This Week’s Under-reported News Summary – Jan. 18, 2023

Compiled by Bob Nixon

  • EPA seeks tighter limits on soot
  • Unions fighting to ensure solar workers are skilled tradesmen
  • Ghana has struck a preliminary IMF deal

• In the early days of 2023, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed a new rule to restrict emissions of soot and small particulate matter being produced by power plants, refineries and heavy industry. The draft rule is similar to a staff proposal rejected by the Trump administration in 2020, but weaker than the World Health Organization’s recommended standard. Communities of color in the U.S. are disproportionately at risk from soot due to the location of highways and industrial zones in predominantly minority neighborhoods.

(“EPA Seeks Tighter Limits on Soot,” Washington Post, Jan. 6, 2023)

• Solar panel installation is one of the fastest-growing segments of the construction industry. Staffing agencies are notoriously unpredictable, known for unfair hiring and promotion practices, arbitrary firings, low pay and zero transparency. The low quality of solar installations across the U.S. are an open secret, as workers chase jobs from state to state with little job security.

(“Workers on Solar’s Front Lines,”  American Prospect, Dec. 7, 2022)

• The west African nation of Ghana has returned to the debt relief merry go-round. In mid-December, the government won a preliminary agreement with the International Monetary Fund for a $3 billion bailout after the nation defaulted on its external debt. Ghana has gone through IMF debt restructuring many times before, but their relatively well-educated workforce has allowed the country to bounce back to enjoy the highest income per person in west Africa.

(“Finding Faith in the Fund,” Economist, Dec. 24, 2022)

This week’s News Summary was narrated by Anna Manzo.

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