Michigan adopts most robust lead water rules in US

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In the wake of the Flint crisis, Michigan is adopting new lead water rules — the strictest in the United States, according to Reuters. Lead service lines will have to be replaced, and the lead concentrations allowed in drinking water will be lower than the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s standard. Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Michigan Senior Policy Advocate Cyndi Roper said in a statement, “There is no safe level of lead in drinking water, so despite some troubling loopholes,… View full post on Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building



Switzerland rules lobsters must be stunned before they are boiled

Lobsters may not really scream when you boil them – they don’t have vocal chords – but research shows they may feel pain, and Switzerland’s government decided to do something about the common culinary practice of boiling lobsters alive. They will no longer allow the practice – according to the government order, the crustaceans “will now have to be stunned before they are put to death.”

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Federal court rules Trump’s Dakota Access Pipeline approval violated the law

Injustice has been a common theme of the Standing Rock Sioux’s battle against the Dakota Access Pipeline, as they faced arrests, eviction at gunpoint, and tear gas. But the tribe said this week they just won a ‘significant victory’ in court. A federal judge said the United States Army Corps of Engineers did not conduct an adequate study of the environmental risks associated with the oil pipeline.

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NM Judge Rules in Favor of Death with Dignity

Yesterday, a New Mexico court ruled terminally ill, mentally competent residents have a constitutional right to request prescribed medication to shorten their suffering. In her ruling, Second Judicial District Judge Nan Nash stated:

If decisions made in the shadow of one’s imminent death regarding how they and their loved ones will face that death are not fundamental and at the core of these constitutional guarantees, then what decisions are? As recognized by the United States Supreme Court in Cruzan “[t]he choice between life and death is a deeply personal decision of obvious and overwhelming finality.”

The case, Morris v. Brandenberg was brought before the court on behalf of two doctors, Dr. Katherine Morris and Dr. Aroop Mangalik, as well as a woman diagnosed with advanced uterine cancer, Aja Riggs. According to the Associated Press:

Aja Riggs has undergone aggressive radiation and chemotherapy treatment for advanced uterine cancer. The 49-year-old Santa Fe resident remembers the feeling of her skin burning, all the medication, the nausea and the fatigue so immense that even talking sapped too much energy…She said she wanted to live but also wanted the option of ending her life with dignity if her condition worsened.

Judge Nash also ruled doctors who provide fatal prescriptions to their terminally ill patients can’t be prosecuted under the state’s assisted suicide law. The New Mexico Psychological Association filed an amicus brief in the case arguing assisted suicide is fundamentally different from assisting a dying patient in finding dignity in an already impending exit from this world.

One of the plaintiffs, Dr. Morris, moved to New Mexico several years ago after practicing in Oregon. Her professional experience as a physician prescribing under Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act is documented in the film How to Die in Oregon. Underscoring why being able to honor a dying patient’s wish is critical to her she stated:

Surgical oncologists like me know we can’t save every cancer patient. It’s important that we have every tool in the toolbox to respond when dying patients who are suffering request options to die with dignity.

New Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office is studying the decision. If affirmed, the decision would apply to the whole state.

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