Monday, August 7, 2023

Is the EPA actually protecting our environment, or corporations?


For almost 20 years, US public-health advocates have worried that toxic chemicals are getting into ground water and harming human health because of an exemption to the federal Safe Drinking Water Act that allows operators of oil and gas fracking operations to use chemicals that would be regulated if used for any other purpose.

The so-called Halliburton Loophole, named after the oil and gas services company once headed by former Vice President Dick Cheney, means that the industry can use fracking fluid containing chemicals linked to negative health effects including kidney and liver disease, fertility impairment, and reduced sperm counts without being subject to regulation under the act.

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So... what's the use of the EPA if the largest fracking company on earth can skirt rules?


Sunday, August 6, 2023

Finally changes in home zoning laws


More than a century after the first single-family zoning laws were passed, roughly 75% of land that is zoned for housing in American cities is for private, single-family homes, only. In some suburbs, zoning laws make it illegal to build apartments in nearly all residential areas. Municipalities have also made minimum lot sizes bigger and added height requirements. This has had the effect of encouraging ever-larger single-family homes and limiting housing options, like smaller houses.

“Zoning has gotten more complicated and more restrictive,” said Jenny Schuetz, a senior fellow at Brookings Metro who studies urban economics and housing policy. “It’s getting harder to build stuff, particularly in high-income areas that want to have a lot of control over development.” 

Policymakers and advocates are making several changes to increase the housing stock: eliminating single-family zoning laws; legalizing accessory dwelling units, commonly known as granny flats, on single-family zoned areas; legalizing duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes; and enacting reforms to create affordable housing development near major transit lines. 

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 It's time for an upgrade to get us up to date!  Cities are changing in bad ways, so the people who live there can't afford to live there!  Speculators buy up properties and keep them out of reach for families.  It obviously can't go on like it is.