could rupture, its owners failed to make changes to reinforce the structure and increase spillway capacity. By the next day, the river had risen to a record-high 34.4 feet in the city of Midland.

Darya Minovi, James Goodwin | May 20, 2020

CPR Urges EPA to Abandon Unjustified and Harmful Censored Science Rulemaking

Earlier this week, we submitted a public comment to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), criticizing the agency's March 2020 supplemental proposal for its “censored science" rulemaking. This rule, among other things, would require the public release of underlying data for studies considered in regulatory decision-making, and thus might prevent the agency from relying on such seminal public health research as Harvard’s Six Cities study, which have formed the backbone of many of the EPA’s regulations, simply because they rely on confidential data.

Daniel Farber | April 17, 2020

We Need an Environmental Dr. Fauci

During the coronavirus crisis, Dr. Anthony Fauci has become the voice of reason. Much of the public turns to him for critical information about public health while even President Trump finds it necessary to listen. In the Trump era, no one plays that role in the environmental arena. The result is a mindless campaign of deregulation that imperils public health and safety. We can't clone Dr. Fauci or duplicate the unique circumstances that have made his voice so powerful. However, we can do several things that would make it harder for administrations to ignore science.

Joel A. Mintz | April 8, 2020

Trump’s EPA Uses the Coronavirus Crisis to Mask Environmental Deregulation and Suspend Enforcement

It has often been observed that natural disasters bring out the best and worst in people. Sadly, with regard to environmental protection, the coronavirus pandemic has brought out the worst in the Trump administration. Using the pandemic as a pretext, Trump's EPA has continued to propose and implement substantial rollbacks in important safeguards to our health and the environment while issuing an unduly lax enforcement policy. In a memorandum issued March 26, EPA's Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance announced a "temporary" policy governing EPA enforcement during the pandemic. It declares the agency will now not seek civil penalties when pollution sources violate "routine compliance monitoring, integrity testing, sampling, laboratory analysis, training and reporting or certification obligations" as a result of COVID-19.