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Putting ‘health of all species’ in danger: Trump EPA proposal guts restrictions on toxic herbicide linked to birth defects

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“The pro-industry zealots now running the EPA’s pesticide office are making a mockery of science and eliminating key safety measures, all for company profits.”

Environmental and public health advocacy groups expressed alarm Friday after the Trump administration moved to increase the allowable level in U.S. waterways of a common herbicide linked to hermaphroditic amphibians and birth defects, cancer, and other harmful health effects in humans.

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At issue in the proposal posted yesterday by the EPA is the threshold level of atrazine, the second most widely used herbicide in the U.S. Manufactured by Syngenta, atrazine is primarily used in agriculture as a weedkiller on crops. It is not authorized for use in the European Union, as the body said there wasn’t enough data to prove it wouldn’t have a harmful effect on groundwater.

“Human exposure to atrazine is linked to a number of serious health effects,” according to a factsheet from Pesticide Action Network. “A potent endocrine disrupter, atrazine interferes with hormonal activity of animals and humans at extremely low doses.”

The proposed change, said Nathan Donley, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity, “will likely lead to an increase in atrazine in drinking water, particularly in the Midwest.”

As Donley’s group and Environmental Working Group (EWG) explain in a press statement, the proposal regards what the EPA calls the Concentration Equivalent Level of Concern (CELOC).

“Atrazine levels above this threshold require mitigations to bring the water body back into compliance. Below, this level, no action is required,” as Donley said in tweet.

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Trump’s EPA is proposing bumping up the level to a 60-day average concentration of 15 parts per billion (ppb) of atrazine, 50% higher than the current level of 10 ppb. In 2016 the agency proposed a level of just 3.4 ppb, but that Obama-era assessment, according to Trump’s EPA, was “fundamentally flawed” and failed to take into consideration “the relevance of the individual studies.”

Driving the push towards higher acceptable levels of atrazine, according to EWG and the Center, is the administration’s goal of appeasing Big Ag and the pesticide industry.

“To please Syngenta, the Trump EPA has rejected decades of independent research showing atrazine can’t be safely used at any level,” said Donley. “The pro-industry zealots now running the EPA’s pesticide office are making a mockery of science and eliminating key safety measures, all for company profits.”

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Olga Naidenko, EWG’s vice president for science investigations, warned of the possible impacts to children.

“Atrazine sprayed on the fields ends up in our drinking water and affects the development of the fetus,” said Naidenko. Thus, she said, the proposal should provoke “outrage” as it “will lead to more children being exposed to this toxic chemical.”

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“With Trump’s EPA reversing even the most commonsense protections,” added Donley, “our health, and the health of all species, is in serious danger.”

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Ken Starr is an awful choice for Trump’s legal team because he’ll look like a hypocrite: Former federal prosecutor

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President Donald Trump has a severe hypocrisy problem, and it has extended to his legal team. In a CNN explainer answering legal questions from viewers, former state and federal prosecutor Eli Honig explained that the choice of Ken Starr for Trump's legal team was a terrible idea.

Trump has chosen lawyers that are like a Fox News legal discussion panel. Pat Cipollone, Alan Dershowitz, Robert Wray, Pam Bondi and Jay Sekulow are all key people Trump has called on to defend him. But one person stands out, Honig explained. Ken Starr.

"He may emerge as a symbol of hypocrisy," Honig said. "He was the independent counsel who pursued Bill Clinton in the 1990s. Ken Starr turned over Heaven and Earth in his investigation of Bill Clinton. He talked to everyone who ever had known Monica Lewinsky, ex-boyfriends, teachers, window washers. And here he's going to say you shouldn't be hearing from primary witnesses?"

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‘Comparing yourself to terrorists?’ Internet cracks up at Trump saying dead 9-11 hijackers got more justice than him

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President Donald Trump quoted Fox News host Mark Levin that left many scratching their heads. Levin, who has a show on Sunday evenings, claimed that the terrorists from Sept. 11 got more due process than the president.

The claim was a curious one because, as many on Twitter noted, it's not often that the president of the United States compares himself to a terrorist. Secondly, the 9-11 hijackers all died in the attack, as they were on the planes that crashed into the buildings and into a Pennsylvania field.

Trump is known to quote Levin frequently, though the citations often make the president look worse.

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CNN

If people of color showed up to a Capitol protest heavily armed — Trump would call them terrorists: commentator

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Legal analyst Areva Martin explained in a CNN panel discussion Sunday that the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday has historically been a day in which white supremacists rear their ugly heads with racist protests and other public displays of bigotry. Monday's expected rally of racist gun nuts expected at the Virginia capitol is no different.

Colorblind author Tim Wise said that it's a whole different level with pro-gun activists. He noted that there was a message from the NRA that former President Barack Obama was going to take everyone's guns away. Of course, that never happened, but it was part of the narrative to scare sensible gun owners. Now, President Donald Trump is employing the same idea, saying that the rally of racists in Virginia is being spun by the president as another Democratic power-grab. Wise called it a kind of "front-lash" instead of "backlash."

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