Excellent primer on lead issues from our friends at the NRDC. We've made enormous progress in getting lead out of the air, but are still way short of where we need to be on lead in the water. This is not just about Flint. This is a national problem.
Interesting article in the New York Times on World Bank and IMF efforts to get countries to adopt carbon taxes or cap-and-trade programs. MCEA hopes that the recent administrative law judge recommendation that Minnesota adopt the federal "social cost of carbon" is a first step here. And, as many of you know, Washington state has a carbon tax initiative on the ballot this year.
Good, kind of wonky article about drinking water infrastructure, focusing on technology and financing:"Our drinking water systems are a disaster. What can we do?"
Reports are coming in that three of the state and local officials responsible for drinking water problems in Flint are going to be subjected to criminal charges. My understanding is that adding corrosion inhibitors to drinking water supplies is pretty routine when lead pipes are involved. If the reason this was not done was just to save a few dollars to appease the state officials trying to cut all costs at Flint, somebody probably should go to jail.
The American Lung Association has its annual "State of the Air" report out. It shows progress on clean air during the 2012-2014 period studies, but still much farther to go to meet air quality standards. Minneapolis-St. Paul gets a "D" for ground-level ozone and a "B" for fine particulates. If we can get those numbers down--clean up smog in the summer, and soot in the winter--we can make enormous public health strides. That means continuing to close coal-fired power plants, retiring or retrofitting old diesel engines, reducing residential wood smoke, improving practices in typically smaller businesses where volatile organic compounds get released, and reducing overall miles traveled in vehicles running on fossil fuels. It's hard to know how a city like Bakersfield can get out of its air pollution mess, but we can certainly do much better here.