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Articles on US Environmental Protection Agency

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‘Cancer Alley’ is an 80-mile stretch of chemical plants along the Mississippi River in Louisiana alongside many Black and poor communities. Giles Clarke/Getty Images

Biden has pledged to advance environmental justice – here’s how the EPA can start

The US environmental justice movement dates back to the early 1980s, but federal support for it has been weak and inconsistent. Here are four things Biden's EPA can do to improve that record.
President-elect Joe Biden opposes proposals to allow uranium mining around the Grand Canyon, which the Trump administration supports. Michael Quinn, NPS/Flickr

On environmental protection, Biden’s election will mean a 180-degree turn from Trump policies

The Trump administration has used executive orders, deregulation and delays to reduce environmental regulation. Biden administration officials will use many of the same tools to undo their work.
Firefighting foam left after a fire in Pennsylvania. These foams often contain PFAS chemicals that can contaminate water supplies. Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images

PFAS ‘forever chemicals’ are widespread and threaten human health – here’s a strategy for protecting the public

PFAS chemicals are toxic, widespread and persistent in the environment, and the federal government has been slow to regulate them. A scientist explains why evaluating them one by one isn't working.
Fresno, California and the surrounding San Joaquin Valley have some of the nation’s highest levels of fine particle air pollution. AP Photo/Gary Kazanjian

Fine-particle air pollution has decreased across the US, but poor and minority communities are still the most polluted

A new study shows that while fine particle air pollution has declined nationwide over the past 40 years, the health and environmental benefits haven't been shared evenly.
Reducing fine particle air pollution from petrochemical complexes, like this one near the Houston Ship Channel in Texas, is a low-cost way to lower air pollution mortality. AP Photo/David J. Phillip

Air pollution kills thousands of Americans every year – here’s a low-cost strategy to reduce the toll

A new study takes an innovative approach to reducing fine particle air pollution and spotlights key sources: factories that burn coal and oil, petrochemical plants and burning wood for home heating.
Bottled water distribution in Glenwood, Iowa, where massive spring flooding along the Missouri River disrupted drinking water treatment, April 3, 2019. AP Photo/Nati Harnik

The US drinking water supply is mostly safe, but that’s not good enough

A grade of 92 is an A at most schools, but for tap water it means that millions of Americans drink water that fails to met federal standards.
Oil refineries and other industrial sources in and around Houston create some of the highest ozone levels in the nation. AP Photo/Pat Sullivan

As air pollution increases in some US cities, the Trump administration is weakening clean air regulations

Air quality in the US has improved greatly since 1990, but a new report finds progress stalling in some cities. Meanwhile, the Trump administration is rolling back air pollution controls.
Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Mich., speaks about EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and the state of the EPA during a protest on April 25, 2018, in Washington. AP Photo/Alex Brandon

What next for the EPA? Here’s what Reagan did

After two years of turmoil at the EPA in the 1980s, President Reagan hit the reset button, choosing a Republican who supported environmental protection to head the agency.
Tighter emissions standards create costs for truck manufacturers yet provide health benefits for society. How should they be weighed? Lesterman

Why a minor change to how EPA makes rules could radically reduce environmental protection

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has proposed steps that would reduce economic benefits to society from new regulations. An economist who worked for Presidents Clinton and Obama calls this a strategy to justify deregulation.
Protesters at a rally on the state of the EPA organized by the American Federation of Government Employees union, April 25, 2018, in Washington, D.C. AP Photo/Alex Brandon

EPA staff say the Trump administration is changing their mission from protecting human health and the environment to protecting industry

Government agencies are supposed to listen to the industries they regulate, but what if they tune out everyone else? Scholars call this regulatory capture, and some staffers see it happening at EPA.

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