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The Weekend Reader 11-5: Apes, floods and child lead levels
Sunday November 05th 2017, 2:45 PM

Sam Clovis

, the non-scientist named to be USDA’s top scientist, found himself mired in the middle of the Papadopolous-a-palooza.

He informed President Trump on Wednesday he would no longer seek the post, as the Washington Post reported, “given the controversy surrounding the fact that he was

one of the top officials on the Trump campaign who was aware of efforts

by foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos to broker a relationship between the campaign and Russian officials.

Trump agriculture nominee Sam Clovis confirms he has no hard-science credentials, withdraws over ties to Russia probe

(Washington Post)

Donald Trump’s unqualified USDA chief scientist withdraws, cites ‘political climate’



U.S. Global Change Research Program

– sort of a domestic IPCC – released its latest assessment of climate research, and the result was unambiguous: Humans are driving climate change.

The real surprise was how forcefully major media outlets contrasted those findings with Trump and his cabinet’s stance on the issue.

Associated Press’

Seth Borenstein

: “It is the latest example of collisions between Trump’s environmental policies and the facts presented by his government’s experts.”

U.S. scientists contract Trump’s climate claims

(Associated Press)


Emily Atkin

, writing in the

New Republic

, warns that you cannot end the war on coal without starting a war on public health.

The new coal crisis

(New Republic)

Five op-eds to keep you engaged:

  1. In Grand Staircase-Escalante, coal and fossils lie side by side.

    What could be lost as monument opponents push for mining. (Rebecca Worby, High Country News)

  2. What do Jellyfish teach us about climate change?

    A new study shows that the biological effects of two ecosystem changes can be greater than their individual impacts (John Abraham, The Guardian)

  3. Pruitt is turning his back on transparency at the EPA.

    The agency should be a fishbowl, not a black box — or it will crumble. (William D. Ruckelshaus, Washington Post)

  4. Reject outrageous fee hike for national parks.

    There are better ways to fund national parks than an exorbitant fee increase proposed by the Trump administration. (Editorial board of the Seattle Times)

  5. As communities rebuild after disaster, we must keep nature in mind.

    To minimize future harm, protecting nature and the services it provides should be at the top of our post-disaster to-do list. (Anita van Breda, Ensia)
See all of our curated opinion pieces on


Trending news story this week at the journal Environmental Health Perspectives:

What happens next for children with elevated blood lead?

Reporter Charles Schmidt connected with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center pediatrician and medical director Nicholas Newman to chart the future for the half million children identified in the U.S. with elevated blood lead levels.

“When there’s a strong family structure to support our efforts, I find the outcomes are better.”

Read the full story.

The news that changed the world this week on our environment, health and climate.

First, we hear you: Many have asked for a return to our old newsletter format, with its list of headlines and links.

We’re working to get that to you, as well as options for a weekly digest and a wider array of thematic newsletters.

Our new system has tremendous power, but it also has some limits. Bear with us as we figure this out. With your help, we’ll get this right. Feedback is ALWAYS welcome:

[News Source]

Jerry Brown’s holy war on Donald Trump
Sunday November 05th 2017, 1:19 PM

At the Vatican, the California governor rips the president’s climate policies as a ‘lie within a lie.’

[News Source]

After the screening: What happens next for children with elevated blood lead?
Sunday November 05th 2017, 1:14 PM

Approximately half a million U.S. children have elevated blood lead levels.

[News Source]

Judge considers wild rice protection: Some say sulfate rules could triple Duluth sewage bills, force closure of mills
Sunday November 05th 2017, 1:05 PM

Mining supporters want no sulfate rule at all, saying there’s no major crisis with wild rice downstream of where mines operate. Business and government groups say the rule would be too costly to meet.

[News Source]

A photographer selects images that visualize the impact of climate change.
Sunday November 05th 2017, 12:56 PM

Andrea Bruce edits the photographs of Kadir van Lohuizen.

[News Source]

CDC scientists pursue deadly monkeypox virus in Africa
Sunday November 05th 2017, 12:47 PM

A mysterious disease is causing outbreaks that could easily spread across the world.

[News Source]

A broke, and broken, flood insurance program
Sunday November 05th 2017, 12:44 PM

An unusual coalition of insurers, environmentalists and fiscal conservatives is seeking major changes in the federal plan as a deadline approaches.

[News Source]

Smuggled, beaten and drugged: The illicit global ape trade
Sunday November 05th 2017, 12:36 PM

The New York Times tracked international ape smugglers from Congolese rain forests to the back streets of Bangkok. Here is what unfolded.

[News Source]