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Structural Racism Drives EPA's Response To Air Pollution

EPA’s Bungled Response to an Air Pollution Crisis Exposes a Toxic Racial Divide. The Intercept: "After a crucial division of the Environmental Protection Agency reassessed the dangers of two key pollutants — ethylene oxide and chloroprene — the risk of cancer from air pollution shot up in many communities around the country. In 109 census tracts around the United States, the risk was suddenly unacceptable, according to the EPA’s own standards. Yet the agency didn’t take the next logical step: regulating these compounds or limiting emissions to protect residents from exposure. Instead, what happened next depended on where these hotspots were — and who was living there."

WH Cuts Funds To Planned Parenthood

Trump admin cuts off Planned Parenthood from federal family planning funding. WaPo: "The Trump administration took aim at Planned Parenthood Friday, issuing a rule barring groups that provide abortions or abortion referrals from participating in the $286 million federal family planning program — a move expected to redirect tens of millions of dollars from the women’s health provider to faith-based groups. The change means federally funded family planning clinics can no longer refer a patient for abortion and must maintain a “clear physical and financial separation” between services funded by the government and any organization that provides abortions or abortion referrals. Groups receiving money under the Title X program, which serves an estimated 4 million low-income women, were already prohibited from performing abortions with those funds. The changes, which opponents vowed to challenge, were celebrated by social conservatives who oppose abortion and helped elect President Trump. Health and Human Services Department officials have said they were necessary to ensure transparency and the legal and ethical use of taxpayer funds."

Former National Security Heads Denounce Trump's 'Emergency'

Former senior national security officials to issue declaration on national emergency. WaPo: "A bipartisan group of 58 former senior national security officials will issue a statement Monday saying that “there is no factual basis” for President Trump’s proclamation of a national emergency to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. The joint statement, whose signatories include former secretary of state Madeleine Albright and former defense secretary Chuck Hagel, will come a day before the House is expected to vote on a resolution to block Trump’s Feb. 15 declaration. The former officials’ statement, which will be entered into the Congressional Record, is intended to support lawsuits and other actions challenging the national emergency proclamation and to force the administration to set forth the legal and factual basis for it. 'Under no plausible assessment of the evidence is there a national emergency today that entitles the president to tap into funds appropriated for other purposes to build a wall at the southern border,' the group said."

Cohen To Testify To Congress

Cohen to take questions in private before Congressional panels. USA Today: "President Donald Trump's former attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen, is scheduled to testify before Congress next week, setting up a blockbuster appearance that could delve into allegations of the president's infidelities and business practices. Cohen, who is scheduled to start his three-year prison sentence in May, will appear before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Feb. 27 at 10 a.m. Cohen's appearance will mark one of the first major players in Trump's orbit that the new Democratic majority in the House have called to testify, a forecast of what's to come over the next two years. Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison for a series of federal crimes, including campaign finance violations and tax evasion."

Agribusiness Wants To Weaken Food Safety

Agribusiness's secretive plans to unravel food safety and worker protections. Common Dreams: "As Congress and the public debate the pros and cons of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), or New NAFTA, behind the scenes and in the shadows transnational corporations are doubling down on their plans to weaken and eliminate public protections through a related entity, the secretive Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC). This little-known council has the mission of promoting trade by 'reducing, eliminating or preventing unnecessary regulatory differences' between Canada and the United States. Since the RCC’s inception, agribusiness—including factory-farmed livestock producers, the feed industry, and chemical and pesticide manufacturers and linked transportation businesses—has had a seat at the regulatory cooperation table. Their focus, without exception, has been advocating the scaling back and even elimination of important safety protections in both countries. In the U.S., recommendations made by the RCC feed directly into regulations enacted (or eliminated) by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration and Environmental Protection Agency, among others."

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