Tag Archives: toxic waste

America leaves Iraq a toxic legacy of dumped hazardous materials

Oliver August, Baghdad TheTimes June 14, 2010

American troops going home from Iraq after seven painful years are leaving behind a legacy that is literally toxic.

An investigation by The Times in five Iraqi provinces has found that hazardous material from US bases is being dumped locally rather than sent back to America, in clear breach of Pentagon rules.

North and west of Baghdad, engine oil is leaking from 55-gallon drums into dusty ground, open acid canisters sit within easy reach of children, and discarded batteries lie close to irrigated farmland. A 2009 Pentagon document shown to The Times by a private contractor working with US soldiers mentions “an estimated 11 million pounds [5,000 tonnes] of hazardous waste” produced by American troops.

But even this figure appears to be only a partial estimate. BrigadierGeneral Kendall Cox, who is responsible for engineering and infrastructure in Iraq, told The Times yesterday that he was in the process of disposing of 14,500 tonnes of oil and soil contaminated with oil. “This has accumulated over seven years,” he said.

Iraqis who have come into contact with some of the material suffer from rashes and blistering on their hands and feet. They also complain of gagging and coughing. Rats near sites where waste was dumped have died and lie next to soiled containers.   Continue reading

Obama’s Regulatory Czar Deliberately Stalling Toxic Coal Waste Regulation

(Image: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: GregPC, Robert Thomson, calebkimbrough)

By Joshua Frank
TruthOut

It may be unsettling to some that the man most responsible for overseeing coal ash regulation within the Obama administration has a track record of siding with polluters instead of the people most affected by toxic waste.

His name is Cass Sunstein and he serves as the little known, yet powerful administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs – aka Obama’s “regulatory czar.” A long-time friend of the president, Sunstein’s law and academic career, which include stints at Harvard and University of Chicago, has focused largely on regulatory policy and behavioral economics. Sunstein, who has written extensively on such matters, has challenged workplace safety laws and even the constitutionality of the Clean Air Act. Continue reading