Friday, December 1, 2017

As Oceans Warm, the World’s Kelp Forests Begin to Disappear
"Kelp forests — luxuriant coastal ecosystems that are home to a wide variety of marine biodiversity — are being wiped out from Tasmania to California, replaced by sea urchin barrens that are nearly devoid of life."

The Congressional Anti-Parks Caucus in Power
"The positions of the anti-parks caucus members vary greatly from those of the public, fellow members of Congress, and even other congressional Republicans."

Monday, November 20, 2017

Senate confirms lobbyist with ‘astounding’ number of conflicts of interest to head EPA air office
"William Wehrum, an industry lawyer and lobbyist, has represented companies who regularly filed legal challenges to the Environmental Protection Agency’s clean air regulations. Nonetheless, President Donald Trump nominated him to head the office at the EPA responsible for ensuring Americans have clean air."

Senator's basic science questions expose Trump's environmental advisor nominee to be a fraud
"None of this is surprising in that Trump’s administration has shown the kind of disdain for the planet usually only reserved for comically two-dimensional cartoon villains. But boy, does Trump and crew know how to pick truly unimpressive people!"

Sunday, November 12, 2017

As evidence mounts that coal jobs aren’t coming back, Trump’s false promises become more cruel
"Despite President Donald Trump’s claim of a rebound in coal jobs, he can’t stop the hemorrhaging of more coal jobs in the coming years. Sadly, he can undermine U.S. leadership in clean energy, one of our greatest engines of high-wage jobs. Bloomberg reported Wednesday that the recent coal “bump” — which began before Trump was even elected — is “over.” Coal plants continue to shutter around the country, American coal production rates are dropping below 2016 levels, and automation continues to penetrate the industry. That makes last week’s Reuters story on how some coal miners, duped by Trump’s false promises, were rejecting retraining even more painful. For instance, the Appalachian Regional Commission, a partnership between states and the federal government to boost the local economy, was able to fill only 20 of 95 slots in a major project to teach laid-off miners in the region computer coding. “I think there is a coal comeback. I have a lot of faith in President Trump.” That’s the explanation one 33-year-old son of a miner gave Reuters for why he ended up taking a coal-mining course at a federally funded career training center in Pennsylvania. “I am optimistic that you can make a good career out of coal for the next 50 years,” said another worker, Sean Moodie. He and his brother, who work in the natural gas industry, are also taking mining courses. The only 50-year careers in energy that are being created at an accelerating rate today are in clean energy. Indeed, the wind and solar industries employ nine times as many people as coal. Tragically, Trump and the GOP are working hard to undermine the clean energy sector with their pro-pollution budget, regulatory policies, and even tax policies."

Science won on Tuesday: Pro-science candidates from the school board to the governor's mansion
"With the Republican Party cementing itself ever more solidly in the anti-science camp, it may seem axiomatic that a vote for the Democratic candidate is also a nod toward reason, logic, and policy that’s informed by sound science. However, there are some candidates who are not only open to listening to science, but have their own grounding in science and engineering. And those candidates did particularly well on Tuesday night."

Big Oil loses big in Washington
"On Tuesday night, however, as Democratic candidates swept races from New Hampshire to Virginia, Big Oil found itself starkly rebuked in Washington state, as two candidates running on pro-environmental platforms proved that the fossil fuel industry, though powerful, is not infallible."

And then there was one: Syria joins Paris agreement leaving the U.S. behind
"During a round of U.N. climate talks on Tuesday, a Syrian delegate announced that the country would sign the historic Paris climate agreement, leaving the United States as the only country in the world opting out of the landmark deal."

'America Last': US vs. Entire World After Syria Agrees to Join Paris Accord
"At the COP23 United Nations climate summit in Bonn, Germany on Tuesday, war-torn Syria announced that it would sign on to the Paris agreement, leaving the United States—after President Donald withdrew his support earlier this year—as the only nation on planet Earth to oppose the international accord opponent."

The Endangered Species Act Is Endangered

The Endangered Species Act Is Endangered:

"When a bill signed into law by Richard Nixon is under assault in the Trump administration, it is clear how radical this administration and many of its supporters in Congress are. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was created in December of 1970, during the first Nixon administration. That should give you an idea of just how extreme the current administration has become on environmental matters. Under Trump, the EPA has evolved into the "unprotecting the environment" agency. It is being dismembered by Director Scott Pruitt."

Friday, October 27, 2017

Scott Pruitt denies he meets with ‘polluters’ as his agency dismantles environmental safeguards
"As Oklahoma attorney general, Pruitt also maintained a close relationship with polluting industries, particularly the oil and gas industry. In 2014, the New York Times broke a story showing that Pruitt had taken a letter written by Devon Energy lawyers and sent it to the EPA on state letterhead, essentially acting as an official voice for one of his state’s biggest polluters. Devon Energy is a major natural gas producer based in Oklahoma City."

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Scott Pruitt’s back-to-basics agenda includes 30 personal security guards
"The Environmental Protection Agency is expanding the number of security personnel dedicated to protecting agency chief Scott Pruitt by 12, raising the administrator’s total security detail to 30 guards. Prior to the latest boost in protection, the EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division was providing an 18-member security team that worked in shifts to guard the administrator around the clock. The millions of dollars spent on guarding Pruitt is coming at a time when the Trump administration wants to cut the EPA’s budget by 30 percent, including major cuts to the agency’s environmental enforcement program. The salaries for Pruitt’s security detail will cost at least $2 million per year, CNN reported Monday. That cost does not include funding to cover training, equipment, or travel. No previous EPA administrator has ever received a 24/7 security detail. Two prior administrators were guarded when getting transported to meetings or on trips. During the first three months of Pruitt’s tenure at the EPA, the government spent more than $800,000 on security for him, almost twice the cost of security for each of his two predecessors — Gina McCarthy and Lisa Jackson — over similar time periods."

Trump gives chemical industry insider power on regulating chemicals
"Voters who supported Donald Trump because they hoped he’d “drain the swamp,” preventing corporate insiders from helping call the shots in government agencies, are getting the exact opposite of what they wanted."

Corporations Don't Want You To Know How Lethal Their Pollution Is

Conflicts of Interest? NOAA’s Nominees AccuWeather CEO Barry Myers, and Dr. Neil Jacobs of Panasonic
"Simply put, NOAA does a wide range of basic and applied scientific research to better understand our oceans and atmosphere, from deep sea exploration to space weather. (If you can’t imagine why we care about weather in space, you can find out how it can affect everything from satellites to cellphones!) NOAA’s research provides information to the public, policy makers, and other scientists in the US and around the world. NOAA scientists partner with a huge number of scientists in academia, industry, and private institutions in collaborative research in addition to providing critical long-term data series that no one else has the resources nor the mandate to collect and share with the public. So NOAA is a science agency, but its science is applied to create weather forecasts, manage fisheries, protect whales and other marine mammals, help states manage coastal areas, create charts, inform international negotiations on addressing the challenges of management of shared resources in the oceans and atmosphere, forecast tsunami risks, measure and monitor the ongoing process of climate change, and more. The leadership of the agency can impact all of us in one way or another. Care about severe weather and risks to your life and property? Better thank NOAA. Care about your favorite beach and whether it is eroding or will it be clean and safe? Better thank NOAA. Care about your farm and the coming growing season’s weather? Better thank NOAA. Or the fish you enjoy to catch or eat? Better thank NOAA."

Rick Perry's Department of Energy Is Worse Than You Could Even Imagine

Rick Perry's Department of Energy Is Worse Than You Could Even Imagine:

"It appears that the Trump administration's budget-cutting, its search of short-term solutions to long-term problems, and its "willful ignorance," as Michael Lewis termed it, is being writ large over how the DOE is proceeding. Given current indicators, Rick Perry's greatest "Oops" moment is yet to come."

EPA Head Keeps Meeting With Fossil Fuel Executives While Ignoring The Environment

EPA Spends $25K On Soundproof Room For Scott Pruitt To Hold Private Conversations

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Amazing Graphic Shows Why Cannabis Is a Medication Worth Legalizing @alternet

Amazing Graphic Shows Why Cannabis Is a Medication Worth Legalizing @alternet:

"According to clinical studies, the chemical compounds found in cannabis (CBD and THC) can successfully treat chronic pain and many other health ailments. This was evidenced in the largest ever study on cannabis which examined over 10,000 studies on the drug. The results found that, not only is cannabis an effective defense to chronic pain, but also a wide range of other health problems such as: muscles spasms in those suffering from multiple sclerosis, nausea in those undergoing chemotherapy, inflammation, arthritis, fibromyalgia, anxiety, stress, and PTSD."


Herban Planet Launches 'Space Weed Bro' Marijuana Into Space
"Herban Planet made intergalactic history by launching one pound of marijuana flower, "Space Weed Bro," 35 KM above the Earth's surface into space."

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

U.S. and Syria are now the only nations that don’t support the Paris climate agreement
"Nicaragua announced Wednesday its intention to join the Paris climate agreement, leaving the United States and Syria as the only two countries that do not support the accord."

'Mind-bogglingly Dangerous': Trump EPA Rolls Back Water Pollution Limits for Coal Plants
"In 2015 the Obama administration developed new limits on metals including lead, mercury, and arsenic in coal-fired plants' wastewater, set to go into effect in 2018. The pollutants in question "can cause severe health problems, including cancer and lowered I.Q. among children, as well as deformities and reproductive harm in fish and wildlife," according to the Center for Biological Diversity, which fought against the rollback of the limits."

Naomi Klein: We Are Seeing the Shock Doctrine in Effect After Hurricanes Harvey & Irma

Trump Promised to Hire the Best People. He Keeps Hiring the Worst @alternet

Trump Promised to Hire the Best People. He Keeps Hiring the Worst @alternet:

"In many cases he’s hired some of the worst people imaginable. Who worse to lead the EPA than a man whose primary qualification is having sued the agency 14 times on behalf of polluting industries? Who worse to lead the Midwestern states EPA than a woman who the EPA cited for failure to control air pollution in Wisconsin and who deleted all mention of human-caused climate change from her department website? Who worse to lead the Department of Energy than a man who wanted to eliminate the department (until he forgot - oops)? Who worse to be the Department of Agriculture’s chief scientist than a right-wing birther radio host with no scientific background? And these are only the administration officials in positions related to energy and the environment. There are of course exceptions where Trump nominated people who are at least qualified for the job, but in many cases it’s hard to imagine worse choices. And now we can add Trump’s selection to lead NASA to the list - Rep. Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma."

Axios: Trump's Centers for Disease Control staff under a gag order
"According to an email obtained by Axios, staff at the Centers for Disease Control—an organization that’s vital to protecting public health—has been directed to not communicate with the public via the press. The message—sent by public affairs officer Jeffrey Lancashire and dated Aug. 31—instructs all CDC employees not to speak to reporters, "even for a simple data-related question." What it said: Effective immediately and until further notice, any and all correspondence with any member of the news media, regardless of the nature of the inquiry, must be cleared through CDC's Atlanta Communications Office," Lancashire wrote. "This correspondence includes everything from formal interview requests to the most basic of data requests." So the CDC's mission is "to protect America from health, safety and security threats, both foreign and in the U.S." And to accomplish that mission, the CDC's website says, it "conducts critical science and provides health information that protects our nation against expensive and dangerous health threats, and responds when these arise."  Except now, under the Trump administration, it can only provide that health information if the bosses say so. So a local reporter writing about an outbreak of say, a Zika virus outbreak in the community can't get information directly from local or regional CDC sources. That's not good."

Trump Has Killed More Than 800 Regulations, Putting Your Life In Danger

New Documentary Reveals Koch Brother Company Devastated Arkansas Community for Easy Profits @alternet

New Documentary Reveals Koch Brother Company Devastated Arkansas Community for Easy Profits @alternet: A Koch brothers-owned paper mill was blamed for dumping cancer-causing chemicals. The documentary Company Town opened in New York City on Friday night, for a short run at Cinema Village on East 12th Street. Introducing a sold-out screening, New York state attorney general Eric Schneiderman said co-directors Natalie Kottke-Masocco and Erica Sardarian had captured one of the “quiet tragedies that are taking place all across America all the time”.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

The Post-Paris Path Forward

Miami Must Deal With Climate Change "Reality"

Relentless wildfires threaten supplies of drinking water in western U.S.
"Wildfires fueled by dry weather and scorching temperatures have smothered parts of the western United States in smoky, ashy air, forcing communities to take measures to protect their drinking water supplies. Earlier this week, at least 81 large fires were raging across 1.5 million acres of the West, from Colorado to California and north to Washington. North of the border in Canada, British Columbia has already had an “unprecedented” fire season."

This state’s GOP doesn’t want you to have hurricane aid — but took $123M from tax payers for crop insurance

This state’s GOP doesn’t want you to have hurricane aid — but took $123M from tax payers for crop insurance

"Indiana Republicans said no. Not if it will add to the deficit. But when it comes to what those same Republicans are willing to authorize for their own state, they couldn’t care less about the deficit. According to the 2014 budgets, Indiana scores $10 billion in federal aid each year. Of that, $123 million goes to pay for farmers to have crop insurance, in case natural disasters kill their corn. Approximately, one-third of Indiana’s budget comes from the federal government, contributing to the overall U.S. deficit. Indiana is one of the top 10 states in the country that make more money from the federal government than they give back. Those Republican leaders seem willing to accept the money when it’s for them."

Scott Pruitt Has EPA Ignoring Its Mission When We Need It Most
"At a time when we’re all still thinking of Hurricane Harvey’s survivors (and donating to their recovery efforts), Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt continues to steer his agency off a cliff by ignoring its mission and putting people at risk: An Associated Press story broke over the weekend demonstrating that the agency hadn’t been on site at the many toxic sites affected by Harvey around Houston. Pruitt and an EPA spokesperson’s response? They attacked the reporter who wrote the story, instead of responding to the real issue of actually showing up to the toxic sites for monitoring. Striking a similar tone, when asked to comment on how climate change is making these storms worse, his EPA attacked climate scientists - the very people we’re all counting on to help us understand these disasters - accusing them of “an attempt to politicize an ongoing tragedy.” Pruitt’s latest bad moves add to an unfortunately already long list of steps he’s taken that make me fear for the “protection” part of the Environmental Protection Agency. We also learned last week that there are now some political strings attached to receiving any grants from the EPA. From a Washington Post story: The Environmental Protection Agency has taken the unusual step of putting a political operative in charge of vetting the hundreds of millions of dollars in grants the EPA distributes annually, assigning final funding decisions to a former Trump campaign aide with little environmental policy experience. On top of that, Pruitt is now under investigation for his frequent travels on the taxpayer’s dime back to his home state of Oklahoma: In late July, the watchdog group Environmental Integrity Project said travel records from a Freedom of Information Act request show that Pruitt spent 48 of 92 days in March, April and May traveling -- including 43 days on trips that included stops in his home state of Oklahoma."

Irma: The Best And Worst Case Scenario

Plastic Water Bottles for Our National Parks; No Bikeshare Station at the White House: For Trump, No Obama-Era Environmental Innovation Is Too Small to Obliterate @alternet

Plastic Water Bottles for Our National Parks; No Bikeshare Station at the White House: For Trump, No Obama-Era Environmental Innovation Is Too Small to Obliterate @alternet:

"President Trump has made sweeping efforts to scrap Obama-era environmental protections, but the current administration's latest moves are oddly specific. The National Park Service (NPS) announced Wednesday that it has rescinded the 2011 "Water Bottle Ban" that allowed parks to prohibit the sale of disposable plastic water bottles. That same day, news emerged that the Trump administration removed a nine-slot Capital Bikeshare station at the White House that was requested and installed during the Obama years and used by staffers. The NPS said that the bottled water ban "removed the healthiest beverage choice at a variety of parks while still allowing sales of bottled sweetened drinks." Revocation of the 2011 memorandum is effective immediately. "While we will continue to encourage the use of free water bottle filling stations as appropriate, ultimately it should be up to our visitors to decide how best to keep themselves and their families hydrated during a visit to a national park, particularly during hot summer visitation periods," acting NPS director Michael T. Reynolds explained. According to the Wilderness Society, 23 national parks had adopted the policy, including Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Zion National Park. The group said the Water Bottle Ban—an effort under President Obama's Green Parks Plan to promote the use of tap water and refillable bottles on federal lands—helped parks "simultaneously reduce park waste and carbon emissions." But as the San Francisco Chronicle reported, the water bottle ban was opposed by the beverage industry that had long lobbied to change the policy."

Trump’s Council on Environmental Quality has no members at all
"Though Trump ran on a platform of climate science denial, as a candidate he promised that he would “conserve our beautiful natural habitats” and “ensure clean air and clean water for all of our people.” To date, his environmental policy has been almost entirely one of deregulation. And by not having any council at all to recommend environmentally sound policies, the administration continues to display its profound lack of concern for environmental issues."

The US coal industry is going out, not with a whimper, but with a burst of rent-seeking
"The US coal industry is dying — but not with any dignity. As the end approaches, its sense of aggrieved entitlement is increasingly naked, its demands for government handouts increasingly frantic. As dread builds, shame has left the building. The story of coal’s decline has been told many times now (see this post for more), but at root, it’s not complicated: The industry’s product is outmoded. Natural gas and wind power are cheaper than coal power in most places, and solar power is heading the same direction. What’s more, wind and solar (variable renewable energy, or VRE) and natural gas complement each other. VRE is completely clean but variable. Natural gas is moderately clean but flexible. Variable and flexible work well together; they are the basis for the modern grid. (Whether we can find equally flexible but entirely clean alternatives to natural gas in the coming decades is the most pressing issue facing the grid.) Giant, slow, inflexible, dirty coal plants simply don’t fit in that picture. Coal still represents 30 percent of the US electricity mix, but as natural gas and renewables grow and the grid evolves toward a flexible, distributed model, its role will inevitably shrink. There’s no big conspiracy, no “war on coal,” just the creative destruction of capitalism at work, as technological advances and evolving social preferences transform industries. Without creative destruction, capitalism doesn’t work — productivity and wages don’t grow. But there is no creative destruction without pain for the workers and communities on the losing end. That’s why capitalist societies need a foundation of public services (upon Matt Bruenig’s sage advice, I’m no longer using the term “safety net”). It cushions the turbulence of creative destruction. Many members of the US business community, particularly those of a more conservative bent, like to talk about the virtues of meritocratic free markets. So do their allies in elected office."

Why Patagonia is Fighting for Public Lands

Toxic Floodwaters Pose Health Risk After Hurricane Harvey

Exclusive: Trump team goes to bat for NRA-backed bill, deleting Park Service concerns
"Under the bill, the National Park Service would be prevented from regulating the hunting of bears and wolves in Alaska wildlife preserves, including the practice of killing bear cubs in their dens. It also would be prevented from regulating commercial and recreational fishing within park boundaries and from commenting on development projects outside park boundaries that could affect the parks."

The EPA’s Bizarre Response To Report On Houston Contaminants

How Marijuana Can Disrupt Leukemia Cells @alternet

How Marijuana Can Disrupt Leukemia Cells @alternet: New scientific research shows that marijuana's cannabinoids have the ability to “target and switch off pathways” that allow cancers to grow. Leukemia is the blanket term for the four different types of cancer found in bone marrow and blood cells. There are roughly 200,000 U.S. cases per year and typically found in adults over the age of 55, but also found in children under the age of 15.

More than half the states’ medical marijuana protections could be in jeopardy
"The Trump administration and GOP legislators seem hell-bent on halting any initiative to legalize marijuana, be it medical or recreational. The House Rules Committee on Thursday blocked an amendment that prevents the Department of Justice from using federal money to enforce prohibition measures against states that approved medical marijuana consumption."

How Marijuana May Treat Aggressive Brain Cancer @alternet

How Marijuana May Treat Aggressive Brain Cancer @alternet: Successful treatment 'reinforces the potential role of cannabinoids in the field of oncology.' In what is being heralded as a breakthrough for cancer research, GW Pharmaceuticals announced on Tuesday positive results from a study using a combination of cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol to treat an aggressive form of brain cancer.

What We Know About Medical Marijuana’s Effect On Heart Disease @alternet

What We Know About Medical Marijuana’s Effect On Heart Disease @alternet:

"CBD has various theoretical medical applications for heart disease. To begin with, CBD “has been shown to cause blood vessels to vasodilate, improving blood flow and reducing blood pressure”. Point being, CBD can possibly be utilized as a preventative medicine for heart attacks, as it has the potential to help blood vessels restrict and move more efficiently. Doctors also feel that CBD can be used as an “anti-arrhythmic” which can reestablish normality in one’s heart beat post heart attack."

Limbaugh: What Hurricane? I'm Just Evacuating For "Security" Issues!

EPA listened to Agriculture Department, not scientists, in decision not to ban dangerous pesticide
"After rejecting a ban on chlorpyrifos, a widely-used insecticide that acts by paralyzing the nervous system of insects, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt told a Senate panel the decision was “based on the USDA communication to the EPA that the scientific basis that was being used by the agency was very questionable.” The new documents show that USDA officials attended meetings between the EPA and chemical agribusiness executives and strongly pushed for the EPA to set aside other scientific evidence of the pesticide’s danger to human health."

Freedom Means Shooting Bear Cubs While They're Hibernating
"What kind of bloodthirsty moron shoots bear cubs, or hibernating animals? Don't tell me that's sporting. I'll laugh myself silly. What kind of useless bureaucrat goes out of their way to make it easier to do so, and on land that belongs to all of us?"

Trump’s EPA Attacks Reporter For Covering Environmental Damage Of Hurricane Harvey

We Are Now All Dumber for Having Listened to Trump's Definition of Clean Coal
"In all the hubbub over the public manic episode that overcame the president* in Phoenix Tuesday night, I missed this little gem. We've ended the war on beautiful, clean coal, and it's just been announced that a second, brand-new coal mine, where they're going to take out clean coal -- meaning, they're taking out coal. They're going to clean it -- is opening in the state of Pennsylvania... I mean, he knows, right? "Clean coal" is an industry myth, but I don't expect him to know that. But he does know that it doesn't mean they bring the coal up from beneath the earth's surface and then run it through a car wash or something. He knows that, right? Right? Hello?"

Friday, September 1, 2017

Harvard Study Confirms: #ExxonKnew and Misled Public About Climate Threat for Decades
"The study confirmed findings from 2015 reports by InsideClimate News and The Los Angeles Times, which claimed the company had long known about the risks of climate change but publicly denied them, and triggered probes by the New York and Massachusetts attorneys general as well as the Securities and Exchange Commission."

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Exxon researched climate science. Understood it. And misled the public.
"The world’s largest oil company has been under some scrutiny lately. Back in 2015, Inside Climate News and the Los Angeles Times published a pair of matching exposes on Exxon, using internal documents to show that the company was well aware of the threat of climate change as far back as the 1970s, but consistently misled the public and investors about it. Now ExxonMobil is under siege from even more directions. Seventeen state attorneys general have said they will begin cooperating on investigations into whether Exxon broke racketeering, consumer protection, or investor protection laws in its climate communications."

State Department Science Envoy Quits With Not-So-Secret Message For Trump: ‘IMPEACH’
"the first letter of each paragraph spelling out a word — that sends a blunter message to Trump: IMPEACH."