Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Last Call For Going Off The Rails, Con't

The Environmental Protection Agency announced a sweeping enforcement action against Norfolk Southern on Tuesday, compelling the rail company to conduct and pay for cleanup actions associated with the Feb. 3 derailment of a train carrying toxic chemicals in East Palestine, Ohio.

“The Norfolk Southern train derailment has upended the lives of East Palestine families, and EPA’s order will ensure the company is held accountable for jeopardizing the health and safety of this community,” said EPA Administrator Michael Regan in remarks prepared for a news conference in East Palestine. “Let me be clear: Norfolk Southern will pay for cleaning up the mess they created and for the trauma they’ve inflicted on this community.”

If the company fails to complete any of the actions ordered by the EPA, the agency will “immediately” conduct the necessary work and then seek to compel Norfolk Southern to pay triple the cost.
The order will require the company to identify and clean contaminated soil and water; pay any EPA costs, including reimbursing the agency for cleaning services that it will offer to residents and businesses; and participate in public meetings at EPA’s request and post information on-line.

The rail company already faces multiple class-action suits from members of the East Palestine community over the incident, which forced residents within roughly a mile radius to evacuate their homes.
Now, how quickly will Ohio GOP Gov. Mike DeWine find a federal judge friendly enough to block this order, saying the Environmental Protection Agency has no authority to actually protect the environment?

We're going to find out in short order.

The View From Providence

US Representative David Cicilline plans to resign from Congress later this year to become president and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation, his office announced.

The announcement Tuesday is sure to send shockwaves through Rhode Island’s political establishment, setting up an off-year special election for the First Congressional District seat that most political observers believed the 61-year-old Democrat could have held for the rest of his life.

Over the course of 28 years, Cicilline has held elected office as a Rhode Island state representative, mayor of Providence, and member of Congress.

During a special meeting on Tuesday morning, the foundation’s board of directors voted to hire Cicilline following a months-long national search to replace outgoing president and CEO Neil Steinberg. The foundation is Rhode Island’s largest philanthropic organization, with a endowment of more than $1.3 billion.

“For more than a decade, the people of Rhode Island entrusted me with a sacred duty to represent them in Congress, and it is a responsibility I put my heart and soul into every day to make life better for the residents and families of our state,” Cicilline said. “The chance to lead the Rhode Island Foundation was unexpected, but it is an extraordinary opportunity to have an even more direct and meaningful impact on the lives of residents of our state. The same energy and commitment I brought to elected office I will now bring as CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation, advancing their mission to ensure all Rhode Islanders can achieve economic security, access quality, affordable healthcare, and attain the education and training that will set them on a path to prosperity.”
Cicilline is expected to bow out at the end of May, setting up a special election later this year that could be a doozy. We'll see who comes out of it.


In Which Zandar Answers Your Burning Questions™, Con't

 Steve Benen at Maddowblog:
Despite her role, Marjorie Taylor Greene backs ‘national divorce’

As Marjorie Taylor Greene endorses the dissolution of the United States, the question is whether House GOP leaders will bother to care.

Short answer, no.
That’s not a rhetorical question. GOP leaders should let the public know whether they’re comfortable with such a dynamic — and what they’re prepared to do in response if they’re not comfortable with such a dynamic.

Indeed, that’s ultimately what matters most in response to so many of the controversies Greene creates. Her extremism is routine to the point that’s become background noise. Basic American patriotism generally prevents elected officials from endorsing the dissolution of the United States, but we’ve reached the point in our collective history at which members of Congress can publish such messages — which would’ve sparked a genuine scandal in the not-too-distant past — and much of the political world shrugs, seeing it as somehow routine.
Long answer: It's routine because they are the party of insurrection. Sending MTG to prison would be the right things to do, but doing the right thing is hard, especially if you're an entire country.

This has been another edition of In Which Zandar Answers Your Burning Questions™.

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