Wednesday, August 10, 2022


A lawsuit over the funding of Pennsylvania schools is in the hands of a judge, California launches a student loan debt challenge, and texts show former President Trump seeking donations after the FBI raid.


Republicans rally around former President Trump after the FBI searches his home for missing archive documents, President Biden formalizes U.S. support for Finland and Sweden joining NATO, and the FDA expands authorization of the monkeypox vaccine.


People in five rural Kentucky counties are fighting their way back after catastrophic flooding, efforts to preserve Oklahoma's historic buildings in small communities are running up against funding challenges, and more factory-built manufactured homes could help solve the nation's housing shortage.

Coronavirus Could Mean Relaxed Enforcement, More Pollution


Monday, April 13, 2020   

SEATTLE -- Washington state and the federal government say they are relaxing enforcement of environmental regulations during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Washington State Department of Ecology and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency say the virus could interfere with industries' ability to comply with standards and are protecting the health of the agencies' employees and the public.

Katelyn Kinn, a clean water attorney with Puget Soundkeeper, says we likely won't know the effects of the flexibility in enforcement until after the crisis is over.

"Ultimately, it may be that important pollution standards just aren't followed, whether temporarily or for large periods of time," Kinn explains. "That could be sampling, that could be installation of important pollution reduction solutions on the ground."

Kinn says a likely scenario is that the Department of Ecology would have been aware of pollution issues during this outbreak but chose not to stop it. She says this has happened before, but could be a more regular occurrence under the agency's discretion in enforcing environmental protections.

Kinn says public health needs to be prioritized and that environmental laws and human health laws are deeply intertwined.

"That's especially important for certain cross-sections of our community who rely very heavily on clean water and clean air -- and really that's all of us," she states. "But there are also certain communities that are disproportionately impacted by that solution."

Kinn notes that this doesn't change environmental laws and that groups like hers still can file lawsuits to enforce regulations. But she adds that the Department of Ecology and EPA statements could set a dangerous precedent, comparing it to police giving out tickets in order to protect pedestrians and people from car accidents.

"If the police force were to make an announcement that they might not be ticketing this summer, that would probably cause an increase in speeding," she states.

UPDATE: A spokesperson for Department of Ecology says COVID-19 will not interfere with their ability to enforce environmental regulations and that state requirements remain in effect. He says the agency's priority is to protect public health and safety, and it has invited facilities or businesses to contact them about how to maintain compliance during the pandemic.

get more stories like this via email

A shortage of affordable housing is seen as one reason for a spike in eviction cases in Virginia. According to the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, the state needs 153,415 affordable rentals for people who are extremely low-income. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

With Virginia's Rent Relief Program ending, a flood of eviction cases has emerged. Established during the pandemic, the program was designed to help …


As Congress debates a bill to fund climate-change solutions, Pima Community College is doing its own work to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and …

Social Issues

In the first six months of this year, the U.S. saw a significant jump in foreclosure filings, coinciding with concerns about the pressure inflation …

The Federal Trade Commission warns that scammers often pretend to be from the Social Security Administration and ask to "verify people's taxpayer ID" numbers in an effort to steal their identity. (Stockphotopro/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Last year, Americans reported losing a record-breaking $5.8 billion to scams, and now, the State of California and AARP are teaming up to try to …

Social Issues

The state has just launched the California Student Loan Debt Challenge, to let public service employees - like teachers, law enforcement, nurses…

People can wait up to three years to get into affordable housing in Spokane, Wash. (Zach/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Washingtonians are feeling the squeeze from high housing prices, but a novel concept launching in Spokane could speed up the creation of affordable …

Social Issues

More officials from South Dakota's health care community are speaking out in support of Medicaid expansion. Voters will decide this fall whether to …

Social Issues

CORRECTION: The $3.7 billion figure represents an increase in education investments during the eight-year Wolf Administration, not the Pennsylvania …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021