Sometimes I am amazed at the stories that come to light about the duplicity, dishonesty, and plain old inadequacy of politicians and industries. OK, not amazed. Perhaps outraged. What really gets my goat (ha! Did I really just say “gets my goat”?) is that these stories show up in the MSM, and are read, and I’m sure people are amazed/outraged, and then … what? Then nothing, that’s what. We go back to staring out the window at the rain.
Thanks to lobbying from the Bush administration, which fears for its exports, the British government has reversed its support for REACH, a directive to catalogue the effects of more than 100,000 chemicals. Despite evidence that toxins could be behind a “silent epidemic” of brain disorders in the country, Britain is encouraging other EU governments to resist the measure. In effect, REACH would make companies use safe chemicals when they work just as well as dangerous ones, which really seems painfully logical — but the fate of the directive is as yet unknown.
Hundreds of thousands of miles of oil and gas pipelines snake underground through the U.S. — and often, their exact locations are unknown to oil and gas companies and the federal government. Especially in Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma, maps that are supposed to trace pipelines have significant errors — not so helpful when it comes to pinpointing leaks and situating residents.
In Louisiana, exactly 28 families whose houses were ruined by Hurricane Katrina have received federal money to fix or replace their homes. Seventy-eight thousand families have applied for assistance.
The international Chemical Weapons Convention has already granted the U.S. a five-year delay on its deadline for destruction of nerve gases and skin-blistering agents, from 2007 to 2012. Under a timeline put forth this week by the Pentagon, the U.S. now intends to harbor its aging chemical-weapons arsenal until 2023. Weapons are stockpiled at seven sites around the country. “Not only are they ignoring our international treaty obligations, they are undermining the military’s … obligation to protect U.S. citizens,” says Kentucky activist Craig Williams (whom Grist interviewed this spring).
Days like today, I have a hard time believing that citizen protection is a priority.