Category: News & Announcements Page 1 of 7

New Federal Regulation to Combat Forever Chemicals

New Federal Regulation to Combat Forever Chemicals

By: Joseph Garza

 

The Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) is proposing a rule to establish legally enforceable levels for six different per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”) in drinking water.[i] These standards, known as Maximum Containment Levels (“MCLs”), will set the maximum allowable amount of these six PFAS in public drinking water systems throughout the country.

Read More

East Palestine Train Derailment: Profits Over Safety

East Palestine Train Derailment: Profits Over Safety

By: Jacob Regan

The U.S. Government is suing Norfolk Southern for environmental and public health damages caused by its train derailment in Ohio. On the evening of Friday, February 3, 2023, a train owned by Norfolk Southern derailed in East Palestine, Ohio. Fifty of the train cars derailed or were affected by the derailment, and 20 of which contained hazardous substances.[1] Such substances included vinyl chloride, combustible liquids, butyl acrylate, and benzene residue.[2] Early morning Saturday, February 4, around 2:00 A.M. EST, the EPA arrived on-site to assist in clean-up.[3] On February 21, the EPA issued a unilateral administrative order, commanding Norfolk Southern to perform additional cleanup duties.[4] On February 25, a few weeks after citizens who evacuated the area returned, the EPA and other federal agencies began conducting outreach to East Palestine residents, including opening a support hotline.[5] Throughout the rest of February and March, the EPA continued interacting with the community and monitoring the air, water, and soil/sediment in the town and nearby, while pressuring Norfolk Southern to increase its measures.[6][7][8][9][10]

Read More

Fictional Fungal Species Demonstrates Real Consequences of Global Warming

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

FICTIONAL FUNGAL SPECIES DEMONSTRATES REAL CONSEQUENCES OF GLOBAL WARMING

By: Hannah Russell

HBO’s newest hit series, The Last of Us, uses science fiction to highlight very real potential dangers of climate change. Since 1975, Earth’s average temperature has risen by 1.44 degrees Fahrenheit. Scientists predict that by 2070, temperatures will rise another 3.6 to 9 degrees.[1] While the effect of global warming on humans, plants, and animals is well documented, the impact on microorganisms is frequently overlooked in climate change research.[2] Fungal pathogens are particularly thermotolerant, meaning that as temperatures gradually increase, so will the prevalence of fungal diseases that were originally rare or unknown.[3] There are currently no vaccines able to combat fungi, and there is little economic incentive for pharmaceutical companies to invest in anti-fungal research.[4]

Read More

Wetland Fragmentation: How Poorly Regulated Urban Development Has Destroyed Illinois’ Natural Flood Control

Wetland Fragmentation: How Poorly Regulated Urban Development Has Destroyed Illinois’ Natural Flood Control

By: Caitlin Federici

The taming of the historic swamplands around Chicago fragmented and irreparably damaged the Illinois River’s natural flood control, wetlands. Every year, once the snow begins to melt and Chicago paints its river green Chicagoans know that construction season is just around the corner. Construction around the Chicago area has always been complicated. Chicago’s very existence is often understood as an engineering miracle.

Read More

New Studies Prompt US Consumer Product Safety Commission to Consider Banning Gas Stoves in New Homes

New Studies Prompt US Consumer Product Safety Commission to Consider Banning Gas Stoves in New Homes

By: Rachel Grudzinski

 

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) is currently considering banning gas stoves in the United States.[1] One commissioner tweeted how “gas stoves can emit dangerous [levels] of toxic chemicals—even when not in use—and [CPSC] will consider all approaches to regulation.”[2] A ban from the CPSC would only affect new products and homes, requiring all new homes to have either electric stoves or high efficiency exhaust vents.[3] Currently, if an individual is looking to switch from gas to electric, the Inflation Reduction Act includes rebates for those individuals to either purchase a new electric stove or covert from gas to electric.[4]

Read More

The Midwest Regional Rail Initiative Aims to Bring High Speed Rail to Illinois

The Midwest Regional Rail Initiative Aims to Bring High Speed Rail to Illinois

By: Rachel Grudzinski

High speed rails may seem like a transportation option unique to Europeans, but that may not be the case for much longer. The United States has plans to implement high speed rail within the upcoming decade. High speed rails are trains that run faster than traditional trains at around 124-200mph.[1] Currently, Acela is the only high speed train in the United States which is operated by Amtrak.[2] Acela currently reaches speeds up to 150mph and travels between cities in the Northeast Corridor (Boston, New Haven, New York, Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Washington).[3]

Read More

Deceptive Companies ‘Greenwash’ to Raise Profit Margins

DECEPTIVE COMPANIES ‘GREENWASH’ TO RAISE PROFIT MARGINS

By: Hannah Russell

As consumers grow increasingly eco-conscious, governmental agencies in the EU and US begin to crack down on corporate “greenwashing.” Modern consumers demand a variety of clean, eco-friendly products to reduce their carbon footprints.[1] These products range from compostable trash bags and nontoxic hand soaps to electric cars and carbon-neutral flights. Patagonia and Levi’s are two examples of pioneers in sustainable business that meet eco-conscious demands and elevate the environmental movement.[2] However, while some enterprises genuinely believe that conscious consumerism deserves a place in business, other companies see environmentalism as the new, trendy marketing platform with the potential to raise profit margins.[3] These companies, such as Daimler AG and Walmart, reel in and mislead eco-conscious consumers by “greenwashing” their merchandise and services.[4]

Read More

Should Electric Vehicles Be Illinois’ Future?

Should Electric Vehicles be Illinois’ Future?

By: Jacob Regan

While electric vehicles play a vital role in Illinois’ future, upgrading public transportation is essential to creating a greener Illinois. As the new year begins, expect to see electric vehicles become a more prominent part of everyday life. The number of people using electric vehicles is rising: in November 2017, Illinois had an electric vehicle count of 8031[1]; at the end of last year, that number was 57311.[2] On the political side, Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth secured $8.215 million for statewide programs for electric buses, charging infrastructure, and electric paratransit vehicles.[3] This money is also to be used for electric vehicle readiness programs across the state.[4]

Read More

EPA Finalizes New WOTUS Rule

EPA Finalizes New WOTUS Rule

By: Joseph Garza

 

Federal agencies take actions to clarify conflicting legal standards set by the Supreme Court that have divided Circuit Courts for decades. The ongoing legal question regarding the definition of a “Water of the United States” (“WOTUS”) in the context of Clean Water Act (“CWA”) enforcement and implementation may seemingly have been answered. On January 18, 2023, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and the Army Corps of Engineers (the “Corps”) announced the finalization of the “Revised Definition of the WOTUS” rule (the “New Rule”).[i] EPA’s hope in promulgating the New Rule is to solve confusion caused by Rapanos v. U.S. The definition of a WOTUS is crucial to CWA practice because it determines the scope of the CWA’s reach. Only a WOTUS will receive the CWA’s protections. It is crucial for all who work with the CWA to have a clear understanding of the definition of WOTUS.

Read More

Congressional Empowerment of the Colorado River Indian Tribes

Congressional Empowerment of the Colorado River Indian Tribes

By: Blythe Pabon

Historic Congressional bills expand the power of Indian Tribes over the infrastructure and water rights of the Colorado River. The Colorado River provides drinking water for over 40-million people in the United States and Mexico and supports “1/12 of the total U.S. gross domestic product,” but the River’s water levels continue to drop amid a 20-year drought.[1] Management plans of the drought, including a 2019 Contingency agreement between seven states, have proven unsuccessful in preventing further damage,[2] which prompted Congress to pass three historic bills on December 23, 2022[3] Which were signed by President Biden on January 5, 2023.[4] The bills would allow the Colorado River Indian Tribes (CRITs or Tribes) to exercise increased control over their water resources to support drought affected communities.[5]

Read More

Page 1 of 7

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén