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Daily Audio Newscast - April 26, 2024

News from around the nation.

Audio file

Louisiana teachers' union concerned about educators' future; Supreme Court hears arguments in Trump immunity case; court issues restraining order against fracking waste-storage facility; landmark NE agreement takes a proactive approach to CO2 pipeline risks.


The Public News Service Daily Newscast, April the 26th, 2024.

I'm Mike Clifford.

Leaders of a teachers union in Louisiana, voicing concerns now about a package of bills, they say, would have the effect of dissolving labor unions in the state.

Among them are disability justice activists who see the project as a direct threat to their community.

Dom Kelly, with New Disabled South, highlights the lack of representation for marginalized communities in the decision making process regarding cop cities construction.

He says this is not only a democracy issue, but it will widen the gaps that already exist for disabled people encountering police.

We know that the state and federal prison population is two thirds people with disabilities.

And the argument that this will train police is not based in any factor data because we know that implicit bias trainings don't actually improve police interaction.

Shantia Hudson reporting.

And the Supreme Court's conservative majority appeared ready Thursday to rule that former presidents have some degree of immunity from criminal prosecution.

The New York Times reports it's a move that could further delay the criminal case against the former President Donald Trump on charges he plotted to subvert the 2020 election.

The Times notes that such a ruling would likely send the case back to a trial court ordering to draw distinctions between official and private conduct.

The additional proceedings could make it hard to conduct the trial before the 2024 election.

And environmental groups say more should be done to protect people's health for what they say is toxic radioactive sludge.

Ohio has some of the least restrictive rules on fracking waste, says Jill Hunkler with the local advocacy group Ohio Valley Allies.

She says this makes communities dumping grounds for the byproducts of fracking, and residents are often left to educate themselves on the risks of living near fracking operations and waste sites.

We can see firsthand how dangerous these facilities are and how poorly they were operating and right within 500 feet of drinking water supply for five million people, which is the Ohio River.

In a legal complaint, the AG's office says the Martins Ferry facility has exceeded the amount of waste it's permitted to store by thousands of tons.

Austin Master Services could not be reached for comment.

Nadia Ramlagan reporting.

Yale University research has linked exposure to some of these substances to reproductive and developmental problems.

Next from CNN, pro-Palestinian protests continue at major U.S. universities, with nearly 100 people arrested at the University of Southern California and dozens at the University of Texas at Austin.

USC canceled its main commencement ceremony for 2024 students in May, citing new safety measures that are in place.

This is Public News Service.

CO2 pipelines are on the increase in the U.S. and like all pipelines, they come with some risks.

Preparing for those risks is a major focus of the Community Benefits Agreement between Nebraska-based Boulder Alliance and Tallgrass Energy Solutions.

Tallgrass plans to modify an existing gas pipeline that crosses Nebraska to transport CO2.

Boulder Alliance director Jane Klebb says her organization stands with communities facing energy infrastructure projects to help ensure they have what they need and that the company is giving back.

And she points to Satarsha, Mississippi's 2020 experience with a massive CO2 pipeline leak as evidence of the importance of first responder training.

We have real money in here, $400,000 initially, and then additional $200,000 for training and $100,000 for an emergency response system that first responders will get to equip their mostly volunteer firefighters.

Not only did the Mississippi first responders lack the training for a CO2 disaster, Klebb says some were unaware the pipeline even existed.

For Public News Service, I'm Deborah Van Fleet.

And the long-delayed Farm Bill could benefit Virginia farmers by renewing funding for climate-smart investments, but it's been held up for months in the Congress.

Some lawmakers want this bill to expand funding for programs like the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, or EQIP, which gives financial and technical help to farmers and ranchers to make conservation a priority.

About $250 million was allocated for the program, but over 9,000 applications were submitted, bringing it to $475 million.

Gabrielle Walton with the Chesapeake Climate Action Network says these programs' popularity proves their necessity.

This money allows them not only to practice more efficiently and to preserve the environment that they love so much and they're so attached to, but it also saves them money that they can devote to other concerns and provides them stability for their pocketbooks going forward.

One issue with the new Farm Bill is a proposed increase in so-called reference pricing, which critics say only benefits large farming operations and would come at the expense of more widely used social and climate-smart programs.

I'm Edwin J. Vieira.

Finally, from Shantia Hudson, United Nations experts are raising concerns about DuPont and Kelmore's two chemical giants saying they're violating human rights in North Carolina.

At a virtual news conference this week, a U.N. representative said these companies have been releasing harmful PFAS chemicals into the environment near the lower Cape Fear River.

Emily Donovan with the group Clean Cape Fear says more than 300 different chemicals in their water led them to seek help from the U.N.

She says getting clean and safe drinking water has been an issue for decades, and local residents continue to suffer the consequences.

The amount of sicknesses and illnesses happening in our region is incredibly.

In their responses, DuPont has denied responsibility for Fayetteville Works Plant, a suspected contamination source.

This is Mike Clifford.

Thank you for wrapping up a week with Public News Service.

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