Lawmakers are ready to approve billions of dollars in funding for disaster relief and other environmental efforts. We’ll also address a new lawsuit over alleged PFAS contamination and potentially lethal risks from extreme winter weather.
This is Energy & Environment, your source for the latest news on energy, the environment, and more. For CNNBreakingNews, I’m Zack Budryk. Did someone forward this newsletter to you? Sign up here or in the box below.
What the bus contains for energy and sustainability
Congress has released a $1.7 trillion bill to fund the government for fiscal year 2023.
The deal came as Democrats tried to get a bill across the finish line while still holding both houses of Congress, giving the Republican appropriate influence in the negotiations.
The huge financing package includes increases for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and billions in aid for natural disasters.
What’s in the package: A statement from the Senate Appropriations Committee said the package included $40.6 billion to help communities recover from “droughts, hurricanes, floods, wildfires, natural disasters, and other events.”
- Around 4 billion US dollars for agricultural aid
- $520 million to help western energy districts buy fuel to make up for hydropower shortages
- $2 billion to finance wildfire emergencies
- About $1.6 billion to repair Jackson, Miss.,’s damaged water system and to combat other effects of Hurricanes Fiona and Ian.
additional $5 billion will be used to recharge the Federal Emergency Management Agency‘s disaster relief funds and $2.5 billion to repair damage to public lands, including the national park system.
Much of the remaining funding is used for repairs to federal property, which are essential for both planning and responding to disasters. For example, $820 million will go to the National Science Foundation for both research and repairs, while more than $500 million will go to NASA.
An additional $500 million will be used for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to repair and replace equipment used to track and respond to disasters such as hurricanes.
The measure includes just over $10 billion for the Environmental Protection Agency — an increase of $576 million over 2022. The allowance is almost $2 billion below the roughly $12 billion requested by the Biden administration.
Read more about the package from Rachel and Saul Elbein from CNNBreakingNews.
Michigan sues over alleged PFAS contamination
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) announced a lawsuit against paper maker Domtar this week. She claimed that the company’s discontinued operation in Port Huron had contaminated the community with “chemicals forever.”
- In the complaint, Nessel’s office claimed that Domtar had disposed of production waste that it knew was contaminated by perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and falsely portrayed the waste as inert.
- PFAS do not biodegrade in the environment or in the human body and have been linked to liver damage, fertility problems, and cancer in humans.
What are the allegations? Domtar operated a production waste disposal plant from 1998 to 2020, when the Port Huron plant was closed.
Regardless of whether the company was aware of the PFAS contamination from the outset, the lawsuit argues, Domtar found out about it over the course of two decades of operating the site.
- “Domtar’s fraudulent misrepresentations and omissions were essential to the [State Department of Environmental Quality]’s approval, which specifically stated that Domtar is responsible for ensuring that paper sludge continues to meet the inert inert criteria set out in Michigan’s status and rules and that Domtar is liable for all contaminated substances in the environment, including groundwater, surface water, air, and natural resources,” the lawsuit.
The site in question is in St. Clair County in Michigan, where state investigations have already been carried out into PFAS contamination of drinking water, groundwater, lakes, and streams. State officials said in February that there was no evidence of an impact on municipal drinking water.
“Michigan residents should not be responsible for the effects of PFAS contamination on businesses or for the costs of cleaning them up,” Nessel said in a statement. “My efforts to hold companies accountable for contaminating our communities continue where companies fail to take appropriate remedies or take responsibility for their actions.”
Read more about the lawsuit here.
FEDERAL AGENCY: STORM INCREASES RISK OF DEATH FROM CARBON MONOXIDE
An approaching winter storm that will hit the center of the USA could also increase the risk of deaths from carbon monoxide, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) warned on Wednesday.
The so-called bomb cyclone is expected to cause heavy snowfall, freezing temperatures and dangerous wind chills — conditions that, according to the CPSC, could lead to power outages and increase the use of portable generators.
- The intense winter storm will “bring with it a variety of weather hazards” and trigger “life-threatening wind chills,” with temperatures falling by 20 or more degrees Fahrenheit within a few hours.
- “What better way to start the official start of the astronomical winter than with numerous winter weather hazards affecting a large part of the nation,” explained the NWS.
Risk of wind chills could drop to as low as minus 70 degrees Fahrenheit in parts of the central High Plains, while widespread wind chills could extend below zero as far as Texas, according to the NWS.
Read more from Sharon Udasin from CNNBreakingNews.
WHAT WE READ
- Arizona is taking water from Mexico seriously in a non-binding desalination resolution (Arizona Republic)
- 7 reasons why our planet may not be doomed to failure after all (Vox)
- The Keystone pipeline is a cause for concern after the third major oil spill in five years (The Guardian)
- Big cat safety bill ends “Tiger King” style attractions (E&E News)
MEHR VON THE HILL
- Biden says Putin is using “winter as a weapon”
- Thousands are still without power following the earthquake in northern California
🛣 Easier click: pool violation
That’s it for now, thanks for reading. Visit CNNBreakingNews’ energy and environment page for the latest news and coverage. I’ll see you tomorrow.