IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Trump promises clean air and water, but his budget cuts promise the opposite; EPA rolls back methane reporting rules for the fossil fuel industry; Interior Dept. rolls back rules requiring fossil fuel industry to pay taxpayers more in royalties; Wind energy capacity now equal to hydro-electric capacity in the U.S.; PLUS: Lead is back on the menu for hunters and anglers... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Steve Bannon Used to Believe in Science. Now He's America's Top Climate Villain.; Climate Deniers, You're Climate Deniers--Deal with It; Massive Permafrost Thaw Documented in Canada, Portends Huge Carbon Release; UK Carbon Emissions Fall to 19th Century Levels as Government Phases Out Coal; Trump Wants You to Be Afraid of Everything Except Climate Change; Humans have caused an explosion of never-before-seen minerals all over the Earth; Infrastructure: Risks Soar, Bills Come Due As 20th-Century Dams Crumble... PLUS: Trump's green assault off to fast start... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Trump's EPA rolls back methane rules for oil and gas industry:
- Trump EPA Budget Would Slash Water Quality, Air Quality, Climate Programs, Jobs (AP)
- White House eyes plan to cut EPA staff by one-fifth, eliminating key programs (Washington Post)
- Trump plan for 40% cut could cause EPA science office 'to implode,' official warns (Science)
- Economically Insecure? Try Water-Insecure. The Great Lakes are poised to become a lot less Great. (Esquire)
- Trump slashes Great Lakes funding by 97 percent in early budget plan (MLive)
- Methane Rules: Scott Pruitt wasted no time in granting his first favor to the oil and gas industry. (Grist):
Late Thursday afternoon, the EPA announced that oil and gas companies no longer have to report to the agency how much methane they're emitting. In a statement, Pruitt, who has close ties to the fossil fuel industry, said he wants to "assess the need for the information"-meaning that he's considering whether it's actually necessary to regulate methane from existing oil and gas operations, which had long complained about the Obama administration's effort to regulate methane.
- 6 Ways President Trump Wants to Hamstring the EPA (Mother Jones)
- Leashes Come Off Wall Street, Gun Sellers, Polluters and More (NY Times):
The emerging effort - dozens more rules could be eliminated in the coming weeks - is one of the most significant shifts in regulatory policy in recent decades. It is the leading edge of what Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump's chief strategist, described late last month as "the deconstruction of the administrative state."
- Trump's Interior Dept. rolls back regulations that protect public health, public lands:
- Coal, oil and gas companies to pay less in royalties after Interior decision (Washington Post):
The Office of Natural Resources Revenue's new method of calculating royalties for minerals extracted on federal land - which was finalized last July and took effect Jan. 1 - was aimed at preventing firms from underpaying what they owe by selling coal to subsidiaries at an artificially low price.
- NRA asks Zinke to immediately repeal an Interior Department rule banning the use of lead bullets on federal lands. (NY Times)
- Fossil Fuel industry asks Zinke to postpone royalty payment rule (NY Times)
- Trump's latest gift to the coal industry might be illegal (Climate Progress):
The Department of Interior has stayed a rule that would enforce royalty payments for coal mined on public lands.
- Trump To Begin Rollback of Coal Regulations (Inside Energy)
- Interior's Zinke promises review of coal leasing (AP):
The coal program has remained largely unchanged for more than 30 years despite complaints that low royalty rates and a near-total lack of competition have cost the government hundreds of millions of dollars a year in untapped revenue.
lead back on the menu
- Trump Poised To Lift Federal Coal Ban, Other Green Rules: White House (Reuters):
U.S. President Donald Trump will target a handful of Obama-era green regulations, including a federal coal mining ban and an initiative forcing states to cut carbon emissions, in an executive order as soon as next week, a White House official told Reuters on Wednesday.
- New Interior secretary overturns lead ammo and tackle ban on his first day (Alaska Dispatch):
"While the issuance of the Director's order triggered complaints from sportsmen's groups regarding lack of consultation, the fact is that the use of lead ammunition is simply unacceptable in this day and age, when there are readily available alternatives on the market and we know the incredible harm that lead poses to people and to wildlife," Clark said.
- Lead is back on the menu for those who hunt and fish (Treehugger):
The problem occurs when hunters clean an animal in the field and leave the remains-including lead bullets-or a shot animal escapes and later dies. Carrion-feeding birds find these remains and, inadvertently, eat the lead bullets. Once consumed, the lead can lead to an inability to fly, starvation, anemia, blindness, seizures and death.
- Update: Lead in Your Meat? (Outdoor Life):
[A] series of studies indicates that hunters' bullets are not only killing the animals, but fragments of the projectiles are also ending up on dinner tables, mainly in ground venison, where they have the potential to poison spouses and children, too.
- Trump plans huge cuts to NOAA:
- NOAA Cuts Could Stymie Research, Put Lives at Risk (Climate Central)
- White House proposes steep budget cut to leading climate science agency (Washington Post)
- Trump Administration Seeks Big Budget Cuts for Climate Research (Scientific American):
Its targeting of climate science goes beyond the work of NOAA and EPA
- White House proposes steep budget cut to leading climate science agency (Washington Post):
The Trump administration is seeking to slash the budget of one of the government's premier climate science agencies by 17 percent, delivering steep cuts to research funding and satellite programs, according to a four-page budget memo obtained by The Washington Post....Many scientists warned that the deep cuts at NOAA could hurt safety as well as academic programs. Conrad Lautenbacher, a retired vice admiral who was the NOAA administrator under President George W. Bush, said, "I think the cuts are ill timed given the needs of society, economy and the military." He added, "It will be very hard for NOAA to manage and maintain the kind of services the country requires" with the proposed cuts.
- Wind energy capacity in U.S. now equals hydro-electric dam capacity:
- U.S. wind generating capacity surpasses hydro capacity at the end of 2016 (U.S. Energy Information Agency)
- Graph: U.S. wind power surpassed hydro, long the largest source of renewable electricity, in 2016 (Ari Natter)
- Wind energy surpasses hydropower as largest U.S. renewable energy source (Reuters):
Wind energy has surpassed hydropower as the biggest source of renewable electricity in the United States following the sector's second-biggest quarter ever for new installations, a wind industry trade group said on Thursday.
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- Steve Bannon Used to Believe in Science. Now He's America's Top Climate Villain. (The New Republic):
From Biosphere 2 to Breitbart: the mysterious conversion of Donald Trump's chief strategist.
- Climate Deniers, You're Climate Deniers--Deal with It (Scientific American):
The Freuds wrote the playbook, and you're following it to the letter.
- Trump's green assault off to fast start (Politico):
The president's moves to slash regulations and chop EPA's budget represent the most aggressive environmental rollback in decades. In just 40 days, Trump has made it easier for coal miners to dump their waste into West Virginia streams, ordered the repeal of Clean Water Act protections for vast stretches of wetlands, proposed massive job cuts at the Environmental Protection Agency and prepared to begin revoking the Obama administration's most ambitious climate change regulations.
- Massive Permafrost Thaw Documented in Canada, Portends Huge Carbon Release (Inside Climate News):
Study shows 52,000 square miles in rapid decline, with sediment and carbon threatening the surrounding environment and potentially accelerating global warming.
- UK Carbon Emissions Fall to 19th Century Levels as Government Phases Out Coal (Inside Climate News):
The switch to natural gas and a stiff tax on CO2 have helped drop emissions 36% below those in 1990. Will Brexit retard future progress?
- Trump Wants You to Be Afraid of Everything-Except Climate Change (NRDC):
In his sixth week in office, the president ignores the national security threat as well as the real cause of the coal industry's downturn.
- Humans have caused an explosion of never-before-seen minerals all over the Earth (Washington Post):
After an exhaustive look through the 5,000 IMA-official minerals, the researchers concluded that 208 of them are the inadvertent result of human activities. Additionally, humans have produced a huge assortment of mineral-like crystals through deliberate chemical processes.
- Infrastructure: Risks Soar, Bills Come Due As 20th-Century Dams Crumble (Greenwire):
For nearly 50 years, Oroville Dam has been the linchpin of a sprawling state plumbing system that draws water from wet Northern California to 25 million people and thousands of acres of farmland in the arid south. That changed Feb. 7 when a crater as large as a football field dropped out of the dam's concrete-lined spillway.
- Antarctic ice has set an unexpected record, and scientists are struggling to figure out why (Washington Post):
There's no mistaking it now. Even though we don't have the final numbers, it is abundantly clear that the sea ice ringing the Antarctic continent has fallen precipitously - reaching a record low just a few short years after it reached a record high.
- VIDEO: Shell's 1991 warning: climate changing 'at faster rate than at any time since end of ice age' (Guardian UK):
The company's farsighted 1991 film, titled Climate of Concern, set out with crystal clarity how the world was warming and that serious consequences could well result.
- No country on Earth is taking the 2 degree climate target seriously (Vox):
If we mean what we say, no more new fossil fuels, anywhere.
FOR MORE on Climate Science and Climate Change, go to our Green News Report: Essential Background Page