IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: National Academy of Sciences study on health impacts of mountaintop removal coal mining halted by Trump Administration; New Orleans still grappling with flood emergency as potential hurricane brews in the Gulf of Mexico; Volkswagen is bringing back the iconic minibus --- and this time it's electric!; PLUS: California again proves Trump wrong --- climate regulations boost economic growth... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Study confirms what Exxon knew about climate change vs. what it told the public; DOE grid reliability study is a Rorschach test; California has a climate problem, and its name is cars; Northeast states propose 30 percent greenhouse gas cut; NIH unit deletes references to climate 'change'; Zinke won't eliminate any national monuments; Bundy Ranch trial ends with zero guilty verdicts; Alaska's permafrost is thawing, with major climate implications; Ocean warming takes toll on undersea kelp forests... PLUS: Trump thinks clean coal is when workers mine coal and then actually 'clean it'... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Trump falsely claims credit for surge in U.S. fossil fuel production in Phoenix campaign rally:
- President Trump Ranted For 77 Minutes in Phoenix. Here's What He Said (TIME)
- Why record U.S. oil exports are poised for even more growth (Reuters)
- United States remains largest producer of petroleum and natural gas hydrocarbons (U.S. Energy Information Administration)
- United States energy independence (Wikipedia):
In total energy, the U.S. was over 61% self-sufficient in 2013. In May 2011, the country became a net exporter of refined petroleum products.
- NOLA's flood pumping system partly offline as new storm Harvey brews:
- Hurricane Warning Issued For Texas As Harvey Regains Strength In Gulf (USA Today)
- Taking precaution: New Orleans evacuation plans readied ahead of potential major storms (The Advocate):
New Orleans, in consultation with state and federal officials, is developing a plan to evacuate the city if unusually heavy rainfall is expected while repairs are being made to the pumps and power turbines that drive its drainage system. The exact threshold at which an evacuation would be called depends on a variety of factors, but one person familiar with the plans said that while the Sewerage & Water Board's equipment is at diminished capacity over the next few weeks, a forecast of a rare storm that would drop 12 inches of rain over a 24-hour period could be the trigger.
- New Orleans is now planning to evacuate the city if a heavy rainstorm comes. (Grist)
- Governor declares emergency in New Orleans as pump system is compromised (Washington Post)
- Trump Interior Department halts mountaintop removal mining health study:
- AUDIO: 'Where Never is Heard a Discouraging Word, and the Coal Dust Isn't Toxic All Day': ('BradCast' 8/23/2017)
- Coal Mining Health Study Is Halted by Interior Department (NY Times):
Mountaintop removal, which has occurred on at least 500 Appalachian mountains, has clogged streams and waterways with heavy metals such as selenium and manganese, which can be toxic in high concentrations. The dust kicked up by these explosions is also considered a hazard. One 2010 review published in Science found elevated mortality rates, as well as increased incidence of lung cancer and kidney disease, in counties near mountaintop mining. A 2011 study of central Appalachia found a higher rate of birth defects in the area.
- 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.
- EPA will revoke Obama rule to limit toxic metals in coal wastewater discharge:
- EPA moves to rewrite limits for coal power plant wastewater (AP):
A letter from EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt released Monday as part of a legal appeal said he will seek to revise the 2015 guidelines mandating increased treatment for wastewater from steam electric power-generating plants. Acting at the behest of electric utilities who opposed the stricter standards, Pruitt first moved in April to delay implementation of the new guidelines. The wastewater flushed from the coal-fired plants into rivers and lakes typically contains traces of such highly toxic heavy metals as lead, arsenic, mercury and selenium.
- Trump And Pruitt Attack EPA Clean Water Standard (Huffington Post)
- California proves Trump wrong again - climate regulations boosts economy:
- 2017 California Green Innovation Index (Next 10):
Ninth annual Green Innovation Index finds California clean economy thriving but emissions-reduction challenges loom; transportation sector emissions spike, pose major challenges to state's 2030 climate goals
- 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.
- California Proves That Environmental Regulations Don't Kill Profits (Wired):
To anyone who believes environmental regulation is poison for profits, California must be infuriating....The results this year show a continuing trend: For two and a half decades, California's GDP and population have continued to rise, while per capita carbon dioxide emissions have stayed flat..."California is the most energy efficient economy in the world, and least carbon intensive," says Adam Fowler, a research manager at Beacon Economics, the firm that produced the Green Innovation Index at Next 10's behest. And it pays.
- VW to bring back iconic minibus - and it's electric:
- Volkswagen to bring back the Bus-as an EV (Chicago Tribune):
No pricing or specific launch date has been announced, but the I.D. Buzz is not likely to arrive until at least 2022, says Volkswagen. The company desperately needs some buzz to try to regain momentum after the disastrous diesel emissions scandal upended both its product plans and consumer confidence around the world.
'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
- What Exxon Mobil Didn't Say About Climate Change (NY Times):
In short, Exxon Mobil contributed quietly to climate science and loudly to raising doubts about it. We found that, accounting for reasonable doubt given the state of the science at the time of each document, roughly 80 percent of the company's academic and internal papers acknowledged that climate change is real and human-caused. But 81 percent of their climate change advertorials in one way or another expressed doubt.
- DOE's Grid Reliability Study Is Out. It's a Rorschach Test for the Future of Electricity (GreenTech Media):
It doesn't blame renewables for baseload power woes. But people are interpreting the study many different ways.
- California has a climate problem, and its name is cars (Vox):
Further decarbonization means wrestling with transportation.
- Trump thinks clean coal is when workers mine coal and then actually 'clean it' (Climate Progress):
Back in the real world, clean coal remains a fantasy.
- Northeast states propose 30 percent greenhouse gas cut (The Hill):
The 30 percent cut to the cap would start from a 2020 baseline and would therefore be in addition to any greenhouse gas reductions before then. It came amid growing calls among states and localities to cut their greenhouse gas emissions just as President Trump works to undo major Obama administration policies that aimed to reduce emissions on a national level.
- NIH unit deletes references to climate 'change' (Washington Post):
"The cleansing continues," said David Doniger, director of the climate and clean air program at the Natural Resources Defense Council. "But they're not going to be able to erase the science, or the truth, by scrubbing websites."
- Zinke won't eliminate any national monuments (AP):
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said he's recommending that none of 27 national monuments carved from wilderness and ocean and under review by the Trump administration be eliminated. But there would be changes to a "handful," he said.
- Bundy Ranch Standoff Trial Ends With Zero Guilty Verdicts (AZ Republic):
A federal jury in Las Vegas did not return any guilty verdicts Tuesday against four men accused of taking up arms against federal agents during the Bundy Ranch standoff in 2014.
- Trump Team Goes To Bat for NRA-Backed Bill, Nixes Park Service Concerns (McClatchy DC):
The National Park Service has several big problems with NRA-backed legislation that would restrict the agency from regulating hunting and fishing within park boundaries. But according to a leaked memo obtained by McClatchy, the Trump administration has so far prevented the parks from voicing such concerns.
- Alaska's Permafrost Is Thawing (NY Times):
The loss of frozen ground in Arctic regions is a striking result of climate change. And it is also a cause of more warming to come.
- Court Rules FERC Pipeline Approval Failed To Weigh Emissions (ClimateWire):
Federal regulators did not adequately consider greenhouse gas emissions when approving a natural gas pipeline project in the Southeast, a federal court today ruled.
- Stitching Together Forests Can Help Save Species, Study Finds (NY Times):
In the 1980s, an ecologist named Thomas Lovejoy conducted an unusual experiment in Brazil’s Amazon rain forest. As loggers moved in with chain saws to clear trees for cattle pasture north of Manaus, he asked them to leave untouched several small “islands” of forest to see how the animals within them fared.
- Energy Transfer Partners Sues Greenpeace, Claims Eco-Terrorism (Philadelphia Enquirer):
Energy Transfer Partners LP has sued Greenpeace International, Earth First! and other groups, accusing them of inciting terrorist acts and vandalism to generate publicity and raise money for their causes while hampering the Dakota Access pipeline majority owner’s ability to raise money for projects.
- EPA Budget Cuts Threaten To Slow Uranium Cleanup At Navajo Nation (Reveal News):
Angie Hood grew up in a remote valley tucked along the edge of the Navajo Nation. On hot summer days, Hood and her three siblings would tend to the family’s sheep, play football in a steep-banked arroyo and explore the piñon-studded mesas. Then, to cool off, they would splash in a pool of water that streamed from a pipe. At the time, the Hood children had no idea they were playing in radioactive waste.
- Where's the Kelp? Warm Ocean Takes Toll On Undersea Forests (ABC News):
When diving in the Gulf of Maine a few years back, Jennifer Dijkstra expected to be swimming through a flowing kelp forest that had long served as a nursery and food for juvenile fish and lobster. But Dijkstra, a University of New Hampshire marine biologist, saw only a patchy seafloor before her.
- Secret Border-Wall Work At Wildlife Sanctuaries Galvanizes Opposition (Texas Climate News):
Federal officials and contractors months ago surreptitiously began what appears to be preparation work for construction of border wall on the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge in South Texas. Word recently got out and has galvanized opposition to that plan – and to the way it has been carried out.
- Crumbling Pipes, Tainted Water Plague Black Communities (Center for Public Integrity):
Deep in the winding mass of crumbling back streets in Campti, Leroy Hayes sets a glass of water from his faucet in a patch of sunlight on the railing of his porch and watches specks of sediment float to the top.
- 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.
- 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