IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Indiana governor signs bill to gut state's rooftop solar industry; Another coal mine tragedy, this time in Iran; Exxon ordered to pay $20 million for refinery pollution; Denmark moves to phase out renewable energy subsidies; PLUS: Rhode Island town makes history as first in U.S. to be powered by offshore wind... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Diseases hidden within the ice are waking up; CA Exxon refinery explosion report finds weak safety standards; Environmental groups sue over rollback of coal water pollution rules; Ohio state lawmakers seek to open state parks to fracking; Congress' spending deal overrides climate science on burning trees for electricity; How satellite data caught Gulf oil companies hiding enormous spills; Trump puts critic of renewable energy in charge of renewable energy office... PLUS: EPA asks what regulations to scrap, gets an earful from citizens about dirty water... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- White House reportedly leaning toward exiting Paris climate agreement:
- Debate Over Paris Climate Deal Could Turn on a Single Phrase (NY Times):
The issue was discussed intensely in Paris, he explained. “There were countries that wanted to say, ‘Thou shalt not, you are precluded from adjusting now.’ We did not want to do that,” he said. Downward adjustment had already occurred with climate commitments. Japan, after losing nuclear power facilities in the Fukushima disaster, had to adjust its targets downward.
- In the Trump White House, the momentum has turned against the Paris climate agreement (Washington Post)
- DuPont, others urge Trump to stick with Paris accord (Delaware Online)
- Iran: Coal mine explosion kills at least 21 miners:
- Iran coal mine blast kills 35 (Al Jazeera):
Rescue workers recovered 35 bodies from a coal mine in northern Iran after an explosion caused a tunnel to collapse..."Unfortunately, all miners trapped in the wreckage lost their lives", Rabiei told the press.
- Iran miners killed trying to save trapped colleagues (BBC)
- Indiana: Gov. Holcomb signs bill to gut state's rooftop solar industry:
- Indiana’s governor just signed a law that will cripple the state’s solar industry (Climate Progress)
- Indiana Governor Signs Bill Aimed at Dimming Solar Incentive (AP):
Driven by the plunging costs for sun-generated power, investor-owned utilities across the U.S. are looking to carve out a share of the market. But critics contend the new Indiana law is part of a broader nationwide push to muscle out smaller companies.
- VIDEO: Controversial solar energy bill heads to governor's desk (WRTV Indianapolis)
- Texas: Exxon to pay $20 million for refinery air pollution:
- ExxonMobil ordered to pay $20 million for air pollution at Houston plants (Texas Tribune):
U.S. District Judge David Hittner originally ruled in favor of ExxonMobil, finding in 2014 that only a tiny fraction of its emissions events were bad enough to warrant legal action — and handing down no penalties. But last May, the conservative-leaning 5th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated Hittner’s ruling and sent the case back to him “for assessment of penalties based on the correct number of actionable violations.”
- Judge orders Exxon to pay $20M in air emissions suit (Fuel Fix):
In a 101-page ruling, Hittner accepted the plaintiffs’ argument that Exxon collected more than $14.2 million in so-called economic benefits by delaying actions that would have curbed the emissions...[T]he Clean Air Act has a provision that allows citizens to file lawsuit against companies they believe are in violation of federal environmental laws, especially if the government is not enforcing the law.
- Alaska: Good news for polar bears' habitat protections:
- Supreme Court rejects case challenging feds over polar bear habitat in Alaska (Alaska Dispatch News)
- Justices Deny Review Of Case Challenging Polar Bear Habitat (The Hill):
The Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear a challenge to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to designate 187,000 square miles of Alaska’s coast and waters a critical habitat for the threatened polar bear.
- NRDC, Native American tribes file lawsuit to restore offshore drilling ban:
- Environmental groups sue Trump administration over offshore drilling (Washington Post):
A coalition of environmental groups on Wednesday sued the Trump administration over its efforts to expand offshore drilling, arguing the move violates the president’s legal authority, threatens a multitude of wildlife and could harm the fishing and tourism industries.
- Denmark to phase out all renewable energy subsidies because it doesn't need them:
- Home to World's Biggest Wind-Turbine Maker to End All Subsidies (Bloomberg):
After more than four decades of relying on subsidies, Denmark’s renewable energy industry is ready to survive on its own much sooner than anyone expected. The Danish energy minister, Lars Christian Lilleholt, says that “in just a few years,” renewable energy providers won’t need state support anymore. He says it’s a development he couldn’t have imagined as recently as last year...Denmark is on target to have all its energy needs covered by renewables by 2050, with half that goal set to be achieved in 2030, the panel said.
- Gigantic Wind Turbines Signal Era of Subsidy-Free Green Power
- Block Island, RI makes history as first U.S. town to run on offshore wind:
- Island operating on wind farm power (Block Island Times):
The Block Island Power Company silenced their diesel generating plant in the pre-dawn hours this morning, on purpose...The silence is symbolic of saving nearly one million gallons of diesel fuel annually.
- First U.S. Offshore Wind Farm Shutters Diesel Power Plant (Climate Central)
- America's First Offshore Wind Energy Makes Landfall in Rhode Island (Inside Climate News):
Offshore wind works for Block Island, where the economics of fossil fuels no longer makes sense. Can it also be a key part of the energy mix for the coastal U.S.?
'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
- There are diseases hidden in the ice, and they are waking up: (BBC):
Long-dormant bacteria and viruses, trapped in ice and permafrost for centuries, are reviving as Earth's climate warms...This exposed the reindeer corpse and released infectious anthrax into nearby water and soil, and then into the food supply. More than 2,000 reindeer grazing nearby became infected, which then led to the small number of human cases.
- Weak Safety Standards Led To Exxon Refinery Blast: U.S. Agency (KFGO):
The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) has concluded that a 2015 explosion at a Torrance, California, refinery then owned by Exxon Mobil Corp could have been prevented, the agency concluded in a report issued on Wednesday.
- Environmental Groups Sue EPA Over Rollback Of Pollution Rule (AP):
Environmentalists and public health advocates are going to court to fight the Trump administration's move to rewrite Obama-era rules limiting water pollution from coal-fired power plants.
- Fracking Companies Build Dozens of Unauthorized Dams in B.C. (DeSmog Blog):
A subsidiary of Petronas, the Malaysian state-owned petro giant courted by the B.C. government, has built at least 16 unauthorized dams in northern B.C. to trap hundreds of millions of gallons of water used in its controversial fracking operations.
- Ohio Lawmakers Add Provision That Could Open State Parks To Fracking (Reuters):
Ohio legislators took a step toward allowing fracking in state parks, adding a provision in a pending budget that would strip the governor of the ability to control the issuing of licenses for the oil and gas drilling practice that has raised environmental concerns.
- Spending Deal Overrides Climate Science on Wood Energy (Climate Central):
Congress’s bipartisan spending agreement could fund federal government operations for less than a year, but its effects on climate policy could persist through future presidential administrations.
- EPA Asks What Rules To Cut, Gets Earful About Dirty Water (AP):
The Trump administration got an earful Tuesday from people who say federal rules limiting air and water pollution aren't tough enough, even as it was seeking suggestions about what environmental regulations it should gut.
- How Satellite Data Caught Gulf Oil Companies Hiding Enormous Oil Spills (Fast Company):
An organization called SkyTruth is monitoring drilling companies for drastically underestimating the amount of oil they spill into the ocean.
- Trump puts critic of renewable energy in charge of renewable energy office (Washington Post):
Testifying before Congress in July, Simmons criticized federal financial support for the Ivanpah power plant, an industrial-scale solar plant in California’s Mojave Desert. “It is unseemly that the American taxpayer has contributed billions of dollars to these facilities, Simmons said of the project, which is sponsored by Google and other private companies.
- The New York Times should not have hired climate change bullshitter Bret Stephens (David Roberts, Vox):
It’s time for the opinion page to take climate change as seriously as the paper’s reporters do.
- U.S. Vulnerable to Worst of Extreme Sea Rise (Climate Central):
A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report warned that regional effects of gravity and ocean current changes triggered by the start of the ice sheet’s collapse could lead to more than 12 feet of sea level rise engulfing some coastlines in the Lower 48. That’s about the height of a one-story house.
- A beginner's guide to the debate over 100% renewable energy (Vox):
Clean-energy enthusiasts frequently claim that we can go bigger, that it's possible for the whole world to run on renewables - we merely lack the "political will." So, is it true? Do we know how get to an all-renewables system? Not yet. Not really.
- 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