On The Monitor this week:
- Flint Water Crisis: What Did the EPA Know? We discuss the crisis with Marsha Coleman-Adebayo
- Donald Trump’s rhetoric and the AIPAC agenda, what’s the difference? We discuss the issue with Rabbi Brant Rosen
More about this week’s guests:
Marsha Coleman-Adebayo is author of No Fear: A Whistleblower’s Triumph Over Corruption and Retaliation at the EPA. As senior policy analyst for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, she became a whistleblower when the EPA ignored her complaints about a U.S. company harming the environment and human health in its vanadium mining in South Africa. Denied promotion, she sued and won a jury verdict finding EPA guilty of discrimination. Coleman-Adebayo is a founder of the No FEAR Coalition and EPA Employees Against Racism. Under her leadership No FEAR organized a grassroots campaign that won passage of the “Notification of Federal Employees Anti-Discrimination and Retaliation Act,” AKA the No Fear Act. Coleman-Adebayo serves on the board of directors of the National Whistleblower Center and was inducted into the Project on Government Oversight’s Hall of Fame. She is an editor and columnist for the Black Agenda Report. She recently wrote the following articles for The Guardian: Flint’s best hope for justice? The streets and Water crises like Flint’s will continue until the EPA is held accountable (co-written with Kevin Berends)
Quote from her recent article on BlackAgendaReport.com: “EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder are scheduled to appear before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Thursday, March 17, to provide testimony on the poisoning of Flint, Michigan’s water. Public outcry has finally empowered Congress to demand that McCarthy and Snyder provide an accounting of their role in the poisoning of thousands of citizens. The essential question for this hearing is the same as that of the Watergate Hearing: what did they know and when did they know it? EPA electronic traffic between the former Region 5 Administrator and McCarthy must be subpoenaed. McCarthy and Snyder had perhaps hoped that the public would be silenced with sending former EPA Regional Administrator Susan Hedman careening under the bus. The ultimate authority for water regulations rests with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Water Act. In fact, the CWA provides for criminal penalties for violations of this Act. Flint, Michigan falls within the federal jurisdiction of Region 5 and, until her resignation in February in disgrace, was under EPA Regional Administrator Susan Hedman. …EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy was aware that there were problems with Hedman’s leadership prior to the Flint crisis. …This is a sickeningly familiar story at the EPA, an agency governed by fear, recrimination, retaliation and discrimination. It is likely that EPA Administrator McCarthy will argue that the Flint disaster was the result of ‘a few bad apples’ and that with Administrator Hedman’s resignation the problem has been addressed. Nothing could be further from the truth. The EPA is rife with managers who have been allowed to engage in criminal behavior without fear of accountability. Far from dealing with root causes, McCarthy stands on protocol over the well being of her own employees. She will always side with her in-house group of managers who are in bed with their corporate masters — this is one of the lessons of the Flint poisoning crisis.”
Rabbi Brant Rosen is the co-chair of the Jewish Voice for Peace Rabbinic Council. The group recently put out a statement, “Trump’s Islamophobic Rhetoric Goes Hand in Hand with AIPAC’s Agenda,” which states: “Many of the most alarming statements and policy proposals Donald Trump has made are already reality in Israel, and supported by AIPAC. Israel already refuses to open its doors to Syrian refugees (many of whom are of Palestinian origin), allows privileged immigration status for one religious group over others, is building highly militarized walls … and allows a demagogue leader to get away with using blatant racism to get votes.” Also see: “On Israeli election day, Netanyahu warns of Arabs voting ‘in droves.’”
Rosen is the Midwest Regional Director of the American Friends Service Committee. In August 2015, he founded Tzedek Chicago, a new ‘non-Zionist’ synagogue in Chicago. Rosen previously served as the rabbi of the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation in Evanston, Illinois from 1998 to 2014. He is a former president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association. In 2009, he co-founded the Jewish Fast for Gaza, or Ta’anit Tzedek with Rabbi Brian Walt. Rosen is also an active environmentalist. Under his leadership, the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation built their new building with an environmentally sustainable design in 2008, becoming the first house of worship to ever receive a Platinum rating by the U.S. Green Building Council. He was the recipient of Chicago Magazine’s Green Award for his environmental leadership in 2009. Rosen’s blog Shalom Rav explores “the intersection between Judaism and social justice, with a particular emphasis on Israel/Palestine.” In 2012, Just World Books published his book, “Wrestling in the Daylight: A Rabbi’s Path to Palestinian Solidarity,” which featured his posts and numerous reader comments from Shalom Rav. Rosen is also the author of the blog Yedid Nefesh, where he posts his poetry and thoughts on Judaism and spirituality. He has contributed to The Huffington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Forward, The Jewish Telegraphic Agency, and other media outlets.