Guest Commentary

Leading experts from a variety of fields bring their insights to The Equation, providing guest commentary on a broad range of issues that connect to our work. Views expressed here belong to the authors, not UCS.

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The EPA’s ‘Censored Science’ Rule Isn’t Just Bad Policy, It’s Also Illegal

James Goodwin

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) appears poised to take the next step in advancing its dangerous “censored science” rulemaking with the pending release of a supplemental proposal. The EPA presumably intends for this action to respond to criticism of the many glaring errors and shortcomings in its original proposal, hastily released in 2018. Unfortunately, if the leaked version of the supplemental proposal is any indication, the agency is no closer to curing one of the 2018 proposal’s biggest defects: identifying a plausible legal authority to issue the rule in the first place. As such, if and when it’s finalized, the rule is doomed to easy rejection on the judicial review that is certain to follow. Read more >

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Photo: BrotherM/Flickr

What You Should Know This Mesothelioma Awareness Day

Linda Reinstein

Did you know asbestos—the carcinogen that causes mesothelioma—is still in-use and is imported into the country every year? Most people think asbestos went the way of 8-track tapes and brick-sized cell phones, but it’s still legal and lethal in the United States of America, in contrast to the more than 60 countries around the globe that have banned it.

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BrotherM/Flickr
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Art & Climate Change

Noel Kassewitz

Wouldn’t it be bizarre to explore how an artist would go about preparing their artwork for climate change? In a natural disaster scenario, no one says “Grab the passports and the dog… and the Modigliani!” So, the works presumably will have to fend for themselves. This thought launched my most recent series of work. Now, a year and a half later, I will be floating down the Potomac River on top of one of my “climate change ready” paintings as both a demonstration of its capabilities and a symbolic gesture to the government establishments I feel are ignoring the problem.

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Members of the Wishtoyo Foundation who are fighting the proposed Mission Rock gas plant slated for sacred Chumash lands gather with members of CAUSE who successfully fought the proposed Puente gas plant. The proposed site of Puente, the Mandalay Bay gas plant, lies in the background on the Oxnard coast. Photo credit: Chris Jordan-Bloch/Earthjustice

Transition to Renewable Energy: Legislation Puts Clean Air and Vulnerable Communities First

Gladys Limon

A number of California’s natural gas power plants are located in low-income communities of color. For decades, these communities have unjustly carried the burden of powering our state and paid the highest price — their health — for dirty energy. The good news is that, according to an analysis just released by the Union of Concerned Scientists, California can retire a significant amount of natural gas generation because it is no longer needed. The bad news is that as California increases its reliance on renewable energy, an unintended consequence is that existing natural gas plants could get dirtier.

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Photo: Ben Grantham/Flickr

Chronic Flooding and the Future of Miami

Nicole Hernández Hammer

En español > 

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) recently released a report analyzing the impacts of chronic tidal flooding on U.S. coastal properties in the lower 48 states. The number of homes and businesses, their value, along with the amount of tax base and most importantly, people at risk is startling. They found that by 2045, 311,000 homes, worth $117.5 billion dollars by today’s market values, could be at risk of chronic flooding driven by climate change. By 2100, 2.4 million homes, worth approximately $912 billion dollars, and 4.7 million people will be at risk. Nowhere more than Florida, that bears 40% of the risk, are these realities being felt now and will be more so in the future as sea levels continue to rise. Ultimately, the impacts of climate change driven chronic flooding leads to a greater potential crisis for low-income communities.

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Photo: Ben Grantham/Flickr
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