The GOP’s disHONEST Act against the EPA

Musician playing in empty Beijing square, mouth and nose covered to protect against the pollution

Yesterday, the House passed the Honest and Open New EPA Science, or HONEST, Act. Tortured use of acronym aside, this Act is anything but honest.

The GOP claims the act is to force the EPA to provide the raw data behind all of its decisions. However, the primary reason for the Act is to inhibit regulations based, in part, on confidential or proprietary raw data. The Act’s inspiration came from research published in 1993 and known as the Harvard Six Cities Study.

To summarize the Six Cities Study, the research found that people in cities with dirty air were dying sooner than people living in cities with clean air.

This research formed the basis for many of the EPA’s Clean Air Act regulations related to particulate matter. If you can clearly see the skyline of LA now, and breathe its air without a facial mask, thank the authors of the Six Cities Study.

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Several Groups file lawsuit against the Keystone XL Pipeline decision

Trump’s administration recently reversed the Obama administration’s decision to deny a permit to TransCanada for the Keystone XL pipeline.

Both the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Center for Biological Diversity announced today that several organizations have filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration for this decision. Among the plaintiffs are:

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Tracking the many lawsuits against Trump’s Immigration Ban

One of the first actions Trump took when he entered office was to issue an Executive Order (EO) instituting a travel ban that generated confusion and caused havoc at border entry points across the country. Dozens of lawsuits were filed against the ban, and its implementation was quickly halted in federal court.

In response, Trump issued another EO in March, which, while not as destructive or as blatantly discriminatory as the first, still generated concerns about its Constitutionality.

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Digging for coal on public land? Not on our watch

This week, Trump signed executive orders that, among other things, rescinded a moratorium on new coal permits on public land. Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke quickly followed with an order rolling back the moratorium.

The Obama administrations had placed the moratorium on permits because the fees collected hadn’t been adjusted in decades, and the American taxpayers were not getting good value for their money. Zinke ostensibly gives a nod to this concern by chartering a committee to look into the fees but sees no reason not to give out permits in the meantime.

A lawsuit was immediately filed by a coalition of environmental and citizen groups and the Northern Cheyenne Tribe. The groups are Earth Justice, Sierra Club, Citizens for Clean Energy, Montana Environmental Information Center, Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, and Wildlife Guardians.

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Finding Truth

According to Dictionary.com, triangulation is:

The location of an unknown point, as in navigation, by the formation of a triangle having the unknown point and two known points as the vertices.

When I studied history in college I had a professor tell me that the only way to discover the truth behind an event is to read three completely different interpretations of the same event. Somewhere in the middle of all these interpretations, you’ll find the truth.

Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to only listen to one viewpoint, one interpretation.  Listening to those who are like-minded and speak with one voice is less disruptive than seeking the truth.