Improving the Environment

A proposed rule by the EPA to limit science was met with opposition at a public hearing this week. (Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic)

It “risks not just erosion of public trust in the EPA’s important work, but also progress on improving the health and wellbeing of our communities and our nation….” More…

Acting on Climate

Another impact to our natural environment from climate change: the cedar forests of Lebanon and its ecosystems are threatened by climate change. (Anne Barnard, New York Times)

“The cedar forest is migrating to higher altitudes,” he said. And it is unclear, he added, which of the species that usually live alongside the cedars will survive higher up, further changing the ecosystem…. “We are in a race,” said Dr. Hani. “There is no time to lose….” More…

It’s nature to the rescue, as coastal cities are fighting against sea level rise and erosion. (John Upton, Climate Central)

Rising costs from flooding and erosion are prompting Americans, military bases and government agencies to opt for more natural alternatives. State and federal governments are changing permitting rules and taking other steps to encourage the switch, which can improve water quality, support fisheries and protect against storms and rising seas…. More….

A new Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) report on extreme weather events fails to mention climate change and its impact on such events. (Emily Atkin, The New Republic)

FEMA is certainly correct that disasters must be managed at all levels, but the most important lesson of the 2017 disaster season is that weather disasters are becoming more frequent and more damaging. The government’s failure to grapple with that reality contributed to FEMA’s poor response. For example, the 1988 Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act—the law that gave FEMA its authority to coordinate disaster relief efforts—ensured that the agency could only re-build Puerto Rico’s weak electricity system after it was wiped out by Maria; it was not allowed to spend money on rebuilding a more resilient electricity system… More…

Ending Plastic Pollution

The Marriott hotel chain announced it would stop using plastic straws and drink stirrers. (Avie Schneider, NPR)

It said the environmentally friendly move could eliminate the use of more than 1 billion plastic straws and about 250 million stirrers per year. Marriott said its hotels will “offer alternative straws upon request.” More…

Protecting Life on Earth

The Interior and Commerce Departments have proposed changes to weaken the Endangered Species Act. (Darryl Fears, Washington Post)

“Unfortunately, the sweeping changes being proposed by the Trump administration include provisions that would undercut the effectiveness of the ESA and put species at risk of extinction,” Clark said. “The signal being sent by the Trump administration is clear: Protecting America’s wildlife and wild lands is simply not on their agenda….” More…

The Trump Administration nominated a pesticide executive for the role of as chief scientist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). (Tom Phillpot, Huffington Post)

…before the DuPont merger, he served as global director for crop protection research and development at Dow AgroSciences. “Crop protection,” of course, means pesticides — a category that includes bug killers (pesticides), weed killers (herbicides), and fungus killers (fungicides). In his role as chief scientist — formally known as undersecretary for research, education, and economics — Hutchins would set the agenda for the USDA’s $2.9 billion research budget…. More…