Cramm for 1/27/21
Newark just reached an important settlement over contaminated drinking water.
You’ve probably heard about the Flint, Michigan lead crisis, but what you may not have heard of is the lead crisis in Newark, New Jersey. For years, the city’s been dealing with unsafe drinking water and lead levels waaaaay above federal guidelines. So in 2018, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Newark Education Workers Caucus sued state officials.
Yesterday, they reached a settlement with the city of Newark and the New Jersey Dept of Environmental Protection. The settlement requires the city to replace all lead service lines, completely free of charge to residents. The process is expected to be finished by early spring, but until then, the city’s agreed to keep providing free drinking water lead testing kits and water filters.
Big. As in the Natural Resources Defense Council says “Newark’s aggressive lead service line replacement program...could serve as a model for the nation once it is completed.” It’s especially significant in light of the Flint lead crisis, where officials have gotten a lot of flak from local activists for an inadequate response.
After about 11 years, it looks like Newark will finally have clean drinking water.
CORONAVIRUS: Global coronavirus cases just surpassed 100 million. Not a typo. This comes as the UK reached 100,000 coronavirus deaths and the US nears 80,000 deaths in January alone - making it the deadliest month in the pandemic so far. In some good news, it looks like the US could be getting a whole lot more vaccines. See: Biden’s in talks with Pfizer and Moderna to get enough vaccines for 300 million Americans by the end of summer. The Biden team is also pledging a big boost in vaccine deliveries to states over the next three weeks after governors complained about a lack of supplies and organization. And last but not least, the CDC is recommending that schools re-open in-person as soon as possible.
CAPITOL ATTACKS: There are a few updates in the fallout from the Capitol attacks. Quick refresher: on January 6th, fanatical Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol. Smashed windows. Vandalized and looted offices. Attacked police. Forced lawmakers into a lockdown or, in some cases, emergency evacuations. When the dust finally settled, five people were dead. In the weeks since, lots of questions have been raised about why it took so long for the National Guard to show up. Now, it looks like we’re starting to get some answers. Hint: the head of the DC National Guard just revealed that the Pentagon restricted his ability to deploy troops ahead of the attacks. You read that right. Meanwhile, all but five Senate Republicans just voted to dismiss Trump’s impeachment trial - meaning it’s super unlikely he’ll be convicted.
POLITICS: Recently, a Texas judge temporarily blocked Prez Biden’s plan to halt deportations. Yes, really. It’s a stark reminder that Biden’s policies could still face pushback from conservative courts, even as Dems control the House and the Senate. Also making headlines: the Prez is set to sign some major exec orders on the environment. Includes establishing climate change as a national security priority, conserving at least 30 percent of federal land and oceans by 2030, and taking a red pen to new oil and gas leases on public lands and waters. And speaking of which, the Biden team is planning to restore aid to Palestinians, reversing Trump’s policy. The gov will also restart talks with Palestinian leaders.
WHAT TO KNOW
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