Archive for May, 2017

Save EPA Regulations

Posted on 24. May, 2017 by .

0

Pruitt’s EPA wants to delay protections from chemical disasters.

When the Chevron crude oil refinery in Richmond, Calif., caught fire in August 2012, it endangered 1,200 workers and first responders and caused nearly 15,000 community residents to seek medical treatment. Industrial facility disasters like this are too common in the United States—but they don’t have to be.

The Environmental Protection Agency, in consultation with the Department of Homeland Security, has developed modest but important updates to the safety rules for industrial facilities—including oil refineries like Chevron Richmond—that use or store large amounts of very dangerous chemicals. These life-saving safety measures are under attack by chemical companies, Big Oil and the EPA’s new administrator, Scott Pruitt, who has been supporting industry’s effort to stop these new safety measures since before he took office.

This is unacceptable—but the EPA is currently accepting public comments on the proposed delay. Tell the agency to enforce these commonsense protections now.

More/Leave a Comment

Fact Sheet: Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty

Posted on 24. May, 2017 by .

0

Taken from armscontrolcenter.org –

The Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty was an agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union that limited the number of ground-based anti-ballistic missile systems and sites that each side could have. Both parties also agreed not to develop sea-based, air-based, or space-based ABM systems. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the treaty was expanded to include Belarus, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan.

The ABM Treaty was signed in May 1972 and entered into force in October of that year. Under the Treaty, the United States and the Soviet Union could establish two ABM sites: one to protect the national capitol and one to protect an ICBM launch site. The sites, each of which could have a maximum of 100 interceptors and 100 launchers, were required to be at least 807 miles (1,300 kilometers) apart to prevent the creation of a regional defense zone. The treaty did not limit the number of early warning radars that each country could deploy, but stipulated that future radars be located on the countries’ borders facing outwards.

In 1974, a Protocol to the Treaty was added to limit each side to only one ABM site.

Under the treaty, each member could verify other parties’ compliance using national technical means of verification, such as satellite reconnaissance.

The treaty also created a Standing Consultative Commission (SCC), a forum where each country was represented by a Commissioner, Executive Officer and delegation. The SCC could not impose sanctions or any other repercussions on parties that violated the treaty; instead it served as a forum in which members could raise concerns about other’s compliance. The SCC served as a vital body within which the United States and the Soviet Union remained in communication even when other diplomatic initiatives broke down.

In December 2001, the George W. Bush Administration announced that the United States planned to withdraw from the ABM Treaty. Six months later, the United States officially withdrew from the treaty in order to develop and deploy the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system. This was the only time that the United States has withdrawn from a major international arms control treaty. At the time, Russia said that it did not feel threatened by U.S. withdrawal, but called the move “a mistake”.

WHY IT MATTERED

The ABM Treaty was part of the U.S.-Soviet effort to control the arms race in the 1970s. It was negotiated as part of the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT I) that established limits for strategic offensive weapons.

The ABM Treaty codified the U.S.-Russian understanding that offensive weapons and defensive systems are linked. If a country develops an ABM system, an adversary could be incentivized to build more offensive weapons to overwhelm the defensive system. That would lead to an arms race.

Until the United States withdrew from the ABM treaty, it contributed to strategic stability and helped create the dynamic under which further reductions of U.S. and Soviet nuclear arsenals were possible.

Click here for a printable PDF version.  of this page

Sources: U.S. Department of State, Federation of American Scientists, Nuclear Threat Initiative.

More/Leave a Comment

Help Ban Chlorpyrifos

Posted on 24. May, 2017 by .

0

ACT NOW before comment period on EPA’s disastrous chlorpyrifos decision ends

  

Despite incredibly strong scientific evidence showing the chemical is unsafe, Admin. Scott Pruitt’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reversed course on plans to pull this brain-harming insecticide off the market — putting the health of millions of children and farm workers at risk.

Chlorpyrifos has been shown to harm children’s brains and reduce the IQ of farm worker children. Its sale and use must be stopped.

The comment period on this terrible decision is open until June 5. Help us flood EPA with the message that keeping chlorpyrifos on the market is unacceptable.

Add your name to the petition

More/Leave a Comment

Federal judges: Is travel ban biased against Muslims?

Posted on 24. May, 2017 by .

0

800Taken from Associated Press –

Federal judges on Monday peppered a lawyer for President Donald Trump with questions about whether the administration’s travel ban discriminates against Muslims and zeroed in on the president’s campaign statements, the second time in a week the rhetoric has faced judicial scrutiny.

Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall, defending the travel ban, told the three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that the executive order should be reinstated because it falls well within the president’s authority.

“No one has ever attempted to set aside a law that is neutral on its face and neutral in its operation on the basis of largely campaign trail comments made by a private citizen running for office,” he said.

Further, Wall said the president had backed off the comments he made during the campaign, clarifying that “what he was talking about was Islamic terrorist groups and the countries that sponsor or shelter them.”

Neal Katyal, who represented Hawaii, a plaintiff in the lawsuit, expressed disbelief at that argument and said Trump had repeatedly spoken of a Muslim ban during the presidential campaign and after.

“This is a repeated pattern of the president,” Katyal said.

The 9th Circuit panel was hearing arguments over Hawaii’s lawsuit challenging the travel ban, which would suspend the nation’s refugee program and temporarily bar new visas for citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The judges will decide whether to uphold a Hawaii judge’s decision in March that blocked the ban.

Last week, judges on the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments over whether to affirm a Maryland judge’s decision putting the ban on ice. They also questioned whether they could consider Trump’s campaign statements, with one judge asking if there was anything other than “willful blindness” that would prevent them from doing so.

Dozens of advocates for refugees and immigrants rallied outside the federal courthouse in Seattle, some carrying “No Ban, No Wall” signs.

Wall’s insistence that the travel ban should be upheld because it is “neutral,” without reference to Islam, drew pointed questions from Judge Richard Paez. An executive order issued by President Franklin Roosevelt that led to the internment of 110,000 Japanese-Americans during World War II similarly was couched as a necessity for national security and made no reference to residents of Japanese heritage, Paez noted.

800

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld that executive order in a challenge brought by California resident Fred Korematsu. The ruling is now widely considered regrettable.

“Would the Korematsu executive order pass muster under your test today?” Paez grilled Wall.

“No, Judge Paez,” he answered

“Why not? ‘Facially legitimate’ — that’s all you say!” Paez said. “You emphasize ‘facially legitimate.’”

“I want to be very clear about this,” Wall said solemnly. “This case is not Korematsu, and if it were I wouldn’t be standing here and the United States would not be defending it.”

Wall went on to argue that unlike the Korematsu case, Trump’s executive order probably wouldn’t be questioned but for the statements he made as a candidate.

read more here

 

More/Leave a Comment

Investigate Exxon Mobile

Posted on 17. May, 2017 by .

0

Exxon knew about climate change as early as the 1970s. It’s been misleading the public for decades about the greatest environmental crisis the planet has ever faced. It secretly funded a campaign of denial to discredit the work of climate scientists. It may have committed fraud in the process.

And California Attorney General Becerra could help get to the bottom of it.

Exxon’s own scientists told its executives about climate change in the 1970s. But the executives spent the next 40 years hiding the truth. Building on the tobacco industry’s experience, they spent millions trying to confuse public opinion.

At the same time, they raised the height of their offshore drilling rigs to account for rising ocean levels, and expanded drilling in areas where they thought melting ice caps would make the drilling cheaper.

Tell California’s Attorney General to investigate Exxon.

More/Leave a Comment