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!
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:
- National parks put a ban on bottled water to ease pollution. Trump just sided with the lobby that fought it. (Washington Post):
The Trump administration has ended a six-year-old ban on selling bottled water at some national parks that was aimed at easing plastic pollution and the huge amount of waste being recycled. In a statement that closely tracked the arguments of a campaign by the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) in opposition to the ban, the National Park Service said the 2011 action under the Obama administration “removed the healthiest beverage choice at a variety of parks while still allowing sales of bottled sweetened drinks.”
- Trump's decision to allow plastic bottle sales in national parks condemned (Guardian UK):
Reversal of ban shows ‘corporate agenda is king and people and environment are left behind’, say campaigners.
- 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
- Trump’s Interior Department moves to stop mountaintop removal study (Charleston Gazette):
Last year, the OSM committed to providing more than $1 million for the study, in response to growing pressure from citizen groups and requests from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and the state Bureau for Public Health in understanding studies by experts at West Virginia University and other institutions that found increased risks of birth defects, cancer, other illnesses and premature death among residents living near mountaintop removal sites in Southern West Virginia and Eastern Kentucky.
- California defies Trump claim that environmental regulation kills economic growth (Grist):
The California economy is thriving, according to a new report released Monday — and that’s despite the state instituting relatively restrictive environmental rules... In fact, the state is now the most energy-productive economy in the world — meaning it uses the least amount of energy to gain each dollar of GDP.
- Pruitt wants to delay long overdue plan forcing Texas to address coal plant pollution (Climate Progress):
Plan would allow power plants to continue polluting, environmental groups say.
- Murray Energy boss: Trump has broken a promise to coal (Columbus Dispatch):
The Trump administration has rejected a coal industry push to win a rarely used emergency order protecting coal-fired power plants, a decision one executive said breaks a personal promise from President Donald Trump to take the extraordinary step to benefit the industry.
- Refiner Valero's Secret Campaign Against U.S. Biofuels Mandates (Reuters):
U.S. biofuels regulations, which mandate mixing corn-based ethanol into gasoline, have lately drawn together a diverse cast of political opponents.
- In Solar Scuffle, Big Utilities Meet Their Match (High Country News):
Solar advocates win a surprising victory in Nevada.
- In Montana’s Indian Country, Tribes Take Opposite Sides On Coal (Reuters):
The Crow and Northern Cheyenne live miles apart but stand on opposite sides of U.S. President Donald Trump’s pro-energy agenda. Their differences reflect a broader divide on drilling and mining among America’s 567 federally recognized tribes.
- EPA Promised ‘a New Day’ for the Agriculture Industry, Documents Reveal (NY Times):
In the weeks before the Environmental Protection Agency decided to reject its own scientists’ advice to ban a potentially harmful pesticide, Scott Pruitt, the agency’s head, promised farming industry executives who wanted to keep using the pesticide that it is “a new day, and a new future,” and that he was listening to their pleas.
- Governor Urges Trump To Drop Virginia From Offshore Drilling Plan (Reuters):
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe urged the Trump administration to exclude his state from a federal offshore oil and gas drilling plan, citing concerns about revenue sharing and environmental issues, in a letter that his office revealed on Thursday.
- Records: EPA Coordinated Effort To Slow Herbicide Review With Monsanto (Huffington Post):
Newly released government email communications show a persistent effort by multiple officials within the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to slow a separate federal agency’s safety review of Monsanto’s top-selling herbicide. Notably, the records demonstrate that the EPA efforts came at the behest of Monsanto, and that EPA officials were helpful enough to keep the chemical giant updated on their progress.
- Undermanned EPA Delays Action on Lead in Drinking Water (Circle Of Blue):
Even after the Flint scandal reawakened the nation to the dangers posed by lead drinking water pipes, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency appears to be in no rush to strengthen federal health standards.
- NASA shocker: Last month was hottest July, and hottest month, on record (Climate Porgress):
It's the first time we've seen such a record month in the absence of an El Niño boost.
- The Uninhabitable Earth: When will climate change make earth too hot for humans? (New York Magazine):
Famine, economic collapse, a sun that cooks us: What climate change could wreak - sooner than you think.
- 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