Environment

Feds Deny Permit For Alaska Gold Mining Project

Politico reports: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denied a permit for the Pebble Mine in Alaska on Wednesday, effectively killing plans to build the massive copper and gold project that opponents had warned could wipe out the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery. The decision from the Trump administration, which had reversed course several times on the issue, comes just …

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Arctic Drilling Leases Rushed Ahead Of Biden Takeover

Yahoo News reports: The Trump administration is advancing plans to auction drilling rights in the U.S. Arctic National Wildlife Refuge before the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, who has vowed to block oil exploration in the rugged Alaska wilderness. The Interior Department is set to issue a formal “call for nominations” as soon as Monday, kick-starting a final effort to …

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Japan To Release 1M Tons Of Nuke Water Into Sea

The Guardian reports: Japan’s government has reportedly decided to release more than 1m tonnes of contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the sea, setting it on a collision course with local fishermen who say the move will destroy their industry. Media reports said work to release the water, which is being stored in more than 1,000 …

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Famed NYC Clock Turns Climate Change Countdown

Gothamist reports: The famous clock in Union Square that has been tracking the time of day since 1999 has been reset for a new countdown: the rapidly diminishing time left for the human race to take meaningful action to avert the most horrific and deadly consequences of climate change. The Climate Clock was set up ahead of Climate Week over …

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16 States Warn Of “Bomb Trains” In Lawsuit To Stop Proposed Shipping Of Liquefied Natural Gas By Rail

Courthouse News reports: Two weeks after the neglected storage of highly combustible ammonium nitrate caused a devastating explosion in Lebanon, six environmental groups urged the D.C. Circuit on Tuesday to stop the United States from ushering in a new era of so-called bomb trains. Federal law stipulates that liquefied natural gasses can only be safely transported in trucks and specific …

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Trump Admin Okays Plan To Drill In Alaskan Refuge

Reuters reports: The Trump administration on Monday finalized a plan to allow oil and gas drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, putting it on track to issue decades-long leases in the pristine wilderness area before a potential change in U.S. leadership. The 19 million acre (7.7 million hectares) refuge is home to wildlife populations including Porcupine caribou and polar …

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Trump Admin To Drop Controls On Methane Emissions

The New York Times reports: The Trump administration is expected in the coming days to lift Obama-era controls on the release of methane, a powerful climate-warming gas that is emitted from leaks and flares in oil and gas wells. The new rule on methane pollution, issued by the Environmental Protection Agency, has been expected for months, and will be made …

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5.1 Magnitude Quake Rattles Western North Carolina

The Washington Post reports: A preliminary magnitude 5.1 earthquake occurred near Sparta, in northwestern North Carolina at 8:07 a.m. on Sunday morning, very near the Virginia border. The quake rattled the Carolina Piedmont, but was reportedly felt as far away as Atlanta, part of Tennessee, Washington D.C., and Ohio. It appears to be the strongest North Carolina quake in more …

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Brazilian Official Fired For New Report On Deforestation

The Guardian reports: Brazil’s government has fired an official at the national space agency Inpe whose department is responsible for satellite monitoring of the Amazon rainforest, just three days after June deforestation data reflected a continued increase in degradation. Lubia Vinhas was the general-coordinator of Brazilian space agency Inpe’s Earth Observation Institute, which is an umbrella for divisions that monitor …

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Fracking Pioneer Chesapeake Energy Goes Bankrupt

The Guardian reports: Chesapeake Energy, the shale gas drilling pioneer that helped to turn the United States into a global energy powerhouse, has filed for bankruptcy protection. The Oklahoma City-based company said on Sunday that it had been forced to enter chapter 11 protection because its debts of $9bn were unmanageable. It has entered a plan with lenders to cut …

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Four States Get “Red Flag” Warnings On Wildfires

ABC News reports: In the west, very dry and blustery conditions continue to spread the Bighorn Fire near Tucson, Arizona, where evacuations have been issued. The Bighorn Fire is only 10% contained and is more than 6,000 acres. A brush fire also broke out just east of San Diego, where evacuation orders were in effect. Red flag warnings have now …

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Trump Admin To Allow Oil And Gas Drilling Off Florida Gulf Coast But Not Until After The November Election

Politico reports: The Trump administration is preparing to open the door to oil and gas drilling off Florida’s coast — but will wait until after the November election to avoid blowback in a swing state whose waters both parties have long considered sacrosanct, according to four people familiar with the plan. Drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico would fulfill …

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EPA Unveils Plan To Weaken Air Pollution Regulations

Roll Call reports: Environmental advocates are warning that changes to the way the EPA calculates public health benefits of the rules it writes would make it harder to regulate air pollution, even as industry groups cheer the overhauls they have long sought. The EPA on Thursday evening proposed overhauls to its metrics for weighing the public health and environmental benefits …

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Broadway To Remain Dark At Least Through June 7th

Deadline Hollywood reports: Broadway will remain closed through June 7, a two-month extension of the current coronavirus shutdown that would seem to retroactively end the 2019-2020 Broadway season with the March 12 shutdown. The extension announcement was made today by the Broadway League, the trade group representing theater owners and producers, which had been in discussions with theatrical unions this …

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Study Links Air Pollution To Higher COVID Death Rates

The New York Times reports: Coronavirus patients in areas that had high levels of air pollution before the pandemic are more likely to die from the infection than patients in cleaner parts of the country, according to a new nationwide study that offers the first clear link between long-term exposure to pollution and Covid-19 death rates. In an analysis of …

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EPA Suspends Enforcement Of Environmental Rules

Never let a national crisis go to waste. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a sweeping suspension of its enforcement of environmental laws Thursday, telling companies they would not need to meet environmental standards during the coronavirus outbreak. The temporary policy, for which EPA has set no end date, would allow any number of industries to skirt environmental laws, with …

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New York State Readies For March 1st Plastic Bag Ban

The West Side Rag reports: If you don’t own reusable shopping bags, now is the time to invest in some. You may also want to stockpile your favorite take-out plastic bags. Starting March 1, stores in New York State will be banned from giving single-use plastic bags to customers at checkout as the New York State Bag Waste Reduction Law …

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Interior OKs Mining, Drilling In National Monuments

Roll Call reports: Mining, logging and drilling in areas of southern Utah once part of two national monuments would be allowed under plans finalized Thursday by the Interior Department, igniting the anger of conservation groups and congressional Democrats. President Donald Trump drew the ire of tribes and environmentalists when he issued proclamations in December 2017 significantly reducing the size of …

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Climate Change Models Are “Running Very Hot”

Bloomberg Green reports: There are dozens of climate models, and for decades they’ve agreed on what it would take to heat the planet by about 3° Celsius. It’s an outcome that would be disastrous—flooded cities, agricultural failures, deadly heat—but there’s been a grim steadiness in the consensus among these complicated climate simulations. Then last year, unnoticed in plain view, some …

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Trump Admin To Finalize End To Wetlands Protections

Time Magazine reports: The Trump administration on Thursday will finalize a rule to strip away environmental protections for streams, wetlands and other water bodies, handing a victory to farmers, fossil fuel producers and real estate developers who said Obama-era rules had shackled them with onerous and unnecessary burdens. From Day 1 of his administration, President Trump vowed to repeal President …

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