Business first 

Business first

ProPublica last week published an examination of how Republican Rep. David Vitter of Louisiana stalled an EPA assessment that would declare formaldehyde as a known carcinogen. Given the ailments Louisianans suffered from formaldehyde-contaminated FEMA trailers after Katrina, the Republican's move is particularly vile. But ProPublica's report revealed Vitter wasn't alone: Three Democrats — including Rep. Mike Ross — were also working to block the EPA move.

The EPA has been conducting studies on the chemical — linked to leukemia and other cancers — since 1987. The agency is trying to develop safety and pollution control regulations that address formaldehyde's toxicity, which has been recognized by other scientific organizations.

“We recognize that you may be concerned about further delay in EPA's assessment of this chemical,” Ross wrote in an October 2009 letter to the EPA, “but we are convinced that it is vitally important that a risk assessment be thorough and accurate.”

Not surprisingly, Ross's FEC filings for 2009 show that he received more than $14,000 in contributions from companies that use or manufacture significant amounts of the chemical: $9,000 from Koch Industries, $1,500 from Monsanto, $1,000 from Exxon, $1,000 from Plum Creek Timber and $2,000 from the American Forest and Paper Association.

When asked if industry contributions influenced his position on when and how the EPA regulates formaldehyde, Ross said,

“The only people I answer to are those who call Arkansas's Fourth Congressional District home and that's who I represent in our nation's capital — not a political party or special interests. Any accusation to the contrary is misguided. I believe my record as a common sense voice for Arkansas is clear and I stand by that record.”

The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality lists formaldehyde as a colorless, pungent and irritating gas and a pollutant in air permit applications.

Moving on

Loose ends concerning the move of Mike and Janet Huckabee to Florida:

The former first lady once had a high-profile job with the American Red Cross. No more, we learned. Brigette Williams, a spokesperson for the Red Cross, said, “She worked for the national organization, not the local chapter, and was very involved. She resigned in May of 2009 for personal reasons. She had to prioritize her family.”

After he left office and became a presidential candidate, the former governor maintained an office for a time in the Union Plaza building at 124 W. Capitol Ave. The building's management says he moved out months ago.



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Arkansas Times Staff

Most Shared

  • Department of Arkansas Heritage archeologist resigns

    Bob Scoggin, 50, the Department of Arkansas Heritage archeologist whose job it was to review the work of agencies, including DAH and the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, for possible impacts on historic properties, resigned from the agency on Monday. Multiple sources say Scoggin, whom they describe as an "exemplary" employee who the week before had completed an archeological project on DAH property, was told he would be fired if he did not resign.
  • Labor department director inappropriately expensed out-of-state trips, audit finds

    Jones was "Minority Outreach Coordinator" for Hutchinson's 2014 gubernatorial campaign. The governor first named him as policy director before placing him over the labor department instead in Jan. 2015, soon after taking office.
  • Lawsuit filed against ADC officials, prison chaplain convicted of sexual assault at McPherson

    A former inmate who claims she was sexually assaulted over 70 times by former McPherson Womens' Unit chaplain Kenneth Dewitt has filed a federal lawsuit against Dewitt, several staff members at the prison, and officials with the Arkansas Department of Corrections, including former director Ray Hobbs.
  • Rapert compares Bill Clinton to Orval Faubus

    Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway)  was on "Capitol View" on KARK, Channel 4, this morning, and among other things that will likely inspire you to yell at your computer screen, he said he expects someone in the legislature to file a bill to do ... something about changing the name of the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport.

Latest in The Insider

  • All in the family

    Old habits die hard. We may have a new Republican majority in the legislature, but like the old Democratic majority, it still doesn't hurt to have a lawmaker spouse to land a part-time job during the legislative session.
    • Jan 30, 2013
  • 'Circuit breaker' legal

    When we first asked Gov. Mike Beebe about the "circuit breaker" idea out of Arizona (automatically opting out of Medicaid expansion if the feds reduce the matching rates in the future), he said it was fine but noted that states can already opt out at any time, an assurance he got in writing from the feds.
    • Jan 30, 2013
  • Church goes to school in Conway

    An interesting controversy is brewing in Conway Public Schools, periodically a scene of discord as more liberal constituents object to the heavy dose of religion that powerful local churches have tried to inject into the schools, particularly in sex education short on science and long on abstinence.
    • Jan 23, 2013
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Arkansas remembers Pearl Harbor

Arkansas remembers Pearl Harbor

Central Arkansas venues have a full week of commemorative events planned

Event Calendar

« »


  1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Learning to love North Little Rock in Park Hill

    • My father in law built this house from WW2 materials he bought cheap. The walls…

    • on December 5, 2016
  • Re: A killing in Pocahontas

    • my name is kimberly some parts are true some are not travis was a victum…

    • on December 4, 2016
  • Re: Vive la resistance!

    • We are not asking you to place a stent in the Democrats Heart nor to…

    • on December 4, 2016

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation