News Updates for December 29, 2018

today’s version of news updates includes stories about the following topics:

  • The government’s advice to workers not getting paid during the shutdown
  • The EPA’s continued war on the environment

The Government’s Advice to Workers not Getting Paid During the Shutdown

It’s important to note that Trump, his administration, and members of Congress are still getting paid. On the other hand, about a quarter of the federal workforce, none of whom had anything to do with the shutdown, aren’t getting paid.

The Office of Personnel Management sent workers not being paid a letter with guidance as to how they may explain difficulty paying bills to potential creditors. In that letter, the government suggested workers barter with landlords if they can’t make their rent. They can do maintenance and/or clean facilities to make up for the fact they can’t pay their rent.

So, those directly responsible for the shutdown are getting paid while on vacation and not trying to solve the shutdown. Meanwhile, people not getting paid because of the shutdown are being advised to beg landlords to let them clean toilets.

The EPA’s Continued War on the Environment

The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) is proposing a rule designed to change the way the federal government calculates the costs and benefits of dangerous air pollutants. The proposed rule would make it easier for companies to pollute by changing by excluding some of the public health benefits considered when regulating pollutants put in place by the Obama administration.

Specifically, the rule addresses a 2011 rule designed to limit the amount of mercury coal plants can pump into the atmosphere. The rule would keep in place the standards set by the Obama administration; however, it would make it harder for the EPA to address pollution in the future by preventing the agency from considering so-called co-benefits. Co-benefits is government speak for the consideration of positive public health benefits that would result from a change.

So, the Trump administration doesn’t want government considering the positive effect of better health when deciding on the value of a proposed regulation.

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