EWG news roundup (10/7): California rolls out Children’s Environmental Health Month, Duke unveils its misguided ‘clean’ energy transition plan and more

California regulators may hold off on issuing their proposed decision on a utility proposal to stifle the state’s rooftop solar program until after the November election, according to an Oct. 3 email bulletin from the San Diego–based nonprofit Solar Rights Alliance, citing credible sources.

“Californians deserve to know now what regulators are proposing for the future of rooftop solar in the state,” said EWG President and Bay Area resident Ken Cook. “So many vital decisions about the state’s energy are made behind closed doors, with regulators cozied up to corporate interests they’re supposed to regulate, it makes sense to worry that bad news for rooftop solar is coming after the election.”

California’s legislature has proclaimed October Children’s Environmental Health Month to highlight the need to protect children from exposure to pesticides and hazardous chemicals like lead, which can result in a greater risk of disease later in life. EWG has long led the fight against threats to children’s health, empowering parents with the information needed to avoid toxic exposures in everyday environments.

This week, Duke Energy released its misguided “clean energy transition” plan for North Carolina, which outlines $145 billion of energy investments over the next 10 years to achieve the state’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions from the power sector by 2050. The energy giant intends to spend almost 30 percent, or roughly $43.5 billion, on new natural gas plants and non-existent future nuclear technology like small modular nuclear reactors.

“The sun and wind are free sources of power, not subject to wild global market disruptions like gas, oil or even uranium,” said EWG’s Senior Energy Policy Advisor Grant Smith. “Duke is not only a climate laggard but also continues its spending spree with ratepayer money on wasteful infrastructure misadventures only a monopoly could get away with.”

Finally, EWG continues to unpack obesogens, toxic chemicals that can alter hormones and metabolism to make us gain weight. In the latest installment on obesogens, EWG took a deep dive into how disparities in rates of overweight and obesity stem from differing exposures to these chemicals.

Here’s some news you can use going into the weekend.

WHO draft report on PFOA and PFOS

E&E News: WHO eyes less restrictive 'forever chemicals' guidelines (subscription)

Alexis Temkin, a toxicologist with the Environmental Working Group, argued WHO's report "inappropriately characterizes" uncertainty around PFAS health harms, to the detriment of the public. "The draft WHO report ignores the substantial body of science on PFAS health harms and, if finalized, would be a gift to the chemical companies that have polluted humans and the environment around the world," she said.

California PFAS-free Beauty Act

The Hill: Equilibrium/Sustainability — Migrants pulled from sea amid Hurricane Ian’s onslaught

“This is a huge deal. California has the largest statewide market for cosmetics and the sixth biggest economy in the world,” Susan Little, senior advocate for California government affairs at the Environmental Working Group, said in a statement.

Agricultural conservation

Mother Jones: USDA Conservation Grants Prop up Agribusiness as Usual

The Environmental Working Group calculates that between 1995 and 2020, the USDA doled out a total of nearly $348 billion on commodity and crop-insurance subsidies vs. $52 billion on conservation.


Bloomberg Law: Crypto Energy Study Shrugged Off by Agencies, Irking Lawmaker

“Typically, OSTP reports are the sorts of reports that collect dust,” said Scott Faber, senior vice president of government affairs for the Environmental Working Group. But this time could be different, he said, because “this issue is so much more critical to this White House than practically any other issue that OSTP might produce a report on.”

Plant-Based Options in Federal Facilities/White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health

Roll Call: Hunger plan builds on federal role in getting food to millions

The Environmental Working Group, a member of the coalition, said a survey it did of 521 federal dining facilities found less than half of them offered vegetarian alternatives. The strategy was front and center at the conference as health experts, anti-hunger and anti-poverty advocates, agriculture leaders and representatives of foundations, other nonprofits and the food industry discussed ways to turn the proposed changes into reality.

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