What We're Watching the Week of Aug. 15

crude oil pipeline

Here are some of the top stories, events and other environmental controversy on our radar this week.

Personal E-Mail Use at EPA

New documents from the Environmental Protection Agency show that senior officials "very rarely" used personal e-mails for official work. Anthony Adragna dives through some Freedom of Information Act requests to get the story. 

Fuel-Efficiency Standards for Heavy-Duty Trucks Expected Soon

Final rules that would tighten emissions standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks are expected as soon as this week, observers tell Bloomberg BNA. Anthony Adragna is keeping watch.  

Welding Flash Fire Injures Seven at Sunoco Logistics Partners in Texas

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board is investigating a welding flash fire incident that injured seven contractors, including three critically, who were working on activities last Friday related to a crude oil pipeline connection at the Sunoco Logistics Partners, a terminal facility in Port Arthur, Texas. Sam Pearson is on the story.  

What’s the Energy Department’s Response Plan for Disasters in Pacific Northwest?

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz joins Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell (D) at a field hearing in Seattle today to hash out the agency’s role in responding to disasters that could affect operations and security of U.S. energy infrastructure, specifically in the Northwest. Rebecca Kern is covering the story.     

Groundwater Is Declining on Both U.S. Coasts

Water availability in the U.S. ranges from drought in the West to a surge in rainfall in the East. But even where water seems abundant, increasing demand is stressing supplies everywhere. Amena Saiyid has a special report and slide show coming.

Oil Industry Groups Square Off Against Railroad Industry Over Tank Cars

The American Chemistry Council leads a petition asking the Transportation Department’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to step in with new regulations over standards for tank cars hauling crude oil and other hazardous materials. Ari Natter is covering the news.

Groups Challenge New Radioactive Waste Limit in North Dakota

New radioactive waste limits for landfills in North Dakota have reignited concerns among environmental groups that the new limits could lead to dumping from other states into North Dakota. Mark Wolski is following the story. 

What’s in a Name?

Labels like natural and organic aren’t just for food anymore. They can be found on laundry detergent, sunscreen and the like. And U.S. regulators are taking notice. Andrea Vittorio has a special report coming.

North Carolina’s Top Epidemiologist Quits Over Coal Ash Controversy

Epidemiologist Megan Davies resigned suddenly last week from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services after accusing the agency and the administration of Gov. Pat McCrory (R) of deliberately misleading the public about potential contamination of drinking wells near coal ash waste dumps. Brian Dabbs is covering the news on our blog.

The Latest From Rio Olympics

Correspondent Michael Kepp basically has a front row view of the 2016 Summer Olympics, since his turf is Rio. He’ll continue to keep us up to date on the latest environmental-related news at these games, and we’ll post them on our blog