Company Town: ‘quiet tragedy’ of an Arkansas community vs the Kochs

Read the full story in The Guardian.

A new film tells the story of Crossett, Arkansas – a small town dominated by a Koch brothers-owned paper mill, blamed for dumping cancer-causing chemicals.

To Protect Vulnerable Populations, Plant More Trees

Read the full post from the Nature Conservancy.

If you want evidence of climate change’s devastating effects, just look at the news over the last few weeks. Phoenix, Arizona got so hot planes couldn’t land. Iran set a new record temperature of 54°C. Perhaps most frightening, a devastating heatwave continues to grip much of Europe, killing at least five people so far and causing droughts, wildfires and transit shutdowns—Italians have dubbed the weather event “Lucifer.”

One can argue there’s nothing new or remarkable about summer heatwaves, of course. But what isnew and remarkable is their frequency and intensity, and they’ll likely get worse if we don’t take steps to curb climate change. Cities will be particularly hard hit, as the urban heat island effect—caused by sparse vegetation and heat-absorbing surfaces like asphalt—can result in temperatures as much as 12°C higher than in less-developed areas nearby. While the heat island effect will remain consistent as the climate changes, the additive challenges of higher temperatures and paved cities will make many neighborhoods less livable.

And for certain neighborhoods within cities, the situation is even worse. The urban heat islands are most prevalent in lower income neighborhoods, where residents are also less likely to have air conditioning or easy access to public cooling centers. In our fast-heating cities, climate change is threatening those who are already most vulnerable.

EPA offers webinars on EJSCREEN’s new features

EJSCREEN is EPA’s environmental justice tool for highlighting places that may have higher environmental burdens and vulnerable populations. The tool offers a variety of powerful data and mapping capabilities that enable users to access environmental and demographic information at high geographic resolution, across the entire country.

EPA is announcing the release of the latest version of the tool planned to be available to the public in August 2017. This annual update to the tool ensures that EJSCREEN utilizes the most up-to-date demographic and environmental data. The 2017 version of EJSCREEN has new features – all of which were requested by the public – including:

  • A revised water indicator that vastly improves user ability to screen for potential for surface water pollution.
  • The ability to look at municipalities as identified areas (a common request from our local government users) in addition to states, counties and census boundaries.
  • New map layers including schools, public housing, and prisons.

In conjunction with this release, EPA is offering two webinars to showcase the new features. Register at the links below.

Lead Workshop for Communities

Date: Tuesday, September 26, 2017, from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm
Location: Metcalfe Federal Building, 77 W. Jackson Blvd. Chicago, IL
For more information and to register:

EPA Region 5 is hosting an introductory workshop for communities and their partners about lead poisoning prevention. The workshop will cover a range of tools, strategies, and resources to help eliminate lead poisoning. Speakers are expected to include federal, state, and local governments, community leaders, and non-governmental partners with experience in working to eliminate lead poisoning. The workshop will also include time for dialogue and networking to foster the exchange of ideas and support a growing community of practice in this important area of environmental and public health protection.

County officials conducting health survey among neighbors of former battery-recycling plant

Read the full story in the Los Angeles Times.

Hundreds of Los Angeles County health officials and volunteers went door to door Saturday conducting health surveys of residents who live around a shuttered battery-recycling plant near downtown, which is blamed for decades of lead emissions spread across seven southeast communities.