IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: President Obama announces big changes for Big Coal and Big Oil on public lands; Republicans heart fracking in sixth GOP debate; Finally, corporate media asks a debate question on climate change...to Democrats; PLUS: A federal state of emergency for Flint, Michigan's lead water contamination crisis... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): We Might Have Finally Seen Peak Coal; Iran Set to Pump More Oil Into Market Glut; U.N. Food Agency Says 14 Million Face Hunger In Southern Africa; Environment Canada Warned Mount Polley Mine Before Disaster, FOIs Show; US Files Objection To Alpha Natural Resources' Executive Bonuses; Wyoming Backs Desperate Bids To Save Coal Industry; 20 Years Later, Cleanup of GE PCBs in Housatonic River Still Underway... PLUS: Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio say climate change is distant threat... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- President Obama Declares Federal State of Emergency for Flint Water Crisis:
- Snyder to appeal Obama's denial of Flint disaster zone (Detroit News):
Flint's water contamination stems from a 2013 decision by a Snyder-appointed emergency manager to temporarily use Flint River water until the city could hook up to a new regional water pipeline that doesn't go online until later this year.
- Snyder Concedes Flint is His “Katrina,” a Failure of Leadership (National Journal):
Michigan governor vows to earn back public’s trust after lead poisoning on his watch....“It’s clearly a negative on what we’ve accomplished since I’ve been governor.”
- Flint gets emergency declaration, Snyder gets defensive (MSNBC)
- State of Emergency Declared Over Man-Made Water Disaster in Michigan City (NY Times):
The declaration was requested on Thursday by Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, who had also sought a major disaster declaration and asked for nearly $96 million to be expedited for relief efforts. A disaster declaration would have freed up more federal aid, but Flint's problem did not qualify because it was a man-made disaster.
- VIDEO: Hillary Clinton chastises Gov. Rick Snyder on Flint; Michigan calls for federal help (The Rachel Maddow Show, MSNBC)
- Q&A: A look at the drinking water crisis in Flint, Michigan (AP)
- Flint filter delivery casts doubt on what Snyder said (Detroit Free Press):
Gov. Rick Snyder's statement Monday that he wasn't aware of a problem with lead in Flint's drinking water until about Oct. 1 has prompted questions about his office's role in quietly delivering 1,500 water filters to the city in August. Snyder's statement also raises questions about the speed and scope of the state's response since Oct. 1 and why state officials did not immediately instruct Flint residents, on Oct. 1, not to drink the water without a filter..
- People of Flint speak: 'Nobody should ... be living like this' (Detroit Free Press)
- President Obama declares emergency in Flint (Detroit Free Press):
Snyder's application said as much as $55 million is needed in the near term to repair damaged lead service lines and as much as $41 million to pay for several months of water distribution and providing residents with testing, water filters and cartridges.
- Volunteer center opens in Flint to help in water crisis: American Red Cross, United Way of Genesee County among the groups helping during crisis (Detroit Free Press)
- President Obama Halts Federal Fossil Fuel Leasing Program:
- Obama Ends New Coal Leases On Public Lands (Climate Progress):
The plan includes three measures to address these issues and update the federal coal program to account for taxpayer interests and environmental challenges. The Interior Department will conduct a review to identify potential reforms to the outdated program, put a temporary pause on new coal leasing (which will not apply to existing leases), and direct the U.S. Geological Survey to begin annual tracking and reporting on greenhouse gas emissions that result from fossil fuels extracted on public lands.
- In Climate Move, Obama Halts New Coal Mining Leases on Public Lands (NY Times):
[C]ompanies can continue to mine the coal reserves under lease, estimated to be enough to sustain current levels of production from federal land for about 20 years, according to the administration official.
- Transcript: President Obama's 2016 State of the Union Address (Medium):
"I'm going to push to change the way we manage our oil and coal resources so that they better reflect the costs they impose on taxpayers and our planet."
- FULL VIDEO: Obama's last State of the Union (MSNBC)
- SOTU: Obama Vows to Revamp Federal Coal Leasing Program (InsideClimate News):
President Obama pledged on Tuesday to push for changes in how the federal government manages fossil fuel development on public lands, an emerging battleground in the nation's climate policies.
- Federal Coal Royalty Valuation: Current Structure, Effective Rates, and Reform Options (Headwaters Economics),/li>
- Secretary Jewell Launches Comprehensive Review of Federal Coal Program (Dept. Of Interior)
- Coal Reform Fact Sheet: Modernizing the Federal Coal Program [PDF] (Dept. Of Interior)
- How Obama Inserted the "War on Coal" Into the 2016 Race (The New Republic) [emphasis added]:
Republicans pretend a new president can change market forces that are hurting coal miners simply by opening up new lands for development....Democrats support an economic stimulus for miners in Appalachia, while GOP presidential candidates and congressional leaders generally do not.
- 6th Republican Presidential Primary Debate: Fracking, But No Climate Change:
- VIDEO and Transcript: Sixth Republican top-tier debate 2016 (CBS News)
- Study links fracking to dozens of small Ohio earthquakes (Washington Post)
- 4th Democratic Presidential Primary Debate: Finally, Climate!
- NBC News-YouTube Democratic Debate (Full) (NBC News)
- Transcript of the Democratic Presidential Debate (NY Times)
- What You Missed in the 4th Democratic Debate (NY Magazine)
- NBC could have asked Democratic candidates 1,000 smarter questions on climate change than this. (The New Republic):
A debate moderator asked the candidates: If Americans love their SUVs, how do you change consumer behavior? The framing of this question is clear intellectual laziness. There are real policy differences in the Democratic field that are important to tease out.
- Clinton and Sanders Have a Shared Weakness, and Martin O’Malley Is Exploiting It (The New Republic):
Unveiled last week in an op-ed for USA Today, the plan calls for the U.S. to move entirely to clean energy within 35 years. It also aims to double energy efficiency in the next 15 years, create a Clean Energy Jobs Corps to retrofit buildings, modernize the energy grid, end fossil fuel subsidies, and extend tax credits for solar and wind power. Some of these are policies already championed by Obama, but O'Malley still goes further, by wanting to adopt a “zero-tolerance policy” for methane from natural gas production and to expand carbon regulation to other major sources (presumably meaning agriculture and industry, which account for 9 and 21 percent of domestic emissions, respectively); and he says he’d deny new permits for offshore drilling and in Alaska.
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio say climate change is distant threat, but they live at ground zero (Tampa Bay):
Can't control nature, Rubio quips with a smile. Got bigger problems, Bush insists with exasperation. "I don't have a plan to influence the weather," Rubio said dismissively at a town-hall style meeting in New Hampshire last month. "It wouldn't be on my first page of things that wake me up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat," Bush said in the same state on the same day.
- Iran Set to Pump More Oil Into Market Glut (NY Times):
With international sanctions lifted, the Iranian government called on its oil industry Monday to open the taps on production, a move that could add to a global glut of crude that has sent prices into a tailspin.
- Study: Man-Made Heat Put In Oceans Has Doubled Since 1997 (AP):
The amount of man-made heat energy absorbed by the seas has doubled since 1997, a study released Monday showed.
- U.N. Food Agency Says 14 Million Face Hunger In Southern Africa (Reuters):
About 14 million people face hunger in Southern Africa because of a drought that has been exacerbated by an El Nino weather pattern, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said on Monday.
- Environment Canada Warned Mount Polley Mine Before Disaster, FOIs Show (National Observer):
The controversial Mount Polley mine received both millions of dollars in contracts and a written warning from Canada’s environment department prior to a massive breach of a dam with mining waste in 2014, according to a newly released federal memorandum.
- US Files Objection To Alpha Natural Resources' Executive Bonuses (Casper Star-Tribune):
A government watchdog agency has filed an objection to Alpha Natural Resources' proposal to pay executive bonuses of up to $11.9 million in 2016, arguing the bankrupt coal company cannot justify the additional pay at a time when it has recorded steep losses and sought to cut retiree benefits.
- Wyoming Backs Desperate Bids To Save Coal Industry (SF Gate):
Public enemy No. 1 for climate change and no longer the fossil fuel utilities prefer to burn to generate electricity, coal has few allies these days. But one state is still fighting to save the industry: Wyoming.
- 20 Years Later, Cleanup of GE PCBs in Housatonic River Still Underway (Springfield Republican):
Gov. Charlie Baker still remembers the case of Pittsfield and GE from his first tour of duty in state government.
- We Might Have Finally Seen Peak Coal (Climate Progress):
Chinese coal use peaked back in 2013, as Climate Progress first reported in May.... "Will a handful of developing countries, particularly India, see enough growth in coal consumption to overcome that drop?" Goldman Sachs, among others, says the answer is no. "Peak coal is coming sooner than expected," Goldman told clients in a September research note.
- Global Warming Could Stave Off Next Ice Age For 100,000 Years (Reuters):
Global warming is likely to disrupt a natural cycle of ice ages and contribute to delaying the onset of the next big freeze until about 100,000 years from now, scientists said on Wednesday.
- Global Mercury Emissions Down 30 Percent As Coal Use Drops: USGS (Reuters):
Global emissions of mercury from manmade sources fell 30 percent from 1990 to 2010, in part from decreasing use of coal, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reported on Wednesday.
- State Renewable Energy Mandates Are Producing Enormous Benefits (Vox.com):
Much has been made of the rapid rise of renewable energy in the US, but the policy workhorse behind it does not get nearly enough attention or credit.
- Senator Blocking FDA Nominee Over Biotech Salmon (Agri-Pulse):
Sen. Lisa Murkowski is holding up President Barack Obama's nominee to run the Food and Drug Administration to force the labeling of genetically engineered salmon.
- Nevada solar industry collapses after state lets power company raise fees (Guardian UK):
State public utility commission gave only power company permission to charge higher rates and fees to users, shattering industry's business model
- Big Oil Braced for Global Warming While It Fought Regulations (LA Times):
A few weeks before seminal climate change talks in Kyoto back in 1997, Mobil Oil took out a bluntly worded advertisement in the New York Times and Washington Post.
FOR MORE on Climate Science and Climate Change, go to our Green News Report: Essential Background Page
- Video Proof That Global Warming is a 'Hoax'!: NASA Temperature Data 1888-2011 (The BRAD BLOG):
- NASA climate change video: This is the U.S. in 2100 (NASA).