The new number two in the Interior Department: A lobbyist against environmental protections

Even in the context of Donald Trump’s other anti-government, pro-corporate hires, his choice of industry lobbyist David Bernhardt for the No. 2 position in the Department of the Interior is remarkably cynical.

Bernhardt, who ran the natural resources department at lobbying and law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, has spent the last several years working on behalf of oil and gas companies and large agribusiness to weaken environmental protections.

His lobbying appears to have continued into this current year:

The Campaign for Accountability accused Bernhardt of continuing to lobby for a client, the Westlands Water District in California, after withdrawing his registration as a lobbyist last November, the Washington Post reported Friday. In a letter to the Justice Department asking it to investigate the claim, the group contended Bernhardt edited a draft executive order for then-President-elect Donald Trump involving water issues that stood to benefit Westlands Water.

The suggestion here is

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Udall introduces bill to ban brain-damaging insecticide that EPA decided can still be used on farms

Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico and seven other Democratic senators introduced a bill Tuesday to regulate or ban a neurotoxic insecticide if the Environmental Protection Agency cannot prove it is safe. You can read a summary of the bill, S. 1624, here.

An organophosphate, the insecticide named chlorpyrifos has been banned from household use for more than 15 years, but it’s still widely used on crops like broccoli and almonds. Several studies have tied the chemical—a product of various companies, including Dow—to attention deficit disorders, lowered IQ, other health issues, and negative impacts on fetuses, including brain damage. Dow claims it’s safe when used as directed. But the EPA had planned to ban the chemical last November. The Trump regime wedged a stopper into that move.

Twice during the Obama Administration, the EPA had proposed to revoke all food tolerances for chlorpyrifos. At the time the agency said exposure to chlorpyrifos from food and drinking

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New information suggests that scientists have underestimated global warming—but don’t panic

A new study indicates that climate scientists may have underestimated the amount of global warming that has already occurred by as much as 20 percent. But that doesn’t mean that it’s any hotter outside. It’s a matter of hotter relative to what?

Preventing global warming from becoming “dangerous” may have just got significantly harder after new research suggested climate scientists have been using the wrong baseline temperature.

Scientists haven’t been making some kind of mistake in measuring the temperature. The issue is time. Most climate change models start somewhere in the 19th century, with the best data set beginning around 1880. But this new study indicates that this date may actually be too late if the intent is to really capture all the impact burning of fossil fuels has had on the climate. By the late 1800s, people had already been burning fossil fuels in rapidly-increasing amounts to stoke the

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Cap-and-trade for Northeastern states so successful that the only fight is over how much to improve

When Donald Trump announced that he was pulling the United States from the Paris Agreement—a spiteful action that promises precisely zero benefits while offering near infinite downsides—there was an immediate reaction from many governors and mayors in states and cities that retained some modicum of sense. Official after official promised that, while Trump may be racing to make synonyms of “America” and “mud,” they would maintain standards for their region that were as high, or higher, than those proposed under the agreement.

But with Trump actively promoting pollution and climate change, states could take that as an excuse to forget past promises. Which makes an upcoming plan all the more important.

Eight years ago, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative ― made up of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont ― established an interstate cap-and-trade system that puts a limit on carbon dioxide emissions from the utility

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Spotlight on green news & views: ExxonMobil fined for sanctions outlawry; peak oil nexus

This is the 513th edition of the Spotlight on Green News & Views (previously known as the Green Diary Rescue) usually appears twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Here is the July 19 Green Spotlight. More than 27,435 environmentally oriented stories have been rescued to appear in this series since 2006. Inclusion of a story in the Spotlight does not necessarily indicate my agreement with or endorsement of it.

(The usual categories have been left out of this Spotlight because of the relatively small number of diaries that are included, not permanently from the series.)

brit_2.jpg
Moving them out.

Besame writes—Daily Bucket: Rescue mission provides sanctuary for threatened herbarium specimens: “The threatened with destruction 470,000 herbarium specimens at the University of Louisiana at Monroe were rescued by the Botanical Research Institute of Texas this Tuesday. Half of the herbarium cabinets were loaded into

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Spotlight on green news & views: ExxonMobil fined for sanctions outlawry; peak oil nexus

This is the 513th edition of the Spotlight on Green News & Views (previously known as the Green Diary Rescue) usually appears twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Here is the July 19 Green Spotlight. More than 27,435 environmentally oriented stories have been rescued to appear in this series since 2006. Inclusion of a story in the Spotlight does not necessarily indicate my agreement with or endorsement of it.

(The usual categories have been left out of this Spotlight because of the relatively small number of diaries that are included, not permanently from the series.)

brit_2.jpg
Moving them out.

Besame writes—Daily Bucket: Rescue mission provides sanctuary for threatened herbarium specimens: “The threatened with destruction 470,000 herbarium specimens at the University of Louisiana at Monroe were rescued by the Botanical Research Institute of Texas this Tuesday. Half of the herbarium cabinets were loaded into

Continue reading “Spotlight on green news & views: ExxonMobil fined for sanctions outlawry; peak oil nexus”

Fighting climate change by paying people to not damage the environment

When people hear that there is a program that sometimes pays farmers not to grow crops, it’s often taken as the height of government folly. In truth, there’s some very sound thinking behind the program.

The alternative for keeping farmers alive in an industry where a year of high crop yields can drop prices far below production costs is a system of government price supports. Under that system, farmers would plow fields, plant crops, and use all the normal amounts of water, pesticides, and fertilizer, all to produce crops the market didn’t need. Paying farmers not to grow the crops is better for the farmer, better for the environment, better for the markets, and far cheaper for the government. As side benefits, it helps recharge farm lands by encouraging fields to be fallow, improves biodiversity by providing more space for native plants, and reduces pest species by not holding vast amounts

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