Ban

Asbestos ban stalls in Congress amid partisan fight

Democrats and Republicans are each accusing the other of holding up a bill to ban asbestos that had been expected to pass with little controversy this week.

The Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act exited committee with just one no vote and was expected to sail through the voting process without amendments.

But Democratic aides on the Energy and Commerce Committee say that progress has stalled as GOP lawmakers object to a provision that assures the legislation would have no impact on ongoing litigation over injuries tied to use of talcum powder.

“Everyone should be able to support a ban on this known carcinogen, which has no place in our consumer products or processes. More than 40,000 Americans die every year from asbestos exposure, but Republicans are willing to look the other way,” Committee Chairman Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PallonePharma execs say FDA will not lower standards for coronavirus vaccine Dem chairmen urge CMS to prevent nursing homes from seizing stimulus payments Federal watchdog finds cybersecurity vulnerabilities in FCC systems MORE (D-N.J.) said in a statement.

“Republicans walked away from this opportunity to ban asbestos merely over language that prevents shutting the courtroom door. This raises serious questions about the sincerity of their intentions,” he added. 

Republicans say their only issue with the legislation is a recently-added provision they say will increase litigation.

Asbestos, tied to lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis, is still used in a surprising number of products despite its dangers, largely within the automotive sector along with other industrial uses. 

The bill bars the production, use and importation of asbestos, implementing a ban on the substance within a year of its passage, with a few narrow exceptions.

The legislation would amend the Toxic Substances Control Act, which doesn’t deal with the cosmetic uses of asbestos being

White House blocks CDC on Florida cruise ship ban amid election concerns

Video: Trump Predicts Supreme Court Will Decide Election Outcome as He Pushes Quick Confirmation (Cover Video)

Trump Predicts Supreme Court Will Decide Election Outcome as He Pushes Quick Confirmation

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The White House reportedly overruled the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) over a ban on passenger cruises in Florida, in an apparent attempt at appealing to voters in the swing state.



a large ship in a body of water


© Provided by The Independent


Florida, where Mr Trump and his Democratic opponent Joe Biden have been almost tied in recent polls, typically brings-in billions in income.

But CDC orders, originally introduced in April at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, had banned cruise passenger ships with a “no sail” order, in an attempt to control Covid-19’s spread.

That order was due to expire on Wednesday, which could have seen Florida’s cruise industry restart after a five month absence without an extension.  

Making an appeal to the White House coronavirus task force this week, CDC director Robert Redfield reportedly wanted to extend the “no sail” ban until next year, amid coronavirus concerns.

According to Axios, the CDC was instead overruled at that meeting, with the vice president outlining alternatives.

The White House and CDC later announced that the “no sail” ban would be extended up-until October 31, in line with the cruise industry’s self-imposed deadline – but months before Mr Redfield had requested.

It is the latest point of contention between Mr Redfield and the Trump administration, who were described as undermining the CDC director on public health policy.

Mr Trump, meanwhile, has berated the director for promiting mask wearing and cautioning against his claims that a coronavirus vaccine would soon be possible.

Defending the decision, White House deputy press secretary Brian Morgensrern denied any political motivation behind the October 31 deadline

White House overrules CDC on temporary ban on cruises

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield wanted to extend the agency’s No Sail Order for cruise ships set to expire on Wednesday, but was blocked by the White House, The New York Times reports.

At the beginning of the pandemic, there were several coronavirus outbreaks on cruise ships; the Diamond Princess, for example, saw 700 of its 3,711 passengers and crew members test positive for COVID-19, with 14 dying. Wanting to avoid a repeat of this, Redfield argued the No Sail Order, which went into effect in April as a way of combating the coronavirus, should be extended until mid-February 2021, but he was overruled during a White House Coronavirus Task Force meeting on Tuesday, the Times reports. The task force decided instead ships will be able to set sail after Oct. 31.

The Cruise Lines International Association says the industry generates $53 billion in economic activity every year, and its biggest market in the United States is Florida. Republican politicians in the swing state and cruise industry lobbyists have been arguing that the No Sail Order should not be extended, but White House Deputy Press Secretary Brian Morgenstern told the Times the task force’s decision was not politically motivated.

“The president, the vice president, and the task force follow the science and data to implement policies that protect the public health and also facilitate the safe reopening of our country,” he said.

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‘Like zero’ chance of seismic tests off NC in next drilling ban, interior secretary says

Although President Donald Trump has expanded an offshore drilling moratorium to federal waters off North Carolina, conservation groups are concerned coastal environments could still be endangered by seismic testing.

The U.S. Department of Justice said in a court filing last week that moratoriums against drilling off of North Carolina and other Southeastern states do not prevent companies from conducting seismic testing, a method of mapping oil and natural gas deposits under the ocean floor by blasting loud noises from an array of air guns.. But in an interview with the News & Observer, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt said he thinks the moratorium means there is “like zero” chance seismic testing will happen off of the North Carolina coast.

“The president’s action means that it’s extraordinarily unlikely, in my opinion, that there will ever be seismic done in these areas because the entire point of doing it for these companies — in order to want to sell it — is gone,” Bernhardt said.

Environmental groups disagree. Kristen Monsell, a spokeswoman for the Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund, said that even though the Atlantic seaboard was never opened to offshore drilling in the 2010s, several companies still submitted seismic testing applications to the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

“I think that shows that oil and seismic companies will try to get into areas regardless of what’s open to leasing to do seismic to see what’s out there, and if they can find something, then push to have it open,” Monsell said.

The Center for Biological Diversity is one of many plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit filed in South Carolina trying to block the permitting of seismic testing, a lawsuit joined by N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein. The Department of Justice memo regarding seismic testing and the

Trump offshore drilling ban doesn’t stop NC seismic testing

U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt said there is very little chance of seismic testing moving forward off of the N.C. coast while offshore drilling moratoriums are in place. This photo shows Platform Holly, an oil drilling rig in the Santa Barbara Channel offshore of the city of Goleta, California.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt said there is very little chance of seismic testing moving forward off of the N.C. coast while offshore drilling moratoriums are in place. This photo shows Platform Holly, an oil drilling rig in the Santa Barbara Channel offshore of the city of Goleta, California.

AP

Although President Donald Trump has expanded an offshore drilling moratorium to federal waters off North Carolina, conservation groups are concerned coastal environments could still be endangered by seismic testing.

The U.S. Department of Justice said in a court filing last week that moratoriums against drilling off of North Carolina and other Southeastern states do not prevent companies from conducting seismic testing, a method of mapping oil and natural gas deposits under the ocean floor by blasting loud noises from an array of air guns.. But in an interview with the News & Observer, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt said he thinks the moratorium means there is “like zero” chance seismic testing will happen off of the North Carolina coast.

“The president’s action means that it’s extraordinarily unlikely, in my opinion, that there will ever be seismic done in these areas because the entire point of doing it for these companies — in order to want to sell it — is gone,” Bernhardt said.

Environmental groups disagree. Kristen Monsell, a spokeswoman for the Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund, said that even though the Atlantic seaboard was never opened to offshore drilling in the 2010s, several companies still submitted seismic testing applications to the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

“I think that shows that oil and seismic companies will try to get into areas regardless of what’s open to leasing to do seismic to see what’s out there, and if they can find something, then push