IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: EPA Chief Scott Pruitt purges scientists from EPA science boards; Winters in the U.S. are getting shorter; Exxon Mobil fined for Gulf Coast air pollution; Hurricane Maria has officially caused the longest blackout in U.S. history; PLUS: Trump Administration proposes doubling entrance fees to your national parks... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Non-scientist Sam Clovis withdraws his nomination for USDA’s top scientist post after being linked to Russia probe; Coastal town bans tar sands, gets in big fight with tar sands industry; Coal miners reject retraining awaiting Trump's coal comeback; Alaska reviews all North Slope wells after spill linked to melting permafrost; Senate Democrats tear into Trump's NASA nominee, a climate science denier; U.S. to halt controversial 'nuisance animal' killing methods in CA; New data analysis suggests emissions have already ‘peaked’ in 49 countries... PLUS: Top Trump environmental pick said goal of UN 'climate crusade' is 'all-powerful' government... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- VIDEO: Full Frontal Samantha Bee Climate Change episode (Full Frontal, Youtube)
- Hurricane Maria has caused the longest blackout in U.S. history:
- America's Biggest Blackout (Rhodium Group):
We’ve dug through all 20th and 21st century hurricanes and other major blackouts, including Hurricanes Camille and Andrew, the 2000/2001 California electricity crisis, the big Northeast blackout in 2003 (and 1965) and the 2014 polar vortex. We can find no event in recorded US history where there were as many people without power for as long as has occurred over the past month in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
- Hurricane Maria has now caused the longest blackout in US history (Vox):
Only 30 percent of Puerto Ricans have power, extending the island’s lead in this outage...Such outages also carry a massive price tag for the economy.
- There’s a Shady Puerto Rico Contract You Didn’t Hear About (The Intercept):
A separate $200 million contract has faced little scrutiny...a company called Cobra Acquisitions LLC, which didn’t even exist until this year. It’s a subsidiary of an Oklahoma-based fossil fuel company, suggesting that neither the Puerto Rican Electric Power Authority nor the federal government has much interest in seizing the opportunity presented by the storm to rebuild Puerto Rico in a sustainable way that relies on renewable energy rather than imported oil.
- Puerto Rico calls on U.S. utilities to help restore power (Reuters)
- Winters in the U.S. are getting shorter:
- Science Says: Jack Frost nipping at your nose ever later (AP):
The trend of ever later first freezes appears to have started around 1980, according to an analysis by The Associated Press of data from 700 weather stations across the U.S. going back to 1895 compiled by Ken Kunkel, a meteorologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information.
- US winter has shrunk by more than one month in 100 years (Guardian UK):
Scientists find that climate change has helped push first frosts later across the country...Global warming has helped push the first frosts later, Kunkel and other scientists said. Also at play, though, are natural short-term changes in air circulation patterns – but they too may be influenced by man-made climate change, they said...This shrinking freeze season is what climate scientists have long predicted.
- It’s far worse than it sounds: Climate change is making our winters shorter (Salon, 2015)
- EPA Pruitt purges scientists from EPA science advisory boards:
- VIDEO: Scott Pruitt just destroyed one of the EPA's core safeguards, and we may never get it back (Mashable)
- Scott Pruitt blocks scientists with EPA funding from serving as agency advisers (Washington Post):
The move sets in motion a fundamental shift, one that could change the scientific and technical advice that historically has guided the agency as it crafts environmental regulations. The decision to bar any researcher who receives EPA grant money from serving as an adviser appears to be unprecedented...EPA will not impose a similar litmus test on scientific advisers who receive grants from outside sources.
- Scott Pruitt suggests he will restrict scientists who get EPA grants from advising the agency (Washington Post):
A list of expected appointees to the EPA’s Science Advisory Board, obtained by The Washington Post from multiple individuals familiar with the appointments, include several categories of experts — voices from regulated industries, academics and environmental regulators from conservative states, and researchers who have a history of critiquing the science and economics underpinning tighter environmental regulations.
- Citing The Bible, The EPA Just Changed Its Rules For Science Advisers (Buzzfeed)
- Scott Pruitt Declares War on Air Pollution Science (New Republic):
In stacking EPA advisory boards with skeptics, he's laying the groundwork to gut regulations that protect Americans from polluted air...Phalen has argued that the air is currently too clean, because children’s lungs need to breathe irritants in order to learn how to fight them. “Modern air,” he said in 2012, “is a little too clean for optimum health.”
- Scott Pruitt Is Using the Bible as His Guide for Reorganizing EPA’s Science Boards (Mother Jones)
- VIDEO: Scott Pruitt, Heritage Foundation, 10/17/17 (YouTube)
- Exxon Mobil to pay $2.5 million fine for years of air pollution:
- Exxon Will Pay $2.5 Million for Pollution at Gulf Coast Plants (NY Times):
The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice announced Tuesday that Exxon Mobil will pay $2.5 million in fines for flaring gases at eight plants along the Gulf Coast...Exxon will spend about $300 million as part of the settlement to install gas recovery and other new monitoring and pollution control technologies at the petrochemical plants in Louisiana and Texas, according to agency officials.
- By Giving ExxonMobil a Slap on the Wrist, Feds Tell Polluters, ‘Don’t Worry About Enforcement in the Trump Administration’ (Public Citizen)
- Interior proposes doubling National Parks fees:
- SPEAK UP NOW - Deadline Nov. 23, 2017:
A public comment period on the proposal runs until November 23, 2017 on the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website. Written comments can be sent to 1849 C Street, NW, Mail Stop: 2346 Washington, DC 20240.
- Trump could make visiting a national park more expensive than a Six Flags ticket (Washington Post)
- Speak Up: Proposed National Park Fee Increase Would Price Out Many (The Mountaineers)
- National Park Service considers entrance fee hike for some parks (KPAX, MT):
[C]ritics say the plan could hurt regional tourism-based economies.
- Ryan Zinke’s national parks fee increase a slap to low-income families (Denver Post)
- More Expensive National Parks May Threaten Access to Nature (National Geographic)
- Proposed fee hikes for national parks could impact the community outside of Yellowstone (KULR, MT):
Tina Hoebelheinrich explained, “If you look at the number of visits to Yellowstone National Park, and lay on top of that the budgets that they have dealt with, you’re going to see budgets that are flat or declining, and visitation that goes off the chart.”...Bruce Eldredge said, “It might be detrimental to visitation. Could really hurt our admissions.”
'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
- Sam Clovis withdraws his nomination for USDA’s top scientist post after being linked to Russia probe (Washington Post)
- Clovis, Trump USDA Science Pick, Confirms He Has No Science Credentials (Washington Post)
- Coastal Town Banned Tar Sands and Sparked a War with the Oil Industry (Inside Climate News)
- Coal miners are so confident Trump will bring coal back that they’re rejecting alternate career retraining (Quartz)
- Alaska Reviews of All North Slope Wells After Spill Linked to Permafrost (Inside Climate News)
- MN Scientist Demoted As Scott Pruitt Reshuffles EPA Advisory Boards (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)
- House Passes Wildfire Reform Bill (The Hill)
- Dems Tear Into Trump’s NASA Nominee (The Hill)
- U.S. To Halt Controversial Animal-Killing Methods In California (Rueters)
- Analysis: WRI data suggests emissions have already ‘peaked’ in 49 countries (Carbon Brief)
- U.S. gasoline demand hits record high in August: EIA (Reuters)
- TX Gov. Greg Abbott makes pitch in Washington for $60 billion in Texas Harvey aid (Dallas Morning News)
- U.S. Ag Department Proposes Lifting Mining Ban Near Grand Canyon (Reuters)
- Federal Trade Panel Calls For Restrictions On Imported Solar Cells (Washington Post)
- Top Trump environmental pick said goal of UN 'climate crusade' is 'all-powerful' government (CNN)
- 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