Landscape Architect & Specifier News

JUL 2017

LASN is a photographically oriented, professional journal featuring topics of concern and state-of-the-art projects designed or influenced by registered Landscape Architects.

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90 Landscape Architect and Specifier News I n f o r m a t i o n R e q u e s t # 5 8 4 I n f o r m a t i o n R e q u e s t # 5 8 5 Congressional Panel Clears Way for Puerto Rico Bankruptcy Although Puerto Rico means "Rich Port" in Spanish (Columbus' second voyage), a Congressional oversight board (4 Republicans, 3 Democrats) has opened the door for the Caribbean island nation to declare bankruptcy protection. This "unincorporated" U.S. territory owes creditors $73 billion, making it the largest U.S. "municipal" bankruptcy on record. The U.S. annexed Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines after the Spanish- American War of 1898, designating the lands as "unincorporated territories." Puerto Ricans (pop. 3.4 million) are U.S. citizens, although cannot vote in U.S. national elections. Puerto Ricans do not pay federal personal income taxes, but do pay into Social Security. On June 11, 2017, the islanders for a 5th time held a "nonbinding" referendum on the status of the island: statehood, independence or keeping the status quo. In the last referendum, 2012, the islanders for the first time voted for statehood. This time, the two main political parties on the island called for a boycott of the referendum. It was effective. Only 23% of the islanders voted, but 97% voted in favor of statehood. For a more in depth perspective of the islands financial woes, read Mary Anastasia O'Grady's "Puerto Rico's Broken Promise," Wall Street Journal, May 1 https://tinyurl. com/mzfrrlt . EPA Head Reverses Agency's Ban on Chlorpyrifos On March 29, 2017, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt signed an order denying a petition to ban the use of chlorpyrifos. Pruitt stated: "By reversing the previous administration's steps to ban one of the most widely used pesticides in the world, we are returning to using sound science in decision-making, rather than predetermined results." Chlorpyrifos (Dow Chemical Co.), a broad- spectrum, chlorinated organophosphates insecticide, was introduced in 1965 and goes by various trade names: Dursban, Lorsban, Bolton Insecticide, Nufos, Cobalt, Hatchet and Warhawk. It is widely sprayed on crops and turf. The insecticide was banned for most home use in 2001. The EPA assessment indicated that all residential post- application exposures were of concern, and the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health study on pregnant women reported an association between fetal cord blood levels of chlorpyrifos and neurodevelopmental outcomes. In November 2016, the EPA revised its human health risk assessment and drinking water exposure assessment for chlorpyrifos (41-page document). Among its findings, the EPA assessed residential bystander exposure from field volatilization of applied chlorpyrifos. "Of the 11 acute ambient air concentrations assessed, six resulted in risk estimates that are of concern." Attorneys general from seven states— New York, California, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Washington and Vermont— have filed challenges to Pruitt's decision to allow the ongoing use of chlorpyrifos.

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