Discover more from Hill Heat
Great Balls of Plastic Fire!
Also: the Green New Dealers are back; Elon's Earth Day celebration
PRESENTED BY THE MAN IN THE MOON
At the U.S. Capitol, Congressional Green New Dealers held a less carbon-intensive Earth Day celebration at noon, marking the fourth anniversary of the introduction of the Green New Deal resolution with a press conference to announce the next generation of Green New Deal legislation. Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) are unveiling climate-justice guidelines for the implementation of Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, and Markey and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) are introducing the Green New Deal for Health. Other participants included Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Greg Casar (D-Texas), Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), Maxwell Frost (D-Fla.), Delia Ramirez (D-Ill.), Robert Garcia (D-Calif.), and Becca Balint (D-Vt.), as well as progressive leaders Kaniela Ing of the Green New Deal Network, Sara Nelson, president of Association of Flight Attendants, SEIU’s Dr. Colleen Achong, and Jacqui Patterson, executive director of the Chisholm Legacy Project.
Yesterday, the fire at a complex of abandoned warehouses of waste plastics in Richmond, Indiana was finally declared out, more than a week after the warehouse exploded into toxic flames and black smoke on Tuesday, April 11th. In the following days, “EPA air monitors detected hydrogen cyanide, benzene, chlorine, carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds,” as well as chrysotile asbestos, from our nation’s latest major airborne toxic event.
“This is Richmond’s East Palestine moment,” said City Councilman Ron Oler, one of the city officials who had been trying without success to get warehouse owner Seth Smith to clean up the overstuffed facility since 2019.1
Over two thousand residents of the eastern Indiana city were forced to evacuate from the toxic smoke, emitted from the incineration of 70 million pounds of petrochemical-based plastics and the asbestos-lined warehouses.
At a September 2019 hearing of Richmond’s Unsafe Building Commission, Smith admitted conditions at the plant had gotten “out of control,” and that one of the buildings at the site had no fire extinguishing system. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration even “did a smoke plume study to help officials which areas may need evacuation if a fire broke out,” Fox 59’s Steve Brown reports.
As CNN’s Paul P. Murphy reported, in 2022, “the city seized two of the three land parcels the recycling plant sits on after Smith failed to pay property taxes.”
But the site, where plastics that had been getting shipped to China for recycling until that country shut down its international recycling program, was not remediated.
And, as is now becoming grimly commonplace, the expected disaster has now come to pass.
Millionaires are burning through the 1.5°C carbon budget all on their own. The U.S. government has offered $3.5 billion in grants for experimental direct air capture technology. As the Peruvian Andean ice disappears, so do the communities which have thrived in the mountains for thousands of years. The climate-disaster-driven insurance crisis that has swept across the Gulf Coast is spilling into Texas, where increasingly scarce property coverage has forced tens of thousands of coastal homeowners to buy policies from a state-chartered insurance program.
This morning on the Hill, Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) chaired a hearing on conservation programs in the Farm Bill.
Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge presented a $73.3 billion budget to Senate appropriators led by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii). Of that, $1.5 billion is dedicated to the strategic goal of “advancing sustainable communities by strengthening climate resilience and energy efficiency, promoting environmental justice, and recognizing housing’s role as essential to health.”
The Department of Energy is seeking a $52 billion budget. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm appeared before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to present the budget, a week after her department approved a proposal to export liquefied natural gas from Alaska to Asia.
House appropriators reviewed the $3.7 billion budget for Air Force and Space Force construction.
Hearings on the Hill:
9 AM: House Appropriations
Budget Hearing – Fiscal Year 2024 Request for Air Force and Space Force Military Construction and Family Housing
10 AM: Senate Appropriations
Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies
The President’s Fiscal Year 2024 Funding Request and Budget Justification for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development
10 AM: Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry
Conservation, Climate, Forestry, and Natural Resources
Conservation in the Farm Bill: Making Conservation Programs Work for Farmers and Ranchers
10 AM: House Appropriations
Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies
Budget Hearing – Fiscal Year 2024 Request for the Department of Transportation
10 AM: Senate Energy and Natural Resources
President’s Budget Request for the U.S. Department of Energy for Fiscal Year 2024
Climate Action Today:
12 PM: Green New Deal Network
Reintroduction of the Green New Deal Resolution