Jul 18, 2019

EPA will not ban pesticide linked to children's health problems

Scott Pruitt testifies at a 2018 hearing. He reversed an Obama-era decision to ban chlorpyrifos. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

The Environmental Protection Agency will not ban chlorpyrifos, a commonly used pesticide linked with heath and developmental problems in children, the NYT reports.

Flashback: Thursday's decision follows a federal appeals court ruling last August banning the pesticide. Chlorpyrifos was banned in 2015 by the Obama administration, after EPA studies demonstrated its potential for brain damage in children. Former EPA chief Scott Pruitt reversed that decision in 2017.

The bottom line: "The product, sold under the commercial name Lorsban, has already been banned for household use but remains in widespread use by farmers for more than 50 fruit, nut, cereal and vegetable crops," reports the Times.

Go deeper: Scott Pruitt's laundry list of scandals while with the EPA

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29 states and cities sue Trump administration over weakening of climate rules

New York Attorney General Letitia James. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

A group of 29 states and local governments on Tuesday filed suit against the Trump administration's move to replace Obama-era climate rules for power plants with a more modest alternative.

Why it matters: The litigation, led by New York Attorney General Letitia James, sets the stage for a new federal court battle over the scope of regulators' authority and duty to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act.

Go deeperArrowAug 13, 2019

Top 10 U.S. emitters of cancer-causing gas are in Louisiana and Texas

The Holy Rosary Cemetery next to Dow Chemical in Taft, Louisiana. Photo: Julie Dermansky/Corbis via Getty Images

The top 10 emitters of cancer-causing ethylene oxide gas are all located in Louisiana and Texas, according to Bloomberg Environment analysis of the Environmental Protection Agency's air toxic emissions data this week.

Why it matters: More than 100 petrochemical plants and refineries occupy a stretch between Baton Rouge and New Orleans that was formerly referred to as the "Petrochemical Corridor," but is now known as "Cancer Alley," per CBC News. At its heart is the town of Reserve, Louisiana, where residents have been diagnosed with cancer at "highly unusual" rates, according to a report by the University Network for Human Rights.

Go deeperArrowAug 8, 2019

Farmers offset tough times with side gigs

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

China’s vow to stop buying U.S. agricultural goods comes at a dire time for farmers, who have been cutting costs and picking up side-hustles — like hosting pizza nights for agri-tourists — to make ends meet.

Why it matters: Adverse weather conditions, slumping commodity prices and trade wars are threatening farmers' already-dwindling incomes, in the midst of the worst economic downturn for the sector since the 1980s.

Go deeperArrowAug 9, 2019