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OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump official delayed releasing information on cancer-linked chemical in Illinois: watchdog | Advocacy groups say tech giants need to 'step it up' on sustainability |  GOP senator: Raising corporate taxes is a 'non-starter'

OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump official delayed releasing information on cancer-linked chemical in Illinois: watchdog | Advocacy groups say tech giants need to 'step it up' on sustainability |  GOP senator: Raising corporate taxes is a 'non-starter'
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Today we’re looking at a watchdog report that says a Trump official delayed the release of info to the public on a cancer-linked chemical, calls for big tech to do more on sustainability and Republican comments on how to pay for (or how not to pay for) infrastructure. 

But first...

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Environmental sustainability is no longer optional; it's become an imperative. Join The Hill for a national multi-day virtual event including multiple tracks of programming featuring fireside chats with policy leaders and practitioners in the sustainability ecosystem. 

View the full schedule and RSVP today.

 

DELAYED INFORMATION: Watchdog says Trump official delayed releasing information on cancer-linked chemical in Illinois

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A Trump administration political official delayed the publication of information about a chemical that has been linked to health issues – including cancer – in Illinois, an internal government watchdog said Thursday. 

The inspector general for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Thursday released a report which said that officials delayed the public release of information about the risks of a chemical called ethylene oxide in Willowbrook, Ill. 

The report also said that senior political officials sought to restrict regional officials from conducting certain activities to monitor for ethylene oxide. 

So what’s the background?: On June 20, 2018, the leader of the EPA’s regional office was briefed on agency ethylene oxide monitoring around a facility owned by industrial sterilization company Sterigenics. The monitoring found concentrations of the chemical that would lead to increased cancer risk if people were exposed for a lifetime, the report said. 

And what did the political officials do?  Two days later, regional staff were prepared to release the results, but the report said that the EPA’s then-assistant administrator for Air and Radiation “delayed” them from releasing the results. 

And what else? The report also said that senior political officials instructed regional officials not to carry out certain activities to monitor ethylene oxide. 

This included preventing them from getting information from facilities that emit ethylene oxide through Clean Air Act information request letters, telling them not to conduct new air monitoring for ethylene oxide and not seeking assistance from ATSDR. 

The bottom line: “The instructions from OAR ultimately hindered Region 5’s ability to protect human health from ethylene oxide emissions in a timely manner,” the report said. 

Read more about the report here. 

STEP UP 2: THE LOBBY...Advocacy groups say tech giants need to 'step it up' on sustainability

The five biggest tech companies in the U.S. have touted a wide array of sustainability initiatives, but critics say the companies fall short where it matters — lobbying. 

Despite the financial success of Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, environmental advocacy groups say the tech giants are not putting enough financial support behind lobbying for pro-climate public policy.

“The individual actions that companies are taking are vital, and we need them to keep doing that and to step it up. But the most important thing that we all need is public policy that really bends the climate curve,” Bill Weihl, executive director of ClimateVoice, told The Hill.

“Companies need to be willing to get in there and honestly take some political risks, pick a side. Because continuing to stay on the sidelines is essentially picking the side of the status quo,” Weihl added.

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Weihl previously served as the green energy czar at Google and the director of sustainability at Facebook. Now he says that while the companies can all point to examples where they stepped up in favor of pro-climate policies, there are more examples where they stayed silent.

So how much do they do on climate policy? InfluenceMap, a London-based think tank, released a report on “Big Tech and Climate Policy” in January detailing how the five largest tech companies did — or largely did not — lobby for climate policy.

Only 4 percent of the disclosed lobbying activity of “Big Tech,” the term the report uses for the five previously mentioned companies, was devoted to climate-related policies, according to the report. But “Big Oil” has devoted an average of 38 percent of disclosed lobbying activity to climate-related policies, based on the report.

Read more about the issue here.

 

NAH, BRO: Capito says raising corporate tax is  a ‘non-starter’

Sen. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Masks off: CDC greenlights return to normal for vaccinated Americans Infrastructure deal imperiled by differences on financing On The Money: Biden, Senate GOP take step toward infrastructure deal as other plans hit speed bumps MORE (R-W.Va.) said Thursday that she wouldn’t support legislation raising corporate taxes, calling the idea a “non-starter” during a press conference. 

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“I voted for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. It had the desired effect of bringing capital back into this country, no corporate inversions, higher wages, lower unemployment,” said Capito, referring to a 2017 bill that cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, when asked if Republicans would be open to any changes. 

“I think that’s a non-negotiable red line,” she said. “For me personally, that’s a non-starter.”

Read more about Capito’s comments here. 

 

QUOTE OF NOTE: McCarthy says Biden has an ‘FDR moment’ on climate

“The moment in time for climate is a little bit different” said White House Climate Advisor Gina McCarthyGina McCarthyOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden officials unveil plan to conserve 30 percent of US lands and water | Watchdog questions adequacy of EPA standards for carcinogenic chemical emissions | Interior proposing revocation of Trump-era rollback on bird protections Biden officials unveil plan to conserve 30 percent of US lands and water Feehery: Biden seems intent on repeating the same mistakes of Jimmy Carter MORE during an event hosted by The Hill. “What [Biden] won’t accommodate is a plan that’s smaller than this moment counts for … you’re right, this is an FDR moment.”

Read more about her remarks here. 

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WHAT WE’RE READING: 

DDT’s toxic legacy can harm granddaughters of women exposed, study shows, The Los Angeles Times reports

Study Finds Lower Life Expectancy Around Superfund Sites, Earther reports

Amazon’s warehouse boom linked to health hazards in America’s most polluted region, The Guardian reports

 

ICYMI: Stories from Thursday…

Trump official delayed releasing information on cancer-linked chemical in Illinois: watchdog

McCarthy hails 'whole-of-government approach' to climate

GOP senator: Raising corporate taxes is a 'non-starter'

Interior delays consideration of opening public Alaska lands to development

Advocacy groups say tech giants need to 'step it up' on sustainability

 

SOMETHING OFFBEAT AND OFF BEAT: It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a...pastry?