Growing up in south Texas, 25-year-old Joaquin Duran always wondered what it would be like to have running water. Before he was born, Duran’s parents moved from Juarez, Mexico to a small community called Cochran that lies within El Paso County. They hoped the enclave of Mexican-American families would be a safe place to raise their children and offer advantages not easily attained in Mexico.
The plot of land Duran’s parents purchased in Texas lacked running water when they settled in, but they were promised service was coming – only a year or two away. The family decided the wait would be worthwhile and they made the plot their home. During the day, Duran’s mother would scrub old concrete off the cinder blocks her husband retrieved from demolition work through his construction job. At night, they built their house from the salvaged materials.
Now, a quarter century later, water still has not arrived – for the Durans or for anyone else in the dry, dusty community of Cochran.
“My parents would protest and go to water district meetings,” said Duran. “They would be told, ‘Yes, you’re getting the water soon.’ All these promises. But in the end, nothing would happen.”
The long wait may be about to end.
A St. Louis jury on Wednesday heard opening statements in a new Roundup cancer trial that is the latest in a long line-up of coming courtroom battles over allegations that Monsanto’s popular weed killer causes cancer.
Plaintiffs’ lawyer Gibbs Henderson told jurors that evidence in the case would persuade them that exposure to Roundup caused each of his three clients to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), while Monsanto lawyer Manuel Cachan said he would present evidence that would completely dispute any causal connection.
Henderson said in his opening statement that he expects Monsanto to rely heavily on assessments by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, is “not likely” to be carcinogenic. But he said he and other lawyers representing the plaintiffs will show the jury a large body of scientific evidence showing the herbicide does cause cancer and that Monsanto engaged in tactics designed to hide that information from consumers.
Henderson said the plaintiffs’ side will prove Monsanto was negligent and acted in “reckless disregard” for the plaintiffs’ safety with respect to its Roundup products.
“We think the evidence is going to show that reckless disregard,” said Henderson.
Driven by climate change, forests laden with fuel, historic drought and heat waves, wildfires in the US West are spreading smoky air to millions of people, even those who live far from where the fires burn. The problem is becoming so pronounced that some television weather forecasters in California now include “smoke casts,” in their reports, displaying models that predict, like a weather forecast, where smoky air from a wildfire will travel days into the future.
Wildfires in 2015, 2017 and 2020 burned more than 10 million acres each, mostly in the western United States, releasing plumes of smoke that experts say now account for half of the air pollution in western states. Burned area from wildfires is about four times what it was forty years ago, researchers say, and the problem of the polluted air resulting from fires is growing.
Scientists warn that current health policies are not effectively protecting people against smoke inhalation dangers , and a new study published in July underscored how dangerous levels of tiny pollution particles in wildfire smoke travel into households not threatened by the fire itself.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said Tuesday they are launching a $12 billion initiative aimed at improving the nation’s wastewater infrastructure, with a focus on aiding underserved communities.
The “Closing America’s Wastewater Access Gap Community Initiative” will make use of $11.7 billion in loans and grants through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for projects that will start in several small towns, rural areas and on Tribal lands in six states.
More than two million people in the United States live without running water and basic indoor plumbing, according to a report by the US Water Alliance. Properly collecting and treating wastewater is essential to providing clean water and maintaining public health. But a lack of working wastewater management systems can expose humans to harmful sewage and the environment to nutrient pollution.