Bird's-eye View - Nov. 6

Decisions and innovations from around the world that affect the way Hoosiers live.
November 6, 2018
Source: EPA


State and federal authorities are searching for the source of cancer-causing chemicals after testing revealed sites in Franklin, Indiana, have hundreds of times the safe limits of carcinogens allowed by the state.

Testing coordinated by Franklin city officials found levels of trichloroethylene around industrial facilities that were more than 252 times the safe limit set by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. The chemical
is used to make other chemicals, including refrigerants, and to remove grease from metal parts.

In the last 10 years, dozens of children in Franklin and surrounding Johnson County communities have been diagnosed with rare forms of blood and brain cancer.

Parents sought answers from IDEM and the U.S. Environmental Protection agency.

The Indianapolis Star found that the EPA knew about contamination in Johnson County for years. IDEM says the contamination is restricted to areas near where the former Amphenol Corp. plant, Hoagland Cannery and Franklin Power Products facilities are located.

But the source of the contamination is still unknown.

You can read more about the investigation at the IndyStar site.

The Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C.


The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a lawsuit brought by young people against the U.S. government can proceed.

A group of 21 people aged 11 to 22 alleged the government violated their constitutional right to life, liberty and property by failing to prevent climate change. They are asking a federal judge to order the government to draw up a plan that ensures the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere falls below 350 parts per million by 2100.

The U.S. Department of Justice argued that there is no right to a climate system capable of sustaining human life, and asked the Supreme Court to dismiss the case.

The lawsuit, Juliana v. United States, will continue in Eugene, Orgeon in the next several weeks.

You can read about the fight to keep the lawsuit alive and why the plaintiffs say they’re fighting for future generations in Nature, the international journal of science.


The Trump administration’s attempt to repeal Obama-era car fuel economy rules may be in legal danger due to bad math and faulty assumptions.

That’s according to reporting by The Atlantic’s Robinson Meyer.

Meyer spoke to economists, environmental groups and a major automaker, who found that the administration’s official proposal to freeze gas mileage rules for new cars and trucks is “riddled with calculation mistakes, indefensible assumptions, and broken computer models.”

Experts quoted in the article say the errors artificially lower the rollback’s cost and boost its safety benefits.

The errors may leave the proposal vulnerable to legal challenges.

You can read more about the proposal’s bad math at The Atlantic.

Bird's-eye View - Nov. 6