How did corporate greed overtake concern for children’s health?
Consider five recent headlines about lead poisoning, dark money lobbying, the EPA and Supreme Court. And then decide for yourself. (Hint: follow the money).America is wrapped in miles of toxic lead cables – Wall Street Journal
AT&T and Verizon’s ancient lead cables have US lawmakers demanding action – ArsTechnica
ISPs spent $235 million on lobbying and donations – ArsTechnica / Common Cause
House Republicans propose nearly 40% cut to EPA budget – S&P Global
Supreme Court Strips Federal Government of Crucial Tool to Control Pollution – NY Times
Follow along with this StoryMap which explains the risk of lead poisoning, where Wall Street Journal investigators collected lead contamination samples and the risk of lead poisoning where you live courtesy Vox Media.
Follow the money
Use this relationship map (that’s also in the StoryMap) to follow the money. How much do the CEOs of AT&T and Verizon make? How much do AT&T, Verizon and USTelecom donate to the GOP (courtesy OpenSecrets)? What actions have Republicans taken that limit the ability of the EPA to hold polluters accountable? How did the Supreme Court cripple the EPA?
Address environmental and public health problems
“Senator Markey wrote to USTelecom, “According to the Wall Street Journal’s investigation, ‘AT&T, Verizon and other telecom giants have left behind a sprawling network of cables covered in toxic lead that stretches across the US, under the water, in the soil and on poles overhead… As the lead degrades, it is ending up in places where Americans live, work and play.’”Markey also asked what plans telcos have to address environmental and public health problems that could arise from lead cables. He asked the companies to commit to “testing for soil, water, and other contamination caused by the cables,” to remediate any contamination, and warn communities of the potential hazards. Markey also asked USTelecom if the phone companies will guarantee “medical treatment and compensation to anyone harmed by lead poisoning caused by the cables.” – ArsTechnica
Lead poisoning is color blind
Lead is an equal opportunity killer. Rich or poor. Black of White. Rural or Urban.“AT&T, Verizon and other telecom giants have left behind a sprawling network of cables covered in toxic lead that stretches across the U.S., under the water, in the soil and on poles overhead, a Wall Street Journal investigation found. As the lead degrades, it is ending up in places where Americans live, work and play.The lead can be found on the banks of the Mississippi River in Louisiana, the Detroit River in Michigan, the Willamette River in Oregon and the Passaic River in New Jersey, according to the Journal’s tests of samples from nearly 130 underwater-cable sites, conducted by several independent laboratories. The metal has tainted the soil at a popular fishing spot in New Iberia, La., at a playground in Wappingers Falls, N.Y., and in front of a school in suburban New Jersey.” – Wall Street Journal
Trump’s second pick for the Court, Brett Kavanaugh, was also well-known as a lower- court judge for consistently voting to reverse actions by agencies. In fact, a Trump White House memorandum touted Kavanaugh’s nomination by noting that he had overruled federal regulators 75 times on cases involving clean air, consumer protections and other issues.A true zealot, Kavanaugh had consistently ruled against workers and calledOccupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) protections “paternalistic.” He also regularly ruled to undermine environmental protections. In one case, he rejected an EPA rule requiring that states bear responsibility for their fair share of toxic pollution that reaches states downwind of the source. The EPA estimated that the rule could prevent between 13,000 and 34,000 premature deaths, 19,000 hospital visits and 1.8 million days of missed work or school per year. The Supreme Court overturned Kavanaugh in a 6-2 decision. – People For The American Way
TakeAway: Hold politicians who put corporate donors before the health of your family accountable for their actions.
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