IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Experimental 'clean coal' plant...switches to natural gas; Trump's EPA moves to undo landmark clean water rule; World's first floating wind farm takes shape off the coast of Scotland; PLUS: Utah lawmaker blames environmentalists for massive forest fire... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Trump Administration officials question climate change while praising carbon cuts; EPA official pressured EPA scientist to change testimony; More than 20 wildfires blazing across the West; We have until 2020 to get emissions under control; Carbon in atmosphere mysteriously rising even as man-made emissions remain flat; DOE Sec. Perry's claims on grid reliability immediately debunked by federal regulator; Trump's monument review stirs passions in NM; Report reveals U.S. nuclear industry negligence; Ozone hole recovery jeopardized by new chemical... PLUS: The future of Coal Country.... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- SPEAK UP for your national monuments through July 10, 2017: Review of Certain National Monuments Established Since 1996; Notice of Opportunity for Public Comment (U.S. Government)
- Troubled 'clean coal' plant switches to natural gas:
- This isn’t the ‘clean coal’ news Trump wanted during ‘energy week’ (Washington Post):
The plant was once held up as an example of promising technologies that could help fight climate change. In 2014, then-Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz flew to see the plant and declared, “I consider seeing this plant a look at the future.” Instead, Kemper has imposed financial burdens on tax payers and local households.
- One of America's First Clean Coal Plants May Have Just Died (Bloomberg):
Project could become the most expensive gas plant ever built.
- Southern suspends work on Kemper coal gasification units (Utility Dive)
- First-of-Its-Kind Clean Coal Plant May Not Burn Coal at All (Bloomberg):
A first-of-its-kind 'clean coal' power plant that utility owner Southern Co. spent years constructing in Mississippi may end up burning no coal at all --- and instead just run like a natural gas generator.
- VIDEO: CEO Fanning on Kemper: “Breakthrough in coal technology” (CNBC)
- Trump Admin moves to undo landmark clean water rule:
- E.P.A. Moves to Rescind Contested Water Pollution Regulation (NY Times):
“This proposal strikes directly at public health,” said Rhea Suh, the president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental advocacy group. “It would strip out needed protections for the streams that feed drinking water sources for one in every three Americans. Clean water is too important for that. We’ll stand up to this reckless attack on our waters and health.”
- RIP, Obama’s Clean Water Rule (Climate Progress);
The rule protected the drinking water of 1 in 3 Americans.
- EPA seeks to scrap rule protecting drinking water for third of Americans (Guardian UK)
- EPA works to undo many Clean Air, Clean Water Act regulations:
- EPA chief delays industrial chemical safety regulation (Chemical and Engineering News)
- EPA Sets Rules To Regulate Toxic Chemicals Under 2016 Law (AP):
The Environmental Protection Agency issued new rules and other documents Thursday outlining how it will regulate toxic chemicals under a landmark law passed by Congress last year.
- EPA acknowledges delaying methane rule might make more children sick, but will help industry (Climate Progress)
- Obama-era ozone rules delayed by EPA (AP)
- EPA to review toxic discharge rule for coal plants (Utility Dive)
- EPA Pruitt met with pesticide-maker CEO before repealing ban on pesticide:
- EPA chief met with Dow CEO before deciding on pesticide ban (AP):
The Trump administration’s top environmental official met privately with the chief executive of Dow Chemical shortly before reversing his agency’s push to ban a widely used pesticide after health studies showed it can harm children’s brains, according to records obtained by The Associated Press.
- UT state lawmaker blames conservationists for massive wildfire:
- Noel, other S. Utah politicians blame Brian Head Fire on ‘tree-huggers,’ beetles, but eco-groups say he’s off-base (Salt Lake Tribune):
"Noel and others are exploiting this fire to mislead the public. The truth is that climate change, drought, historic fire suppression and wind all play roles in the severity of fires. There is no single cause and no easy solution," SUWA legal director Steve Bloch said. "It's shameful that Noel would seize on the dire straits folks find themselves in to fan the flames with his rhetoric."
- VIDEO: Liar, liar, forest fire: Want to stop wildfires? Try logging, says Utah official. (Grist)
- Let it Burn: Orleans fire symposium highlights need for controlled burns (North Coast Journal):
This is what tribal people in the Klamath Mountains have been saying all along: Fire is the most important tool for managing the myriad resources the Yurok, Karuk and Hupa peoples depended on for survival. It is what keeps the world in balance.
- As wildfires rage out west, D.C. lawmakers fight over forest policy (Sacramento Bee):
The bill would expedite the review process for certain forest management activities such as logging, controlled burns or salvaging wood...allow the Forest Service to waive environmental safeguards if it believes a project is unlikely to affect an endangered species. It also aims to prevent the review process from being tied up in court, by limiting the period of court injunctions and preventing payment for the plaintiffs’ legal expenses.
- Fire and Forest Management (Center for Biological Diversity):
Logging operations have historically removed the largest and most fire-resistant trees. The young trees that replace cut trees are highly susceptible to fire and serve as fire ladders, allowing the fire to reach up into the canopy of the forest.
- VIDEO: Liar, liar, forest fire: Want to stop wildfires? Try logging, says Utah official (Grist)
- Reducing flammability key to protecting homes (Sierra Sun Lake Tahoe):
[T]he very fires that logging and thinning programs seek to control and stop are the wildfires burning under extreme conditions that cannot be controlled through fuel reduction efforts.… "[T]he data indicate that fewer acres burned in areas where logging activity was limited."
- State Lawmaker Says Utah's Brian Head Fire Caused by Lack of Logging (Weather Channel)
- Fire Suppression is Bad for Wildlife, And So is Post-Fire Logging (KCET)
- Dead trees aren't a wildfire threat, but overlogging them will ruin our forest ecosystems (Op-ed, LA Times)
- World's first floating windfarm is now underway off the coast of Scotland:
- World's first floating windfarm to take shape off coast of Scotland (Guardian UK):
The world’s first floating windfarm has taken to the seas in a sign that a technology once confined to research and development drawing boards is finally ready to unlock expanses of ocean for generating renewable power... It is also notable because the developer is not a renewable energy firm but Norway’s Statoil, which is looking to diversify away from carbon-based fuels.
'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
- These experts say we have until 2020 to get climate change under control. And they’re the optimists. (Washington Post):
A group of prominent scientists, policymakers, and corporate leaders released a statement Wednesday warning that if the world doesn’t set greenhouse gas emissions on a downward path by 2020, it could become impossible to contain climate change within safe limits...With 41 billion tons emitted every year from energy consumption and other sources, such as deforestation, there are only about 15 years before that budget is exhausted. Emissions can’t suddenly go to zero after 15 years — the world economy would grind to a halt if they did. Therefore, they must be put on a downward path almost immediately.
- EPA Official Pressured Scientist on Congressional Testimony, Emails Show (NY Times):
The Environmental Protection Agency’s chief of staff pressured the top scientist on the agency’s scientific review board to alter her congressional testimony and play down the dismissal of expert advisers, his emails show.
- The Future of Coal Country (The New Yorker):
A local environmental activist fights to prepare her community for life beyond mining.
- West On Fire: More Than 20 Wildfires Blazing (Weather Channel):
The western wildfire season is in full swing with more than 20 fires blazing in Utah, Arizona and California.
- Carbon in Atmosphere Is Rising, Even as Emissions Stabilize (NY Times):
That raises a conundrum: If the amount of the gas that people are putting out has stopped rising, how can the amount that stays in the air be going up faster than ever? Does it mean the natural sponges that have been absorbing carbon dioxide are now changing? "To me, it's a warning," said Josep G. Canadell, an Australian climate scientist who runs the Global Carbon Project, a collaboration among several countries to monitor emissions trends.
- Trump Administration officials question climate change while praising carbon cuts (E&E News):
Energy Secretary Rick Perry was emblematic yesterday of an administration that questions the science behind climate change while at the same time it praises America's ability to reduce carbon dioxide emissions..."Either they do think CO2 emissions are a problem, which is why nukes and [carbon capture and sequestration] would make sense, at least to them, or they don't," said David Bookbinder, chief counsel for the libertarian Niskanen Center.
- Rick Perry’s claims about reliability of renewables immediately debunked by federal regulator (Climate Progress):
Energy secretary also gets schooled on oceans and climate change.
- In New Mexico, Trump's Monument Review Stirs Passions (McClatchy DC):
Desert ranchers in New Mexico are hoping the new GOP administration in Washington will dramatically shrink a recently designated national monument in the south of the state where outlaw Billy the Kid and Apache leader Geronimo once sought refuge.
- Nuclear Negligence (Center for Public Integrity):
Nuclear Negligence examines safety weaknesses at U.S. nuclear weapon sites operated by corporate contractors. The Center’s probe, based on contractor and government reports and officials involved in bomb-related work, revealed unpublicized accidents at nuclear weapons facilities, including some that caused avoidable radiation exposures.
- Could a Trade Dispute with China Bring an End to U.S. Solar Boom? (Yale e360):
Low-cost solar cells produced in China have helped power the recent surge in the U.S. solar industry. But a case now before the federal International Trade Commission could lead to tariffs that would jeopardize U.S. solar’s rapid growth.
- Security: Nuclear Breach Opens New Chapter In Cyber Struggle (E&E News):
U.S. authorities are investigating a cyber intrusion affecting multiple nuclear power generation sites this year, E&E News has learned. There is no evidence that the nuclear energy industry's highly regulated safety systems were compromised. But any cybersecurity breach — targeted or not — at closely guarded U.S. nuclear reactors marks an escalation of hackers' probes into U.S. critical infrastructure.
- Trump’s Anti-NAFTA Stance Is on a Collision Course with Natural Gas (NY Times):
resident Trump's efforts to upend the trade treaty known as NAFTA could jeopardize the U.S.-Mexico trade in natural gas --- on which the U.S. energy industry depends.
- Ozone Hole Recovery Threatened By Rise Of Paint Stripper Chemical (Guardian UK):
The restoration of the globe’s protective shield of ozone will be delayed by decades if fast-rising emissions of a chemical used in paint stripper are not curbed, new research has revealed.
- Lobbying Fight Erupts Over Coal Country Revitalization Bill (The Hill):
The lobbying fight over a House bill to revitalize coal country has heated up ahead of a key committee hearing on Tuesday.
- New study confirms the oceans are warming rapidly (Guardian UK):
Although theres some uncertainty in the distribution among Earths ocean basins, theres no question that the ocean is heating rapidly.
- 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
- NASA Video: If we don't act, here's what to expect in the next 100 years:
- Fire and Forest Management (Center for Biological Diversity):