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Is Germany’s Hambach Forest doomed by coal?
Sunday April 15th 2018, 11:44 PM

Germany’s Hambach Forest sits in the crosshairs of coal mining, stirring debate about conservation and energy production.

[News Source]

Pruitt Punditry/Weekend Reader for Sunday, April 15
Sunday April 15th 2018, 11:39 AM

Saturday’s

March for Science

drew smaller crowds than the 2017 event, but once again, the marchers came through with first-rate signs.

A new documentary,

“What Lies Upstream,”

tells the story of the 2014 MCHM spill that shut down the water supply for 300,000 West Virginians.

From Damian Carrington in

The Guardian:

Scientists warn that

disruption of the ocean heat “conveyor belt”

must be avoided at all costs.

Running out of options to prevent a repeat of the 2014 algae crisis in Lake Erie, Ohio Governor Kasich looks to

tighten restrictions on farmers.

A Massachusetts court has

greenlighted the state AG’s effort

to find out what Exxon knew, and when Exxon knew it, on climate change. (Inside Climate News)

From

futurist.com:

Beaches are

one more thing we stand to lose

to climate change.


Yale e360

asks,

are diesel cars on the way out in Europe?

We’ve compiled a sampling of

editorial views

on Scott Pruitt’s travails.


On this week’s ,



Living on Earth,


Peter Dykstra and host Steve Curwood discuss how albatrosses may be used as spies on deep-sea illegal fishing; the horrific toll among park rangers protecting Virunga’s mountain gorillas; and how Mother Nature helped prompt a nine-year pause in the medieval Hundred Years’ War.

In a

Washington Post

op-ed, Gordon Davidson argues that the proposed

Atlantic Coast Pipeline

holds risks for both Virginia’s economy and its clean energy development.

The Interior Department’s Inspector General says the Department

failed to keep records

of thirty controversial employee reassignments. (ABC News)

From Darryl Fears and Dino Grandoni in the

Washington Post:

The Trump Administration marks the 100th anniversary of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act by

clipping its wings.

The Seneca Nation is celebrating the

rejection of a permit

to construct a fracking wastewater treatment plant near the headwaters of Pennsylvania’s Allegheny River.

What’s the conventional wisdom from DC on Scott Pruitt’s survival?

The wisdom is all over the map.


The embattled EPA Administrator is averaging a new scandal every couple of days. He’s also gotten a strong vote of confidence from President Trump—just like a dozen other former Trump appointees who soon vanished into the Bermuda Triangle of the administrative branch.

So is Pruitt a short-timer, or is he in for the long run — a boon for both polluting industries and late-night TV comics? Is he staying put, or headed for private life? Or will he be bumped up to the Attorney General’s slot? Or dispatched to a Federal penitentiary?

The prospects are intriguing. The allegations against Pruitt for lavish spending and other ethical transgressions are serious — certainly far more so than Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price or Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, both of whom were forced out by Trump.

But Pruitt enjoys something of a Golden Boy status with President Trump for his zealous pursuit of the dismantling of his own agency. He came to Washington after seven years as Oklahoma Attorney General. His tenure was marked by

repeated lawsuits

against the agency he now runs. Shortly after arriving, Pruitt began to dismantle environmental regulations even as he ran roughshod over the rules for his own conduct.

This week, five Democratic members of Congress sent a

six-page letter

to Pruitt, demanding answers for his travel, his overpriced office decor, and his alleged persecution of employees who asked questions. Much of their curiosity was based on information from whistleblower Kevin Chmielewski, a registered Republican and Trump supporter who served as Pruitt’s Deputy Chief of Staff until finding himself on unpaid administrative leave.

In March, Pruitt received a

similar letter

from Republican Trey Gowdy, who chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Gowdy, who is leaving office after this Congressional term, is best known for his multi-year pursuit of Hillary Clinton’s handling of the deaths of four U.S. personnel at the Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Gowdy sent a followup letter this week saying Pruitt’s office has not supplied all the info he requested. The EPA’s in-house Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office are also auditing Pruitt’s questionable expenses. A summary of all can be found in this

Vox.com story.

At

The Intercept,

Sharon Lerner tracked Pruitt’s

similarly extravagant spending

while he was Oklahoma AG.

President Trump’s options with Pruitt are the object of much speculation and punditry, and it’s all over the map.


Option One: Kick him upstairs.

Pruitt’s ambition for the Attorney General’s job is nearly as well-known as is Trump’s disdain for the incumbent, Jeff Sessions. Value-added for Trump is that as A.G., Pruitt would be unencumbered by recusal. Sessions triggered Trump’s wrath and public disdain by recusing himself from the investigation of possible collusion by the Trump Administration in Russia’s attempts to influence the 2016 election.


Why this is increasingly unlikely:

Simply stated, Pruitt is damaged goods. At least three Republican Senators — Susan Collins of Maine, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John Kennedy of Louisiana—have criticized Pruitt, complicating his prospects for Senate confirmation as A.G.


Option Two: Keep him on.

Pruitt’s EPA conduct has received more attention from the Washington press corps than, say, protecting the environment ever would. Political commentators who don’t know a PCB from a PPM from a PM

2.5

are tongue wagging on this one for now. But it’s a storm that could blow over — not a Stormy. And Trump really, really likes Pruitt’s clear-cut style.


Option Three: Security will take you to your vehicle now, Mr. Pruitt.

That would be Mr. Pruitt’s greatly-expanded security detail. He’s diverted investigative staff to guard him, insisted on first-class air travel for the dubious notion that it keeps him protected from murderous enviros, and installed a bizarre “cone of silence” in his office for secure phonecalls.

With both parties and potentially both houses of Congress following the lead of journalists in investigating the EPA boss, this is increasingly likely. But here, no pun intended, is a Trump card. On Thursday, the Senate

approved the nomination of Andrew Wheeler

to serve as Pruitt’s top deputy. Wheeler is a former coal lobbyist and, like his boss, a staunch climate denier who could slide into the top job should Pruitt depart, willingly or otherwise.


Then there’s this:

In an apparent bureaucratic hallucination, Pruitt reportedly told a staffer that he thought the EPA logo, which features a 1970′s-vintage stylized flower,

reminded him of a marijuana leaf.

Sources familar with marijuana leaves told me that smoking all the weed in the world could not possibly make the EPA logo look like a marijuana leaf.

[News Source]

Running out of Lake Erie options, Ohio looks to get tougher on farmers
Sunday April 15th 2018, 11:28 AM

Running out of options on how to control toxic algae growth in Lake Erie, Ohio Governor Kasich pushes tougher regulations for farmers.

[News Source]

March for Science: The wittiest signs from around the world
Sunday April 15th 2018, 11:17 AM

March for Science crowds may have been smaller compared with last year. But their signs were just as entertaining.

[News Source]