With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 8/22/2017, 10:56am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Monsanto pesticide, approved by secret process, is decimating crops; Trump disbands federal climate advisory committee; Appeals court lets Exxon off the hook for Arkansas pipeline spill that destroyed a neighborhood; PLUS: Trump's National Park Service ends ban on plastic disposable water bottles... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Trump’s Interior Department cancels mountaintop removal study; CA defies Trump, proves environmental regulation boost economic growth; EPA to delay plan forcing Texas to address coal plant pollution; Murray Energy boss: Trump has broken a promise to coal; Oil refiner's secret campaign against biofuels; Solar advocates get surprising win in NV; VA governor urges Trump to drop VA from offshore drilling expansion; EPA coordinated with Monsanto to slow herbicide review... PLUS: Emails show Trump EPA promised 'new day' for chemical agriculture industry.... and much, MUCH more! ...

STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...

  • Trump disbands federal climate advisory council:
    • The Trump administration just disbanded a federal advisory committee on climate change (Washington Post):
      “It doesn’t seem to be the best course of action,” said Moss, an adjunct professor in the University of Maryland’s Department of Geographical Sciences, and he warned of consequences for the decisions that state and local authorities must make on a range of issues from building road projects to maintaining adequate hydropower supplies. “We’re going to be running huge risks here and possibly end up hurting the next generation’s economic prospects.”
    • Trump dismisses climate policy advisers (Climate Progress):
      The special report is was supposed to be part of a larger report known as the National Climate Assessment...President Donald Trump seems to be taking care to ensure that its findings will not translate to action. Over the weekend, he disbanded the advisory council created to help policymakers and private officials translate the report’s findings into policy...Environmental groups also worried that disbanding the National Climate Assessment advisory committee would leave the federal government ill-prepared to enact policy aimed at preventing the worst economic and public health consequences associated with climate change.
    • Trump kills plan to protect projects from rising seas; FEMA officials "aghast" at Trump decision to nix flood prep standard (E&E News)

  • Monsanto pesticide dicamba implicated in widespread crop failure:
    • VIDEO: Scant oversight, corporate secrecy preceded U.S. weed killer crisis (Reuters) [emphasis added]:
      As the crisis intensifies, new details provided to Reuters by independent researchers and regulators, and previously unreported testimony by a company employee, demonstrate the unusual way Monsanto introduced its product. The approach, in which Monsanto prevented key independent testing of its product, went unchallenged by the Environmental Protection Agency and nearly every state regulator.

  • National Park Service ends ban on disposable plastic water bottles:
  • Court lets Exxon off the hook for fines in Mayflower, AR pipeline spill:
    • Court Lets Exxon Off Hook for Pipeline Spill in Arkansas Neighborhood (Inside Climate News) [emphasis added]:
      The court said that the "pipeline integrity regulations themselves did not provide ExxonMobil notice that the pipeline's leak history compelled it to label the LF-ERW pipe susceptible to longitudinal seam failure." But Exxon's own testing in the years before the Mayflower spill revealed more than 10 leaks or ruptures—a fact that critics say should speak for itself. "The fact that it had been leaking and that it was ERW pipe should have been enough to clue Exxon in that it was susceptible to a higher risk of seam failure," said Rebecca Craven, program director for the Pipeline Safety Trust.
    • Court overturns Exxon’s fines for major pipeline spill, calling it ‘regrettable’ (Climate Progress):
      Pipeline safety laws don't always keep communities safe...Separately, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) fined Exxon $2.6 million for nine probable violations of safety rules that lead to the spill, including failing to adequately account for risks posed by the pipeline. In reversing the PHMSA’s decision, the Fifth Circuit Court found that Exxon had not failed under the federal law to ensure, to the best of its ability, the safety of the pipeline.
    • Appeals panel voids Exxon pipe-risk order (Arkansas-Democrat Gazette):
      Oil giant followed U.S. integrity regulations at time of 2013 spill, decision says.

  • Polluter fines drop 60 per cent in Trump Administration:
    • Polluter fines drop 60 percent under Trump (Washington Post):
      The Environmental Integrity Project said that the figures showed that the Trump administration is “off to a very slow start” when it comes to enforcing environmental law. It said that the cases this year “are smaller, requiring much less spending on cleanup, and resulting in fewer measurable reductions in pollutants that end up in our air or water.” ...The Trump administration collected $12 million in civil penalties compared to Obama's $36 million...Lawsuits filed by the EPA against polluters also dipped by 24 percent.
    • EPA fines collected against polluters dropped 60% under Trump, report says (CNN)

'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...

For a comprehensive roundup of daily environmental news you can trust, see the Society of Environmental Journalists' Daily Headlines page


FOR MORE on Climate Science and Climate Change, go to our Green News Report: Essential Background Page

  • NASA Video: If we don't act, here's what to expect in the next 100 years: