Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

*  Wha’..?!  You mean those peeps making six figures and gathering-up rich pensions at taxpayers’ expense were actually supposed to DO something?  C’mon…!  That’s the sense of outrage you get reading the EPA Office of Inspector General report on the Flint, MI lead water crisis, starting in 2014.  Some really talented finger pointing going on for a couple years between EPA, particularly Region 5 in Chicago, and MI’s Department of Environmental Quality.  This despite long-standing and clear EPA directives regarding policies, responses, monitoring and action-steps to prevent and avoid such a debacle, which ruined a lot of lives in Flint and minimally cost the taxpayers about $400 million (so far), not to mention the nice cash and bennies and vacation days the suits got for their non-hard work.  And likely are still getting, since, unfortunately, the report doesn’t name names about who oughta be fired or demoted.  Good system, taking full advantage of that old oxymoron: bureaucratic accountability.
 * Well, it was largely along party lines but the US House voted on July 19 that “yes,” it is the sense of Congress “that a carbon tax would be detrimental to the United States economy.”  The vote was on H.Con.Res.119, sponsored by Rep. Steve Scalise, from Louisiana’s First District, near New Orleans.  Scalise said that a carbon tax would increase costs for an American family by an estimated $1,900 (likely per year, although that’s not clarified in comments).  Rs voting “yes” totaled 222.  Six Rs voted “no,” i.e., that’s not the sense of Congress.  Among Ds, 174 voted “no,” but 7 voted “yes.”  Interestingly two Reps just answered “present,” but didn’t otherwise vote.  Seventeen were apparently present but didn’t answer anything – just abstained.  Profiles in courage… or maybe just asleep…?
*   The death or injury of two false killer whales has caused the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to propose closing the Southern Exclusion Zone, a Pacific fishing area, disallowing deep-set longline fishing through December 31, 2018, for all vessels registered under the Hawaii longline limited access program.  The deaths or injuries were noted within the Fisheries’ formal observer program.  NMFS is required to respond because the incidents trigger protective action.  NMFS will take comments but it’s not waiting to move; its decision is effective July 24, which is 7 days after the closure decision, allowing fishermen to get their gear and relocate to other areas.

Tom Ewing
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