WE’RE IN A RACE AGAINST TIME TO STOP CLIMATE CHANGE. CAN THE GOOD NEWS OUTPACE THE BAD?
Each Friday, we bring you a quick recap of the top climate news. This week, Congress goes backwards on climate change as states step up, and wildfires turn deadly in Chile.
The Bad News:
MORE METHANE POLLUTION COMING SOON?
Congress seems poised to overturn a rule that limits pollution from extracting methane on public lands. The House of Representatives is expected to vote to kill the rule today, and the Senate is expected to follow suit. The rule prohibits companies that extract gas on federal lands from releasing or burning gas as a “flare,” two practices which greatly increase the amount of greenhouse gas pollution caused by methane. The rule also places stricter regulations on leaks. Read More
SENATOR PROMISES DAKOTA ACESS PIPELINE PERMIT
On Tuesday eventing, Senator John Hoeven of North Dakota said that the acting secretary of the Army would direct the Corps of Engineers to grant the final easement for the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline. However, on Wednesday the Army Corps stated that it had not granted that request, although it would expedite the environmental review process it is currently undertaking. The Army Corps said it will accept comments from the public until February 20. On Wednesday, Energy Transfer Partners, with help from the National Guard, moved to clear a protest camp of Water Protectors from land owned by the company. Seventy-six protestors were arrested. Read More
DEADLY WILDFIRES FOLLOW RECORD HEAT IN CHILE
Following temperatures as high as 113ºF, massive wildfires in Chile have killed 11 people. The fires destroyed over 400,000 acres of land, an area larger than the city of Los Angeles. Climate change has contributed to severe droughts in the area over the course of the past decade. Read More
REPUBLICANS MAKE UP NEW RULES TO PUSH PRUITT
Starting on Wednesday, Democrats on the Environment and Public Works committee boycotted the vote to approve Scott Pruitt’s nomination to head the EPA. The Dems cite concerns that Pruitt has not fully disclosed his financial ties to the fossil fuel industry. At lease two minority party members of the committee are required to vote before a nominee can advance to the full Senate vote. That is—until the committee suspended the rules on Thursday, and pushed Pruitt one step closer to confirmation. As the Attorney General of Oklahoma, Pruitt has consistently fought efforts to curb climate change. Read More
The Good News
BIPARTISAN BILL PROMISES FRACK-FREE FLORIDA
There’s currently no fracking in Florida, and a new bill could permanently keep it that way. For years, state officials have disagreed on how to regulate fracking in the state, but now it seems there’s support to prohibit the practice altogether. A bill has been introduced to the state legislature, and with bipartisan support in both chambers of the state’s legislature, it seems promising. Read More
BILL TO SELL PUBLIC LANDS GETS SCRAPPED
After public outcry from both conservatives and liberals alike, Congressman Jason Chaffetz promised to kill a bill that proposed selling off 3 million acres of federal land to private investors. The bill could have potentially opened these lands up to drilling and mining. Read More
MARYLAND SENATE SAVES STATE RENEWABLES LAW
Yesterday, the state legislature saved a bill requiring a quarter of Maryland’s energy to come from renewable sources by 2020. Governor Larry Hogan tried to veto the bill, citing possible increases in electricity rates, but both the state’s Senate and House of Delegates overrode the veto. Read More
SWEDEN SETS 2045 ZERO EMISSIONS GOAL
The government of Sweden announced a new law that aims to bring the country’s emissions to net zero by the year 2045, in addition to an intermediate target of lowering transportation emissions by 70 percent by 2030. The law will enter into force on 2018, and will legally bind future administrations. Read More
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