The Trump administration has targeted an Obama-era regulation credited with helping dramatically reduce toxic mercury pollution from coal-fired power plants, saying the benefits to human health and the environment may not be worth the cost of the regulation.
The Trump administration proposed on Friday major changes to the way the federal government calculates the benefits, in human health and safety, of restricting mercury emissions from coal-burning power plants. In the proposal, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a finding declaring that federal rules imposed on mercury by the Obama administration are too costly to justify.
In another proposed reversal of an Obama-era standard, the Environmental Protection Agency Friday said limiting mercury and other toxic emissions from coal- and oil-fired power plants is not cost-effective and should not be considered "appropriate and necessary."
“If finalized, it will leave the mercury reduction requirements vulnerable to rollback or further legal attack, and it puts at risk years of progress to reduce exposure to a known neurotoxin that accumulates in the environment,” said Janet McCabe, who served as the acting assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation at the EPA under Obama, in an emailed statement. “The proposal also sets a very troubling precedent for how the EPA evaluates the impact of policy on public health.”
"Reducing emissions of mercury and other harmful pollutants emitted by coal-fired power plants has profound benefits to our public health. The MATS rule has been a success. The industry is fully in compliance, costs have been a fraction of what EPA predicted in 2011 and mercury emissions have decreased by over 80 percent between 2011-2017. The benefits don’t stop there because limiting mercury also reduces fine particulate matter and other emissions that pose severe risks to human health. This proposal is an outcome-driven reconsideration of the legal underpinnings of MATS. If finalized, it will leave the mercury reduction requirements vulnerable to rollback or further legal attack, and it puts at risk years of progress to reduce exposure to a known neurotoxin that accumulates in the environment."
Former First Lady Judy O’Bannon travels the state in search of environmental champions, discovering creative individuals who are successfully improving sustainability and reducing pollution in Indiana.
While the administration may have intended to bury these bombshell findings, that’s hardly been the case. What the report confirms is what we know already from personal experience: the entire country is experiencing our changing climate and its effects on our economy, communities and health. And the Midwest is projected to experience these changes more acutely than other areas.
"While not unexpected, this proposal further demonstrates how EPA is willfully turning its back on its responsibility to protect human health. The government's own analysis suggests that a rollback of standards with existing coal plants will lead to thousands of premature deaths and tens of thousands of new cases of respiratory problems."
To address climate change, our society must come to grips with reality. Capitalism’s growth dependency is an insurmountable barrier to environmental sustainability. Economic production is a key source of greenhouse gases and studies continue to find a positive relationship between economic growth and emissions. It is also increasingly clear that there is no magic bullet that can “decouple” the relationship between growth and environmental destruction.
Indiana University has been awarded three grants totaling more than $500,000 from the McKinney Family Foundation in support of initiatives across multiple campuses that are educating a new generation of leaders and changemakers in environmental resilience and sustainability roles. The grants count toward the $3 billion For All: The Indiana University Bicentennial Campaign.
Cultivating environmental literacy should not be limited to the science classroom—it should also be nurtured in humanities and social studies classrooms. Educators have the opportunity to enrich their curriculum by discussing climate change in a diverse array of classes, including history, social studies, economics, and health.
As a climate scientist, Gabriel Filippelli has long fought again the politicization of climate change science. The science is sound, the outcomes for our planet are clear, and they are largely negative. But now, after the recent release of national and Indiana-specific reports on climate impacts, we need politicians to do what they are supposed to do—make policies and regulations that confront climate change and that improve the health and well-being of people, not corporations.
This month at its first research symposium, the Prepared for Environmental Change Grand Challenge initiative presented reports on projects started during fiscal year 2018 and preliminary updates on a second round of projects initiated during the same fiscal year. These projects feature collaborative teams of faculty members and community organizations whose work addresses the initiative's primary goals
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency discovered chemicals from a nearby coal ash landfill in the town’s well water. The landfill, the site of more than 1 million tons of byproduct from a plant burning coal for electricity, was leaching heavy metals into the ground.
Life in a single-family home in suburban America, one with a quiet and spacious backyard, surrounded by natural habitats, lush green vegetation, where beautiful birds, squirrels and other small mammals come and go, is the American dream. Now, however, this once-cherished dream is being threatened by invading tick and mosquito species that are carrying emerging pathogens.
Efforts to address climate change in one of the most skeptical, conservative regions of the U.S. may be better served by focusing on preparing for environmental changes, and not on what is causing them.
The president of the United States is already spending money on climate change—loads of it, in fact—and so are businesses, communities, and Americans from every walk of life. And the bill is only going to soar further in the coming years.
A lot of people have been talking about the recent report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — which says in order to avoid some of the worst impacts to human health and the environment, we need to go to zero emissions by 2050. That’s causing many people to ask, “What can I do?”
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is considering downgrading an office that makes sure it uses the best science to make decisions. Two former EPA officials in Indiana say it’s another move by the Trump administration to diminish the role of scientists.
The Indiana Chamber of Commerce is joining forces with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to host the 2018 Indiana Environmental Conference at the JW Marriott Indianapolis Oct. 22-23.
Earth Charter Indiana and its signature program, Youth Power Indiana, along with title sponsors Indiana University Environmental Resilience Institute, the McKinney Family Foundation and Cummins Inc., partnered on Indiana’s third annual gathering of mayors and city officials to discuss resiliency in the face of climate impacts. The event took place Sept. 13 at Englewood Christian Church, Indianapolis.
Climate change is not just about what's going to happen years in the future or in remote parts of the world. The impact of environmental change is being felt now, in communities across the United States and here in Indiana.
Researchers may have discovered why lithium-ion batteries, which also power electric vehicles, are so inefficient. Environmental policy analysts at IU’s Environmental Resilience Institute say the discovery could increase the lifespan and efficiency of batteries, boosting the number of people buying those vehicles.
All politics is local, as the saying goes. And, there are few issues which hit as close to home for cities as climate change—even as state and national lawmakers have found little time or energy to address the ongoing crisis. Despite this legislative gridlock on a macro level, local leaders from around Indiana gathered together for the third year in a row at an invite-only event to “discuss resiliency in the face of climate impacts.”
A new tool aims to help officials navigate the pressures put on infrastructure and public health by the effects of climate change. The tool is accessible to the public but is particularly geared towards small and intermediate cities in Indiana and the Midwest.
Behind a podium and in front of dozens of city officials from around Indiana, Purdue University Professor Jeff Dukes spoke about the dire environmental conditions Hoosiers are facing now and will face in the near future. He cited research indicating the new normal in Indiana, which will feature more extreme heat, more flooding, and less fruitful harvests. Climate change, he said, is spurring the changes.
President Trump’s ill-considered proposal is now available for comment. Let’s hope a sound policy meeting everyone’s needs prevails in the end.
Indiana communities now have new tools to help them adapt to the shifting climate. Mayors and representatives from about 18 Indiana cities heard more at the Climate Leadership Summit in Indianapolis on Thursday. One of those tools is the Indiana University Environmental Resilience Institute Toolkit, or ERIT.
Disaster resilience begins by understanding how environmental change has kicked up the force of these storms, by making them bigger, slower and wetter according to Beth Gazley.
Indiana University's Environmental Resilience Institute, as part of the Prepared for Environmental Change Grand Challenge initiative, has just launched ERIT -- the Environmental Resilience Institute Toolkit. The interactive, digital toolkit allows communities to better assess, prepare for and respond to environmental change.
The state's revised plan for what to do with money from a Volkswagen settlement takes public feedback into account. Indiana received more than $40 million after the company violated the Clean Air Act. Several people wanted to use the money for greener school buses and electric charging stations — and the new draft covers those bases.
Under a new federal energy proposal aimed at dismantling Obama-era limits on greenhouse gas emissions, Indiana utilities could scrap plans to shut down several coal-fired power plants.
Earlier this week, the Trump administration released details about new rules governing the pollution generated by power plants. Those rules will change the Clean Power Plan set during the Obama administration.
A new study led by researchers at Indiana University has found that modifications such as dams and reservoirs do not isolate rivers and streams in the United States and Canada from the effects of climate change.
Indiana University is celebrating its bicentennial in 2020 and is giving back to the state. IU has established three grand challenges to contribute to better health and life in Indiana. The three challenges are precision medicine, tackling the opioid crisis and preparing for environmental change. For the latter, IU has formed the Environmental Resilience Institute.
Science teachers from across Indiana recently traveled to the Indiana University Bloomington campus to attend a workshop on environmental change and its impact on communities.
Indiana is one of 15 states that pushed for a federal district court to dismiss a lawsuit against oil and gas companies that contribute to climate issues. The states got their wish this week.
In the Summer Science Institute, IU researchers help teachers understand how they can incorporate climate change education in their curriculum through hands-on learning.
A discussion about the impact of urban heating. It discusses the health implications, how youth in Indianapolis are becoming more involved and efforts to mitigate high temperatures in a city core.
This summer, on days when temperatures soar to 90 degrees or higher, WonderLab is offering half-priced general admission from 2:30 p.m. until closing time Tuesday through Sunday. This special promotion begins on Saturday, June 9, 2018 and runs through Friday, August 17, 2018.
A new environmental monitoring project at Indiana University has found increased numbers of the ticks that carry Lyme disease in Southern Indiana.
A recent Centers for Disease Control report shows that tick and mosquito-borne diseases have more than tripled in the U.S. since 2004. But if you find a tick on your body, don’t count on a tick test to let you know if you have Lyme disease.
Institute Assistant Director Janet McCabe speaks on what the Institute is up to, and how it plans to help communities prepare for environmental change.
Panelists concerned with climate change took the stage at Krannert Auditorium at “Realistic Climate Solutions: Addressing Climate Change from the Local to the Global Scale,” hosted by the Purdue Climate Change Research Center, the School of Environmental and Ecological Engineering and the Purdue Policy Research Institute.
Many people are left feeling hopeless with a feeling of “it’s too late.” But thanks to President Michael McRobbie’s decision to fund Grand Challenge Proposals and the ensuing advent of the Environmental Resilience Institute (ERI) at Indiana University, there is a new reason for hope in Indiana.
Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, has announced that he alone will decide what is and isn’t acceptable science for the agency to use when developing policies that affect your health and the environment.
While there are lots of reasons for potholes on our city streets, chief among them are the rapid freezing-warming-freezing patterns that have been the hallmark of Indiana’s recent winters. These conditions are the result of observable changes in Indiana’s climate that scientists predict will continue — and worsen — well into the future.
Walking trails, parks, and water access are more than just oases in urban areas. They are ways to make cities more resilient in the face of environmental change, says biology professor Heather Reynolds.
Research under way in IU biology professor David Kehoe’s lab in Jordan Hall could result in a scientific “win-win-win,” a process that would reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, produce commercially valuable chemicals and convert the resulting biomass to usable energy.
Dean Shanahan speaks to Gina McCarthy, who served as administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from 2013 to 2017.