How a Koch-owned chemical plant in Texas gamed the Clean Air Act

The trouble began in the middle of the night.

Around 2 a.m. on January 10, 2017, an air quality monitor in Port Arthur, Texas, began recording sulfur dioxide readings well above the federal standard of 75 parts per billion, or ppb.

The monitor had recently been installed by regulators to keep an eye on Oxbow Calcining, a company owned by William “Bill” Koch that operates massive plants that purify petcoke, a petroleum byproduct that can be used to power steel and aluminum manufacturing.

That Tuesday morning, the wind shifted due north and carried a noxious slew of emissions from the plant a half-mile away to the monitor. By 2:20 a.m., the monitor was reading 122.3 ppb.

3:30 a.m.: 128.7 ppb.

5:00 a.m.: 147.8 ppb — almost double the federal standard.

By the afternoon, emissions readings had topped the public health standard 25 times. For the next 18 months, they would periodically flood the 55,000-person city with a pungent

— source | Naveena Sadasivam, Clayton Aldern | Feb 16, 2023

Nullius in verba


US Mining law has barely changed since 1872

This year has already brought some unusual setbacks for mining companies, thanks to the Biden administration. On January 26, the administration dealt a possibly fatal blow to Twin Metal Minnesota’s decades-long effort to reopen a nickel and copper mine near the Boundary Waters, the most visited wilderness area in the country. A few days later, the Environmental Protection Agency vetoed the proposed Pebble Mine, invoking the Clean Water Act to halt a gold and copper mine near one of the world’s largest spawning grounds for salmon in Alaska.

The rejections were rare for the industry — in the case of the Pebble Mine, it was the first time that the Clean Water Act was used to stop a hardrock mine. While tribes and environmental organizations welcomed the news, mining companies and their allies in Congress criticized the Biden administration for standing in the way of its own clean energy goals.

Metals like copper, nickel, and lithium are all used in electric vehicle batteries as well as for wind and solar energy storage; as such, they’ve been dubbed “critical” to getting the United States off fossil fuels. The landmark Inflation Reduction Act that Biden signed into law last summer aims to bolster domestic production of these minerals, with billions for mine development and tax credits for cars that use materials mined in the United States (or supplies from free-trade agreement partners). At the moment, there’s

— source | Blanca Begert | Feb 09, 2023

Nullius in verba

Will You Follow Same Rules Here as in Europe, SC Asks Google

The Supreme Court has asked Google whether it will follow the guidelines set on pre-installed apps on Android phones in the European Union in India as well.

Google India has approached the court to challenge the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal’s order declining to stay a Rs 1,338 crore penalty imposed on the company by the Competition Commission of India for unfair and anti-competitive practices.

The CCI told the Supreme Court, LiveLaw reported, that the EU commission had found Google’s practice of pre-installing apps on Android phones unfair in 2016, and the company had since changed how it approached the matter there. However, in India, it continues with its earlier practices and was unwilling to adhere to a similar order passed by the CCI.

On January 6, NCLAT refused to stay CCI’s fine order and told the company to deposit 10% of the fine amount within three weeks. Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appeared for Google.

— source | 17/Jan/2023

Nullius in verba

Right to Repair passes New York Senate on 51-12 vote

The New York state Senate on Thursday passed a landmark right-to-repair bill that aimed to require manufacturers to provide access to the parts, information and tools necessary for fixing electronic equipment. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Neil Breslin, was passed on a 51 to 12 vote. While the New York state Assembly is unlikely to take up the sister bill, Assembly Bill 7006, sponsored by Asm. Pat Fahy, the senate vote is still a milestone. This is the first time a broad Right to Repair measure has seen a full chamber vote (earlier votes involved narrower bills for medical devices, farm equipment and cars). The achievement comes amid heavy opposition: A U.S. PIRG study found that companies worth a combined $10.7 trillion have recently lobbied against Right to Repair. The bill is supported by, NYPIRG and U.S. PIRG,, Consumer Reports Advocacy, and many other public interest and environmental organizations.

— source | Jun 10, 2021

Nullius in verba

Rightwing Lobby Group ALEC Driving Laws to Blacklist Companies That Boycott the Oil Industry

The influential rightwing lobby group the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is driving a surge in new state laws to block boycotts of the oil industry. The group’s strategy, which aims to protect large oil firms and other conservative-friendly industries, is modelled on legislation to punish divestment from Israel. Since the beginning of the year, state legislatures in West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Indiana have introduced a version of a law drafted by ALEC, called the Energy Discrimination Elimination Act, to shield big oil from share selloffs and other measures intended to protest the fossil fuel industry’s role in the climate crisis. A dozen other states have publicly supported the intent of the legislation.

— source | Feb 11, 2022

Nullius in verba

Sierra Leone Abolishes Colonial-Era Death Penalty

On 23 July 2021, the Parliament of Sierra Leone voted in favour of a Bill abolishing the death penalty. The Bill is required to receive the assent of President Julius Maada Bio before it becomes law. In February, President Bio officially gave the directives for the death penalty to be abolished from Sierra Leone’s laws. In May, in response to the calls of the international community in Geneva during Sierra Leone’s United Nations Universal Periodic Review, the Deputy Justice Minister announced the commitment of President Julius Maada Bio’s cabinet to fully abolish the death penalty.

— source | 25 Jul 2021

Nullius in verba

Abolition Amendment to Scrap US Constitution’s ‘Slavery Clause’

Backed by a coalition of dozens of human rights organizations, Democratic lawmakers on Friday reintroduced legislation to do away with the constitutional loophole which has allowed forced labor to persist in the United States for more than 150 years—the 13th Amendment.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Rep. Nikema Williams (D-Ga.) led two dozen of their colleagues in introducing the Abolition Amendment, which would strike the “slavery clause” from the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Adopted in January 1865, the amendment bans enslavement in the U.S., except as a form of punishment for criminal activity.

— source | Julia Conley | Jun 18, 2021

Nullius in verba

The so called famous civil libertarian

The lawsuit alleges that the producers of the series misled Dershowitz by promising to include evidence that Dershowitz says refutes allegations of his involvement with an alleged Epstein victim.

Lawyer Alan Dershowitz on Wednesday filed a 20 million dollar defamation lawsuit in Miami federal court against Netflix and the producers of “Filthy Rich,” a documentary about Jeffrey Epstein that first aired on the streaming network in March 2020.

Dershowitz, 82, was a member of the legal team that defended Epstein against 2005 allegations that he molested and sexually assaulted dozens of middle and high school girls in Palm Beach.

Among the girls whom the New York financier sexually abused was Virginia Giuffre, a runaway who was recruited into Epstein’s sex trafficking operation in 2000 at the age of 16.

In the four-part series, Guiffre, now 37 and living in Australia, repeated her claim that she was trafficked by Epstein to Dershowitz and a number of other

— source | | May 27, 2021

Nullius in verba

Bayer Monsanto Roundup Settlement Hearing Nears

A hearing on the controversial proposed settlement of future cancer claims against Bayer Monsanto will be held May 19 at 10 PST before federal judge Vince Chhabria in San Francisco.

The zoom hearing will be open to the public and streamed live on the internet.

On one side at the hearing will be hundreds of tort lawyers who represent tens of thousands of people who have sued Monsanto owner Bayer AG alleging their non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other cancers were caused by glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide.

These lawyers were blindsided last year when a handful of class action settlement lawyers with no connection to the tort litigation, led by Elizabeth Cabraser and Sam Issacharoff, proposed a settlement that would put a four year hold on any Roundup litigation against Bayer, prohibit punitive damage claims against Bayer, and set up a secret science panel.

That proposal was rejected by a federal judge sitting in San Francisco – U.S. District Court Judge Vince Chhabria.

— source | May 14, 2021

Nullius in verba