Week 12

The Headlines

What’s at Stake in Trump’s Proposed E.P.A. Cuts

April 10, 2017 | The New York Times

The exact science behind, and health consequences of, a class of chemicals called endocrine disrupters remains unsettled. With the proposed cuts to research at the E.P.A., it could stay that way.

The budget eliminates a $6 million research and screening effort targeting the chemicals, which are found widely in pesticides, plastics, shampoos and cosmetics, cash register receipts, food can linings and other products. The chemicals have been linked to breast cancer in women and hypospadias, a birth defect in boys.

Ending the program, which would result in the loss of nine jobs, would curtail the agency’s ability to review medical data and work with environmental lawyers to fashion an agency response.

Emerging nations urge rich countries to honour climate finance pledges – statement

April 11, 2017 | Reuters

At a media briefing after the Tuesday meeting, South Africa’s deputy minister of environmental affairs, Barbara Thompson, said recent changes in U.S. policy were “of major concern”.

But “the position of the U.S. is still very unclear to us”, she said, adding “we believe there are different views within the U.S. administration” on this issue.

Trump’s climate demands roil U.S. allies

April 11, 2017 | Politico

After a tense back-and-forth at the meeting in Rome on Monday, the G-7 energy ministers — including representatives from Canada, Great Britain and several European Union countries — wound up scuttling the statement altogether.

April 11, 2017 | The Washington Post

“We are thankful to the court for granting our motion to postpone oral argument,” EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman said in an email. “In light of President Trump’s pro-growth agenda, EPA continues to carefully review the broad implications of the 2015 ozone standard and ensure that we are supporting American jobs and protecting human health and the environment.”

Trump’s EPA is seeking a 24/7 security detail for its new leader

April 12, 2017 | The Washington Post

“I think it’s prudent given the continuing activities by the left to foment hatred and the reported hostility within the agency from some unprofessional activists,” Ebell said at the time.

Scott Pruitt Faces Anger From Right Over E.P.A. Finding He Won’t Fight

April 12, 2017 | The New York Times

But now a growing chorus of critics on the other end of the political spectrum say Mr. Pruitt has not gone far enough. In particular, they are angry that he has refused to challenge a landmark agency determination known as the endangerment finding, which provides the legal basis for Mr. Obama’s Clean Power Plan and other global warming policies.

These critics say that Mr. Pruitt is hacking only at the branches of current climate policy. They want him to pull it out by the roots.

Trump administration halts Obama-era rule aimed at curbing toxic wastewater from coal plants

April 13, 2017 | The Washington Post

That group [Sierra Club] and others noted that power plants represent the largest industrial source of toxic wastewater pollution in the country and that more than a third of coal plants discharge wastewater within five miles of a downstream community’s drinking water intake. They also argued that the Obama administration’s rule was based on years of peer-reviewed studies, input from health experts and a mountain of public comments.

EPA head tells coal miners ‘regulatory assault is over’

April 13, 2017 | The Sentinel [Pennsylvania]

[But] Even coal company executives have publicly expressed doubts that rolling back regulations will stem the coal industry’s decline. Coal mining now accounts for fewer than 75,000 U.S. jobs.

EPA Chief Pruitt: U.S. Should ‘Exit’ Paris Climate Agreement

April 13, 2017 | InsideClimate News

“Paris is something we need to look at closely. It’s something we need to exit in my opinion,” Pruitt said in an interview on the Fox & Friends morning news program.

“It’s a bad deal for America,” he said. “It’s an ‘America second, third or fourth’ kind of approach.”


State Response

Trump’s attacks on environment unites 4 ex-N.J. governors | Editorial

April 8, 2017 | NJ.Com

Whitman has joined forces with Brendan Byrne (governor from 1974 to 1982), Thomas Kean (1982 to 1990) and James Florio (1990 to 1994) to urge the state’s congressional delegation to stand firm against the proposed EPA cuts and layoffs.

Chicago Is Pledging To Lead The Nation In Renewable Energy

April 9, 2017 | The Chicagoist

All buildings operated by the city—including government buildings, Chicago Public Schools, park district buildings, Chicago Housing Authority spaces, and community colleges—will be powered 100 percent through renewable energy, the mayor and other city officials announced on Sunday. Emanuel made the announcement on the roof of Shedd Aquarium, which right now sports more than 900 solar panels.

Solar hits big, brief milestone in California

April 10, 2017 | The San Francisco Chronicle

Between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on March 11, almost 40 percent of the electricity flowing across the ISO grid came from large-scale solar power plants, a record. California has enough big solar facilities to generate up to 9.8 gigawatts of electricity, nearly the output of 10 nuclear reactors.

Portland commits to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050

April 10, 2017 | The Register-Guard [Oregon]

Monday’s announcement from Mayor Ted Wheeler and County Chair Deborah Kafoury places the Portland-metro region alongside 25 other cities that have committed to 100-percent renewables. Nearly 90 major U.S. companies also have committed.

Fla. makes case for climate research at Mar-a-Lago’s doorstep

April 11, 2017 | E&E News

“What do we do about it?” [Nelson] asked. “Well, first, we need to be clear about the facts that are presented to the public and fight against the political censorship of our climate scientists and their data,” Nelson said. “If a doctor were barred from using the word cancer, he or she can’t do his job. And the same is true of the scientists and the work that they do to understand and educate the public about the Earth’s increasing fever.”

CT, NY Petition EPA To Limit Air Pollution From Rust Belt Coal Plants

April 13, 2017 | WSHU Public Radio

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection says the state has the highest level of ozone in the Northeast, due in large part to interstate pollution that comes from coal-fired power plants in states likes Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Okla. bill targets ‘existing scientific theories’

April 13, 2017 | E&E News

The legislation comes amid a national climate change education controversy. Earlier this year, the Heartland Institute, a free-market think tank that denies mainstream climate science, shipped 25,000 books and DVDs rejecting the human role in global warming to public schools across the country. The institute aims to send about 200,000 copies of the book, titled “Why Scientists Disagree About Global Warming,” with the goal of getting the materials into the hands of every science teacher in the country.


A Look Back

Trump Preparing Order to Expand Offshore Oil Drilling

 April 6, 2017 | Bloomberg

“The administration can stare all day at the statute Obama used to protect large parts of the Arctic and Atlantic, but they won’t find a syllable allowing Trump to revoke those protections. Neither will the courts,” said Niel Lawrence, Alaska director for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

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