IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Five rig workers missing in natural gas rig explosion in Oklahoma; DHS waives major environmental laws for Trump's border wall; Treasury Dept. withholds disaster fund from Puerto Rico; Trump slaps big tariffs on cheap solar panels imported from China; PLUS: Keeping national parks open during a government shutdown "incredibly idiotic," says former director of National Parks... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): 5 hottest years on Earth have all occurred since 2010; Pruitt’s EPA wants to let states handle coal ash. Oklahoma shows why that’s so dangerous; Ex-EPA chief: Agency will need '20 to 30' years to recover from Pruitt; Puerto Rico moves to privatize troubled power company; More deadly mudslides inevitable; Can thorium reactors dispose of weapons-grade plutonium?; WI tribe files lawsuit over open-pit mining permit on sacred land; Zinke signs land-swap deal for road through Alaska’s Izembek Wilderness; Geo-engineering could seriously imperil life on Earth; Putting the ‘farm’ back in solar farms; ISIL is lighting oil wells on fire as they retreat, and no one is paying attention... PLUS: Fighting climate change? We're not even landing a punch... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- 5 workers missing after Oklahoma natural gas rig explosion:
- VIDEO: Five declared dead in Oklahoma rig explosion (Houston Chronicle):
Five workers are presumed dead, including one Texan, after an explosion ripped through a drilling rig in Oklahoma, triggering the nation's deadliest oil and gas incident in several years.
- Sheriff: 5 workers presumed dead in Oklahoma rig explosion (AP)
- Trump slaps hefty tariffs on cheap, imported solar panels:
- Trump Slaps Steep Tariffs on Foreign Washing Machines and Solar Products (NY Times)
- VIDEO: Trump's Tariffs on Solar Mark Biggest Blow to Renewables Yet (Bloomberg):
On Monday, Trump approved duties of as much as 30 percent on solar equipment made outside the U.S., a move that threatens to handicap a $28 billion industry that relies on parts made abroad for 80 percent of its supply...The import taxes are the most targeted strike on the industry yet and may have larger consequences for the energy world. “We are inclined to view it as posing greater trade risk for all types of energy, particularly if other nations establish new trade barriers against U.S. products,” Washington-based research firm ClearView Energy Partners LLC said Monday.
- Trump's tariffs on panels will cost US solar industry thousands of jobs (Guardian UK):
Trump’s decision to impose a 30% tariff will cost the US around 23,000 jobs and risks slowing the growth of clean energy, advocates warn
- Here’s What Trump’s Tariffs on U.S. Imports Are Doing to Markets (Bloomberg)
- NowSolar comment thread: "The solar industry employs the kind of "forgotten" Americans whom Trump champions: small contractors who employ blue-collar workers earning a median of $26 an hour; one in 10 are veterans." (Twitter)
- DHS waives environmental laws for Trump's border wall with Mexico:
- Trump waives dozens of environmental rules to speed up construction of border wall (The Hill)
- Environmental laws waived for New Mexico border wall west of Santa Teresa (El Paso Times):
“The Trump administration is stopping at nothing to ram through this destructive border wall,” said Brian Segee, a senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Trump’s divisive border wall is a humanitarian and environmental disaster, and it won’t do anything to stop illegal drug or human smuggling," Segee said in a statement.
- Passage prevented: How Trump’s border wall will harm Arizona wildlife (Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting) [emphasis added]:
Adding new physical barriers along the southern border would escalate habitat fragmentation – dividing a species' natural habitat, leading to isolated and weaker population fragments. Ultimately, researchers say, a border wall could lead to destabilization or extinction.
- Opening National Parks during government shutdown endangers public safety:
- Trump’s Decision To Keep Parks Open During Shutdown "Incredibly Idiotic", Puts Politics Before Safety (Huffington Post)
- While Yellowstone’s staff was furloughed, a snowmobiler got way too close to Old Faithful (Washington Post)
- A government shutdown means messy bathrooms in national parks (LA Times):
"We still have a dozen or so pit toilets scattered throughout the 3-million-acre park," he added. "Normally, they're serviced twice a day. So, they're reaching capacity and not in a state most people will find useful."
- Trump's Plan to Keep National Parks Open During the Shutdown Could Be Disastrous (Earther):
“People were kicking in the door to restrooms even though plumbing wasn’t on and they crossed gates into closed areas,” the park’s superintendent, Jeff Mow, told me at the time for a story on how climate change is affecting parks.
- A Perilous Shutdown Plan for National Parks (The New Republic) [emphasis added]:
“The capacity for rescue if a visitor gets into an accident is going to be limited,” he said...Protecting visitors from danger is one worry, but so is protecting the parks from the visitors...“That’s the number one thing they teach you in ranger school: You don’t want parks open without bathrooms open."
- Sen. Cardin pushes for disaster relief bill in wake of government shutdown:
- Government shutdown: Where the senators stand (CNN)
- House votes to end government shutdown, sending legislation to Trump (Washington Post)
- Puerto Rico Is Still In The Dark — We Must Pass Equitable Disaster Relief Now (WBUR)
- Harvey aid promised as Congress votes to reopen government (Houston Chronicle)
- Treasury Dept, FEMA withhold disaster relief funds from Puerto Rico:
- Trump Administration Tells Puerto Rico It’s Too Rich for Aid Money (David Dayen, The Intercept) [emphasis added]:
When Congress passed a $36.5 billion disaster relief bill to bolster rebuilding efforts in several wildfire and hurricane-damaged areas in October, it shortchanged Puerto Rico, giving it a $4.9 billion loan instead of the grant that other areas received. Now, it appears the debt- and hurricane-ravaged island won’t even get that money...the very fact that Puerto Rico must receive assistance as loans rather than grants, unlike any other entity receiving disaster assistance, is bad enough. That the island is being treated like a welfare recipient found to have too much money in its bank account takes it to another level. Among U.S. territories suffering from catastrophe, only Puerto Rico is being means-tested.
- US withholds hurricane emergency loan sought by Puerto Rico (AP):
“It is unconscionable that FEMA and the Treasury Department are withholding the disaster aid funding approved three months ago for Puerto Rico,” it said. “Despite being unable to carry out many vital functions, Puerto Rico is deemed by these federal agencies as not poor enough to qualify for emergency loans.”
'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
- The 5 hottest years on Earth have all occurred since 2010, NASA reports (Climate Progress)
- Pruitt’s EPA wants to let states handle coal ash. Oklahoma shows why that’s so dangerous. (Climate Progress)
- Ex-EPA chief: Agency will need '20 to 30' years to recover from Pruitt (The Hill)
- Puerto Rico moves to privatize troubled power company (Washington Post)
- PennEast opponents mount lawsuit and protests after FERC moves major natural gas pipeline forward (Grist)
- Deadly storm Friederike causes Dutch and German transport chaos (BBC)
- Are more deadly mudslides inevitable? Experts say yes (E&E News)
- Can thorium reactors dispose of weapons-grade plutonium? (New Atlas)
- House Science Panel Calls For Probe Of Govt Scientist For Doing Science (The Intercept)
- Wisconsin Tribe Files Lawsuit Over Mine Permitting On Sacred Land (Environmental Health News)
- Even Breathing Is A Risk In One Of Orlando’s Poorest Neighborhoods (Huffington Post)
- Zinke Signs Land-Swap Deal For Road Through Alaska’s Izembek Wilderness (Washington Post)
- How Engineering Earth’s Climate Could Seriously Imperil Life (Wired)
- Putting the ‘farm’ back in solar farms: Study to test ag potential at PV sites (Midwest Energy News)
- ISIL is lighting oil wells on fire as they retreat, and no one is paying attention (Quartz)
- Fighting Climate Change? We’re Not Even Landing a Punch (NY Times)
- In response to growth, Chinese cities choose mass transit metros (The Transport Politic)
- AUDIO: An Inconvenient 'BradCast' with Al Gore (The BRAD BLOG):
Guest Host Angie Coiro's exclusive interview with the former Vice President on elections, pollution, persuasion, activism, and hope...
- The Climate Risks We Face (NY Times):
To stabilize global temperature, net carbon dioxide emissions must be reduced to zero. The window of time is rapidly closing to reduce emissions and limit warming to no more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit or 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, the goal set in the Paris climate accord. The further we push the climate system beyond historical conditions, the greater the risks of potentially unforeseen and even catastrophic changes to the climate - so every reduction in emissions helps.
- 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