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Weekend Reader, Sunday March 11
Friday March 09th 2018, 11:25 PM

Perhaps the most interesting thinktank to pop up in recent years is the Niskanen Center—a libertarian, right-of-center group that’s parted ways with the conservative climate denial dogma. The Center’s Joseph Majkut asks a fair question:

Is climate coverage biased

?

Writing for

Outside Online,

Glenn Nelson says green groups aren’t paying attention to

inclusion and diversity.

A newly-appointed EPA environmental justice advisor left behind

a little plutonium problem

at his last job.


Exception to the (broken) rules:


ClimateWire

profiled

Peter Navarro

, an ascending trade advisor in Trumpworld. Navarro has in the past been endorsed by a local Sierra Club chapter in a political race, and been described as both “an environmental pit bull” and “a jerk.” Fun read.

Did somebody say “Drain the Swamp?”


Apparently, President Trump’s operative plan for draining the Washington swamp is to hire former lobbyists to do cannonballs into it. The Associated Press reports that of 59 hires they tracked at EPA, about a third previously worked as

registered lobbyists or lawyers

for “chemical companies, fossil fuel producers, and other corporate clients.”

Of course, the facepalming depth of malfeasance and conflict of interest at EPA, Interior, and other agencies can’t bull its way into America’s headlines. Legitimate issues like North Korea and guns, and distractions like All the President’s Porn Stars hog the headlines and lure the pundits, allowing the swamping of government to quietly thrive.

The

New Republic’s

Emily Atkin writes that EPA’s social media is

promoting the work of the venerable climate deniers

at the Heartland Institute. Meanwhile,

The Hill,

whose news reporters do solid work on the environment, chose to publish a cheerful op-ed from Heartland that

blows kisses to EPA boss Scott Pruitt

and is march toward “greatness.”

Hey, when you get chosen for the world’s most important cabinet, maybe

$139,000 doors

are appropriate. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke spent that much, according to the AP, on office improvements. Secretary Zinke also opined this week that

wind turbines are warming the planet.

Not to be outdone, Attorney General Jeff Sessions was reportedly involved in some environmental swampery while in the Senate:

Mother Jones

links him to a bribery scandal involving

a Superfund site

in an inner-city Birmingham neighborhood. And EPA brushed off

environmental racism

claims from another Alabama site: Uniontown is a predominantly black town in the shadow of a colossal landfill that receives garbage from 33 states,

Interesting read from

The New York Times

: EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt wanted to stage a

“red-blue debate”

on climate change late last year, but White House Chief of Staff John Kelly denied the effort. (but credit the scoop to Robin Bravender of

E&E News

with the

scoop on this,

back in December.)

Folks, these are only a few of the environmental adventures of the Trump Administration from one week’s reporting. The President is fond of calling strong journalism “fake news” and casting reporters as enemies of the state. Twenty years from now, today’s EPA cuts, public lands giveaways, and climate denial will matter, and will potentially hurt us deeply. Twenty years from now, I’m pretty sure Stormy Daniels won’t matter.

[News Source]

The EPA chief wanted a climate science debate. Trump’s Chief of Staff stopped him
Friday March 09th 2018, 9:59 PM

The idea for a military-style exercise to question climate science encountered widespread resistance within the administration, officials said.

[News Source]

The EPA is openly promoting a climate denial think tank
Friday March 09th 2018, 7:42 PM

On Friday afternoon, the Environmental Protection Agency sent out a press release to tout an op-ed praising Administrator Scott Pruitt. Written Heartland Institute President Tim Huelskamp and H. Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow there, the article argues that “Pruitt is leading the EPA toward greatness” by rejecting climate science. “Trump and Pruitt share an understanding that climate change is n…

[News Source]

Lobbyists get ethics waivers to work for Trump
Friday March 09th 2018, 5:50 PM

President Donald Trump and his appointees have stocked federal agencies with ex-lobbyists and corporate lawyers who now help regulate the very industries from which they previously collected paychecks, despite promising as a candidate to drain the swamp in Washington.

[News Source]

The bright future of solar power
Friday March 09th 2018, 1:27 PM

Solar is booming. Solar power is now cheaper than coal in some parts of the world, and generating power from the sun is likely to be the lowest-cost energy option globally in less than ten years, according to Bloomberg. In many places around the world, solar is already the lowest-cost option.

[News Source]

Candidate for Wisconsin governor breastfeeds in campaign ad
Friday March 09th 2018, 12:33 PM

A Democratic candidate in Wisconsin’s gubernatorial race released a campaign ad showing her breastfeeding while detailing her efforts to ban the use of Bisphenol A in baby bottles and sippy cups in the state.

[News Source]

Japanese towns struggle to deal with an influx of new arrivals: wild boars
Friday March 09th 2018, 12:24 PM

Across the country, wild boars are moving in as Japan’s rapidly aging population either moves out or dies out.

[News Source]

Going beyond green buildings to climate justice
Friday March 09th 2018, 8:12 AM

Student-led town hall sets agenda for climate change and justice in UBC’s future.

[News Source]

Nuclear fusion on brink of being realised, say MIT scientists
Friday March 09th 2018, 8:07 AM

Carbon-free fusion power could be ‘on the grid in 15 years.’

[News Source]

Trash islands are still taking over the oceans at an alarming rate
Friday March 09th 2018, 8:03 AM

With more than 90 percent of the world’s plastic going unrecycled, garbage patches the size of Mexico are cropping up around the world. Can they ever be cleaned up?

[News Source]

Krill’s plastic digestion skills ‘mind-blowing’ for Australian scientists
Friday March 09th 2018, 8:00 AM

The humble krill may be at the bottom of the food chain, but Australian research has found the crustaceans are grinding down plastics into tiny particles during digestion.

[News Source]

Crew with seeds, corals restore environment in Puerto Rico
Friday March 09th 2018, 7:55 AM

As crews re-string electric lines and clear debris from Hurricane Maria, a small group of Puerto Rican and international conservationists is working on rebuilding natural wonders destroyed by the strongest storm to hit the island in nearly a century.

[News Source]