Category Archive: Public Policy

Energy Department Invests $6 Billion in Nuclear Despite Sierra Club Tears

The United States Department of Energy announced a plan to spend $6 billion to rescue nuclear energy facilities that are at risk of closing.  Department officials cited the Biden administration’s goal of becoming carbon neutral as the reason behind the hefty investment.  “U.S. nuclear power plants contribute more than half of our carbon-free electricity, and President Biden is committed to keeping these plants active to reach our clean energy goals,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told the Associated Press.  “We’re using every tool available to get this country powered by clean energy by 2035, and that includes prioritizing our existing nuclear fleet to allow...

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Straw Alternatives Continue to Suck

In 2011, a 9-year-old estimated that Americans alone use 500 million straws per day – a figure that would go on to become the basis for plastic straw bans throughout the country.  But, it turns out that the 9-year-old overestimated that figure nearly threefold. His terrible math didn’t dissuade environmental activists, however, and in the years since many localities have banned plastic straws. Americans there have been forced to use paper straws or pack their own reusable metal straws.  Now, researchers – who have more than a third-grade education – have studied the straw switch and found it was a terrible failure.  The...

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Feds Invest Billions to Address Aluminum Mine Pollution

The federal government announced that it would be dolling out an unprecedented $6.4 billion to address the lasting effects of aluminum mining.  The clean-up will target the four states that are intersected by the Catawissa Creek: Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland.  The creek, which stretches 42 miles, should be bouncing with trout and other wildlife, but instead, it’s lifeless. The animals and plants that would have populated the river were poisoned by the high-acidity water used in coal and aluminum mining decades ago.  One conservationist said the Catawissa is “one of prettiest screwed-up creeks east of the Mississippi.” At least 7,346 miles of...

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The Great GMO Rebrand

“Bioengineered” is the new GMO – at least on food labels in the United States.  Starting this year, the United States Department of Agriculture has required producers to include a “bioengineered” label on any food that has been genetically modified in such a way that natural growth is not possible. The department has commissioned two different labels that state either “bioengineered” or “derived from bioengineering.” While the labels will be new to consumers in 2022, the change has been in the works since 2016 when Congress passed a law requiring the USDA to construct a national benchmark for labeling engineered foods. Sonny...

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Italy Considers Dropping Archaic Ban on Nuclear Energy

For decades, Italian officials have banned the development of nuclear power plants. But a perfect storm of unforeseen issues has them second-guessing their no-nuclear policies. Italian lawmakers first outlawed nuclear energy after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster and by 1990, all nuclear reactors in Italy were taken offline. The country toyed with bringing back nuclear in 2011, but plans were halted after the Fukushima accident in Japan. But today, Italy is the only G7 country without its own nuclear energy supply. That has left the country in a precarious position. To start, energy prices have been on the rise because of a natural gas...

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Sustainability Isn’t As Simple As Environmentalists Make It Out to Be

Wanting to protect our oceans and beaches from pollution is a noble goal. But most people have no idea if any of the efforts claiming to save the seas will actually make a difference.  A recent survey in the United Kingdom found that 49 percent of adults listed reducing plastic consumption as one of their new year's resolutions. They reported that they would ditch plastic for a more sustainable alternative. But just 14 percent of those adults reported that they “definitely” know which alternatives are better for the planet. It’s not a simple thing to figure out whether the alternatives pushed by...

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Are Americans the Main Driver of Ocean Pollution?

A recent report released by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine left some thinking the United States leads the world in ocean pollution. Thankfully, that isn’t the case.  The report, titled “Reckoning with the U.S Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste,” analyzed two separate questions: How much plastic is used and how much plastic ends up in the ocean.  For the former question, the United States leads the world in per capita plastic use. Many took that detail and wrongly concluded that the United States generates the most ocean pollution, as well. But it doesn’t.  The report included data from a...

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Plastic Wrap Protects the Planet: New Study

Plastic has garnered a bad reputation from most environmentalists, but a recent study shows that some plastic may actually protect the planet. The study, which was published by researchers from the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, revealed that using plastic wrap on foods can significantly reduce the food’s carbon footprint.  According to the study, plastic wrap acts similarly to the peel of many fruits and vegetables. It keeps produce like cucumbers and broccoli from being exposed to oxygen, which can speed up the rate at which the food rots and becomes inedible. The study specifically looked at the process...

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Congress Starts to Address Tainted Tap Water

America’s failing tap water infrastructure could be receiving some much-needed help. More than $55 billion of the $1 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will go toward improving tap water infrastructure throughout the country. The bill, which passed the House and Senate, is expected to be signed into law by President Biden on Monday.  The funding is badly needed. The American Society of Civil Engineers reported that one water main breaks every two minutes in the United States. When water mains break, treatment centers lose water pressure and serious contaminants, including E. coli, can get into the water supply. More than 530...

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Chinese Companies Pollute More than Entire Countries

It can be difficult to comprehend just how much more impact China has on the environment than the rest of the world, but a recent report helps put things in perspective. According to the report from Bloomberg, China is responsible for the same amount of carbon dioxide emissions as the next top four countries (the United States, India, Russia, and Japan) combined. And while the United States has led the world in reducing carbon emissions, China has shown no signs of slowing down. The Chinese Communist Party allows the construction of new coal-powered energy plants regularly and has plans to add...

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