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Pollution

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PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:42pm
Mon May 23

Great Lakes In Peril? Enviros Concerned About Ballast Water Provisions, Settlement In Michigan Nuclear Plant Leak

Environmental groups are reacting to a U.S. House measure that could open the door to new invasive species in the Great Lakes as well as a recent settlement over a 2011 leak at a nuclear power plant located on Lake Michigan's shoreline.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:18pm
Tue Apr 19

Pending U.S. Trade Deals Could Gut Environmental Policies, Report Argues

A leading environmental group is sounding the alarm over climate threats posed by pending trade agreements, including the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

TPP is a free trade agreement among the United States and 11 other countries, including Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. The agreement was signed in February and still needs ratification from the U.S. Congress.

In a recent report, the Sierra Club says the TPP and another proposed trade agreement under negotiation between the United States and the European Union, called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), "threaten efforts to keep fossil fuels in the ground."

"Like NAFTA [the North American Free Trade Agreement], the TPP and TTIP would give foreign corporations broad rights, including the right to challenge new fossil fuel restrictions that thwart their 'expectations' for a stable business environment," the report explains. "The trade deals would empower the corporations to bypass U.S. courts and take such challenges to tribunals of three private lawyers, unaccountable to any domestic legal system, under a process known as 'investor-state dispute settlement' (ISDS)."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:31pm
Thu Mar 24

Ryan Renounces Previous 'Makers And Takers' Rhetoric As Progressives Rebuke GOP 'Austerity' Budget Plan

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI,1) expressed regret this week for his past comments against poor Americans, saying in a major speech Wednesday that he was wrong for calling people "makers and takers."

"There was a time that I would talk about a difference between 'makers' and 'takers' in our country, referring to people who accepted government benefits. But as I spent more time listening, really learning the root causes of poverty, I realized something. I realized that I was wrong," Ryan said during his speech about the state of American politics. "'Takers' wasn't how to refer to a single mom stuck in a poverty trap, trying to take care of her family. Most people don't want to be dependent. And to label a whole group of Americans that way was wrong. I shouldn't castigate a large group of Americans just to make a point."

In a question and answer session after his speech, delivered before a group of House interns, Ryan added, "I was callous and I oversimplified and I castigated people with a broad brush. That's wrong. And there's a lot of that happening in America today. I myself have made that mistake."

Despite Ryan's noteworthy change in rhetoric, and his push this year to make combating poverty a top GOP priority, critics say his policies speak for themselves.

Quick Hit
by Michael Joyce
2:54pm
Mon Feb 22

Flint Water Crisis Indicative Of Larger Problem Facing Low-Income Communities

Michigan Congressman Dan Kildee (D-MI,5) was in Chicago this weekend, where he held an open discussion about the Flint water crisis, leading to a very spirited debate on the accountability of government and the risks facing under-served communities in America.

The town of Flint, Michigan, made national headlines when high levels of lead were found in its water supply. It is estimated that up to 9,000 children could have been exposed to the contaminated water. Exposure to lead at a young age is known to result in developmental problems for children. The town is also dealing with an outbreak of Legionnaire's disease, which could possibly be linked to the lead-laden water pipes.

Abrar Quader, director of Government and Community Partnerships for the Compassionate Care Network, told Progress Illinois the issues that led to the Flint water crisis could be repeated wherever there is old infrastructure.

"There are communities like Flint all across America," said Quader. "If we don't address it from a public health perspective, it could become a national epidemic."

"What's happening in Flint, what's happening on the South Side of Chicago, what's happening in all underserved communities, there's a link. We need to connect the dots," Quader added.

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