Shana Campbell Jones on CPRBlog {Bio}
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Obama's Executive Order on the Chesapeake - a First

Yesterday, as the Executive Council for the Chesapeake Bay Program held its annual meeting, President Obama issued an Executive Order on Chesapeake Bay Protection and Restoration (a first), declaring the Chesapeake Bay a national treasure and signaling that EPA will play a strong role in leading Bay cleanup. For years, federal leadership on the Bay has been missing in action. President Obama's move is dramatic, and we dare to hope that this could be a turning point.

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Where Does Manure in the Chesapeake Come From Anyway? EPA, It's Time to Find Out

Cattle, chickens, and hogs create more than 500 million tons of manure in the United States annually -- three times more than the sanitary waste produced by people. Yet, in contrast to a concerted federal and state effort to fund and build sewage treatment plants since the Clean Water Act was enacted in 1972, dealing with the water pollution problems caused by animal waste has been like wrestling a greased pig -- a stinky, frustrating mess.

Regulating agricultural waste in the Chesapeake Bay watershed has been no less frustrating than in any other area of the country. And it's no secret that nitrogen and phosphorous loadings from manure are killing the Bay. Recent developments in the Bay watershed, however, could signal a new direction on regulating Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs -- factory farms) and the application of manure to cropland by farmers. An emerging coalition of 40 environmental groups -- from the smallest Riverkeeper to the National Wildlife Federation -- wrote a letter this week to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and the governors of Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania (the primary states comprising the Chesapeake watershed) demanding comprehensive action on Bay pollution, including agricultural runoff (disclaimer: CPR advised the coalition on the letter). If EPA leads like it could, a cleaner Bay could move from dream to reality.
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Poisoned Waters: A Frontline Presentation You Don't Want to Miss

Tomorrow, Tuesday, Frontline will air Poisoned Waters, a two-hour documentary on the continuing pollution of American waterways (9pm on many PBS stations; check your local listings). Having seen part of the program, I recommend it. Watching a bulldozer move chicken manure - much of which will end up in the Chesapeake Bay - and seeing filthy stormwater drains pouring into Puget Sound serve as stark reminders for why fighting for clean water matters.

Six-legged frogs swim in the Potomac River. The oyster population in the Chesapeake Bay is decimated, only two percent of what it was fifty years ago. Approximately 150,000 pounds of untreated toxins drain into Puget Sound every day. One large industrial hog farm produces the same amount of waste as a city the size of Philadelphia annually - and much of this waste runs off into our rivers. The ways our waters are in trouble go on and on.

Poisoned Waters reminds us that, while much has been done to clean up our waterways in the 37 years since the Clean Water Act was passed, much more must be done. Full text

Let the Truth Trickle Up: Attack Science, Perchlorate, and Babies

Center for Progressive Reform Policy Analyst Shana Jones on the effects of perchlorate on breastfeeding mothers and babies: The truth hurts. Some of us accept the truth; some of us ignore it. All too often, industry-sponsored scientists take another approach to the truth: attack. A recent spat over a study finding that perchlorate blocks iodine in breast milk is an object lesson in what CPR Member Scholar Tom McGarity calls attack science. In October, I blogged about this study, which was the first to ask whether perchlorate inhibits iodine transport to breast milk. Perchlorate is a component of rocket fuel and munitions. Its known to cause thyroid problems by inhibiting how iodine is absorbed by the body. Iodine is essential to proper fetal and infant neurological development. According to the EPA, perchlorate has contaminated the drinking water of 16.6 million Americans to unsafe levels. (Click on the headline to read the full post.) Full text

Industry Lobbyists Suiting Up for Climate Change Battle

Shana Jones blogs about the number of lobbyists seeking to influence federal policy on climate change has expanded more than 300 percent in five years and that special interest industry lobbyists outnumber public interest environmental advocates 8-to-1. Significantly, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) are the leading voices against climate action. While most climate change junkies would not be surprised that these groups oppose any action on climate change, there's more to the story. Industry folks are suiting up to fight a series of lobbying battles, on several fronts. One of these fronts is an effort to make sure that any federal climate change law includes a provision that preempts, current or future state laws or policies on climate change. Full text

Cap-and-Evade: Climate Change, Environmental Justice, and the Clean Air Act

Center for Progressive Reform Policy Analyst Shana Jones blogs on federal greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program that could create local hot spots of harmful air pollutants because older facilities may have the incentive to operate for more hours, which would be legal under the existing Clean Air Act (CAA). Safeguards that will prevent air quality from worsening in the poorest and most polluted communities include: requiring, as California did, that the cap-and-trade program complement efforts to improve air quality and not result in possible disproportionate impacts on low-income, minority populations; limiting trading in nonattainment areas; and ensuring that states have the authority to impose direct and more stringent controls on facilities generating greenhouse gas emissions even if they are participating in a federal trading system. Full text

Rescuing Science from Politics, Texas Style

CPR Policy Analyst Shana Jones blogs about the Texas State Board of Education's decision to not weaken science standards with respect to creationism, but raises the concern that they may weaken standards with respect to global warming. Full text

If Yes Means Yes, EPA Must Act on Perchlorate

CPR Policy Analyst Shana Jones blogs about whether Obama's nominee for EPA, Lisa Jackson, will take decisive action on perchlorate, arguing she should. Full text

A Weather Forecast for Climate Change Governance

CPR policy analyst Shana Jones blogs about state and local efforts to combat climate change, arguing that preemption of these efforts would be a mistake and that a cooperative federalism model is a better approach. Full text

The Clean Water Act, Please, and Hold the Fried Fish

CPR Policy Analyst Shana Jones blogs on Entergy Corp. v. EPA, a Supreme Court case involving a challenge by electric utilities to new EPA regulations requiring power plants to protect aquatic life by regulating cooling water intake structures at existing power plants. Billions of fish, shellfish, and other aquatic organisms are drawn into these cooling intake structures and killed yearly. Full text